Friday, February 29, 2008

Depression Recovery Moment #2: Address Emotional Eating

For other vlogs in this series, click "Depression Recovery Moment" in the sidebar on the right under "Categories". All videos are under one minute long and are intended to be reminders when you're feeling blue.

This DRM is 24 seconds:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Path Not For Everyone, But Maybe For You

My class with Charles Eisenstein is called "The Yoga of Eating" and is based upon his book by that name. Many of you are familiar with Charles Eisenstein's book "Transformational Weight Loss" (TWL), a book that is an in depth look at part of "The Yoga of Eating" (YOE) that deals with weight loss. TWL is about much more than that, as those of you who have read it know. TWL and YOE are about the practice of trusting your body and all that this entails.

The YOE class is absolutely fantastic because it is a chance to converse with the author via Skype, ask him questions, discuss obstacles to my practice, and hear ideas that were not presented in the books. My class is small, so I get a chance to express my thoughts about what I've read and ask as many questions as I have. I cannot put into words how much, how positively this class and my readings are affecting me.

Both TWL and YOE are about much more than food, eating, and weight issues. They are about a different way of looking at oneself, life and the world. After my second class (number two of three) I decided that I was desperately hungry (pun intended) to find out more and so began to read Charles Eisenstein's "Ascent of Humanity" (AOH), planning on finishing it before my next and last class.



AOH is almost 600 pages, is Charles Eisenstein's life work, and looks (when you pick it up) intellectually demanding, dry, and philosophical (in a bad way). I've had it for about four months but it frankly intimidated me. After the last class though, I didn't care how hard it would be to plow through because I wanted to read it. I was very pleasantly surprised. AOH is intellectual, but passionate and spiritual and most of all---mind-blowing and life-changing. It fits in with everything, everything we've been reading here in our on-line community.

So I started AOH yesterday before I got sick and now I hate to put it down, even to come here to blog. I don't want to do anything else but read it. I want to find out what is coming next! I want to finish it before Tuesday so that I can ask the author any questions I might have. It is the type of book that you read once and feel it's impact, then read again and again to integrate into your life, to think about, and (I hope) to discuss it with others.

None of these books are full of dogma to be read and accepted or rejected. They are compilations of out-of-the box reframes about commonly held cultural assumptions. They are questions. They are new ways of looking at life. Most of all, they are invitations to experience truth for yourself and to come to conclusions that are life-affirming, playful, and joyful.



If you liked TWL, read YOE. If you've got to find out more, then read AOH. AOH fell into place for me after reading the novel "World Made By Hand".

If this all sounds like way too much, or if you just want to find out more but not immerse yourself at this point as I am doing, Charles Eisenstein is making serial videos about the content of AOH here. What really comes through in the videos is Charles Eisenstein's gentle and peaceful spirit and intellect. He says that the purpose of AOH and his other seminars based upon his books is to be life-changing. In my case, he has already succeeded.

However, the impact of all three of his books will continue to reverberate through my life as I integrate what I am learning from them into my spiritual practice. This part---this integration---has only just begun for me and is a journey. It is a setting aside of a lifetime of being a part of a culture that did not resonate with me in so many ways and left me filled with anxiety always and depression often. I am happy to embark on a different way, unsure of where it will lead me, but certain that I am where I need to be.



~Pictures By LoveHubbie Mark

~Post Title Shamelessly Stolen from Oprah about "A Course in Miracles"

Depression Recovery Moment #1: Perseverance

This is a new series I'm starting to help both of us (you and me) by vlogging in really short vlogs (less than a minute, some just a few seconds) about tips for living with depression.

I'm going to try to get them all up here before I go on vacation next week. Well...first I have to make them. And I have the flu. LoveHubbie has a severe flu (he is two days ahead of me). So we'll see what I can do with this.

It's fun to do something constructive and positive during this SSRI withdrawal. Someone should benefit from it, right?

And by the time I come back from vacation I'll probably be through the withdrawal, so I want to get these tips here in case you and/or I need or want them again.


