Bliss

A couple of months ago I was doing one of those self improvement workbook things and I was asked to consider my experiences with ‘bliss’.

“Bliss”

Right.

I wasn’t actually sure that I had ever experienced bliss.  I considered that potentially, the moment of and directly after orgasm might be ‘bliss’ but somehow that didn’t seem to be quite it.

I asked a couple of friends if they had ever experienced bliss.  Neither answer brought me closer to identifying any ‘bliss’ in my experience.

Hmmm.

Well, I’m here to say that I think I have now experienced bliss…. and happiness and profound sadness and grief and hurt and heartache and excitement and gratitude and anger and … and … and …

Over the past couple of months and, most especially the past few weeks all of my long lost feelings have made their way to my consciousness… bursting in, knocking me around, kicking me when I was down and then lifting me up to the sky again, sun shining on my face, brilliant shining stars on a black sky, indescribable sunsets of emotions.

I thought they were gone.

I really truly thought that I had washed them away with some long ago shed tears and that I would never feel them again …but I was wrong.

Some gracious spirit saw fit to bring them back – and the rush was .. well.. a rush.

In countable hours I had moments of feeling everything… in relatively small doses I admit… but the best part, the absolute AMAZING part was that I woke today, the sun was shining and although I had been worried that experiencing the more unpleasant of them would bring my little wall builders scurrying … it seems clear that they have vacated the premises.  Hopefully permanently.

I missed “feeling”.  Even the bad stuff.

I hadn’t even considered that I was missing the good stuff too!  I was “happy enough” but I had a few moments of real bliss in the past couple of weeks… I know I did.. I recognized it… and it was… well… blissful.

I’m happier today than I have been in ever, it’s not bliss today, it’s just happy… I have found myself again and maybe I’m even better than the old version… and I think maybe a little bit different … and that’s okay.

I wonder if my friends will recognize me with my happy on.

 

Wooden Match

It’s like those wooden matches.

They are awesome and scary all in the same brain space.

On one hand they are strong and sturdy, when you strike one, there is a bright light with sparks and and it fills all your senses at once, there are the sounds of the wood hitting against the igniting material, and that sizzle and whoosh as the sulphur lights into a magnificent ball of flame and spark… delicious.  You wait until it settles in to a flame.  It’s an experience in itself

Then it begins to consume the splinter of wood that made it possible.

Sometimes, if you aren’t careful, the sulphur can fly off and you are just left with a piece of wood and sometimes, the sulphur will find it’s way on to your skin.  It’s not like any other burn you’ve had because it continues to burn until it has consumed all the chemicals with a searing pain… very small… almost invisible but searing… and intense.

Shit.  That hurt.  Not a wounding for life kind of hurt.  but hurt is hurt.

Those paper matches sometimes don’t light, if there is a bit of damp or oldness to them, nothing you can do will conjure a flame… you can go through a lot of paper matches just trying to feel a little warmth.

Perhaps that little chip of sulphur on my skin was meant to remind me … if I just want to play with fire a little bit, stick with the paper matches….  paper matches are never delicious … that distinct scent is not as powerful and the flame is not as bright and damn, you don’t get a light every time but they are so much less intense.

I’m going wait and get some wooden matches when the intensity matches the intent.

Message For The Hardened

The hardness…. I don’t think it’s permanent.  At least not permanent that you can count on.  The walls can crumble at any point, without warning. poof.  dust.

And then you are there naked.  All those dormant feelings …. a mass of raw nerve endings cringing against a soft breeze because… after being protected so long… everything feels.

And it’s unfamiliar.

Is it pain?

Is it joy?

hard to tell…

it is relentless…. there is no break … there is no off switch… and definitely – no pause

I find myself playing with the piles of dust… shaping it into a blanket to pull up to my chin, and maybe … over my head.   but it just rains down around me.. covering but not sheltering, not hiding me – just making me want to wash it off.

I’m straddling the line… in the distance I can see the materials for a new wall.  To the other side… is it the sun shining?  a mirage perhaps… I hear the storm as well…

To be continued….

Pain – How I’ve Missed You

I’ve known my feelings were broken… nerve damage maybe…. damaged.

I hadn’t truly felt in so long…. it’s been so empty.

Last month I was given the experience of love, deep rooted mother child love, I got sobbing tears and fear and panic … the fear of loss.

Feeling the hot sting of tears alarmed me, then a part of me watched on while I experienced those feelings for the first time in forever – wrapping myself in them, simultaneously feeling excitement that they were there… my self… stood back so as to not overlap the pure love and loss feelings.

