Thursday, February 25, 2010

Odds and Ends

I have much to share, and it's all miscellany:
  1. I'm really enjoying abstaining from criticism for Lent. I'm not sure how great of a job I'm doing, but I'm certainly focusing mindful attention on it. Lori-Lyn is joining me in this endeavor. The weakest link is the marriage one--LoveHubbie--isn't this always the case?
  2. I'm enjoying a primal/paleo/low-carb diet. Enjoying really isn't the best word. Better: I'm enjoying taking care of my health and dealing with the anticipated results from withdrawal from heavily refined carbohydrates. 
  3. I'm watching the day of my vacation creep closer and closer as I try to get ready. I'm afraid there is no getting ready; more, just a letting go and leaving. 
  4. My book is done with the initial edit and I am waiting for the edited manuscript to arrive in the mail. Then I will work in a wild and crazy fashion to furiously come up with a revised draft to take with me to Maui. I've decided that I won't work on it during my vacation (Big Decision). I'll do the networking for it, meet my amazing editor, a and hunt for a publisher, but I'm NOT taking my laptop with me to Maui. My vacation has always been a time of visioning for the next six months, and I'm really needing that right now.  It's hard to keep this boundary. I'm apparently not serious if I don't take my laptop. I am actually very serious and need this time to be disconnected from routine. 
  5. For fun and relaxation, please join me in watching the Puppy Cam!
PS Beware, as the Puppy Cam is addictive!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sacred Life Sunday: The Fragility of Life and Diabetes

Today in church I heard much about the fragility of life. It really got me thinking. I've had a lot of feedback about my post yesterday, all of which I really appreciate, even though some of it was not positive. Yes, it's true: I have a family member who is reliably negative about everything I do. This person took my post as "a big long whine" and a plea for support. I did a lot of thinking about how this post may have come across. I like to use my family member to flesh out the gnarly side of life. So I wanted to clarify a few things.

I appreciate the support I get here so much. It is my main support in life, and I really do value it so much.

With my lifestyle changes...I fully expect that I will be the one who has to do most of the supporting of myself, and as I mentioned, this ongoing support, almost a positive kind of brainwashing, will be vital. I need to constantly remind myself of what I'm doing and why. I need to feed my mind supportive literature and podcasts and self-talk. I need to buck the culture that pushes me to eat certain things for social reasons. That's been my downfall in the past.

Not everyone needs to eat a rigorous diet. Moderation is a beautiful way of living and I believe in it. Green smoothies (not just a food item but an way of eating popularized by Victoria Boutenko in 2005 in her book "Green for Life" and others) are working out well for Julia. I drank green smoothies for months when I was totally raw and also at another time when I was without most of my teeth and yet wanted to keep a clean diet; again, a healthy way of ingesting nutrients. I have training as a raw chef, have been vegetarian and vegan and totally raw, and as I wrote, am familiar with many other different healthy ways of eating and of weight management, having studied nutrition for over thirty years. I am talking about something quite a bit different. Something that has to do with the fragility of life.

I have a friend, a Hawaiian teacher (kumu), the one I was writing my book with initially. He has diabetes, just like my husband, and just like I will if I keep on eating healthfully while including carbohydrates in my diet. In the almost three years that I have been working on my book, my friend has gone from being healthier than I am, to being ill, to losing his eyesight and then one by one, each of his legs and most of his fingers. Diabetes is a special disease. It may seem to be a common problem, more of an inconvenience almost, and it is, but it can suddenly and without warning, turn deadly. Peripheral neuropathy is incredibly painful. So I saw my friend deteriorate swiftly and surely.

Diabetes must be taken seriously. I see my husband going down a similar path to that of our friend's. Someone who knows he has diabetes baked him special treats and sweets for Christmas as a loving gift of her expertise, not really understanding that for a diabetic, sugar is a killer...someone in his office baked him homemade goods daily for weeks and would leave them in the break room for him, because he is such a hard worker and deserves them, in her mind. He has progressed to the point where he will need to begin to inject insulin soon, despite all of the medication he is taking, because he can not seem to modify his diet. He is tired all the time and continues to gain weight.

