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WIZKEY's Photo WIZKEY Posts: 5,087
1/11/11 2:05 P

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Okay, I finally sucked it up and wrote my letters. And like the rest of you, I find that my biggest problem is fear - my dh and kids joke that I am pathologically afraid of attention. When I was thin, I could never be thin enough for my mother (you have a fat face) and I was always too thin for my girlfriends. Food gave me comfort when I was recovering from my hysterectomy and when my business failed and dh and I had to declare bankruptcy.
But I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I feel so much better when I go for a walk when I'm upset instead of eating or sleeping (my usual escapes).
I would love to be friends with you ladies!! Strong women rock!! I am adding you all to my prayers, if that's okay. Praying for my friends helps me to keep them in my thoughts and I want you ladies in my thoughts.
Teressa

Roseburg, OR - PDT
Teressa
www.teressamorris.com


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MARYBTHIN's Photo MARYBTHIN Posts: 523
1/11/11 1:10 P

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As promised from Marianne Williamson's broadcast about her book....

Unhealthy eating is an act of violence. Spirituality is medicine.

If your mind is full and, therefore, dense, you'll manifest a dense container (ie, body). If you are "enlightened" (lighten up your mind), you'll manifest a light container.

God will outwit your self-hatred.

Compulsion overrides the conscious rational mind and the spirit of God overrides the compulsion.

If you think "I can't" then the antidote is "God can".

Marianne had a call in session after she was done talking. One woman called in indicating she started a team about A Course in Weight Loss on The Spark website. I'm going to search them, but I'm not leaving "our" space, here. :)

xo,
Mary

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CATHERINEL66's Photo CATHERINEL66 SparkPoints: (0)
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1/11/11 12:37 P

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LOL, I love food porn, and am only just discovering it as a substitute for eating the food.

And next time I take a step back, foodwise, I want better pizza than frozen :)

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MARYBTHIN's Photo MARYBTHIN Posts: 523
1/11/11 11:10 A

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SkinnyCat: Food Porn? I still can't stop laughing. Thanks for that! Look at you making us laugh as you heal from your hurtful experience. You are such a strong individual and so smart to take care of yourself at this trying time. Frozen pizza? Just my opinion, but considering everything you've been experiencing lately, that's not too bad. Do we really need to be perfect at all times? Is it okay to sometimes slip a little? (FYI, I'm still keeping you up on that pedestal.) I listened to Marianne Williamson this morning from a weight loss stream I ordered (for free) from Hay House Radio. She specifically talked about (or I specifically zoned in on :) how we will take two steps forward and a step back. It sounds like that's what you did and I'm glad you're not beating yourself up over it. It is okay. I recall back from my AA days, we seek spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection. The same can be applied to other areas of our lives. Marianne had some other good things she shared which I will post later. I'm not at my laptop right now where my notes are. I'm on the old desktop dinosaur.

I hear you loud and clear on the balance between healthy esteem from our actual successes in life and the super ego trip. Been there, done that. Martyrdom too!

Quick "material" story. Hubby bought me a Mercedes SUV when they first came out. He also bought me a beautiful leather Coach bag. As I was walking out of WalMart (thinking I was Miss Hot Sh*t), I placed my purchases and my handbag in the back of the SUV. By the time I got home, the Clorox I purchased had sprung a leak and bleached the rug in the back of the brand new truck and my new Coach handbag. Guess my ego needed "cleansing" on a bleach level! :0

If I don't take care of me, no one else will. When I am "self-abusing" I am teaching others how to treat me, too. (That's probably even worse!) Not So Thin Me loves to be taken care of by food, etc. Thin Me loves to be taken care of by healthy choices. And, Spirit me loves to take care of all of me with Love. Today I will treat myself with loving, kindness. Hope you all do the same.

I would do green tea, go for a run and purge issues with you anytime! In fact, that sounds like my kind of girls' weekend. Let's grow through our current life issues and maybe we can make this happen in the not too far off future, like when we're done A Course in Weight Loss???

xo,
Mary

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1/11/11 9:07 A

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Let me just say once again what a privilege it is to be on this journey with you all. Thank you for having the courage to share at this level.

Trish, my initial reaction to your most recent post about Not-Thin protecting you totally spoke to me. Being fat completely protected me from unwanted male attention, from LOTS of female attention and comparison, including the odd dynamic of being picked apart by other women. And yes, when I couldn't find a way to comfort myself during really hard times, food was there and got me through ... or kept me numbed up as I got through the bad times.

It's a lot of courage to step away from the easy comfort and numbing. Last night, in struggling with this pregnancy/miscarriage horror, I ate some junk for dinner (3 pieces of mindless, not good frozen pizza because I was too exhausted to cook and somehow "forgot" about the healthy stuff I just needed to microwave). And then what I really wanted was SEVERAL xanax to "calm down".

But, I didn't numb up. After the pizza, I ate some fruit and dates. And sat with DH for awhile with a heating pad on my still cramping tummy area. And then took myself to bed and stayed up watching food on TV. It was interesting that seeing people make and do food porn of waffles, pancakes and coffee cakes was comforting without having to eat it. And finally, I took my usual xanax to sleep, along with melatonin (which I always take too), and slept for a solid 8 hours. This was better than it could have been, and I DO feel like I actually thought about what had happened to me instead of running to Not-Thin sad girl to let her take over. I did a pretty admirable job yesterday, I think.

I guess I didn't realize till I wrote that, that I have made a habit of pushing off difficult stuff onto Not-Thin and letting her deal with the negative stuff/really hard stuff in my life, so that I don't have to process it. Handy denial technique that probably kept me alive at one point, but that I sure don't need now. I am unraveling that knot.

I am astounded at Trish's parents throwing you out of the house! What?? And 30 lbs in one summer? OMG. Cry for help that they completely didn't recognize. They are cut out of the same cloth as my mother, who also missed similar trainwrecks in my teenager-hood (going from an A student, playing in 3 bands, plus doing competitive sports -- to never showing up at school, failing grades, dropping all activities, on drugs, and sleeping with odd men).

Mary, I hear you on dumbing down. I lived through that as a kid as well, and well into my adulthood. In fact, now I just separate myself from various family members because of this issue, and that I no longer WILL dumb down to protect them from my fabulousness (did I ever mention my ego?). If it's not how I look, it's how much money I earn or my career success, or my ambition, or something that is really far out of their smaller Universes. My stepfather and mother were especially sensitive to me thinking that I was "hot sh!t" and this was one of his favorite rants. What I know now is that I don't just "think" I am, but have proven it, LOL. I'm kidding here, and have had my ego quite put in order over the years, especially living in DC (capitol of egos!).

And yeah, I still have to coach myself on taking care of myself. I was a super martyr for years, and a lot of it came with the territory of mostly single motherhood with a lot of sacrifices for career too. It took me a couple years, 40 lbs and a serious clinical depression to realize that at my job (and my personal life) I can't just sacrifice all the time, or the me suffers. So now, when DH occasionally says "oh, you take good care of yourself don't you?" -- I'm like "I sure do!!". But I work on that, and DO convince myself that all the time, energy and money is worth the investment (sounds silly, doesn't it, that I have to convince myself or DH?). If I don't take care of me, I turn into my marytr, err, mother, and get resentful that people don't "appreciate" my sacrifices "enough".

Once I calm down a little, I'm going to go back and do some of the meditation exercises. I'm a little too raw right now.

I want to be everyone's friend on this list. :) Oh, I think I already am!! If I were close by you'd be forced to drink tea with me and talk about your issues. :)

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MARYBTHIN's Photo MARYBTHIN Posts: 523
1/11/11 8:34 A

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WOW, Trish. Great work! If I lived near you, I would want to be your friend. You are so "attractive" with your good, positive energy. I find it no coincidence that you are a Nurse, a healer. Bobby chose the right parent!

With great admiration,

Mary

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1/11/11 1:01 A

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So I wrote some more and this is what I found out. (What an amazing process...) My Not Thin Self is here to get attention from my parents. She was the only way my parents noticed me. When I got fat, they'd be mad at me, or criticize me, or yell at me or shame me into trying to lose it. Or hide- any of them or all of them. But compared to both of them drinking, it was at least *something*. How sad is that?

