Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 16,366: Halfway Off the Wagon or Am I Halfway On?

This one in the basket on top of the clean laundry ... so adorable, yet so naughty. Comfort and nourishment are Garrett's highest priorites. I have a lot to learn from him.

These are very interesting times. Remember the shifting staircases at Harry Potter's Hogwarts School? Perfect metaphor for my life right now. The staircase that I choose leads in one direction, until it shifts suddenly and veers off in another ... usually with me clinging desperately to the rail. Going with the flow is non-negotiable.

Raw was going very well for me until my face-plant last night.

Note to Self:
You cannot eat exclusively fruits and vegetables for five days and then assume it will be okay to have a glass of red wine while sitting in the hot sun.

We went to a community party with a band and food booths. I was so proud of myself for the work that went into bringing along my own food. I saw no harm in one small glass of wine to have with it. Oh, yes, there was harm. Trust me on that. I made it halfway through the glass and my sunflower seed pate when the nausea hit. Hard. We came straight home where I guzzled cold water, ate some club crackers, and basked in the air conditioning. Lesson learned.

The hard part is that I don't know where to go from here. Maybe it is time for me to break this fast. There are so many things that I am not ready to give up yet, if ever. I wanted to feel empowered bringing my own eats to last night's event, but instead I felt awkward and deprived. The social aspect of eating what everyone else is eating is an immensely powerful thing. I just don't think I'm ready to go all the way with this lifestyle, not yet, not indefinitely. I think it is something that must be eased into ... not forced. Hmm, where else in my life can this theory be applied?

I have been back and forth and all around with the raw lifestyle over the last five years. There is none in which I feel better. It clears away the static, the inflammation, and puts me on a much more even keel. The rewards really do outweigh the sacrifices, when I am really ready to make them. But those attachments to certain foods can run extremely deep and pleasure is pleasure is pleasure. I know that you know what I mean. But whenever I'm ready to get clean again and hold myself accountable for the quality of what I consume, raw never ever fails me to whatever degree that I decide to take it.

All that I want this morning is grapefruit juice, so I guess I haven't fallen completely off of the wagon. I'm wishing that I had some chilled watermelon and cherries. I will take things one step at a time and see where the staircase takes me today.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 16,363: Back to Basics

This is Phoebe. This is how she looks to us most days. Brazen. On her back. On the sofa. Basking in the sunlight through the skylights. Joy in a fur coat, that one. She teaches me all I need to know.

While Phoebe and the rest of my family lounge around indoors due to the unrelenting heat outside, I have been slicing, dicing, chopping, and grating in preparation for the week ahead. I am on Day 3 of Project Jakk's Back to Raw. Before the holidays last year, I fell off of the raw wagon. I wasn't all raw at the time -- probably 80%. At the start of this year, when I had hoped to get back on track, I let stress and its twin, snacking, get the upperhand. Well, it's time for me to take responsibility. No more excuses ... about this or anything in my life that isn't working.

I feel my best when I eat mostly raw/living foods. When I eat S.A.D. on a long-term basis, I am rewarded with a host of health problems. The kind that can have scary ramifications if ignored. The kind that make it easy to make the changes that need to be made.

I have a goal of 30 days all raw. No small feat, at least from this vantage point. The cravings can be a real butt kicker. The first day I was hopped up on enthusiasm, so it was easy to say no. Yesterday, the second day, I was blown over by sadness and frustration that I couldn't eat what my family had for dinner. As much as I would love for them to join me on this journey, they aren't interested and I respect their decision. But it's much more of a challenge for me knowing that I have to go it alone.

Day 3 has delivered encouragement. My headache has gone away and the aches are fading as well. The cooked food buzz/static is already gone. It won't be much longer before I start to see the slightest hint of my impending glow and feel my energy increase exponentially. Once the magic starts to happen, it really is easy to stay the course.

The hardest part for me is the social aspect. Dates with my husband and friends almost always involve dining out. Not that I can't step foot in a restaurant anymore. Most serve salads ... good ones, at that. But success for me means planning ahead and not showing up starving. Bad things happen when I let myself get too hungry.

