Thursday, March 5, 2009

God is like Rollerskates

When we went to church on Christmas Eve our Priest told the little children gathered around his feet that God is like a fluffy marshmallow. I can not recall the great theological point that he was trying to make with that simile but today as I was taking a walk on my lunch break I found myself thinking about what else God is like.

It took quite an effort to get myself into my coat and out the door this afternoon. I almost wanted it to be raining so I could say, “see self it is raining and everyone knows you don’t go out walking in the rain, sheesh!” It wasn’t, the sky was blue the clouds were puffy and the sun was doing its best to send some warmth down our way. So out of excuses I plugged my ear buds into my ipod and marched out the door. I spent the first few blocks focused on not feeling good. My legs were tired and my darling Aunt Flow had settled into my lower back and was doing her evil magic on me so I grumped along. As I crossed the street on to the fourth block the sun hit me. It was warm, bright and comforting and I thought, “thank God for the sun!” Thus began my rumination. Sometimes a breath taking sunset, other times a tiny drop of dew; today God was like roller skates.

The thing about roller skates is that while you do have make an effort once you get rolling they take away some of the work. You push off but they will take your farther faster than you could go if you were walking or running unassisted. Standing on roller skates you are several inches taller than normal. I really appreciate this because I am not the tallest crayon in the box, it is nice to be able to take in a greater perspective than you have standing on the ground. Having a broader view helped change my attitude while I was walking. Roller skating is fun but takes focus so as I focused on this sensation I was feeling I ignored the other feelings that had been weighing me down. At the end of the day this may not be my greatest simile, but today, just for a few moments, it occurred to me that God can be like roller skates.

Now without being too blasphemous I dare you to picture God at a roller disco shooting the duck! :o)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What do you fear more, Success or Failure?

There She Goes, Up on that Soap Box Again!

Below is something I posted for the message board community that I belong to. I didn't really intend for it to be such an outpouring but when I was done it seemed like something that I should post on my blog too.

Ladies can I ask you all something? What scares you more the fear of failure or the fear of success? Why?

For me the fear of success is more detrimental to me getting what I want. I know what happens when I fail because I stumble daily. Success is the real show stopper. I don't know what will happen when I succeed in this weight loss journey (or my job or living happily ever after, etc). The thing is, I had to finally decide that this would be one of my life's great adventures. "To achieve what I have never achieved, I must do what I have never done". These last six months have been like nothing I ever experienced but at the same time my life is going on just as it always did. The difference is that I stepped out of my comfort zone and little by little the weight has come off my body and my mind.

Last night our leader asked if we had ever thought about quitting WW. To me it was an odd question. The thought has not once popped into my head since we started this. I glanced around the room and there were heads that were nodding, some almost imperceptibly but they were. I once again had to remind myself that this is not so easy for everyone. I AM 'results not typical.' I say this all because I hope that it may touch those in the group that struggle with the day to day challenges of sticking with WW. My wish for you would be that you figure out which is holding you back, fear of success or fear of failure, then face it and defeat it. My favorite workout song is Eminem's "Loose Yourself". Sometimes when I am working out I will have it repeat a couple of times. I don't even like most rap but this song is so perfect for the journey I am on.

Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted- One moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo*

*as poignient as the lyrics are I think the "yo" is my favorite part :)

This life only comes around once ya know? I am done watching it go by. I hope you don't think I am being preachy I just really love this program and it does work and it is flexible.

We were given a hand me down treadmill on Sunday and I tested it by jogging. It started as a joke. I figured since no one else was watching I could fall on the floor gasping without making a fool of myself. The thing is I actually made it for 10 minutes without keeling over! I didn't even have rubber legs when I was finished! Wow; so I guess the joke was on me. At the weigh in last night I was down -1.4. It proves that even if I don't get a lot of activity in a week eating on plan still yields results. Yay! With a little extra effort I may make it to my 20% goal by the end of March.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Circle Game - Fr. Tom's Funeral

"And the season's they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down. We're captive on a carousel of time. We can't go back we can only look behind from where we came, and go round and round and round in a circle game" - The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell

This week my husband and I went to the funeral of a truly amazing man, Fr. Tom Kraft a member of the Dominican community that serves our parish. Last week he lost his battle to throat cancer and passed joyfully into the next life.

The little bit of time that I was able to spend with him and the times that I saw him saying mass or just being present in a room were a blessing to me an anyone else gathered. I don't think I have ever before witnessed such a true example of the light of God shining through a person. I am often frustrated by the limitations of the English language and I writing about Fr. Tom brings on that frustration but I will see what I can do. Up until the very end of his life this man's eyes sparkled, his skin paled by the effects of his cancer glowed with an other worldly radiance, his back always straight and his posture always open.