When I was in college and I got out of the house for the first time ever, I lost a lot of weight and got thin. I looked and felt really great. The summer of that year, I came home, ate my way to gaining 30 pounds, my parents kicked me out of the house, and told me to pay for all the food I had eaten. Wow- way to help your depressed daughter. Clueless parents.

Anyway, that was a revelation to me. Not Thin Me also made it impossible for me to be on the same level as my sister, who was "perfect". She was skinny, beautiful (later became a model), and very smart. She had boys crawling all over her; I had none. By being fat, I was able to avoid any competition with her. I was off the hook.

And the other thing "not thin me" did for me was keep me company while I was on bed rest with my pregnancy with Bobby. My water broke when I was 22 wks pregnant with him. I had to be on bed rest for the next 5 months. John, being totally helpless to do anything else, tried to help by feeding me. He'd bring a cooler up to the bedroom in the morning, and by the time he came home in the evening, I had polished off everything in it. Problem was, there was enough in there for 4 or 5 people. That was when I gained probably to 220 lbs by the end of the pregnancy- but food was the only company I had, the only thing that kept me from losing my mind, the only way I got through the day and had anything to look forward to. Not Thin Me was there for me through it all. But in a distorted way.

My Thin Me wants to thank the Not Thin Me for the times she was there to comfort the thin one and protect her from bad men and neglectful parents. She protected Thin Me from the terror of losing a baby mid pregnancy, and from the boredom and loneliness of being alone and isolated on bed rest. When I couldn't even leave the bedroom, I completely lost my identity as a mother and a woman- I was transformed into a dependent child- and Not Thin Me gave me a way to get through every day I kept Bobby alive inside of me.

So I owe her a lot. She's resourceful and strong and creative. She's persistent. I want that part of her, and I know that these two parts of me can be integrated into one, whole person. I don't need my parents' attention anymore, I don't need to compare my self to Maureen, I don't need to hide from loneliness. I have friends- people like me. I am lovable just the way I am. Thin.

So my job is to make the two come to a peaceful place. To enjoy each other's strengths, and to learn from the good parts of each one.

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1/10/11 5:03 P

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Wow Mary, I just re-read yours and yes, we're saying the exact same thing. Only you'd "have to" give and give of yourself until you fell over from exhaustion, if you didn't have "not-so-thin you, and I'd be depressed and have no goals. So moral of the story is to take care of ourselves for the sake of what we deserve, not to run away from something or someone.

I still have more to write, so there may be even more to unleash. This is so interesting!

Trish

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MARYBTHIN's Photo MARYBTHIN Posts: 523
1/10/11 2:53 P

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Not Too Skinny Trish: Do you see the similarity between what we both wrote? Why do we need a "negative" reason to love and take care of ourselves? Mind-boggling.

xo,
Mary

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1/10/11 2:40 P

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I've started the letters, and not to my surprise, the not thin me is there to protect me- FROM SOCIAL SITUATIONS! Yikes! And she's also there to give me a reason to strive for something. If the not thin me doesn't get me fat once in a while, then I don't go into workout mode, I don't enter races, I don't get in shape, I don't get busy with a goal which keeps me out of depression. Wow- what a revelation. I have to allow myself to do all those things without the one sole purpose of losing weight and gettting rid of not thin me.

More later, I work again tonight and will have more time to finish it. I kept getting interrupted last night as I was doing it. And mary, wow, that's amazing and I will comment later.

Trish

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WIZKEY's Photo WIZKEY Posts: 5,087
1/10/11 12:32 P

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Good morning ladies!!
I'm still here - and I've read Lesson Two - just kind of procrastinating the letters. I'm up two pounds this week and wondering if I am just a little too comfortable with Not-so-Thin Me. I work today, so I promise to dig in and write by tomorrow!!
Love reading what you have to say and thanks for letting me "lurk" a little.
Teressa

Roseburg, OR - PDT
Teressa
www.teressamorris.com


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MARYBTHIN's Photo MARYBTHIN Posts: 523
1/10/11 9:24 A

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WHOA! Wrote Not So Thin Me and Then Me letters this morning. (It's so much easier to concentrate with everyone out of the house.) I was shocked at what I wrote. I revealed on paper (of course it was always in me) that I created Not So Thin Me so that I can stay on the same level as everyone else (ie, my father and siblings...I'm not saying I was better than them, but I always "dummied down" so I could receive their acceptance and love...if you were perceived as smarter, prettier, more successful, etc, you were targeted to be hurt on some emotional or physical level), so that I had something to give myself permission to work on me, to take time for myself, and absolutely to give myself attention and love. If I have nothing to work on, then I need to be giving constantly, taking care of others with all my spare time with nothing left for me. (Obviously, this is not true, but is how I irrationalized "taking care of myself"....scary, I know.) Not So Thin Me has committed to throw her excess weight behind Thin Me in order to blend the two into One powerful, beautiful, healthy, loving Soul. Amen!!

xo,
Mary

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1/9/11 7:28 P

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Well Catherine before you cannonnize me, let me say that I have such a stock of food in the house that even though he's been doing this for a month, I haven't had too many panic attacks from running out of food yet. Actually, as long as there's fresh produce, I can hang in there 'till the next week. Actually, I AM learning, whether I like it or not, that the world doesn't revolve around food. (But man, am I tempted to go out and pick up those things he missed when he comes home!)

Mary, I also started looking at the next chapter, and I'm excited about writing to the fat me. And letting her respond. There's a lot to be said and to listen to with her. Catherine, I loved what you did with your fat self. The way you brought her into a field of daisies. And thanked her. I also wanted to stop reading the sample letter, but I know I'll take it in a different direction anyway.

Ok, better get to the book~ BTW, Catherine, how did you feel when you did the writing? How did it feel caressing that "fat me"?

You're inspiring. Seriously.

I'm so proud of all of us. Wizkey, how are you doing with this? It's great to have you here.

trish

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MARYBTHIN's Photo MARYBTHIN Posts: 523
1/9/11 12:05 P

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Leaps and bounds of growth going on here! Can't wait to jump in. Just wanted to say I'm still here. I did start reading Chapter 2, but put it aside as DD wanted me to hang with her yesterday as we tended to her "boil". We cuddled on the couch and watched 3 movies. DH was in Florida and DS was camping with the scouts so it was just special time between her and I.

You're all doing such great work, it makes me want to drop my my laundry and bill paying duties today and just hunker down with the book! DH wants me to watch a football game with him later. We haven't had time together in weeks. Torn! Book or DH? Humm, knowing me I'll try to find the balance in both, ie, some book, some DH time.

Happy Sunday!

xo,
Mary

PS....the Yodels and Crumb Cake I confessed about on Chit Chat came into the house as a result of DH coming food shopping last week. He had also put 2 large containers of UTZ Caramel Popcorn in the cart and I had put one back. He was not happy about that. I need to sit down and talk with him again about why we can't "stock" this stuff in home. UGH!

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1/9/11 9:15 A

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I am nothing beyond ASTOUNDED at Trish's DS doing grocery shopping. That's REALLY letting go of control. And it makes me nervous just thinking about it. My food is such a big huge deal to me, I'm afraid I'd shrink away from that challenge. God only knows what DH would come home with (hotdogs and doritos).

I read chapter 2 last night and totally gushed on the writing exercise. It was the Dear Not-Skinny-Me letter. Initially, I started to read the example letter in the book but stopped soon after "fat a$$" in the salutation. Nope. Not my letter. I didn't want to be influenced by it, so I just got going on my own.

I'll spare you the 3.5 pages of 11 pt font that I typed up, but let me say this: I was surprised that what I uncovered was a sad, scared girl who was holding onto things that didn't serve her. In fact, was holding onto things that HURT her. I symbolically named the "bad things" the dead bunnies. I know, kinda creepy.

