Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why "weight-loss" is not part of my resolutions...

For so many years I've made New Years Resolutions which always included weight loss goals or ways to improve my body. This year, I want to shift my focus more on living my life. Don't get me wrong...I'd still love to have a perfect beach body and I'm certainly not throwing in the towel {completely} on my diet and exercise...but I no longer want to be imprisoned by these types of goals. I've been finding myself using such an immense amount of energy (mentally and physically) focusing almost solely on how much I weight or what size pants I wear only to find that at the end of the year not much has changed. 

Yes, I've suffered through some horrible, tasteless meals, spent a small fortune on 'diet' foods, literally starved myself and opted out of some incredible experiences in order to stay true to my diet and in the end, even if I've lost weight and/or gained muscle, I'm still not satisfied with my results. In the face of this reality I must confess that I may never be satisfied with my weight or size so why...why would I continue to use up my valuable resources (my mind, energy, emotional well-being, my health) for the pursuit of a goal I may never attain. I'm at a healthy weight, I know this intellectually, and I enjoy great health...but my mind (body dysmorphia) will not allow me to be "done" with the constant need for improvement. So, this year, my intention is to let go and focus on the larger picture.

My intentions for 2012:

Live simply:

A- Simplify. We will soon be moving out of our house and into the R.V. This will necessitate some major downsizing. It will be hard, those decisions that involve sentimental items and things with 'value' that we will never be able to recoupe the costs by selling. But it will also be liberating.

B- Pay off all debt...there is no choice must be accomplished before December 2012 (retirement D-day).

C- Continue to reduce my carbon-footprint. Last year (2011) I vowed to use my Pur water filter and stainless steel reusable water bottles along with my reusable grocery bags. Although I forgot several times, I was fairly consistant with both promises. This year I plan on using homemade cleaning supplies (which will also be useful and frugal once we are in the RV) and ride my bike more. Currently, it would be possible for me to ride to work (8 miles one way) but it depends on where and when we move if I can continue to do this...otherwise I hope to be able to ride it while running errands.

Empower myself by actively pursuing my dreams:

A- Write. Okay, more precisely, submit some articles and guest posts...even if it scares the crap out of me to do so. {Bucket List Item}

B- Climb Mt. Shasta. I've put it off long enough. If I save $100 a month, by July I will have more than enough to cover expenses, plus that is generally the best time to attempt to summit. I will also be diverting funds I might normally use to enter running races into my fewer races so that I may reach a bigger and more important goal. {Bucket List Item}

3- Meditate...everyday...even if only for a few minutes. Build up constancy.

Mt. Shasta

December 31 ~ reverb11 ~ Fiesta (Celebration)

What are you celebrating today? What will you celebrate in 2012?

2011 has been an amazing year brining so many reasons for celebration. Of course, not every thing has been unicorns and candy our household we've been prey to major pay cuts, my loss of health care coverage, selling off of treasured items (due to the impending loss of our house) as well as hurt feelings, bad days and your 'typical' stresses. But, on the same hand, no one close to me passed away (everyone has been exceptionally healthy), we still have our jobs, we've managed to travel and visit with family, we purchased the perfect R.V. (our future home), there was an engagement and a wedding...and today is my husband's 49th birthday.

My dare-devil husband, scaling the frozen waterfall for a cool picture!
As I've mentioned before, my husband and I have a knack for making an ordinary day into an event. I mean to say, if you can change your perspective, release some of your expectations and slow down enough to see the beauty of the day or the person next to you or the fact that you can feel the breeze tease your hair and the sun warm your face, the ordinary doesn't seem so ordinary any more.

Our "ski" themed wedding in Tahoe ended up with 50 degree weather and no snow. But we found a beach, got some sun and enjoyed a was perfect!
Our time in Tahoe has reacquainted us to the wonders of nature...but you don't need to be lost in the woods to experience this, it's around you all of the time. From the flower pushing through the cracked cement to the sound of a bird singing over the hum of's there.

Amazingly beautiful rock formations near Mt. Tallac. 
So, in 2012 I will be celebrating each day that I am blessed to see.  I'll be celebrating liberation from the confines of an over-priced home with it's inflated gas and electric bills, liberation from societal expectations on what constitutes a home and what kind of belongings people should own...liberation from debt.  And, by this time next year (actually November 2012) we will be celebrating retirement and heading off in our R.V. for anywhere and every where.

December 30 ~ reverb11 ~ Karuna (Compassion)

What compassionate actions do you aspire to in the coming twelve months?