I have gone back and replayed those moments in my heart again and again… getting reacquainted with that flavor of heart pain and wondering if it was all going to come back to me… in a flood… or a series of drips… or.. no.

Today, rejection, dejection, ….  all those feelings that make you be harsh with your self … and then…
there….
that feeling that is left over when whatever you were feeling such immense joy was ripped from your soul –
-that emptiness that is left behind – grey and cold and damp.

I feel driven to write it as it is happening to me….  perhaps to prevent the possibility that I could forget .. again… the thoughts that have gone through my head… why?  why now?  why this way?  why the pain first?  why is there no real relief from this feeling… the quality of the pain is measured by the length and intensity…

…. but on the other hand – yeah…. on the other hand…..  it brings me hope that all of the feelings that have been gone will be reborn into me and that maybe I wont have to walk through fires to feel a small sensation of them.

Thank you S for being true to yourself – for taking care of yourself when that is what you needed –  not allowing bad feelings to water it down.

This was obviously orchestrated by a very talented entity – that you were unable to read my mind at that particular moment,  was most certainly crucial to maintain the joy – the joy wasn’t meant to be today.  But I don’t like what it has left behind.

Looking for hope.  It’s time for you to come back.  The callous’ are gone,  this seems too intense for a sunny day.

 

Breathe

Breathe… it will get better.  I am telling myself this.

I feel like the Arch Angel that was brought hurling to the earth as a human.. a feeling being .. it was in a movie … I remember it.. Gabriel was able to feel pain, physical and emotional for the first time… things we have all learned to cope with, to move on from as easily as we roll over in our sleep .

I have experienced this sensation.  I did say ouch.  while my brain chided me … get over it.

But how?  Surely it was denying the pain in the past that turned me into the person who left me here a few weeks ago.

It’s exhausting.

It is easier not to feel it at all.

4 Hour Body – Not For This Body

Well, the 4 hour body crashed and burned.

Nothing more to say really than that it didn’t work out for me.  I was gaining weight on it and I just didn’t have it in me to keep trying in some hope that eventually the scales would tip (pun intended).

I gave it up and have gone back to a variation of Bernstein/Atkins which is working relatively well.

‘Relatively’ means that I loose weight on it, I feel good but sometimes I go off for a day or two and depending on how badly I do on those days, I have to re-lose the weight I put on – which seems to happen right around the time that I’m looking for a binge again.

I also blew my sciatic a week ago which is impairing my ability to do any real exercise –  I am going to yoga but not able to do everything for the entire class.  Bummer.

So, along the health lines, I could do better.  I will do better.

New supplements….  HGH Releaser by Abundance Naturally.  The idea (so my trusty sister tells me) is that post menopause, natural or surgical, the body does not produce HGH  (human growth hormone) and somehow that’s responsible for that nagging fat that hangs around regardless of diet and exercise on women over 50.  Here’s the link to the webpage for the HGH Releaser product.

Since I went out and bought the vitamins that Tim Ferris and the 4 hour body diet recommended, I figured I might as well have them, they seemed reasonable anyway so this is what I take with full meals – when I have full meals (lots of bars and shakes right now).

Green Tea Extract. (2 daily with food)  Ok, well, this is apparently the miracle all us overweight individuals have been waiting for ;)  Check out 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet where they have already listed the miraculous properties of Green Tea Extract.

Alpha Lipoic (1 daily with a meal) – Another powerhouse in the form of antioxidants.  Helps motabilize fat better, internal skin cream, boosts power of other antioxidants, reduces insulin levels…. and more.  My source here is naturalnews.com

Garlic (Allicin) – Another superpower – kills bacteria, increases metabolism, good for your heart, on and on and on…. read about it here

Carb Cutter – on a whim I bought this to help with the occasional binging – I have no earthly idea if it works so I take it because so far, it doesn’t seem to be hurting anything.

And finally, and this is not weight related …. After my chemo and subsequent hair loss, my hair came back very sparsely.  fine and thin and a few baldish patches and after being the person that was known to hairdressers far and wide as the woman with all the hair… ok, well I wasn’t known far and wide but I had a LOT of hair, this has been a insidious thorn in my side.

Yes, of course I’m grateful to be alive and healthy and so far, cancer free – but I think perhaps there was enough ongoing struggle and permanent reminders that we could have done without taking away my hair.

Anyway, constantly on the search for something that will keep what I have strong and maybe even help more keep growing and filling in, the latest is Silica.  It also seems to have some excellent benefits but what I am concerned about is hair and it seems to improve the strength of it… and, if it makes my skin a bit better, I’ll take that :)

This was intended to be a quick update about the 4 hour body and instead it’s a health and diet update? oh well. it is what it is.