Through the process, I was able to understand why she was hanging on to the dead bunnies (bad things, fear, shame, secrets) -- she didn't have anything else. So ... that sad, scared girl has now been led to a field of daisies, and is kept company by butterflies, puppies and kittens (not dead), and has been assured that a HUGE part of my life it taking good care of "her" (myself). There was a lot of assurance that better tools for comfort are here to stay, that holding on to dead bunnies is not needed, fear is no longer necessary, and that she doesn't need to guard anything. No bad things are happening, and she need not be ever-watchful.

I ended up thanking her for her amazing (though misguided) job, because I DID go through some very hard times in the last 4 years that would have broken many people (2007=divorce, bankruptcy and a first offense DUI on my 40th birthday that included 5 days jail time and threats of more, and then moving out to DC to start completely over when I was pretty raw).

I'll be keeping up the good work here on keeping scared, sad girl retired to the field of daisies.

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WIZKEY's Photo WIZKEY Posts: 5,087
1/8/11 3:09 P

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Okay, so the burning was very freeing. As I watched the words I'd written disappear into the flames, I felt that they were really evaporating from my being as well. It brought the understanding that I have been using excess weight as protection from the outside world. However, I do not recommend burning 5 pages of notes inside the house. Nearly had a calamity here, LOL.
@Mary - I don't mind your asking. My mother has severe anxiety (GAD) and chronic insomnia which were not diagnosed until a few years ago. She is currently off her meds and nearly agoraphobic. My father was a police officer who was murdered when I was 3 and my stepfather was abusive.
@Trish - I get what you're saying. When I looked back on some of the things I had written down as "injustices" I realized that I do the same things to my husband. He does help with the chores, and takes my son to a lot of his Dr. appts., and he is very patient with me, especially when I am PMSing. Just depends on who's having the bad day, I guess.
@Catherine - Yes, I come from a long line of control-freak martyrs, LOL. But, I am learning to ask for help and give up some control (although Trish giving up grocery shopping is awesome!) and to take care of myself so I can take better care of others.
Can't wait for Chapter Two!! I'm so glad I found you all!!
Teressa

Roseburg, OR - PDT
Teressa
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1/8/11 2:36 P

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Catherine- Oh me too!! Me too!!

If I can do it all, I can control it. Story of my life. That's why when this chapter asked, "What are you responsible for?", oh Lordie, it was like I unleashed verbal diarrhea. I wrote and wrote- the pencil wasn't going fast enough. I am responsible for EVERYTHING! And I know I'm not, but it makes me feel important, I think, in a distorted way, so I take it all on. Then I get overwhelmed, and dump it all with no warning. Nice pattern, huh.

I think I told you that now that I'm working full time again, I'm letting 16 yr old DS do the food shopping. Can someone please gag me and tie my hands behind my back? I give him the money, a detailed list, and for the most part he's been really good. Exceptional, really. Certainly a learning process for him- to budget, buy things on sale, make sure what we need is here from week to week, not get too much stock of the same things, get the complaints that there's nothing in the house to eat, all of that. But what I didn't expect is that it is SO HARD for me to let go of this! I don't see the food in the stores, on the shelves, I don't get to pick out new things to try, I don't get to buy my rigid favorites, I don't get to put it away where I know where it is, I don't get to see, feel and breathe the food in this house! Talk about a revelation!

I used to bring bags and bags and bags of food in here, and now he brings in about 3/4 of what I did. Always spends less money than I did. When I see him bring in the food bags, I'm almost salivating to see if there are more bags coming. "Oh no, he didn't buy enough. Oh no, this can't be it. I would have double this." and on and on. Step back from it and watch, and it's absolutely hilarious. I've created a scenario where I handed over the one thing I want control over the most. This is SO good for me!

So far he's been shopping for a month and as far as I can tell, no one here has died of malnutrition or starvation. I haven't keeled over from not having enough variety, no scurvy has set in, and actually no one has complained. So we're all fine, but tell my head that we aren't in a food crisis! Like I said, it's hysterical to watch.


Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. Myself.

Trish


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1/8/11 9:25 A

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Oh, and a special note to Wizkey: my dear, try to let some of that injustice and martyrdom go. I say that from a place of knowing what you mean, because I too not only grew up with a martyr, but was groomed to be one, and WAS for many year. If I don't watch myself I'll TOTALLY take responsibility for everybody's everything until it crushes me alive. Well, I used to. I now do reality checks. And I look for ways to share the load(s), even if I have to coach myself to do it. Part of it is letting go of the control ... like, if I DO it all, I can control it all. If I unload some of the responsibility, I also must let go of control and let others rise up. And then be OK with the outcomes. That's not always an easy process.

Anywho, that's my perspective on too much responsibility that leads to martyrdom.

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1/8/11 9:19 A

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Trish, I find your thoughts on our spouses bringing issues to us to be really interesting. Enlightening, really. I immediately thought about my spouses big "faults" (LOL!), being that they're all so easy for me to list, and then in two seconds could see those same issues twined through myself.

With Brad -- The smoking, the eating crappy food, the discomfort with change, yet somehow still the desire for it ... all things I've struggled with. And alas, perhaps some emotional "stuck" points.

I applaud you for 1) getting out of the house and running and 2) coming back to the situation with him with a totally new approach. That was pretty brilliant. And you made a connection together, instead of just driving the wedge deeper. I'm going to keep this in mind the next time I'm ready to muzzle my loved one :)

This weekend, I plan to start the next chapter in the book and keep moving through the process. I'll still come back to some of the meditations and visualizations both in the book and that I kinda came up with (the bricks, the lump removals) as we go forward, because I think they're SUCH great foundations.

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1/7/11 5:54 P

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I feel it is no coincidence that the issues we need to learn to handle are usually right at our faces when it comes to our spouses. In my more "spiritual" times (which believe me, has not been lately), I can love John's imperfections because I know I picked him for exactly those things that bother me so much. So I can learn to overcome then. So I can learn to love him in spite of his shortcomings. And he picked me for the same reason. I was looking for just the person who was going to be the mirror image of what I need to rise above. Just like I chose Bobby for a son with the imperfect body, so I could learn to love and respect the medical community in a way I never had before. I mean I WORSHIPED then by the time we got Bobby out of Yale alive!

So again in my BETTER moments, when I can detach, I can love John for showing me- quite blatantly- what I need to work on. Does that work in your situation at all Wizkey?

Trish

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MARYBTHIN's Photo MARYBTHIN Posts: 523
1/7/11 4:23 P

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Hi Beautiful Ladies,

Wizkey: I love your idea of "burning" the issues! Marianne W. suggests visualizing God touching the bricks of issues and them dissipating. However, your way seems a bit more concrete because you can sit there and watch them turn to ash right in front of your eyes. I may have to copy you which is, of course, the biggest compliment to you! Burn, baby, burn. As far as "carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders", just out of curiosity, are you the child of an alcoholic or drug addict or gambler or whatever? I hope I do not insult you by asking, but this is usually the trait of an individual who's been "groomed" that way, so to speak. I can be this way too and often seek the balance between taking care of myself first and others thereafter.