This DRM is 32 seconds:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: SSRI Withdrawal


It has been several days since I've been off SSRI's altogether and my weight has dropped a couple of pounds, but more importantly, the accelerated weight gain is over. I'm doing okay, although of course things are difficult, since I'm low on serotonin receptors. My doctor says that since I was on them for a short time I'll recover my receptors in a month or two.

I feel very peaceful about this decision. Most of all I feel relaxed that at last the panic of gaining 40 pounds in three months is now over. I've gone from a size 12 to a size 20W. But this provides many opportunities to accept myself and love myself as a large woman. I'm truly getting into these opportunities. Really. About 90% of the time. The rest of the time I feel bad. Bloated. Angry. Sad. Depressed.

Overall, I feel very blessed to be able to get off of these drugs that helped me so very much but that hurt me too in the long run. In my case, they hurt me more than helped me. If you're not depressed, try being somewhat overweight and then gaining 40 pounds really quickly; you'll probably feel pretty bad, especially if you have concomitant health problems.

So today I am grateful.

I am very tired, so I'll write more tomorrow. LoveHubbie got an award tonight and we just got home from a dinner meeting. I want to tell you about the Charles Eisenstein class, but I'll wait until tomorrow so that I can give it a fair shake.

~Above picture of Hawaiian Queen Kaahumanu from Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tumultuous Tuesday

Today I had a very intense day made up of many appointments, lots of stress at home, doctor's results---fodder for posts for days---causing me to yearn for my upcoming vacation, always a time of spiritual and emotional renewal as well as physical r&r.

The day was capped off by the second of three "The Yoga of Eating" classes with Charles Eisenstein, (see some excerpts here) which blew my remaining circuits (those that remained unblown after today)...but in a good way. A profound way.

More tomorrow. Bed now, but not till I wish a fine friend a happy birthday in about a half hour (Wednesday)!

Monday, February 25, 2008

How To Live II


"To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying 'Amen' to what the world tells that you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive."---Robert Louis Stevenson

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

How To Live


"Goethe proclaimed, "When you finally trust yourself, you will know how to live." ...We get into trouble not because we do not know what to do, but because we do not pay attention to what we know."---Alan Cohen


~Photo from "Then There Were None" by Martha H. Noyes

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Spousal Support (Something I Could Do More Of)

Today LoveHubbie needed some support. So I took the day off and we went to downtown Olympia, walked around the port (which is at the south end of Puget Sound), downtown (note the abundance of public art), and on to our favorite pub. We then came home and watched a Tivo-ed "CBS Sunday Morning" and part of "60 Minutes"--the part about the colony collapse disease of the bees. Lastly, LoveHubbie phoned and talked to his daughter in college in Texas and went on to bed, since work had kept him up most of Saturday night. I stayed up to vlog to you about our day.

The song here is the Oscar winning (as of a few hours ago) song "Falling Slowly" from "Once"... Please excuse my voice and the traffic sounds during the video; I thought I'd be able to edit them out, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. If anyone knows how to do it with WMM, please let me know! Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy sharing our day with us (and...ummm...knowing what raku is now, just like Mark...)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cage Art

So what's the deal with this Cage Art I'm attracted to? I didn't realize until I made this video that both pieces feature cages. It's only 37 seconds long :)



The beautiful pieces are from Maddie and Karen---Karen's (my new piece called "She Holds the Cage") just arrived today :)=Big Big Smile!

There must be some significance to this!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Magnificent Moody Monday

I missed posting on Sacred Life Sunday. But I had a great time just chatting away in a girlfriend-esque style (which I haven't done in a year, mainly because I haven't had a girlfriend) with Annie in Australia via Skype. It was great and made the day feel special...and sacred, indeed.

On the subject of loneliness: see Thailandchani's response to Annie's post which is drawing quite a bit of commentary. I think it is hard for us loners (and I am one of them) to understand how disconnected our Amercian society has become. We all crave intimacy, yet some of us suffer more than others in isolation. I don't feel like I suffer too much anymore because of the many rich connections I have via the Internet. Still, we are a community here, and as such can reach out of ourselves to be connected. I know that I can reach out more than I do, because I love intimacy...and I know that each person out there is a part of me as well---this is one of my spiritual beliefs.