4 Hour Body Diet – Day 4 Update

Well yesterday I posted all in a giant state of excitement because I had lost 3 lbs in 2 days on The 4 Hour Body – Slow Carb Diet.  Today I’m not so excited – I gained 1/2 of that back and was up to 178 this morning.

Now I have not lost hope because I didn’t do everything the same yesterday as I did the previous days and there is enough of that to make me wonder if I just stepped too far over the line… here’s what I did (or didn’t do);

  • Lunch, or as I prefer to call it, the second meal… I ate at a restaurant and did not have any beans.  I thought this would be ok, and perhaps it might have been – or maybe it was but it’s not the only thing I did.
  • Lunch – I also had some creamy dressing on my salad with chicken.  In hind sight, I should have asked for oil and vinegar which is acceptable but I didn’t think of that or I could have at least asked for the dressing on the side which I usually do but apparently I wasn’t thinking.
  • Exercise – I have been, for the last 6 days, trying to implement a new strategy for adding new habits to my life.  I’m calling it the 5 minutes a day for 5 days positive change plan (a little lengthy – if it works I’ll work on a catchier name).  So for 5 days I have spent 5 minutes a day on my elliptical machine, on the 6th day I did that and added another thing I wanted to turn into a habit but yesterday, day 7, I totally forgot and missed doing both things but importantly to this, the 5 minutes on the elliptical.
  • 4th Meal – The last 2 days I have not felt any desire to eat the 4th meal so in the name of honoring my system I did not eat it.  Yesterday I was hungry at 4th meal time so I ate.  Albeit it was a small meal, probably 1/2 the regular portion size but none the less, I had not done that the other days.
  • 1st MealI’m adding this as an after thought – I’m not sure if this is an issue or not and if it is, it will be one for today as well…. You are supposed to eat within a half an hour of waking – maybe an hour but definitely not longer than that.  Day one and two I did that – but yesterday I did not have to go into the office and wasn’t feeling well so I wanted to indulge in some extra shut-eye time and stayed in bed. The problem is – I woke up earlier and while I didn’t actually ‘get up’ I was awake and even my extra shut-eye was a little forced and not actually “sleep” but more like cat napping – so – not really sure about this but it’s an extra variable to consider.

The returned 1.5 lbs could have been because of the missed bean portion at lunch or even because of the salad dressing or the missed exercise  – I don’t know but I think it’s possible that the fourth meal or the combination of all those things brought it on.

So, in that vein, I have decided to postpone my ‘binge day’ until tomorrow.  I want to find out if I messed up or if it turns out that this diet is a bust after all.  I certainly was not comfortable with the idea of a free for all day while not being confident that the diet was going to deliver as promised.

So far today I’m still having the same experience of not being hungry until it’s time to eat again but I have been more cautious of portions – sticking to 1/2 c of beans for meals one and two but I think I will have a more liberal portion for dinner if I want it in an effort to avoid meal 4 again.

I will continue to post progress – or lack there of.

Diet

Diet

I have, in my drafts, a post about letting go of vanity.  I haven’t finished the post –  yet today I’m going to post about yet another diet I’m trying.  That seems a little ironic that part of me wants to let go of concern about my appearance and on the other hand, I’m still trying to lose weight.  Apparently, letting go of vanity isn’t going to come easily.

Anyway, Since November I’ve been on the Dr. Bernstein Diet (It’s a Canadian Thing I believe).  For those of you who aren’t familiar, this diet is based in low carb, much like Atkins but less fat and fewer calories – “Doctor Supervised”.

You attend the clinic 3 times per week and are seen by a nurse who tests your supplied urine sample for “among other things” (so they say) for levels of ketones.  Ketones are ejected from your body when you are eating so little carbohydrates that your body starts to burn fat stores – thus – rapid weight loss.

During your visit you also get a shot of B12/B6 and they check your food diary for issues.

From November 13th to January 7th I lost not quite 20lbs.  Now factor in that over Christmas I went off the diet and then spent a week re-loosing about 7 lbs.

The diet is very restrictive and it takes about 3 days of being on it to start loosing ketones. When you are loosing ketones you don’t feel hungry and the weight drops pretty fast but one screw up and you are toast – start over again.

The other huge downside is that you can’t just stop the Dr. B diet without consequences – notice that I put on about 7 lbs in the 2 weeks over Christmas.  You can’t just go all willy nilly and start eating carbs again when you have lost the weight.  You are supposed to go on their maintenance program  – I hear that is for about a year and, well, it isn’t cheap!

Ok, so I knew all that going in – there was no Tom Foolery or Evil Trickery – I went in with my eyes open and I’m not bashing it, just giving the low down on why I always have my eyes open for something better.  I may just have happened on the ‘something better’.