I've clung to Jennifer Cornbleet's "Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People" for years. Basic recipes but so delicious. It's going to be my primary resource over the next month. The foundation of my plan is a 36 ounce batch of green smoothies each day. They keep me stable and satisfied. But Jennifer's recipes will give me something to look forward to at snack and dinner times.

I'll try not to bore you with all of the gruesome details in the days and weeks ahead. I have no plans to turn this into a raw blog. But this is part of my journey right now, so I'll check in at random for an update, in case you're curious. And if you should catch me out and about with a beer in one hand and a BBQ sandwich in the other, please forgive me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 16,362: Return to the Workshop

It's felt really good to get back here to my workbench ...
To wire-wrap an Angelite ...
At this angel's request.

I always forget how this is therapy for me. I always wonder why I stay away so long and why it takes so much effort to get back to it. I have to turn a thousand preparatory circles like a dog before a fire. The stones and crystals ceaselessly beckon me to sit down with them, to breathe, to hold the space for whatever wants to be born in the moment. In their own way, they show me how to adorn them. The wire melts like butter in my hands. My creations are so very good to and for me before I send them out into the world to uplift and inspire. I want to get back to making this craft a regular practice again. Yesterday was an excellent start.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 16,355: Week in Review

In a week of highs and lows, hots and colds, hits and misses, came a bright package from soulful mama, Lauren with the handmade prayer flags and dream pillow that I ordered from her enchanting shop. She surprised me by including an amazing crystal which is one of the fastest ways to win my heart. The prayer flags are hanging on the meditation side of our patio garden and make me smile as I see them through the living room window, waving to me in the breeze.
Other highlights of this week included connecting with several of my dear PFM/Integrate sisters.
We can't be together again in person soon enough and are in the process of cooking up just such a reunion in October. Counting the days!

As much as I had hoped to get back into the Workshop this week, it wasn't feasible. But today I am going to the Gemstreet Show to immerse myself in gemstones, beads, and inspiration. I look forward to coming home with a fresh batch of lovelies for wrapping into pendants and other creations. My friend, Frances, will be joining me. We have traveled together to Sedona twice and don't know of a crystal shop that's not delighted to see us. We carry cash and mean business!

Wishing you rest, fun, and welcome relief from the heat this weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 16,352: Ruined (in a Good Way), Exactly Where I Am

These two songs, seemingly unrelated, alternate on repeat inside my head today ... and now maybe yours too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 16,351: Bridges

I took this photo about a week ago from a bridge that was used by cars and trains decades before its pedestrian-only repurposing. Formerly known as the L&N, this was the primary thoroughfare by which my family and I traveled across the Ohio River between Ohio and Kentucky in the late 60s and early 70s. (Cue something Fifth Dimension.)

These were the days when kids clamored freely about the backseat of expansive vehicles devoid of restraints beyond useless lapbelts. Woe to the one who plopped their bare legs upon buckles hot as branding irons from the summer sun. Not that there was any relief from the vinyl seats, mind you, so we often sat upon bath towels that slipped around with every stop sign and red light. We traveled with windows wide open, rolled down with two-handed effort on plastic handles with a tendency to pop off.

If the seats themselves didn't burn my two siblings and me, then flying ashes and butts from our cigarette smoking parents did. We were completely at the mercy of the wind direction and their poor aim. The best odds for safety (and I use that term loosely) were had by the kid who called dibs on the floor behind the front seat. Even sleeping on the rear window shelf afforded some protection (again, loosely). I am certain that there were at least three guardian angels per child back then ... and they worked really, really hard.

The L&N has been rechristened as the Purple People Bridge. We can only walk across the river here instead of drive. There are benches and beverages en route. Quaint, maybe, but in my opinion a rather humiliating retirement for bridge so rich in history. From it I can see that the newest building downtown is "becraned" to receive her crown and surpasses the old Carew Tower as the tallest in town. Like the beloved Carew, I am getting older too. The rules and landscape I have known since my birth keep changing. Time will tell which of them are really for the better.

Summers may be much safer now, but there is so much I sorely miss.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 16,347: A Little Prayer

Saying a little prayer for those of you bravely navigating your way through loss, hardship, and transitions right now. You, in your job search. You, in your tumultuous relationship. You, in your loss. You, with your diagnosis. You, in your move. You, in mixed feelings. You, in your uncertainty, frozen at the fork in the road.