It is up to the individual to make intensely personal decisions about how stringently they need to eat and what they want their quality of life to be. After extensive research first for LoveHubbie and now for myself, I know exactly how to eat. I have just delayed. Been afraid of change and allowed myself to buy into a story that makes it "hard" for me to do anything else. But I can just as easily do the hard work of being different and having a different story. This is what I've decided to do!

So I meant the post from yesterday to be kind of a confession of my general laziness and of my ability to buy into a "oh I can just live like everyone else" type of denial. I didn't mean it as a whine but as a transparency of my hitting bottom that is hopeful and exciting and adventurous because I've finally gotten the message. I can indeed write the story of my life differently, and I am ready to do the work. I can and will show the integrity that is so important to me and so vital to my experience of who I am in the world.

I appreciate your reminders to be gentle and compassionate with myself and I will. I promise.

Most important of all, I've truly realized in the last day or so that it is absolutely, positively A-OK that change is hard and uncomfortable right now. I've let that stop me for too long. I've let it discourage me and dissuade me from doing what I know is right for me. Hard---okay, check. Yes, yes. Uncomfortable---okay, check. Yes, absolutely. I can handle this. I'll do the mindful thing. Breathe. Get through this. Observe. Breathe. I know that my path is leading me toward abundant life, which is all that matters to me right now.

This road is not for everyone. But I can say that I wish that it had been the road for my friend. And that I wish it will be some day for LoveHubbie. And that I'm glad it's here for me to provide an alternative for me.

Thank each one of you for what you wrote, and to those who supported me off the blog as well (especially@livinlowcarbman). A special thanks to my cranky family member whom I love and who brings out the negative in every situation---you are my greatest teacher on the road to love.

~Photo from 1980 taken by Roderick Lee Dail

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Livin' With Integrity and La Vida Low-Carb and Me

This morning I rewatched an Amazon video review I did for Jimmy Moore's first book called "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" and almost cried. Here it is 2.5 years later, and as much as I believe in this way of eating, I am still just as heavy. My extensive knowledge base has been bolstered by numerous other books about healthy eating since then, the two most notable being Gary Taubes' "Good Calories, Bad Calories" (especially for academicians and scientists) and Nora Gedgaudes "Primal Body Primal Mind".

I definitely know how to eat for my own health, as nutrition has been my hobby for over thirty years. The problem is that as extensive as my knowledge base is, I've continued to eat a diet that despite lots of Nordic walking and gyrotonics, keeps me heavy. It's a good diet--healthy whole organic foods, which are easy to find where I live. It just keeps me heavy and does nothing for my damaged blood sugar regulation system. Despite even cutting out drinking alcohol (a drastic step for me as a wine lover), I've become pre-diabetic. And then late last year I had to stop gyrotonics because of health issues. Now I'm having to cut back on walking due to problems with my knees and feet. I do believe that these health problems are weight related. Besides all of this going on with me, LoveHubbie is diabetic, heavy and soon may need to begin injecting insulin since the medication alone cannot overcome the effects of the carbohydrates in his diet.

So now Jimmy Moore has written a second book called "21 Life Lessons From Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew", which I have delayed reviewing. And reading it, btw. This is not like me because Jimmy is the greatest guy in the world, and I love to do book reviews for people I know, even more for those who have an important message. But still, I have delayed.

The reason is fear.

Although I identify with this way of eating (healthy low carb), with this way of being in the world, and although I feel great when I live this lifestyle--I am afraid to change. I am comfortable and my way of doing things works for me on every other level except my health. And I really don't like that period of change at the beginning when change is hard and uncomfortable and takes effort and hard work.

So here I stay.

False starts and stumbles over the past months have left me feeling defeated. I watch my friends succeed and do great things. Like Julia Rogers Hamrick who is eating a healthy raw and whole foods diet and shedding pounds. And Lori-Lyn who is vegan and now giving up sugar. And Chani who has lost her weight with Weight Watchers. They have found what works for them, ways of being in the world that resonate for them, and live them out. I am envious of their integrity--that they live out what they know is right for them. They walk their talk.