SkinnyCat: Biography becomes your Biology...I am so with you on this one, sister (Carolyn Myss wrote about this in Anatomy of the Spirit). As I've read your last post, twice, I too can visualize you pulling out those lumps, roots and all. You are so right, they don't belong there anymore. They are from your past and are not BEAUTIFUL YOU today. I hope you do this with love and kiss them goodbye as you send them back God. You are such a positive influence. Love the netbook reward to yourself! ;)

Trish: Congrats on the new "I Lost 30 Pounds" watchamacallit. You are so accomplished and such a great inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing your story of how you turned around your situation with your hubby. That was an amazing example of a person truly seeking and becoming enlightened in the moment. I feel so lucky to be on this site with you.

xo,
Mary





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1/7/11 1:24 P

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Catherine - Wow, you are so strong!! My prayers are with you. Trish - you go girl!! You are also a strong woman!! You ladies amaze me!!
I have never thought of myself as having a victim mentality, but last night I was finishing up the "words" and had just had a bad time with dh - he is starting a new job on Monday and is worried that the place I work might go out of business so he has been "suggesting" jobs for me. I told him we need to go through the first week of his new job (he hasn't worked for 18 months) and get adjusted and then I will consider my options (no guarantee I will lose my job, just a few warning signs). Anyway he would not let it go and then yelled at me for snapping at him - asked me what did I feel guilty about? Huh?
Well, we went for a walk to calm down and that just made it worse. Our teenage son is having kidney problems and our insurance is slow on the referral. So I said I would call today and try to speed up the process. My husband said we need to demand that they speed up the process. When I didn't agree he tried to verbally bully me into agreeing with him. I told him I didn't want to argue with him anymore and went to bed. He yelled down the hall that I was shutting down.
So, I was going over the end of the first lesson and I came to injustice and protection and all of a sudden I realized that I think I carry the weight of the whole family and my husband's unemployment and my son's mental and physical illness on my shoulders. But nobody put that burden on me - my husband is willing to share - I put it on myself.
Tonight is when I plan to burn all those words (I like the symbolic barfing Catherine). I hope to feel lighter (at least emotionally) in the coming days.


Roseburg, OR - PDT
Teressa
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1/7/11 12:12 P

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Catherine,

First I just have to say that I love you. I love your atitude, your honesty and your willingness to look within and see what it is that might be causing the physical manefestations of what we carry around. You could be sitting there saying, "Oh poor me, why why why does this happen to me?" but instead you're trying to dump old baggage and say it has no place in your adult, beautiful, skinny, healthy, conscious being. I'll join you in visualizing those lumpy clumps of crud dissapating and going away both physically and emotionally forever. They have no place in your wonderful life now.

I love that we're all on the same wavelength with this stuff. We're talking the same language. It's nice- I don't feel alone.

I did something good today, as a direct result of this first chapter. I woke up to my dh yelling at me. I mean literally woke up to him saying "fu** this and fu** that at me. Woah. Let me open my eyes first before I figure out what I could have possibly done in my sleep to cause you to start cursing at me. Turns out everyone else has a snow day, the kids are off, and Bobby's school (which is in a different part of the state) didn't cancel. So dh came in at me, all frustrated because he was getting him ready for school, I wasn't awake (no one woke me up!) and he didn't know if I was taking him to the carpool or not. The details are insignificant, what was important is that I was attacked and blamed from the get go.

So I started to come back at him, and he stormed away. I went downstairs later and I was still pissed, and told him he needed to TALK to me, and ASK me what was going on, not start cursing and screaming at me. He shut down and that was that.

I went for a run. The whole time I was steaming, and then I thought about this chapter. About how HE sees himself as the victim, and blames everyone else. Gee- sounds like someone else I know! And then I started to try to put myself in his shoes- he's been really sick for two whole weeks (wizky, he's got pneumonia). He's still going into spasms when he tries to talk, he's trying to work from home and can't even talk to his customers without going into coughing fits, he sees me lacing up my shoes every morning and he hasn't been able to run for 2 weeks now, he's trying to figure out if Bobby's in school with no way to contact the car poolers, and of course he's frustrated. Doesn't excuse his attack, but it explains it.

So I came back home, and calmly said I'd be going crazy too if I were this sick, this long. That maybe he'd like to try to walk down the block later, just to get outside. And that I felt realy bad that he was so sick. He visibly softened up as soon as I said it. Then I said for him to be careful, that I know he's not sleeping and feels terrible, but he's being really mean to everyone and it's pushing us away. (He went after DD last night too.) He was fine with me saying that, and he's been a peach all morning.

That empathy is hard to come by with me. I get defensive when I feel attacked and then I replay the scenario in my head over and over why it's HIS fault and how I've been wronged. This was a good step for me to come at the problem from a different direction.

Of course it took a run to bring me to my senses!

Trish

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1/7/11 9:16 A

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Happy Friday! Trish, I was wondering if you were at work, or what you were up to. I miss you when you're not around :)

So, over the last day or so I've been giving thought, like Mary, to the larger message coming along with my lumps. Wizkey, I've got a total of 6-7 masses in my pelvic area and breasts, and am in the midst of going through a diagnostic medical pathway, with one surgery coming up (pelvic) and a lot, lot, lot of procedures right now. Ugh.

In the first chapter, the concept of pushing your negative, old, unprocessed and un-let go garbage into your fat was introduced. I've long held the belief that physical manifestations are manifestations of the spirit/energy realm in many cases. And so, thinking along that path, it makes sense to me that I've pushed old "lumps" I've taken in life into my fat, particularly the female areas. Hmmm... I think that a big meditation visualization for me will be letting the lumps go, and pulling out the "roots" of the lumps along with them, and handing it all over to God/the Universe. I sure don't need them/it/whatever is left over from those old experiences. Though not as beautifully symbolic as burning ... I want to barf out the old tinctures of crud that I've been carrying (unaware-ly), and make room for more light to come into my being.

In other good news, I treated myself to a new netbook so that I could keep on working and writing (my personal writing) through travel, medical appts and whatever else I'm doing without carting my shoulder-breaking work laptop. I'm happy about this -- it's a super light weight Toshiba that I selected specifically because it was the most lightweight one I could find for cheap.

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1/6/11 9:18 P

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Just wanted to quicly say I'm here, reading what you all wrote and am inspired by you guys so much. Today was busy, and then every time I tried to get on the computer, some child of mine would see me sitting here and take it as an opportunity to interrupt me. But you know, it's not so bad, I remember wanting to talk to my parents so badly, and every time I'd come in and sit down, they'd shoo me away saying, "Not now, we're talking." What "Not now, we're talking" *realy* meant was, "Not now, we're drinking." So if the kids want my attention, the computer can always wait. They're much more important.

I'll be at work tomorrow with a lot more free time to sit and "chat".

Trish (PS, I love the symbolic burning of the first chapter writings!)



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1/6/11 11:50 A

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Wow, Mary thank you for the Zen post. I like the line about not avoiding the pain. I guess, just like in giving birth, we need to go through the pain in order to get to the good stuff. And I am birthing my newer, more content self!!
I have an idea of what I am going to do to end Lesson 1. This weekend, I am going to take all the things I wrote down and cut them up and burn them as I release them to God. It's symbolic, but I hope it will help me to feel more free of all that baggage.

Roseburg, OR - PDT
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1/6/11 7:48 A

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Good Morning,

I receive a weekly email from a local Zen Buddhism place in my town. I read the following this morning and thought it would be a helpful reminder for us going through this Course. May you find peace today! (No, I am not a Zen Buddhist. I just take inspiration from wherever I see it.)

xo,
Mary

The words of Ezra Bayda's poem, "What is our Life About?", sums up the answer to the question, "What is Zen Buddhism?"

"Our aspirations, our calling, our desire for a genuine life, Is to see the truth of who we really are - That the nature of our being is connectedness and love, Not the illusion of a separate self to which our suffering clings, It is from this awareness that life can flow through us.

And what is the path?

To learn to reside in whatever life presents, To learn to attend to all those things that block the flow of a more open life, And to see them as the very path of awakening, all the constructs, the identities, the holding back, the protections; all the fears, the self-judgments, the blame - All that separates us from letting life be.

And what is the path?

To turn away from constantly seeking comfort, and from trying to avoid pain; to open to the willingness to just be in this very moment, exactly as it is, no longer so ready to be caught in the relentless spinning mind. To awake to the true self, no one special to be, nowhere to go - Just being.

We are so much more than just this body, just this personal drama. As we cling to our fear and our shame and our suffering we forsake the gratitude of living from our natural being.

When we are no longer caught in the self-centered dream. We can give ourselves to others like a white bird in the snow. Time is fleeting. Don't hold back.

Appreciate this precious life."





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1/6/11 7:09 A

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Definately a pattern with our mothers. Mine was just crazy, I suspect she may have pimped me out, and also didn't "see" abuse. When I tried to tell her, she actually launched into tirades about how kids "enjoy" and "ask for it". Yep, that's from my mother who HERSELF was a sexually assaulted child. I forgive her, but I also don't trust her. Even today, I must say, that even on my very best days, when she's being really nice to me, I think about what she's getting out of it/me from her self serving perspective. Not pretty.