This coming year I want to focus on compassion for myself in order to find the inner love that will enable me to be of better service to others. On the surface this may sound selfish so let me explain. 

For as many New Year's that I can remember, my resolutions have always contained the desire to 'get in better shape', 'lose weight', 'exercise more' and other similar goals that reflect the unhappiness with my self. None of these goals help to become more at peace, more accepting or a better person over all. In my case, my health is excellent...losing weight or exercising more isn't going to improve my cholesterol levels or blood pressure. Which means, in all reality, my desire to 'get in shape' is strictly for vanity.

To be sure, I have goals of completing another marathon and one more Tough Mudder. I also want to make that summit attempt on Mt. Shasta...and these require physical ability. But they don't require 6-pack abs or an obsessive compulsive addition to working out. Not at the expense of time with friends, family and nature. There has to be some balance. At 41 years old I don't need to become a fitness model or the most ripped lady at the gym...not if it means I have to eat egg whites and protein shakes everyday while worrying about how a weekend 'vacation' may sabotage my entire training plan.

No, 20+ years of obsessing about my weight, never being happy with the scale (regardless if it read 165 pounds or 89 pounds or anywhere in between), eating 'fake' foods to try to lose 5 pounds, and being down on myself for not looking 'perfect' has taken an emotional toll. 

If, in 2012, I can work towards accepting and loving me for all of the good and positive things I do (or am capable of doing), even if I am still carrying around an extra 5 or 10 pounds, I will be able to free up so much time and space in my head to really focus on serving others. If I can stop worrying about how 'fat' I look I can actually learn to love the moment even more.

When I'm dead I would rather people remember the good things I did rather than if I had a flat stomach or could still fit into a size 6. 


December 29 ~ reverb11 ~ Poesía (Poetry)

Write a poem. It doesn’t have to rhyme.

Tahoe Vista, CA

The sun comes up
warming the day
taking the bite out of the cold,
harsh morning.

The air is crisp and
the quiet serenity of
this solitude wraps its
arms around me.

A sweet embrace of
fresh air, winter sun and
natures scents gently reminds me,
I am a part of ever thing.

Fallen Leaf

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28 ~ reverb11 ~ Agradecimiento (Gratitude)

What eleven things were you most grateful for in 2011?

1. My brand new Husband, who loves me not despite of my flaws, but because of them.

I do...

2. My family, no matter how dysfunctional we are, our love knows no bounds.

The Wedding Party, Squaw Valley
3. My friends, that very small handful of people who, no matter how long we've been apart, can always pick up right where we left off.

Half Moon Bay with Andrea.
4. My cats (Avi and Miso) and dog (Cleo) who have helped keep me company while I tried to get a grip on my sanity. No matter how sad, stressed or pissed I got, looking at those faces could wipe away an entire day of B.S. and make everything all-right.

Avi and Miso at the cabin in Tahoe Vista during Christmas 2011.
5. The internet which has opened up the world to me in ways I never imagined. I have met new friends, reconnected to old ones, found inspiration for writing, discovered some great books and places to visit. It's nice to unplug every once in a while, but I admit I wouldn't want to go without it.
6. The freedom and ability to travel (even if only local) this past year. Of course, I must refer back to item #1, who makes the travel possible. =)

My husband at the helm of the Mutiny.
7. Old acquaintances who became new friends this year. Particularly the one who introduced me to Hot Yoga and the other who became my running partner. It's hard for me to make friends (I'm really shy in person) but these 2 ladies made it so easy.

Davis Moo-nlight 1/2 Marathon
8. My job...yes, even when the alarm goes off and I don't want to get out of bed, I am still grateful to not only have a job, but to have one in the area I excel. Although my hours and pay have been cut, my boss has made sure I am well compensated and allows me to have my choice of 4 days off per week. This, in turn, allows me to have 3 days off with my husband, every week! 

9. My health, which has been so extremely important this year as I trained and completed my first full-marathon and half-marathon, Tough Mudder and trail 10K. I have gone all year with a heavy training schedule with zero injuries (aside from the 2 times I strained my back while cleaning).

At the top of Devil's Beard, Tough Mudder Norcal 2011.
10. Books and book recommendations. I love to read...

11. Writing challenges like reverb11 and Small Stones...I hope to find 2012 full of more opportunities to write.

Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.  ~Author Unknown

December 27 ~ reverb11 ~ Metta (Lovingkindness)

The metta mantras are: “May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from suffering.”