And here I sit.

But I feel like I've hit bottom and I'm sitting AT the bottom--a place where I don't want to be.

So I'm going to make another beginning. I'm starting right now to eat the way I know my body loves. I'm going to care for myself. Be congruent with what I know and believe and with how I behave. I'm going to aggressively support myself in doing this, too, because I need a lot of support.

Oh, and yes, Jimmy, I'm going to actually read your book that has been sitting here on my "To Be Read ASAP" pile for the last three months. Then I'm going to review it. But most importantly, I'm going to live out what it says.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day, Grey's Anatomy, and Married Love

I watched Grey's Anatomy's Valentine's Day show and set a record of crying twice in it--once at the 45 minute mark and once at the end. I couldn't get the show out of my mind and had to write this post.

The show was about a woman who was in a dead marriage and had gone to a restaurant to eat with her husband for Valentine's Day. They went there every Friday. Over the fifteen years of their marriage they said less and less to each other and now just ate in silence. At the same time, their waiter had been in love with the woman for many more years than that. He never said anything though. When the man proposed to the woman, the waiter was the on who put the ring in their creme brulee. He truly knew and loved, even adored this woman, yet kept silent.

At this particular Valentine's Day dinner (which was on a Friday), the roof fell in on the restaurant and everyone was taken to the hospital. The woman and the waiter ended up being in the same room together (the waiter bribed the doctor to be next to her). The waiter didn't want to do anything except to be close to the woman and keep her company while her husband was in surgery. He also let the doctor know that he would comfort the woman if her husband did not survive and she would never have to be alone if she didn't want to be. The waiter was particularly touching to me because he so obviously loved the woman in a profoundly giving and unselfish way. And the woman seemed to be a typical neglected middle-aged wife, unaware of someone so close by who had loved her for so long.

Well, when the waiter had told his story to the doctors, the woman had been pretending to sleep but was actually awake and heard his story of love for her. Two of the doctors became aware of this and took bets on what she would do. Would she declare her love for the waiter and choose to be loved? Or would she stick with the neglectful husband and choose duty? These appeared to be the two choices.

As the show progressed, the waiter was taken into surgery also and one of the doctors had a chance to talk to the woman alone. The woman explained that she too had loved the waiter so many years ago, but he had never declared his love for her so she didn't know. Then she met her husband and she fell in love with him and married him. Marriage is an every day choosing, she said, and she still today chose him. In fact, she said it was nice to sit with him on those Fridays at dinner and to not have to talk. It was her choice, she said, and she truly loved her husband. I could really tell that this was the case. Whether or not her husband cared for her or loved her back, she definitely loved him. I had the impression that even though her husband didn't truly know or care for her the way the waiter did, she still loved him.
Then later, the waiter died in surgery. The doctor who had spoken to the woman had to come to tell her. The woman accepted the news, and then when the doctor left, she fell apart, crying inconsolably. I understood her tears and cried my own as well.

The show brought to my mind and heart a truth about marriage. It is indeed something we choose every day. Every single day. I have been married three times and know three different marriages. I know how it feels to love my husband. I know how it feels to be loved by my husband. Sometimes those two have come together. Sometimes they haven't, even within the same marriage.

I know how it feels to choose duty over love and to lose a chance to be with someone who might really be able to love me back. And I know how it feels to choose love over duty and to abandon someone I deeply care for but to take the risk that I will be happier and be loved more by someone else. I have made both of these decisions.

What every woman wants is both to love and to be known and loved in return. At the same time, in the same marriage. If we do have both, we are so blessed! However, I do think that much of the time, we have to choose. I know that I have had to make this choice. Do we choose the man whom we love in the marriage we are in even though we are not ever really truly known or loved in return? Or do we step out and take a chance to be loved in return by someone who obviously seems to love us and whom we think we love or could love in return? As I wrote, I have done both, and there is no simple answer. Both choices can be agonizing.

