Sunday, March 8, 2009

Say Yes!

I have been thinking some more on ways to be kind. My goal this week is to not just be kind by not doing anything and therefore being less controlling. I want to take that a step further and be open to saying "yes."

Our society sends out a huge message that it is OK to say "no." Don't take on extra commitments. Make things easy for yourself. I am sure that you have all heard that message. I think that it is easy to forget that there are so many ways and times that we can say yes to others and still be true to ourselves.

The easiest for me is to say yes to my children. In our house, we practice consensual living. We (the adults) strive to treat our children as equals. We are not always successful, and by equal, I mean as fully formed people with rights and opinions that are no less important than the adults' rights and opinions. I realize that people are not exactly the same, and we all have our individual strengths and weaknesses, and that they can vary with age. The point is that we treat the kids more like we would treat a spouse or other adult family member that was living with us, not as anything less. So when my kids ask for something, I strive to say yes. Yes, can give power, and we all want to know that we have the power to work to meet our own needs and wants. Powerlessness is an awful feeling and the root of so many negative things that develop in people's lives.

There are other places that I can strive to say yes in my life though. I can say yes to my girlfriend when she wants me to do something even if it is not my first choice. I can say yes when someone asks to go ahead of me in line in the store. I can say yes in affirmation of someone else's statement, validating their opinions or observations. All of these are kind things to do. I can also occasionally say yes to something bigger, something that does increase my commitments and does require my time. The trick is to listen and think and decide if the activity is right for me. Am I willing to spend time doing this? Is it something I would enjoy? Is it something that is intune with who I am? If the answer to those three questions is yes, then go ahead and say yes! You may find your world getting a bit bigger. You may make new friends. You just might learn something new about yourself or make a difference in the world!

Say yes to be kind this week!

Friday, March 6, 2009

More Thoughts on Food Journaling & Being Kind

First, I have been thinking a lot about food journaling, and its effect on me. I do not like its effect on me. When I need to write down what I am eating, I can't eat when I am hungry. I actually find myself eating more food because I feel the need to eat a lot when I am going to the bother of writing it down. Also, I find myself thinking about food all the time which is a way I haven't been for a very long time. So I have decided to no longer journal what I am eating for the time being.

Today is the sixth day of March and the sixth day of my month of developing the habit of kindness. I have been putting kindness into practice in small ways everyday. One of my thoughts has been that that the start of kindness is not "doing something." It is learning to stop doing something. That something is controlling (or attempting to control) other people.

The first step in my journey to habitual kindness is to allow others to be who they are. This doesn't meant that I can't assert myself and ask for help or things that I need from those in my life. It just means that I accept that I cannot force them to do anything. It is not right. It is not kind.

I have already seen some good effects of being more kind in myself and others. Have you been kind to those around you today?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Love Yourself Tuesday

Welcome to the second installment of Love Yourself tuesday. One of the difficulties in loving oneself is that our society encourages competition. Competitions have winner and losers, and we get in the habit of ranking and judging and then seeing how we measure up. This starts early. Parents want their kid potty-trained before the neighbor's kid. Each new word is carefully noted in the baby book and grandparents are given careful accounts of how big their grandchild's vocabulary is. When it appears that the child is not ahead of someone excuses are made. Strengths are pointed out. The total acceptance that should accompany unconditional love all to often appears to shrink.

School entrance just ups the ante. Schools are full of judging and ranking. There are the A students and the C students and the F students. There are those kids who are good (meaning docile in the classroom) and those who are naughty (all too often meaning active and independent.) As the years progress, students start judging themselves. Categorizing themselves as jocks or nerds, popular or outsiders.

The truth is we are all different! We all have our own things that make us happy and fulfilled. We all have different types of people that we like to spend time with. Each of us is a unique individual who cannot be ranked in a scale of better or worse. One of the best ways to start truly loving yourself is to stop judging and ranking. Start by stopping with others, and it will be easier to apply to yourself.

The next time you meet someone don't think about how much money he or she has, or what they do for a living, or how fat or thin they are, or their home or family situation. Instead listen to that person and think about who he or she is. Only they can define themselves. Any of the initial observations that you may make may or not factor as an important part of that person's life.

Then, when you think about yourself, do not think that you are fatter than so and so. Do not think that you don't make as much money, or live in such a big house, or take as many vacations. When you think about yourself, think about what you love to do. Think about what you want and need in your life. Strive to live for yourself doing those things that matter to you. By being the best you you can be, you will be your happiest, and when you are your happiest you will be in the best position to have a positive influence on others and the world.