However, I'm much like Mary. I'm the person I want to be -- now. And I'm even my future better self in the now.

I think this work is dredging up glom from my brain. I woke up this morning (thankfully not till 5:30am) with another weird dream about my grandfather (crazy scary violent drunk) being super threatening to a child that I was protecting. I woke up mumbling "I'll kill you" to protect the little one (gee, does that sound bad?), but wasn't really disturbed -- so there's an improvement over yesterday's disturbing dream.

xoxo
Catherine the Survival Lion

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1/5/11 7:57 P

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Trish: Ooh, love what you said at the end of your post about our true Source and how we are all truly the same. I believe the same. Maybe if we tattoo it on the back of our hand and look at it all day long, it'll stick in our heads!!!! You turned that thinking around nicely by the way.

Wizkey: Welcome and thank you for joining us on this courageous journey. I so identify with the how could a Mother not know about abuse or be there to protect her child(ren). I never understood it and never will especially being a Mother now and knowing the lengths I would go through to protect my own children from anybody or anything on the face of this earth. Thank you for sharing that with us. Regarding the emotional draining when we dig deep, I prefer to view it as "purging"...goodbye excess baggage in my mind/body/spirit. I don't want to carry you anymore! You drag me down.

SkinnyCat: OMG, LMAO....you are so beyond, beyond, beyond what my little suggestion was! Oh great, now I just put you on a higher pedestal. Hope you don't get a nosebleed.

Regarding dealing with our parents today, I shared this on Daily Chit Chat and I'd like to share it here too....I do what I do for or with my parents today because of the person I want to be today. Not because of anything they did or did not do for me yesterday. That's all I got.

xo,
Mary

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1/5/11 7:19 P

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I'm really glad you guys are doing this with me. I'm doing it with you. Wizkey, thanks for sharing about not forgiving your mother. I can handle my father being drunk, I can handle the abuse and violence from him, but my mother? She was a sloppy drunk who threw up in front of my friends (so I never brought anyone home- gee, maybe that's why I'm socially inept!) and embarassed me beyong words. Somehow I expected more from a woman. A man I could handle, but my mother? Totally different expectations, totally different kind of disapointment and hurt. She also didn't see the abuse. Who know what was going through her mind at the time.

But I so relate to this and I think it's one of the problems I'm experiencing as she ages with Alzehimers. I have no patience. I can't STAND it when she touches me, and comes physically close to me, which she tries to do all the time the older she gets.

Yes, I find it emotionally difficult to be doing this work too, but like I said, I'm in for every tear, every difficult page, every revelation it brings. We'll see each other through this and get to where it will take us, together.

Trish

Edited by: RUNNERHI at: 1/5/2011 (19:21)
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1/5/11 4:25 P

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Wiskey, thanks for joining us! Good work you're doing there ... keep coming back.

Mary, you so make me laugh sometimes. The organization that I work for is in the same field as Women for Women (international development) -- we specifically work to solve global poverty from a women's economic empowerment angle. The 15 years prior to that, I did fundraising for direct service nonprofits (women's shelter and domestic violence, food programs, other economic empowerment and social justice, etc), but did take a 3 year break at one point to be a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley in trusts, estates and endowments. So, I giggled a lot over your suggestion. I think I'm already doing it. I just figured out a way for them to pay me while I do it (and my gift is occasionally my cash and lots of my donated overtime). You've totally got my number!

Well, I think being a resource guarder has served me well in many aspects. What I'd like to root out is the negative, unhealthy bits. Think of a dog with a bone. I shouldn't be growling when people walk by my bone, mention my bone or do something that makes me think about my bone. It's not like it's a constant issue, but through the writing excercise I WAS able to actually follow most of my negative emotions back to this one key issue. Which I found interesting.

I also find it interesting that I work with super wealthy people for a living. I don't stress the fancy dinners, locations, or what fork I'm using (good at all that, in spite of growing up dirt poor). The folks who get my hackles up are typically at my level and didn't work for it. Funny, unless people have inherited wealth, most HAVE worked for it, and appreciate a good "pulled myself up by my bootstraps" story.

I'm in total agreement with the idea that what other people think is none of my business. And YES, I too need to look for connection building opportunities in my personal relationships and thoughts.

And who knew I judged people for bad grammer? I grew up with horrible grammer and it took a best friend in junior high who had an English professor for a dad to "fix" me ... LOL!

We sure have a lot in common, and I'm awfully glad to be here with you all :)

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1/5/11 12:36 P

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Have been reading the book along with you ladies. Sorry this is my first time to chime in. I wanted to wait until I got to the lesson to say anything. I guess I have been judging myself as not having anything worthwhile to say.
Anyway, I am about halfway through the "words" and I was overwhelmed by the amount of shame and embarrassment I carry around with me for stupid things that happened a long time ago. If anyone else told me they had done these things I would probably laugh and say "chalk it up to youth" or something like that, but while I mostly find it easy to forgive others, I have a very hard time forgiving myself. I have even gone to friends and family to apologize for things I thought were horrible that I did and they have laughed at me and told me I am way too hard on myself.
I just finished judgement and again was surprised at how many people I judge. Not sure about disdain, although I'm sure I can come up with a few if I think about it.
The hardest realization so far was that while I have forgiven a family member for the abuse he put me through, I have never forgiven my mother for not knowing it was happening until I had the guts to tell her. How could she not know? Why wasn't she supermom?
This book is a revelation, but it has also been very emotionally draining. I feel like crying right now, just after writing this. Glad we are supporting each other in this journey. Thank you ladies!!

Roseburg, OR - PDT
Teressa
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1/5/11 11:26 A

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Interesting.

I just went out for a run, very hilly (as in, only UP on the first 2 miles out) and I saw a woman running when I was at the top of the uphill. She looked perky and happy with her little ipod cord swishing around and a pink hat with a pom pon on top. Ugh. I was dying. I started to get realy competetive in my head, saying, "Well or COURSE she looks good, she's on the downhill. Bet she's 20 years younger than me too. (Note to self- *everyone* is 20 years younger than me who is out running these days!). She probably just came out of her house." Separation, separation, separation. I said hi to and just watched my thoughts. I started to turn them around, telling myself how nice it was that someone was out on a cold day like today, making me feel like I had company, good for her to be out here taking care of herself, she looks so happy, I hope she has a really nice day, etc.

Well, about a half hour later, I unexpectedly passed her again, this time *I* was the downhill runner and she was up. I waved again, said, "Now YOU have the uphill", we both laughed, exchanged a few little phrases and went on our way.

Totally different feeling the second time around. In fact I was tempted to turn around and run with her for a litle bit just to have some company, but I really didn't want to go uphill again.

That was a God-Gift. This is exactly the kind of miracle I was hoping for from exploring this book.

Trish

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1/5/11 8:50 A

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Catherine, Mary, Thanks so much for being on this journey with me. I felt like I must been so screwed up yesterday and that I'm just living in the past because someone said I was. But I'm NOT! I really don't care (well, yes I care, but I don't dwell on it) what my parents did because it's done and thre's not a thing I can do about it. Plus if they want to still drink away the years they have left, go to it, it's not my problem anymore. And believe me, I have enough stuff in my life to keep me busy in the present. But sometimes, when I'm doing the most mundane thing, the past comes up and I find myself in a really scary, mentally yucky place. For example, that party I had with my running friends the other day? These are pople I run with about 3 days/wk, have been doing this for about 5 years off and on, but they've all known each other for decades-like 20-40 years, all competed together, their kids all grew up gtogether. So I'm the outsider.