It may sound strange that I said he passed joyfully but that is truly what happened. In the final months it was very clear that he saw death as the next step in his journey. It was an opportunity to embrace and experience that which he had devoted his life to proclaiming. The Communion of Saints, Lift Everlasting, that Jesus conquered death so that we may have eternal life. These are fundamental to our Catholic faith. The way he spoke was with joy, excitement and anticipation. I believe that because he was a humble man he may have struggled with the chance that he hadn't done enough, prayed enough or been enough to get a straight shot in to heaven but that never came across in his speech or demeanor. There was no what if. I am so grateful that while we believe that wonderful saintly people like Fr. Tom will be taken up into heaven to be with God until the last day, the rest of us still have a chance to redeem ourselves after death through prayer and penances in purgatory. He is not there though, he was a saint endowed by God to walk among us for a short time that our lives would be made just that much brighter for his presence.

The church was packed with people. I have never been to a service like that and really very few funerals in general. The was an entire section of con celebrating priests in their stoles and vestments. I also saw a few other white collars and habited nuns peppered throughout the congregation. Among the laity gathered there I saw two former priests as well. It made me think about time and how these men set out on a path to serve God in the best way that they could but somehow it just wasn't right. Time reveals everything but once things are revealed we can not go back and change anything. Time is always going forward and we must choose to glide along with it or be dragged violently behind it. It really is a choice.

As time goes on people die, our bodies only last so long before our expiration date comes up. But new life is always beginning fresh and so it goes. At the funeral mass we were surrounded by young children and babies there must have been 5 or 6 just in our immediate vicinity. They never stopped moving, babbling or crying throughout the entire service. Many began the service alert and happy, transitioned to tired and fussy, fell asleep and snuffled their sleeping baby snuffles, and finally awoke refreshed and ready to begin again. It was an amazing process to be witnessing while attending a funeral. I could not help thinking (and I must not have been alone) how appropriate it is to have babies present in abundance at a funeral. That clear and wonderful reminder that with death there is new life just as all life must end in death. It isn't deeply profound just the way that we are made.

It was dificult to leave the church after the mass. It seemed to me that we should have done one more thing, said one more thing or heard one more thing but that was all there was. I felt raw emotionally and physically. Going back to work for the afternoon was dificult but it was clear to me that it would have been offensive to Fr. Tom's to blow off my commitment to my co-workers in order to stay cocooned in my emotional bubble for the rest of the day. After all there was no more. What a blessing, what a joy, what a man to strive to emulate.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Unexpected Motivation

So my husband and I have been loosing weight together on Weight Watchers since the end of August and as I was telling someone last night our names would be in literature with a * after them. *Results Not Typical. Loosing weight has been a wonderful gift to give myself everyday since we started. I feel like I have reached a point where I can finally see results in myself. People have been telling me that I look different for awhile but I can finally see it for myself when I look in the mirror. We have been mastering eating within our points and exploring how to make the foods we love healthy and delicious. I cook he cleans and we get better every day! For Christmas we "exchanged" pedometers and I think it was just the thing I needed to catapult me to the next level. I find myself keeping close tabs on the numbers of steps I have taken throughout the day. Last weekend we were out and about on Sunday and I got up to over 9300 steps. I was so excited because it had been a busy day but I hadn't built in any specific exercise. At home I have figured out that due to the rectangular layout of our house I can go from one end to the other five or six times and get 300 steps in just a few minutes - during a commercial break no less. The more I find ways to build steps into my day the more I am motivated to look for even more. I have been working in the same building for two and a half years and for the first time it occurred to me that while we only occupy the ground floor there are 5 flights of stairs that I have easy access to when ever I want. So Monday I was having a rough time focusing and decided to go get a little exercise in to help my brain. Up those stairs I trot! I was breathing heavily by the time I got to the top but it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. On the way down I stopped on the parking garage level and did a lap around the small garage. Back at my desk I felt pretty pleased. The next day I popped my lean cuisine into the microwave and rather than standing there for 4 and a half minutes watching it spin around slowly I popped out to the stairs again. This time I went up and did a couple of laps in the parking lot and was back before the microwave finished. How cool is that? Well I think it is cool. Today I saw that it wasn't raining so I grabbed my iPod and scooted out the door. I was so excited to be getting out to walk around the neighborhood (we have recently been snow bound so I think I am still recovering from cabin fever). It was cold and damp but I kept a comfortable brisk pace and due to a misjudgment in my route I covered just over a mile! I was sad to have to go back even though it had begun raining again. I have this energy bursting out of me and it feels incredible. For the past couple of years I have had to deal with minor to moderate SAD in the winter so it is such a relief to be motivated to do anything let alone go charging up and down 5 flights of stairs on a whim. I do think my pedometer is helping because it is a concrete gauge that I am getting up and moving more. The more I move the more I move it is a wondrous feeling that I never thought I would have. I just pray that this is the beginning of something I will get to experience for a long time to come.

Monday, January 5, 2009

An Opening

Okay so here I go launching myself into the blogisphere. I have decided that one of my New Year's resolutions will be to write more and to have that writing be published. So while this is a rudimentary way to go about it I will be starting here. I am going to try and get myself to stretch and grow a little in this space so we shall see what happens.