Well, as for today---Magnificent (because it is another day of being alive) Moody (because that's how I feel) Monday---today I am feeling full-force the effects of SSRI withdrawl. I decided to go bare because of the continual and unrelenting weight gain caused by SSRI's, which is causing me more problems than my so-called depression was. I had thought that this weight gain was caused by emotional eating, but I've been doing this all my life, and the rapid weight gain has occurred only since October of last year (about 2-3 pounds per week)...coincidently when I started taking an SSRI. So I've been reading about this---who knew? I'm titrating down, but am exhausted all...the...time... and so tired and unmotivated. I do think that this will pass. My SSRI helped me tremendously but has come back to bite me, and I feel like I'll do better in the long run by doing things in a more natural way. I am thinking I can tolerate depression more than massive uncontrollable weight gain. I mean, where does it stop? Years ago I weighed 250 pounds and was in a wheelchair---I've been there, done that.

Here are some old pictures of me on my honeymoon in 2000:




Then, three years later after a 90 pound weight loss:


I'm right smack-dab in between the two sizes now.

It's sort of a no-brainer. But it's not how I look as much as how I FEEL. We all want to feel good, feel healthy. That's what I want too.

One of the problems with carrying so much weight is foot pain, so that I can't walk easily for exercise. Despite the pain, I resumed Nordic Ski Walking (which minimizes stress on my legs, knees, and feet) last week because I benefit so much from the fresh air, time to think, and sheer physical movement. Plus for once it wasn't raining here (I live near Seattle). It was magnificent!! Thus I am in pain all the time. But I still feel like I'm better off this way than idle and sedentary. I feel better overall. I just feel the pain and breathe and know that this too will pass.

We all have our pain and our challenges. We're here to encourage each other. To be there for each other. Thank you to all of you who are there for me.

Powerful Suzi Blu Video---Sexuality & Boldness

I just love this video by Suzi Blu. I wish that I had come to this realization years ago. I wish I could express my feelings as well as Suzi Blu does today.



This Suzi Blu Valentine's Day video is provocative and powerful. It made me think. Here are some quotes:


"When women are powerful in their sexuality they are seen as a threat; and it's not just from men, it's also from women..."---Suzi Blu


"The way our society is right now, it does not support a woman being bold. It doesn't!"---Suzi Blu

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wellness Wednesday Valentine's Day

Book Review---World Made By Hand

I want everyone---EVERYONE---that means YOU---to read this book: "World Made By Hand" by James Howard Kunstler. You absolutely will not be disappointed, even if you couldn't care less about global warming or oil or America's future. You care about you---so you'll want to read this. All of you. Even the non-readers. Really. Don't think of reasons why not. Just buy the book and read it!

It is a novel---a fascinating, exciting, fun book! Here's what I wrote about it on Amazon:

"This book is a great read, an unusual type of science fiction, or better called "speculative fiction" about what our future might hold for us here in the United States.

Even though it takes place in a particular small town in New York, you can imagine vividly what would happen in your town as you read it.

I made this video immediately after finishing this novel. I started it last night and finished it this morning, unable to put it down.

My video is a rave about the book, which everyone certainly will like, even if you are unaware of or uninterested in the important questions it raises. By the end of the book you will have a different perspective, I promise."


If this intrigues you, see my 3:32 review here:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Emotional Practice


Tagging sensations---translating bodily sensations into emotions---is a skill, an emotional practice. I've trained myself and received formal training as well in doing this for others via graduate school in counseling and a post-graduate certificate in life coaching. However, having a personal emotional practice in identifying and dealing with my feelings is something that I've trained myself for half a century not to do:

Early years of being physically beaten and verbally battered as a child and trying to deny and/or forget my feelings
So that I could survive and be able to love my parents even at the cost of distrusting myself and my feelings.

Years of schooling and working jobs while ignoring any feelings I might have
So that I could be productive and achieve, achieve, achieve...

Years spent in a fundamentalist religion and training myself to overcome any and all feelings
So that I could better serve God.

Eons spent in unhealthy marriages valuing the longevity of the marriage over my own needs and desires
So that I could successfully avoid divorce...
I've been married three times.