Many people are single on Valentine's Day and feeling lonely and unloved. Many others are in marriages and feel exactly the same way.

I wish for each and every person the experience of being loved. All love is precious, and all love has ups and downs. A marriage can change and be different things at different times in its duration.

If you do not have mutually romantic love in your life this Sunday, as many single and married people do not, please take joy and comfort in friends, family, and a loving God/Universe. This is something we all have. And this is a time to celebrate all love, memories of past romantic love, and the hope of romantic love to come. Love is a beautiful thing in all of its forms. Whether it is returned or not. Love is love and something to be grateful for. And no love is ever wasted.

May each of you have a wonderful Valentine's Day.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ordinary Things

I was inspired to write this post by laundrygirl and Chani. Their recent posts emphasized gratitude and being content with the quotidian activities we all engage in. And of course, I am continually inspired by Kikipotamus the Hobo's ongoing Grace in Small Things adventure, echoed at times by AbitibiSouth. I am convinced that if we can learn to do this, we can have more peace and get more enjoyment out of life.
So today I thought I'd write a list of some for the small things that brought me pleasure, grace, and peace.
  • Continuing recovery from my painful gum infection of the last few weeks.
  • Not falling lots of times when I almost have.
  • The silence that is around me for most of the day.
  • A fountain pen that was a gift from a near stranger.
  • Added by LoveHubbie: "The way a fire feels on your backside." (This would be the heat from a woodstove, not lighting your buttocks on fire.)
  • Light rain for my walk (as opposed to hard, driving, drenching rain.
  • Committing myself to finally doing some art (Kate's Striped Paper technique) which you can see more of here and here. I plan to do it with glue though as I don't have a sewing machine. I love the look of it.
  • Having an empty refrigerator but finding some sardines.
  • The clean light feeling I get when I wash my hair.
  • Eyes that can see to read, still.
  • Each and every one of you.
~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Anyone Tried Blogo?

I'm trying out a new blog editor today, one that works well with my Mac. It's called Blogo. If you have a Mac, you might want to give it a try. I'm hoping that it will make blogging easier and the Blogger interface irrelevant. If you blog with a Mac, what do you use?

So far, it seems like it is much easier to edit photos and to post. However, I'm thinking that I still have to make a smaller copy of my photo to keep from using up too much space; ideally, I'd like the photo uploaded to be the size I'm using in the blog, not the size of the original.

Blogo is free to demo, and then costs $25 to purchase.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Now Have An Editor

Well, the editor I wanted for my book agreed to work with me. I have an editor! (I never thought I'd write this.) There are many reasons that this is a big deal. One is that she is the very best person available for this job. She is familiar with the Hawaiian language and Mauian history. She has published many books and articles and won awards. She is familiar with the Hawaiian publishing environment and thinks that the book will indeed be publishable. Thus, I have an amazing person to help me.

Another is that it validates that I really did write the book and that it is good work. I know that might sound silly. But parts of my writing journey seem almost not real. No one but me has read the manuscript. I don't think that I was sure I was going to finish it until the day before I finished it. I don't think that I knew it was even "good enough" until my editor accepted it. This is what I've always wanted to do and now I've done it and it feels like a dream.

Sometimes people ask me what I do and I say "I'm a writer." They then inevitably say "What have you written?" I say "Lots of things--I journal, I blog, and I write Amazon reviews. Right now I'm writing a book about a sacred place in Maui." Then they say "Have you ever published anything?" I say "No" and they look at me with an odd look and change the subject. I get the feeling that they think my saying that I write is an excuse for something like...oh, I don't eating bon-bons and watching television all day in my pajamas. (The pajama part is true.)

So having an editor validates that all of the hard work I did was real and it steps things up to another level. I'm allowing myself to believe (just a little) that one day it might actually be a hardcopy book. A real book.

I am even thinking that I might just succeed in my purpose with the book: that it might bring much more global attention to Moku`ula, that it will raise funds for Friends of Moku`ula so that the restoration is able to move forward dramatically, and that people will begin to truly believe that the glory will return to Moku`ula.