They all know how to wear makeup, dress pretty, match their clothes with scarves and nice jewlery- they could wear paper bags and make it look great. I'm very plain, and didn't get dressed up, but I had on some of my new stuff. We sat down to eat, and the food was fancy, and that alone threw me totally out of my element. We were lower middle class growing up, and around here so many people are high end upper class, that when I get myself in a situation where I'm faced with anything in that upper class, I freeze. I don't know who I am anymore, the tapes in my head go off overtime, I feel like I don't know what fork to use, or is my napkin down on my lap, or is there food on my chin, do I look ok, are they wearing real diamonds, am I articulate enough, etc. Meanwhile, these are athletes! I've been drenched and smelly and gross with all of them. We've fallen in to dirt, run off roads into snow banks, gotten lost for 2 hours because none of us has a sense of direction. They're just human- and athletes at that- these are MY kind of women! They started talking about how they got their hair done and when and where, and I have nothing to add because I don't GET my hair done. I can't afford it. I really want to get it highlighted again, but it's going to cost over a handred dollars, I just know it.

Anyway, like you said Catherine, if I can bring myself to meditate again, watching the dim ripples, then I can watch when something like that happens and just be the observer instead of letting myself get sucked in to the point of tears, which is what happened that day.

Mary I totally agree that if I stopped comparing and started identifying with others, all these crazy conversations in my head would stop. It's all your point of reference. But I have to remember to do that- again, meditation is key.

My biggest problem with that is that I don't like to sit still. I like to run, and move and clean and drive...the more I move, the more I run or keep busy from the feelings that just need to simmer down. So that's where this Course comes in- I figured the only way I'll sit still is to join you in this course and if it says for me to sit still, I will. Isn't that funy? But my runs are a meditation of sorts too- when you're running alone for 90 minutes and you're totally taken up by what's around you, and your mind goes off into another plane, you do an awful lot of thought-observation. Sometimes I'll even bring my awareness to each breath I take or a certain muscle that has to move, just to practice staying in the moment. I don't do it for long, though, because one of the perks of being a long distance runner is to get OUT of your own head!

Ok, today's goal for me, if I can remember (any good tips to hekp you remember these things you want to work on?) is to start to identify to that Source, that ONE in other people instead of setting myself apart by comparing. We're all part of the same Energy, the same source of Love. If I can identify with that part of someone else, then there is no "Better than" or "less than", just the same God in different housings.

How easy it is to forget where we came from?

Trish

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1/5/11 8:02 A

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OMG, you ladies are really making me laugh out of identification! I looked back at my writings and found that I wrote next to Arrogance, "I am better than my siblings." And, then next to Inferiority I wrote, "I feel not as good as others because of my childhood." How can I feel both????? I find this bothersome. Let's break it down. I am not better than my siblings. I just opened my eyes and perhaps had some courage (mixed with fear) to look at reality. If I need to "stand on their shoulders" to lift myself up, then I am pathetic. I need to stand on my own accomplishments to rise above. (That last sentence should also be the antidote to what I wrote about Inferiority.) Ladies, maybe we just need to stop "comparing" and start "identifying" with others. I read a book a very long time ago entitled, "It's None of My Business What You Think of Me". I think it's time to employ that title. What do you two think about finding balance between the two?

Cat: Time for a little self-forgiveness if you decide you truly are feeling haunted by how you got through. I personally would also call that "survival". If you need to "make amends", maybe send a one time donation somewhere. I used to teach Yoga in my home and then sent the money every month to Women for Women, a charitable organization which assigns you to sponsor a woman from a third world country($25 or whatever per month). She attends a woman's support group, learns about her rights and a trade to support herself. She also is required to write you 1-2 letters. This goes on for one year. I did it 2 years, 2 different women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I then stopped teaching yoga so I stopped sending money. I felt like if I wasn't earning the money through my own efforts, then I wasn't sending any. They do accept one time donations too. I don't know how deep this "haunting" goes for you, but just wanted to share that thought with you.

Regarding "resource guarding" you most certainly learned the need for that in life which every financial advisor with half a brain tells women to do, be financially independent. I have a stash in the forms of stock ($13K?) that I purchased before marriage and kept only in my name. My husbands knows about it and doesn't really care. He understands my "financially insecure" background and how hard it was for me to quit my $49K per year job that I had earned without a college degree (and that was nearly 16 years ago). Ooh, I feel arrogance slipping back in. :(

Trish: Just because you write pages doesn't mean you are more F-----d up. It means you are more of a writer who goes deep. And, just because I wrote sentences, doesn't mean I only slightly process. Um, well maybe it does. Hum...I see more writing in my future!

I have obviously assuaged several addictive behaviors, however, the underlying addictive attitude still occasionally rears it's head. Humm.....why? Maybe if I wrote pages and pages like Trish, I'd find out! :0

xo,
Mary

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1/5/11 5:46 A

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Oh, and yes, I think the root cause of our addictions and fears (back to what Mary said) CAN either be removed or vastly mitigated. I believe that with all my heart. It may sound hokey, but shining the light on it and wanting to let it go is the huge first step ... and being willing to go through the extraction process. Having good things to fill the hole left behind will help.

I also try (and work at) the detachment. Whether Hindu oriented meditation, Buddhist, whatever ... I think the core principle of watching the ripples in the lake of our great minds is the same.

Of course, that's easy for me to say right this sec, as the ripples are not 40 ft waves that are tipping over my boat. I definately have room for more mindfulness meditation in my life.

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1/5/11 5:41 A

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This is a quickie too ... today's my first day back to the office (3 week anniversary of being out, wow!). I wrote and wrote and wrote the other night until I just ran out of time (and also felt like I barely scratched the surface).

A day or two of sitting with what I wrote has illuminated for me that I really, really am motivated (in a probably not good way) by fear of resources. I mean, LACK of resources ... like not being able to keep a roof over my head, and pay for an independent life. I knew that was a big deal to me, but I just didn't know how big the big deal really was.

A bit of background -- when I was a kid, my mom was a single teen mom, and we lived with men (and put up with all sorts of sordid crap) to keep a roof over our heads. When I divorced my son's alcoholic dad (I was 25), I had a year old infant, and spent the next 5 years putting myself through college on welfare and state tuition grants. Guess what? I lived, at times, with a couple different men because I *really* wanted to get through school and pretended that I liked said men (when I really liked their real estate and utilities).

That was illuminating for me (the writing) because I thought all that was a dim memory. I've been pretty successful for a pretty long time ... but apparently a little haunted?

Snicker ... I'm giggling about Trish saying seemed to think she's better than most everyone! LOL, me too!! Yet I still feel all prickly (and insecure) around the super privilaged class of folks that I encounter, mostly through my job in DC, though at the same time think I'm stronger, better and a Darwinian winner, LOL.

Just this chapter alone is going to give us a hell of a starting point. I'm starting to connect some dots about other negative feelings/common reactions that I have that flow out of my fear of resources place. Like a lot of "how dare you!" and control issues ... I think in dogs, this is called resource guarding. Kinda of a "wow" exercise for me.

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1/4/11 10:01 P

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Hey Mary and Catherine,

I'm doing this by phone so I can't comment on what you wrote Mary, I will tomorrow. I loved what you said.

Did a little more of chapter one and I'm starting to feel like a freak. If anyone can look at this book and not have answers to these questions, then I must be weird because I can write a page on each one. The one that got me tonight was "you feel like you are better than..." and basically I feel like I'm better than everyone! I can find a way to put down the best of them, even if it just in my head. But then the next question is, "I'm inferior to..." and again I can put down@everyone". I guess I try to tell myself I'm better than everyone because I feel like everyone's better than me!

This isn't wallowing in the past, it's what I honestly discover by doing these exercises. So if I can write pages on each question, does that mean I'm more f**Jed up than I thought?

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1/4/11 12:12 P

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SkinnyCat: I love how you go above and beyond for your healing and growth. Sitting in Borders and jotting down notes so you can begin this journey with us. I'm so proud of you and think you are a smart cookie (I mean piece of fruit or vegetable, raw without any kind of dip. :)

Oh, I so hear you on the switching addictions and is it because of "barely processing". I've done both and wound up going from drugs to alcohol to cigarettes and coffee to sex to shopping to exercise and to food. Does addiction remain a permanent part of the personality? If it is, is it okay if it's geared towards something healthy? What's the root cause? Can it be removed? These are some questions I've pondered over the last 22 years. Thus far, I came up with Balance of all things and practicing Detachment. I can't wait to see what new nuggets of information and learning arise now from going through this process.