To whom do you wish to send metta? (Don’t forget to send it to yourself, too!)

I wish to send this to everyone who has come into my life (past, present and future). I wish to send this to all sentient beings...the people I love, the people I dislike, the people who love me and even those who loath the animals that provide us companionship and others food (although ultimately I wish we would all go vegetarian =P) all living beings who deserve safety, happiness, health and most of all to be free from suffering.

To all of you...

A Buddhist’s Mantra

(based on the Prayer of St. Francis)
May I be an agent of love in this world.
Where there is hatred, let me bring loving-kindness;
Where there is injury, forgiveness;
Where there is doubt, insight;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
May I console as well as be consoled.
May I understand as well as be understood;
May I love as well as be loved;
For in giving we receive;
In forgiving, we are forgiven;
In dying to self-centeredness, we are born to the deathless.

December 26 ~ reverb11 ~ Seva (Service)

How did you serve in 2011? Do you plan to volunteer in 2012?

As good as I know it makes me feel, I find it hard to make time for Seva. I know it seems so selfish, after all, I am very fortunate and perfectly capable of doing more then I do. In the past I have helped in the soup kitchen, volunteered every Saturday morning at the Suisun Wildlife Center and delivered food packages to families in need...and every time I've felt fulfilled and grateful. But I know that I need to be more consistant in my service to others.

This past year I dedicated much of my time to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training. It was a great experience to work with so many people trying to help end blood cancers. Although I benefitted by being able to train with TNT for the San Diego Marathon, it felt great to be a part of something bigger and more important than crossing the finish line.

Solano/Redwood Team
In 2012 I will continue to support the Humane Society and hope to dedicate some time to the ASPCA. I would like to help in the soup kitchen again...or perhaps spend some time at the retirement home just down the road from our house. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 25 ~ reverb11 ~ Milagro (Wonder)

Illustrate your own personal wonderland — real or imagined. What’s the weather like? Who else is there with you? Use vivid detail.

After traveling around Lake Tahoe this past week I can hardly invision a more beautiful place. My husband (that seems to weird to type) and I were just talking about this during our drive to Genoa, Nevada (to the"Oldest Thirst Parlor in Nevada"). Since we will soon be hitting the open road in our RV (less than a year...the countdown is on) we were speaking about how hard it will be to leave such an amazing area. But, in almost the same breath, I realized that we have probably spoken those same words about other places we've been:

Watching the fog envelope the redwoods at the Russian River.

The sun rising over the water in Cabo.

 Followed by setting baby turtles free...

Sitting quietly at the water's edge making a perfect reflection at Lola Montez Lake.

Snorkeling in the clear waters in Belize (and later looking for manatee).

Gazing in awe at the magnificence of nature.

Mt. Shasta...I will climb her one day...I will.
Wizard Island, Crater Lake
Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
  Repelling down precarious mountainsides to enjoy the splendor of a secluded beach.

Somewhere between Indian Sands and Thomas Creek, Oregon
The complete and utter beauty of Lake Tahoe, which will always have the ability to take m breath away.

Sand Harbor North Lake Tahoe
Part of me would want to roll all of these places together (plus some that I didn't post and those I have yet to visit) into my perfect "Wonderland"...but another part of me knows that what makes these places special is that they aren't so easily accessed. But then again, if there is a heaven, it would be an amalgam of these.

December 24 ~ reverb11 ~ Regalo (Gift)

What was the most cherished gift you received this year? What were the most thoughtful gifts you gave?
For it is in giving that we receive. ~Saint Francis of Assisi

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 23 ~ reverb11 ~ Karma (Action)

Actions speak louder than words. What daily actions will you take this year? How will you begin your January mornings?

Starting out the new year I can think of no better way to begin my morning then through a few minutes of meditation.  I wrote about this in November, a sort of early resolution, but considering the events taking place right now (my wedding on Christmas Day and family from around the country flying into the Lake Tahoe area to celebrate with us) I have been unable to find the time for solitude.

I have taken advantage of waking up before almost everyone else (my mom is also an early riser so she gets up when she hears me) and I've sat in the peace and quiet, reflecting a little.  But there has been so much over-indulgence and stress that my mind races with plans, worries and guilt which makes me stress out even more. As much as I love my friends and family, I am looking forward to my and my new husband's last week in our little cabin. A full week of pressure, no expectations, no schedule...just peace.

 The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. 
~ Frederick Buechner

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