I pray that you are relieved and buoyed in whatever ways are most comforting and helpful to you now.

I pray for ideal solutions that arrive for you at the right time and in the best possible way.

I pray for angels, both in their heavenly and ordinary-human forms, to come to your aid and blanket you in love and support.

I pray for your heart to be opened wide to hope.

I pray for you to understand that goodbyes are for now and not forever.

I pray that you move forward in complete peace with whatever you decide is best for you.

I pray for the swift removal of all doubts, especially in terms of your strength and lovability.

I pray that you are reminded in gentle and glorious ways of your tremendous worth and the difference that your blessed presence makes to so many others in this world.

I pray for you to receive a whiff of the relief that will come later in hindsight, when suddenly what happened finally makes perfect sense.

I pray for your tears to be dried, your wounds to be healed, and your faith to be restored.

I pray that this time of pain is brief and that you have numerous tools at your immediate disposal for some relief.

I pray for outrageous humor to visit and relax you into laughter when you find yourself tangled up in what-ifs.

I pray for hugs and chocolate to be made available to you in unlimited abundance.

I pray for your wishes, your dreams, and your prayers for new beginnings and brighter days.

I give thanks in advance for all of the miracles with your name upon them.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 16,345: Shedding Season

It is shedding season again
For the grand Sycamore that protectively
Embraces our home
She is releasing generous sheets
Of her weathered skin
Much the way that our own
Peels away a week after
A painful summer sunburn
Her annual undoing has begun
In these weeks before
The great autumnal unburdening
All without effort
Without shame or remorse
So that on a rare bright day
In the bowels of winter
She can thrust her
Bone-white limbs into
The turquoise sky
For breath-catching
For hope-giving
For the reminder that
There is beauty in the decay
And that the great wheel
Which we are on and of
Never stops turning
Renewal and rebirth
In whatever way it is needed
Is always close
At hand

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 16,343: Thirty Days

I never considered myself to be much of a football fan, but my husband has been watching the Hard Knocks marathon this weekend and I have to confess that I've become hooked on it too. If there weren't so many other things that I would rather be doing with my free time, it really wouldn't be a problem, but chronic TV watching is something that I do my best to avoid. I do better some days than others and those others are typically days when I am stuck in procrastination mode.

It is a special kind of hot here in southwestern Ohio. The air is thick, moist and burdensome. Afternoons may be misery, but I swear that I love the mornings and evenings of deep summer that trigger memories of the pre-air-conditioned summers of my childhood. Lately, it's been a joy to journal outside in the morning while the breeze still has the slightest chill to it. It's a relatively limited window of opportunity, but I seize it on the days when I'm able.

This morning I journaled about the power of and possibilities within 30 days when they include intention(s). I had big plans for this whole month of July, but I blinked and here we are already five days into it. Thankfully, no one said that I had to start everything on the first of the month. Last time I checked, anytime is a good time to start anything worth starting fresh.

Having a full-time job and trying to find time for my "arts" is no small feat. I would go so far as to say that I have been failing miserably at it for longer than I care to admit to myself. The job is not entirely to blame. Yes, it demands a certain amount of my energy and a specific number of hours each week. Most evenings it feels like enough to have dinner with my family and then call it an early night to rest up for the next day ahead.

But today I've been contemplating just how much time I give away to television and the computer. Time that I swear I don't have in the first place. (Please don't make me keep a log.) So I started chewing again on 30 days. What is beckoning me now and how might my circumstances shift for the better if I said yes to them for 30 days in a row? I've seen a lot of people appear to have very good luck with this concept. Maybe it's worth a try.

I know from experience that if I keep making the same excuse repeatedly, I will make it true. This is precisely what has happened with "I don't have time." When art and self-care fall off of my priority radar, which they unfailingly do in tandem, my workbench grows dusty, this blog goes to seed, and I start to feel so lowly and out of sorts that I wonder if something is really wrong with me. If I love it and it makes me feel good, then shouldn't I just naturally want to do it without having to push myself into it? Well no, not if enough time has passed. Once these things are daily habits again, the flow can and will return with ease. But, for now, it may be necessary to prime the pump ... and I suspect that priming the pump will take about 30 days.