It's pretty amazing to realize this. In an odd way, I'm appreciative of my weight problem and emotional eating struggles which negatively affect my health, forcing me to develop a healthy emotional practice now. It is apparently only now that I am old enough, strong enough, mature enough, strong enough, and safe enough to do this. I am grateful!



~Pictures by LoveHubbie Mark

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Pain


"There is a great deal of pain in life, and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain of trying to avoid pain."---R. D. Laing


~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

"A New Earth" Online Group

If you're interested in participating in an online group for Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth", contact Kate at Meanderings at katespin at yahoo.com. She calls the blog for our discussion "The New Earth Dialogues". Welcome to all!

Flickers



I love this quote about pain from Jon Kabat-Zinn from his book "Coming to Your Senses". The parts that encourage me are "even for the tiniest moment" and "even if sustained for only a second or two" and "even if you don't know what to do". I like phrases like that. Groping in the dark, it lends some validity to my flickers of peace and enlightenment.



"If you move into pure awareness in the midst of pain, even for the tiniest moment, your relationship with your pain is going to shift right in that very moment. It is impossible for it not to change because the gesture of holding it in awareness, even if sustained for only a second or two, already reveals its larger dimensionality. And that shift in your relationship with the experience gives you more degrees of freedom in your attitude and in your actions in a given situation, whatever it is...even if you don't know what to do."---Jon Kabat-Zinn


Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Night Fun


No, this isn't about some wild party that LoveHubbie and I went to. It's about what we did this Friday night for fun here at the little house on the ridge in the woods of South Puget Sound.

LoveHubbie came home and made bacon and eggs for dinner. Our surviving hens Trixie and Tallujah made the eggs; Isadora died two weeks ago, I'm sad to say. I can't walk again because of foot problems so he treated me to dinner!

I discovered---via Gayle King on XM Radio---igoogle. Wow! In 30 seconds you can create a home page with tabs organizing your news, gadgets, and widgets. It's very intuitive. Really, really. I picked News, Technology, Books, Medicine, Spirituality, Hawaii, and NPR as my starting tabs. Then I put different gadgets and widgets on them in addition to what was provided. I picked a beach theme. Right in the center I have a little customizable To Do List that says "Breathe" on it. On my home page, I have the weather, the phases of the moon, NPR programs I like that I can listen to whenever, and so much more. Check it out...it's free and you won't be sorry.

Then tonight we watched part of a 60 Minutes show about the mortgage crisis and the Oprah show about Clutter and being fat. I wanted LoveHubbie to understand why the house was looking so different.

Oh, for those of you who like screaming deals, check this out: it's Sierra Trading Post's new Barn Burners feature. It's a huge savings on some item that keeps getting lower in price until it gets sold out. Keep refreshing the screen as the deal changes continually (it seems like every half hour).

Just trivia and fun tonight, nothing serious. I'm going to go to bed early, after treating myself to a fiction book that I have yet to pick out.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Staying Brave



Staying Brave seems to be my biggest challenge lately. I find myself doing hard things each day that I really can't believe I'm doing...I feel like I'm pushing through sludge to continue to BE BRAVE. Today I had so many challenges I felt completely overwhelmed by the day, and so to procrastinate and relax, I began to get caught up on posts from the last three days:

Kelly
, who is continuing to breathe and having amazing successes (this is what I aspire to). Kelly is my Trailblazer!

Annie, who is struggling, but overall succeeding with goals that have eluded her before, and is always real.

Angela, who is facing an operation and is dealing with fear and worry. I can always count on Angela to be unflinchingly honest. She helps me to be honest with myself about my panic over much lesser things.

Jessie, who is anticipating big changes, and moving into them slowly, needing to be patient, but right on the verge of everything!

Each one of you helps me to ground and center and believe that somehow I can meet the challenges of my day. I struggle with believing in myself and with making things hard that are actually easy. I struggle with overwhelm every single day.



This week I:

Had my retinas checked (I do this every two years because of a past retinal detachment) and couldn't use the computer or read for two days. My eyes hurt and I had headaches. My eyes are fine overall, but I'm on the verge of developing a few different types of eye problems (my ophthalmologist says) so I need to up my antioxidants (I say). So I'm worrying about my eyes.