Process with detachment is the key to not wallowing. There's really no need to "live in" the emotions of past occurences and letting it go on for days affecting the present moment. For me, that's wallowing. Processing the past or shall I say re-processing the past (again, this has just been my experience thus far) is rethinking that past occurence and any pain or suffering associated with it, in today's frame of mind and doing it from a bird's eye view. Like watching a play on a stage. I learned that our emotions are created as a result of our thoughts. If our thoughts are wrong or off, our emotions are wrong or off. I also have to use this when processing the past in the present.

TTRW: That dietitian said it so much more eloquently than I did! OMG. I'm so glad you've received the same message twice. If God needs to send it to you a third time, it might be with a mallet! LOL I am so happy your experience can help others. I believe that is how we turn lemons into lemonade! May your book get published real soon.

Yesterday while journaling, I became focused in on feeling inadequate. This has been my biggest fear of late with handling my family and my parents stuff. My frustrations, feeling overwhelmed and, therefore, anxious come from feeling inadequate to correctly manage my loved one's stuff. (I realize this connects to what I just typed above....my thoughts create my feelings, but I have to get this out anyhow I can.) It's okay if I screw stuff up for myself as I am used to that and am able to mark it down to lessons. BUT, if I screw something up for someone else, that kills me inside. I am so fearful of screwing something up for my parents wellbeing and for my kids future that it keeps me awake at night, hence, the Xanax. This is not having faith in God, I realize as I type. :0 I have an inclination this book will certainly be helping me in this area!

I have a saying with my kids that we laugh about, but it's sorta kind of true too....we have some funds for your college or for your therapy, the choice will be yours. That's my coping mechanism coming through...making fun of myself and laughing at it. Hope I made you laugh too!

xo,
Mary

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1/3/11 6:52 P

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Trish, that's fantastic.

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1/3/11 6:31 P

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Ok, so I got a little "God gift" today.

The dietetian at CT Children's Hospital (CCMC-the bigest hospital in the state) called me and wanted to know if she could borrow the centrifuge for another family who has a baby with the same complication Bobby had. We've worked with her before and CCMC now has a protocol for using skim breastmilk.

Anyway, I talked to her today and of couse the family can use it, but we were on the phone for a while, I told her about the prospect of the book, the agent, yada yada, and at the end of a half hour conversation, she said, "And how is Bobby doing now?" No one ever asks this, because you just don't know what the answer will be. She even admitted that she was hesitant to ask. In fact the baby she called about might not live long enough to get the chance to use his mother's skim milk.

So I got to brag about how great he's doing- the swimming, the school and his reading, how his speech is growing exponentially, his hearing is stable, he's 10 years old, cardiac wise everything is stable. And she of all people know what we went through, what all these babies with very complicated heart defects go through, and the parents, every stinking little detail of what we lived through. And she said the nicest things to me. Almost exactly what you said Mary, that Bobby was born to incredible parents, that we took a situation that looked hopeless, and broke it down and turned it around, we didn't give up, and we just kept living minute by minute until we had it figured out. That we were as fortunate to have Bobby as a son as he was to have us as parents. And that she's sure he's thriving and doing as well as he is because John and I just don't believe in the word "No". I'm still smiling.

So maybe if I admit on paper that these are the things I struggle with, and hand them over, the "Universe" or God or whatever, will take them away. Because right now, I'm very proud to be Bobby's parent.

Ok, off to do some more soul searching with this chapter. I have all the time in the world here at work!

Trish

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1/3/11 4:36 P

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I must really love you guys :) My amazon purchase wasn't coming quick enough, and my free sample of the book wasn't quite enough .... so I sat in Borders after the gym today and read the the first chapter. I made notes as I went along and jotted down all the bits to start journaling.

The big overarching message that I took from what I've read so far is that I can trade out "weight problem" or "food addiction" with whatever problem I've ever had ... for me, the substances are interchangable, but the root cause of using them has remained consistant over the last 44 years.

Sigh. I'm so glad I got fed up last year and started spark! This self improvement process has been the BEST (and I've worked with plenty). I'm so thankful for you guys.

I can say now, with a great sense of relief, that I'm going to be OK. I can peacefully let go of my fears, rage, and anything needing letting go of. I CAN work through the process of whatever I need to. I'm going to be OK. Whew. That's a relief. And good to know that now, at this new beginning.

Trish, I hear you on defining (even in your own head, or most importantly) the difference between processing (so you can let go of the bad things) vs. dwelling and wallowing in the bad things. My BFF is a wallower, and I'm a 'barely there' processor. For me, the work is to stay with the bad stuff long enough TO process it, so I can really, really set it free and not have it popping up later. The line in the book about pushing the pain/fear into your fat just gave me a hideous visual of the all crap that was probably buried in my fat like awful treasures of hell! LOL! Sounds awful!

Thanks to you both for joining me on this new part of the journey and sharing it.

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1/3/11 9:00 A

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I just re-read Embarking on the Journey, Chapter 1 and the journalling I completed when I originally got the book. Yes, of course I added more stuff onto the journalling. And, I keep re-reading Embarking on the Journey. There's so much good stuff right there in that tiny little chapter, I just keep taking it in.

Trish, I hear you loud and clear and I totally get it. Bobby's a full time child and then some. Though he will certainly grow and learn, he will also likely be a full time commitment for however long he is on the face of this earth, yes? And, how will you handle all of this for him, yes? That's huge! All I can offer is this, God gave him to the right mother. Make no mistake about that. You are perfect for him and he is perfect for you, "warts" and all. Just don't forget your humanness and when it rears up, learn from it and forgive yourself. As we certainly know, life can be hard enough without us making it harder by beating ourselves up because we are not constantly patient, etc.

May you find peace today.

xo,
Mary

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1/2/11 10:25 P

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Ok, I knew this was going to happen. You guys know I love to write. It's like I get to talk and talk without being judged or cut off or feeling like an idiot. So I'm on the first chapter, and man oh man, welcome to the world of supressed feelings. They're not what I expected either- it's about Bobby. What do I fear? Yale. What am I sad about? That his life is so hard. What am I angry about? That no one told us he could have had a learing loss from the meds, though everyone seems to have known it besides me, and that could have completely turned this kids life around if it was caught earlier. What do I feel responsible for? His happiness, his health, his weight, how long he lives, keeping him out of Yale, having friends for him, his education, his entertainment when everyone else deserts him, explaining what other people are saying when it goes too fast for him to understand. I mean I could have gone on for hours.

I filled 3 pages of what I'm responsible for. Clean house, seeing what needs to be cleaned, getting the kids to help, making enough money for tuitions, oh my goodness, no wonder I'm so mentally exhausted.

But that thing about Bobby really got me. I am just so freaking sad for everything he's had to experience. All his scars, his hearing loss, his slow processing speed- and he's incredibly innocent and trusting, and he doesn't understand at all why people get frustrated with him not hearing, and having to explain everything over and over. Then throw my mother into the mix, like yesterday, and I can't even cope anymore. Spending an afternoon with her was like having two Bobbys full time. I couldn't handle it.

Mary, it seems that the old stuff, like abuse alcohol, all of that, I got past it. But seeing your own kid suffer for month after month, and knowing his future is full of a lot of "ifs" is something I don't seem to have dealt with. When someone asks me his prognosis, I flippently say, "well, science is amazing and I bet by the time his heart gives out, we'll be driving up to a CVS window and asking for a left ventricle." That gives people what they want to hear and it gives me a way out of honestly answering the question. Truth is- and I'm sharing the deepesst truth here- is I'm scared to death.

Ok, so now I have tears running down my face and I'm here at work and they're going to think I'm nuts for crying for no reason. Time for a distraction, time for a distraction. I just feel like I wasn't very nice to him today because I was so burnt out after him being in my face all day for TWO WEEKS. And he doesn't understand when I'm impatient. It's like living with a puppy.