Enter The 4 Hour Body! (from Timothy Ferriss – Author of The 4 Hour Chef and The Four Hour Work Week).

I heard Ferriss interviewed on The Kickass Life podcast and although I didn’t listen to the interview that Dean Dwyer did with him, I know he interviewed him as well so I took a look at the book and I gotta say that I was hooked especially after reading about “cheat day”.

Ferriss offers that most diets fail because people can’t maintain them long term.  This is not news per say but it’s not a lot of diets that actually build in a cheat day to the plan.

The 4 Hour Body does just that with instructions to eat a regular on diet breakfast, then go crazy and eat as much of and whatever you want one day a week.  This does away with the uncontrolled binges and feelings of deprivation that often goes along with dieting.

I myself know that when I’m on a program – like Bernstein’s – that I will eventually cave to a craving and more often than not, this leads to a binge that typically will last a day and, in the case of Christmas, led to a 2 week diet hiatus.

What typically happens is I have a “little” of something and then I’m overwhelmed by a desire to eat more of it.  I LOVE food.  I love the taste and the texture and the smell.  I don’t eat because I’m hungry – I eat because my taste buds are hysterical with desire and that’s what fails me each and every time.

As a side note, my middle son does not enjoy food at all.   An athlete that doesn’t eat is not a good mix so I am constantly trying to lure him to eating high protein – high calorie foods.  I only WISH that I had that issue!

So… first the taste, then the binge and then the beating myself up and throwing the whole thing out the window because it’s pointless – I DON’T WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE NOT BEING TO BE ABLE TO EAT GOOD FOOD!

Ok, so I really like the 1 day a week that I can eat what I want but what about the other 6?

Beans Beans Beans.  I like beans which is a good thing because this diet consists of protein, legumes and veggies… heavy on the first 2.  At least 20 grams of protein with legumes and some veg.  I can do that.

You are supposed to eat this every 4 hours, 4 times a day with lots of water (naturally).  So, with a bit of trepidation, I launched into The 4 Hour Diet on Wednesday and here’s what happened….

I started out weighing in on Wednesday morning at 179.5 lbs.  – On Wednesday I ate 3 eggs, black beans and mushrooms for breakfast – chicken breast, black beans and tomato with mushrooms for lunch – same at dinner and then could not eat the 4th meal because I wasn’t at all hungry.

Thursday morning I weighed in at 178.5 lbs.

Thursday I ate 3 eggs, lentils with salsa for breakfast – chicken breast, lentils and a few tomato slices for lunch with balsamic vinegar, same for dinner and again, could not eat the 4th meal for lack of appetite.

This morning I weighed in at 176.5 lbs.  I weighed myself 3 times because I couldn’t believe it.

I get hungry 20 minutes before it’s time to eat again.  This is not water weight because I have been steadily dieting and loosing for several weeks already.  I’m stunned.

So – that’s where we sit.

Today at lunch I didn’t have beans because I had lunch out with a friend and there were no beans to be had so I had a spinach salad with chicken breast and the kicker – salad dressing which is a no-no… I didn’t think to ask for oil and vinegar which is ok… we will see what effect this has tomorrow.

Tomorrow is cheat day.  Even though it’s recommended to be on the diet for a week before indulging on cheat day, I am going to go for it anyway because I have been restricted for more than a week – I will update as this goes along!

What About the “Till Death Do You Part” Part

I was recently asked… “What happened to “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, etc.? Commitment doesn’t end just because things aren’t so rosy any more”.

For 25 years we have had a ‘creed’ I guess…. for lack of a better word – we agreed before we were married that neither of us would ever threaten the other that we would leave unless we meant it.  The bottom line is, if you say it, you’d better have your bags packed.

The intention was to never be one of those couples that is always leaving and then coming back and trial separations etc. because we felt that people give up on things too easily.

I still believe that people not only give up on things too easily, but that they rush into them to quickly to begin with.  All along I have looked at this marriage as a ‘until death do you part’ commitment and I know he has too.

However, “things aren’t so rosy any more” really doesn’t apply, at least it doesn’t right now.  We have had lots of ‘not rosy’ thisisn’t the hardest thing we have faced as a couple – ‘things’ are still pretty good.  No one is sick or dying, no one is broke, no one is having an affair – there is no crisis.  Well, me not being in love any more is a crisis but there is not event happening to make me feel that way.

Together we have faced infertility and unsuccessful treatments, adoption x 4 – one of them a failed adoption, illness and death of family members x 3, illness and death of parents x 2 (both mine), debilitating car accident, unemployment, financial crisis (many),  cancer and treatments (mine)… these are just the biggies.  So yeah, there have been times that life was not “rosy” and we faced those times together – in good times and in bad and all of that.