Visited my podiatrist and found out that I now need special orthotics that aren't covered by insurance. As I get over one type of foot pain, I develop another, and still have trouble with basic walking. So I'm worrying about my feet.

I need to buy a Fortune 500 suit for work (somewhere, in a plus size) and find dress shoes somewhere that accommodate orthotics and come in a size 9 E (wide as in duck feet). So I'm worrying about my clothes.

I've had my passport denied and need to come up with all kinds of documentation because of multiple name changes. This could be a week long project of letter writing but I don't have time for it. So I'm worrying about my passport.

Oh, and today I need to write up my contracts for my new job. I've never written a contract before. This is probably the easiest thing, though, of all of the above. But still, I'm worrying about my contracts.

Do you ever feel like life is just pouring in the challenges and before you can figure out one...poof!...there's another one for you to solve?



Instead of all this worrying, I need to breathe. Just breathe. And stay brave. And do one thing at a time. Not rush myself. Not push myself. Not destroy my health with overwork and striving. Just trust the Universe to give me the experiences I need at the time I need them and trust that I will get everything done in good time. That my body can, with rest and nurturing, hold up to the challenges I have before me.

Ok, I'm inspired by you all, and I'll do this today, this Wellness Wednesday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: The Effort of Presence



"To be present is far from trivial. It may be the hardest work in the world. And forget about the "may be". It is the hardest work in the world--at least to sustain presence. And the most important. When you do fall into presence, you know it instantly, feel at home instantly. And being home, you can let loose, let go, rest in your being, rest in awareness, in presence itself, in your won good company. "---Jon Kabat-Zinn from "Coming to Our Senses"




"...Scary but revolutionary...effortless, but only if truly applied long enough for the shift to happen."---Kikipotamus the Hobo in a happyluau comment

Bigger Than I Thought

I've been busy these last few days learning some about my new job/business. It ends up that it is bigger than I thought, and will involve me entering the business world instead of staying home all the time cloistered in my forest paradise. I will be going to client's offices to sell myself and my work in order to win a contract. The job will involve negotiations and working with decision makers in organizations. And yes, there will still be lots of work with technical writing here at home. The types of technical documents are ones that I am unfamiliar with, but can learn to do; I'll have to figure these out lickety-split. I will also have to learn the technical jargon for whatever industry I am working with at the time. Travel can be involved if I want it to be. It is a "big" job, and although I am a bit concerned about stress, it is something I think I can manage.

Really everything will be learning for me, from how to present myself in a business environment, to how to be real and authentic (as in, be myself) yet at the same time impersonal and professional, to how to do the actual work, etc. It will be like jumping into a lake and learning to swim. A huge BE BRAVE challenge.

It does feel very right to me and very timely as well. It is such a huge manifestation of what I've been seeing for myself in my 50's, though, bigger than I ever could have imagined.

Yesterday I met with my colleague/mentor for 5 hours. I learned that this business is mine and I will need to develop it; I'm going to be doing less subcontracting and more acquiring of my own contracts. I'm going to have to learn to dress for success, transform my orthopedic shoes into something classy, and stop chewing on my fingernails. I'm going to have to get my hair situation straightened out. LoveHubbie bought me a very nice laptop today; this means that he believes in me too and in my abilities to do this job, which really rocks my world. I spent hours last night and today in bed with a messed up neck, back and hip, but still got a lot done. I needs to do oodles of detailed stuff like get a business bank account, get a post office box, figure out how to write up my client contracts and then write them up, figure out how to keep track of expenses, etc.

My breathing is keeping me calm. I think. Well, at least way, way calmer than I'd normally be.



















I keep telling myself that I can do this. The Universe wouldn't have brought it to me in this way if I couldn't. And I'd have confusion or checks in my spirit that would make me question if this was for me right now. Instead I have clarity, peace, shock, excitement, and fear. It feels like the hugest BE BRAVE challenge the Universe could ever summon up for me.

I am certain I could never even think I could do this without my spiritual foundation from the Tolle books, TWL, and you all. Thank each of you for your support and for helping me believe that I could take on launching forth on such a bold adventure!