Alright guys, enough of the verbal diarrhea, sorry to hog, I just knew this was going to be tough. But I'm tougher, right?

Funny, when it listed "When are you full of pride?", meaning too proud, I couldn't think of anything. I don't ever think I'm better or good or worthy or anything more than anyone else, so just not being able to answer that is a clue as to where I need to build myself up. Or maybe just surrender it and God will build it up.

All I can think of is God, literally, help me. I'm too much of a mess to fix any of this by myself. No wonder I eat to make it all feel better.

I want to right now as a matter of fact, and someone just made brownies. They're always making thigns like that here at work. But I'm not going to touch them, they're not good for my body and will trigger a much worse feeling than the sadness and grief that I'm already feeling for Bobby. And for myself. Parents who love their children more than life itself shoudln't have to have to watch that either.

Man, I'm sorry to go on and on...

Trish

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1/2/11 9:11 P

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Hi Lovely Ladies,

First, let me please say how excited and grateful I am to be "exorsing" with you two and whoever else joins us.

Second, for myself I do not regret any part of my past. And, I do mean any part of it. Not only did I accept it, I embraced it. I had to. Took that tattered little girl, hugged her, loved her, cried for and with her, fed her and still feed her with healthy mind/body/soul nutrition and learned to stand up for her. I had to. I figured out that no one else ever did that for her. It was only up to me. Also, I could not possibly be who I am today without having been who I was yesterday. Do I still have more work to do? Of course I do! I have to. I will always be a work in progress. For me, that's what life is...constantly learning and evolving. When I have nothing left to learn, then I figure I will be done in this life and dead.

None of this happened or happens overnight. It was a process of processing, and processing, and processing some more. The more I talked about stuff, the more I wrote about stuff, the more I helped others experiencing similar stuff, the less I cried about it, the less I hurt over it, the less it mattered what happened to me then versus what's happening in my life today. It's almost like that was a totally different person back then from me now.

So please, oh please, feel free to let it all hang out here or on your own paper, no suppressing or denying (And, only you truly know that answer. However, if there are still strong feelings accompanying the old baggage, I would suggest still processing and processing until it doesn't really matter). Coping? Bringing your head to the present moment is absolutely appropriate. Processing the present through the past would be inappropriate. The past will never go away, it can't. It happened. It will simply matter less and less until it fades away.

Love, hugs and kisses to you both!

Mary

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1/2/11 5:37 P

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Catherine- thanks for saying that. I mean I'm really excited about doing this book, and I know it's the way to wisdom and letting GO of all that fear, but yuck, when I write it down, it's there in my face. I don't know the difference between denial or repression of these things that will never go away, and acceptance of what is. Does that make sense? Ok I was sexually abused. Now I can say, "That sucks and I'm still mad about it, and there's no way to justify it", or I can say, "yes that is true but I have a great life now, and wonderful kids (even though they're slobs, lol) and what I went through has made me a more compassionate person and a better mother.

so is one repression or denial? Or am I just living with it because I can't change it and I've accepted it as what is history. Is it a bad thing for me to say, "Ok, Bobby's heart stinks, but it's doing ok now and what we went through changed me for the better" or is that denial. Because truth is, I wouldn't wish what we went through on my worst eneny.

That's where I have a hard time bringing all this stuff up to the surface again. It's there, always will be, I feel like I've talked about it and spyuchology-ized it so much that at some point you have to move on. I have to move on. So what good does it do looking at it all again? (Not saying I'm not more than willing to do that- in fact I'm about to journal more right now.)

Like you said, writing exercise to exorcise. I really like that perspective.

Just random thoughts.

Trish

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1/2/11 8:24 A

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Trish, I'm scared to death of letting the anger in me go. I'm angry about my mother's treatment of me from day 1, my son's behavior, and a whole lot of sexual assault, abuse and other crap. I've had a million hours of therapy, and I think that I'm a total feelings "stuffer". I'm so horrified and ashamed of the rage that I've never really let it go. And I see it pop up in inappropriate responses here and there, and gush out occasionally ... scary.

And what you said about having a thought about people making messes, your parents being drunk (ditto), Bobby being needy .... and then making the counter arguement. I do the exact same thing. I'm angry about X, but it could be worse. I always, always do that. It's how I cope.

But maybe that's a step to coping and not the end result.... maybe I could say "it could be worse" and then somehow let it all drift out of me instead of stuffing it in. Mindfulness meditation needed here? And some serious writing exercise to exorcise? What do you all think?

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1/1/11 7:44 P

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I'm doing this by phone- I need a little space from "mr. Clingon" man, Bobby, so I'm hiding upstairs in my room.

I'm now doing the first few exercises and it's tough for me. Every time I say or write something negative, like, "I'm angry at- my parents for being drunk all the time. Or for Bobby being so needy. Or at the kids for the messes they leave for me to clean up", I find myself immediately countering that with, "but I'm lucky Bobby is alive", or "but my parents have a disease.". I must do this a lot subconsciously. I don't acknowledge the feelings, I just excuse them or rationalize why I shouldn't be feeling that way. I'm sure that's a big part of my eating addiction.

One part of the intro that really struck me was when Marianne wrote that she was obsessed with food even though at one point she had lost weight. The thoughts didn't go away. I wonder if that's me too, or if part of the learning process of knowing portions or ounces or measuring sizes or tracking is to have it on your mind a lot in the beginning and that wears down after a while. I do think about food a lot, but I'm also still trying to learn and understand what my body really needs. But then again, maybe that's part of the problem, I keep "trying" to understand" instead of surrendering it all.

Hopefully this book will show me the way.

Mary thank you for inviting us all in on this. I know I'm starting this with a lot of fear because I don't love going deep and seeing the demons. I like to run, and feel good, and be in control, and smile a lot. I have a lot of unfinished business and this book is a threat to my equilibrium in hiding and dealing with it all.

Just putting that out there. Is anyone else a little fearful of what they have to bring up to the surface?

Trish

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1/1/11 3:07 P

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Hi all! Mary, thanks so much for highlighting this book for us.

I was, honestly, not totally sold until I downloaded the sample.

The very first sentence of the forward screamed out to me ... when it described the book as not only addressing the root of our weight issues, but more importantly, the root of our *suffering*. Ca-ching. There's my currency -- and I'm looking to let suffering go from my life. By that, I mean not the situations (that I can't control) but my reactions, and any 'bone chewing' of the suffering.

As if that weren't enough to pull me in, the mention of Swami Satchidananda, who I hold in high regard (having discovered this past year at a Yogaville retreat) made it feel really good and like a path I needed to go down.

I'm looking forward to the process and sharing it with you, Trish, and others who join us! I love our group!

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1/1/11 10:20 A

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Good Morning Beautiful Souls,

Welcome to the New Year, 2011. Some of us from Daily Chit Chat have decided to read a book together entitled "A Course In Weight Loss" (21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrending Your Weight Forever) by Marianne Williamson. This is not a diet and exercise book. We have The Spark and this wonderful website for that purpose. This book is more of a spiritual nature. Just so you have an idea of what it's about, the following is from the back cover of the book...

"If your 'weighty thinking' does not change, then even if you lose weight, you'll retain an overwhelming and subconscious urge to gain it back. It's less important how quickly you lose weight, and more important how holistically you lose weight; you want your mind, your emotions, and your body to all 'lose weight'. Weight that disappears from your body but not from your soul is simply recyclying outward for a while, but is almost certain to return. It's self-defeating, therefore, to struggle to drop excess weight unless you are also willing to drop the thought-forms that initially produced it and now hold it in place."

We will be reading one chapter per week, completing the exercises privately and then sharing about it here, if you so choose.

Please begin by getting the book this weekend and reading the Foreword, Introduction, Embarking on the Journey and Lesson 1 by 1/8/11. Feel free to post anything at anytime. It's whatever works for you!

I am grateful and appreciative to be embarking on this journey with all of you!

xo,
Mary

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