Food & Exercise

11:00 Breakfast - 1/2 grapefruit, 2 slices corn breakfast bread with butter & honey, large mug coffee with 3 packets aspartame based sweetener & liquid flavored creamer

2:00 Lunch - 2 cups of leftover gumbo with rice

4:30 Snack - 11 spice jelly beans, 1 starlight spearmint

7:15 Snack - 1 tomato, 1 saltine spread lightly with cream cheese

9:00 Dinner- 1 large bowl of chicken & dumplings, 1 large bowl of tossed salad with dressing, 1/2 c. 7-up with anti-oxidants

Monday, March 2, 2009

A New Month

Here is it the second day of a new month! Each new month excites me. I wonder what projects I will tackle, what goals I will reach, what fun I will have each new day! Before exploring something new, I want to review some things that I have done in the past and see where they stand now.

In October, I worked diligently at acquiring the habit of positivity, and it has payed off! This doesn't mean that I am always happy. I am still a moody person with nearly inexplicable bouts of melancholy. What has changed is that even during those melancholy periods, I have an overall positive outlook. I accept that everything will be OK. I trust and let go just a little bit more than I did before, but it is enough to make a difference in my life. Without the habit of positivity, I would have had a much more difficult time getting through this long cold winter that brought with it lots of stress and limited transportation (think escape) options.

In November, I focused on regular exercise. This is still not a habit, at least at the level I intended it to be (one hour everyday preferably walking outside). It hasn't been a complete failure though. I have exercised more than I would have otherwise during the cold months of the year. I also continually strive for more. It is no longer something that I relegate to the unimportant or waste of time areas of my mental to do list.

In December, the focus was single-tasking which I do fairly well with. It might not be quite as much of a habit as positivity is. When I get overwhelmed with life, I really need to be firm with myself reminding me that multi-tasking is just not a good solution. I see this continually moving to the automatic though and with very little effort on my part being a concrete habit in a couple of months.

In January, I focused on goals. I made a goal to put aside money for an emergency fund. In some ways, this feels odd when we do not have a lot of financial resources to begin with but feeling unsafe is such a huge negative force in my life that I think this needs to be a priority. I have some money put away now, but not as much as I intended. My focus in this area now is to talk to Diana about it and see if we can't catch up and go from there. As an aside, it is interesting that those times that I have taken money out of the safety fund, I have always have sales from my etsy shop (or some other unpredictable income) to re-establish it even if I hadn't had sales for months! It is wonderful how these things work.

In February, I returned to an old goal of habitually removing unessential things from my life. This has been a somewhat different process than it has been in the past. As I get older, fewer and fewer things seem essential. I also notice that things that I do for sheer joy become more important. I have actually added a few things back in this month which has been good for me. It is so important to remember who I am and what I really need to be happy!

So here it is March! What shall be my focus this month? This month I have decided to focus on developing the habit of kindness. In general, I think those people that I know would say that I am kind. In general, I think that those people who don't know me well but interact with me at any given time would say that I am kind. Unfortunately, the real truth is more that I am joyful and placid, and that results in me appearing kind. I do not think that that is what real kindness is though. Real kindness is a choice to help eleviate the suffering of others. This month I am going to really concentrate on making that choice.

Food & Exercise

12:30 breakfast - small chicken salad sandwich, large coffee with cream and sugar

4:15 lunch - 1 oz. Velveeta type cheese, 1.5 small shake 'n bake porkchops, 2 large handfuls potato chips with french onion dip, 12 oz. V-8 fusion light pomegranate-blueberry beverage

7:15 snack - 20 jellybeans, 16 oz. water

9:30 dinner - 1 large bowl gumbo & rice, 3 hushpuppies, 1 large tossed salad with French dressing

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm Back

We just recently got our car out of the car after an extended absence. It has been wonderful to have the freedom to travel again, but we have been so busy!!! The last four days we have been in and out, in and out! During this time, I have not recorded my food. It just hasn't been a priority.

Today we were out and about too, but I did do my best to record.

Food & Exercise

11:45 Breakfast - breakfast sandwich (1 50g maple flavored sausage patty, 1 61g maple french toast English muffin, .9 oz. cheddar cheese, 1 t. butter), coffee (13 oz. water, 1 T. instant coffee, 3 packets aspartame based sweetener, 1 oz. flavored liquid coffee creamer)

6:45 Lunch - .5L water, 1 plain bagel, 1 Pim's chocolate orange biscuit, 1 McDonald's double cheeseburger, 1.5 McDonald's small fries

10:00 Dinner - 4 small pieces of pizza, 1 large tossed salad with fat free garden veggie french dressing

10:30 Snack - 1 small handful jellybeans, 1 large mug of gingerbread spice tea with 3 packets of aspartame based sweetener