I am open (and would be happy) to finding a way to stay together – the only thing I ask is that we live in some semblance of peace.  We don’t have to be having a good ol’ time all the time but there can’t be hostility all the time either.

…. and I’m still hoping that it could happen – I just wish I knew how to make it happen.

However, I certainly am not doing him any favors either – staying married because ‘I promised’.  To honor the commitment without the feeling is, in my opinion, the epitome of betrayal.

In making a decision to stay because “I promised”, am I not robbing him of the potential of finding someone who is “in love” with him again?  He can’t truly be happy either, I am NOT that great of an actress!

However, My marriage is a very tiny part of the re-inventing myself plan.  My focus is on my mind body and soul, I am practicing meditation, exploring my spirituality, taking care of my health and trying to spend more time doing things I’m passionate about (and finding out what those things are) into my life.

I am currently working on the premise that if I work on my own self – I can become the person I want to be and if I am then at a place of peace with myself and achieve some level of inner happiness then I will be better able to handle things that make my hair stand on end now and even find a way to be happy ‘together’ again.

Meditation – Take 1

Yesterday I decided meditation was required and refocused my attention on spirituality.

For a long time I’ve been fascinated by Hinduism and Buddhism and admittedly, I know very little about them – not even enough to write a blog post about.

With my current limited knowledge, my own personal beliefs and philosophies lay somewhere between the two and since Buddhism isn’t so much of a religion as it is a school of thought or a way of being, I decided to start there for meditation guidance.

What I learned yesterday from the ZenCast Podcast was probably not even a real basic understanding but it’s my basic understanding – the idea behind Buddhism is to find peace and enlightenment through not dwelling on the feelings and thoughts we have.  You are to accept the feeling or thought as existing but then release it.

Meditation is practicing releasing those thoughts and feelings and letting your mind quiet.

This is probably not absolutely correct but it’s what I know right now and I’m going with that – as I learn, I’ll talk about it.

Anyway, so I listened to an introduction to meditation and then a podcast that focused more on Buddhism and then last night I found a guided meditation podcast and set out to complete my first meditation.  Meditation Take 1.

I have ‘tried’ to meditate before but was driven to distraction by the distractions.  I did get that this was part of the process, to overcome the distractions, to notice them and re-focus but I did not have the level of commitment required to complete a full practice.

One of the things I heard yesterday was that it is important to set the amount of time you are going to practice meditation and commit to it.  Ideally I suppose you would use a guided meditation or some sort of timing device to alert you to the end of the set time so that you aren’t feeling a need to check the clock.

While no one actually said it – I think it’s safe to assume that clock watching is counterproductive to meditation.

So, I got myself into a comfortable seated position, put on my headset and started the guided meditation.  I have a few notes for next time;

  • I need a new head set.  One with the noise cancelling feature because during my meditation  I could hear my boys playing Xbox and they were very distracting.  I get that I’m supposed  to be learning to overcome distractions, to notice them and let them go and refocus my attention on my breathing but honestly, my mind and body provide plenty of distractions to practice with – I don’t need any help on that front.   Some day I plan to rock this meditation practice to the point that I could meditate on a roller-coaster but for now, lets make it a little easier.
  • Speaking of making things easier – I know you are supposed to sit with a certain posture and balance.  I did not.  My creaky weak unfit body complains a lot about some things so in the same spirit as the point above, I am making a few modifications in the name of minimizing distractions.  I did “sit” and I did “sit cross-legged” and I did sit straight up but I used back support.  Again… when I’m rocking this I will be able to do it sitting on a rock.
  • I need to ensure I wont be disturbed – I wasn’t.  No one came in but I didn’t specify the need for solitude before I went to practice my meditation so I kept wondering if I would be interrupted.
  • Put my phone on “do not disturb”.  That’s a big one.  I listen to the podcasts and guided meditation on my iPhone and when one of my friends sent me a text message 3/4 of the way in I just about leaped out of my skin.  Not exactly the peace and tranquility I was going for.

That said, over all I am pleased with how it went.  I did do the entire 30 minutes without moving except for the text message interruption after which  I did set the phone to silent to ensure no further skin-leaving episodes.  However, that required me to open my eyes and then I was unable to control the urge to look at the clock and read the message.

I felt very relaxed during the meditation practice.  So much so that a few times I was not sure if I was experiencing absolute relaxation and peace – or if I was falling asleep. I’ll have to look into that… or maybe set my meditation time for when I’m not so totally exhausted.