Saturday, August 03, 2013

Something About Affirmations

During our trip to Kripalu earlier this year, my mother and I faced a few things that we call BS and simply too woo-woo.  The fact is, I live in my skepticism, doing things I cannot and never will be able to rationally explain but have come to accept on faith, as it were, because my experience says that there is something there, even though I can’t explain what “it” is or how “it” works.  I remember when acupuncture was considered ridiculous by Western medicine and now some insurance companies are actually covering it because what was once labeled as false medicine has been proven to be effective.  In other words, I’ve lived long enough to see science catch up with so many personal experiences.

Don’t get me wrong.  I get turned off by those who set too much store by experience.  I don’t have the patience to debate the veracity of someone else’s reality any more than I have the energy to defend my own.  I don’t know that everything needs to be explained.  Or maybe I’ve come to appreciate that what can’t be explained today may make perfect sense tomorrow.

And this brings me back to Kripalu and my mother where we went to a workshop on affirmations.  My mother used affirmations when she was facing cancer for the umpteenth time.  She hasn't used affirmations since.  She likely gives credit for her recovery where credit is mostly due—chemotherapy, radiation, diet, etc.  When we went to the workshop it was out of curiosity.  Although I've read about affirmations, I haven't had any experience with using them.  My problem is that I can’t seem to find a way to incorporate it into my daily routine.   After the workshop, I really wanted to find ways to make room for affirmations.  (In case you are curious, my affirmation had a lot do with change and acceptance, rooted in the grief I was experiencing at the time over Romanov’s death.)

But how? 

Another part of our Kripalu experience fell into the “woo-woo” side of things when we participated in Donna Eden’s weekend workshop.  Now, I’ve already written about how great it was and how my mother and I both left as Eden Energy Medicine converts.  One of the things she asks the participants to do is a short 5 Minute Energy Routine and part of the routine includes something that allows for using affirmations along with everything else.  So that’s one easy-peasy way for me to get affirmations into my daily life.

Except I haven’t.  I’ve been home now for over two months and I keep thinking, “I need to find some affirmations to use.”  I keep reminding myself to do this but then I get caught up in other things.  Albeit, studying for the medical coding certification exam did take precedence over all else.  Still, I took the exam and between then and now I still haven’t really committed to incorporating affirmations into my life.

toilet paper book--The possibilities for this are endless, obviously.  Here it is used with colors and color tabs.  What about shapes?  Numbers?  This could be a learning resource as well as fun and simple craft.  An older sibling could make this for a younger one.  Perfect!Meanwhile over on Pinterest, I had pinned this simple craft project, making a book using toilet paper rolls.  Cute project.  Nothing remarkable really but I had a feeling that someday I’d think of a project that would be a perfect fit.  Of course, you dear reader, in the context of this blog post, you’ve probably figured out how the two merge into one.  I can even put more than one affirmation in each “page” if I like. 

Now I just need to choose a few affirmations.  The one I created for the workshop is a natural first choice.  I have other resources and I’m sure I can find a few others that feel like a good fit for me, for my life, for my needs.  It’s a matter of my sitting down, of making choices, of finding time.  But finding time is something that simply does not happen.  I’ll need to make time and make choices and make myself sit down and make it happen.

I’ll keep you posted (by which I mean, I’ll be posting my progress in my blog). 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Weekly Quotes

God Revised

When compared with other ancient literary texts, the Bible looks like a human document assembled for human purposes.  (23)

. . . I object to the Ten Commandments being posted in courtrooms and classrooms across the nation not because I favor theft, adultery, and murder.  Rather, I object to conveying the idea that the sole source of ultimate truth in the world is the God of smoke and fire on Sinai.  (24)

Biblical scholars have confirmed what even a casual reader of the Bible soon discovers:  the Bible is internally inconsistent and historically inaccurate. . . . The Bible reveals humanity at its worst and occasionally at its best.  In that sense, the Bible contains inspiration and even wisdom—but only insofar as it dovetails with everything else we know.  (34)

The claim that the Bible is the authoritative revelation of the one true God has no logical foundation.  (37)

If medical and technological advances had proceeded at the same pace as religious enlightenment over the centuries, we’d still practice bloodletting and communicate by smoke signal.  (40)

The Lion in the Lei Shop

Everything’s all wrong but everything’s all right.  (142)

It isn’t what you’re called; it’s how you’re called it.  (182)

Try to remember what’s true and what’s not true.  (199)

That’s when I learned that memory, right or wrong, is a subjective thing.  (258)

[A]s soon as belief dies, hope starts dying, too.  (275)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.  (5)

This is the hardest now. (50)

I’m not sure of much of anything these days.  Maybe that’s why I talk so much.  (55)

Unusual behavior tends to produce estrangement in others which tends to further the unusual behavior and thus the estrangement in self-stroking cycles until some sort of climax is reached.  (62)

[W]hen you look directly at an insane man all you see is a reflection of your own knowledge that he’s insane, which is not to see him at all.  To see him you must see what he saw and when you are trying to see the vision of an insane man, an oblique route is the only way to come at it.  Otherwise your own opinions block the way.  (71)

The War of Art

The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.  (20)

Never forget:  This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.  This second, we can turn the tables. . . . (22)

Anything that draws attention to ourselves through pain-free or artificial means is a manifestation of Resistance.  (24)

Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification, and hard work, we simply consume a product.  (27)

Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work.  Don’t do it. If you’re doing it, stop.  (28)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Have You Met Your 4 Minute Mile?

I posted this on my MyFitness blog and, since I seem to be posting things about my physical fitness here on my person blog every now and again, I thought I would share this post here as well.  (Usually I do it the other way around but, as you will soon read, I was too excited to wait.)  Enjoy!

Before the 1950s, it was believed that nobody could run a mile in under 4 minutes.  It was understood that the best anyone could do would never be less than that mark. Then came Roger Bannister who, in 1954, ran a mile in under 4 minutes.  Soon, others would follow suit and, in the decades since, we’ve all seen men and women who have broken this impossible to break milestone.

This week I broke my “4 minute” limitation.  At the beginning of the month, I established a challenge for myself, something that would test and build my physical limitations.  I decided to do one surya namaskar (Sun Salutation) for every day of the month.  Part of my choice was rooted in my commitment to explore acceptance.  Anyone who has done yoga knows that it is not unusual to find one side of your body is more flexible than the other.  In strength training, I find there are times when one arm can do more curls than the other or lift a heavier weight even. 

I wanted to do this repetitious morning practice to really live with the difference of how I move through the sequence of asanas.  I have always, or for as long as I can remember, had a disparate experience when doing the series on my right side as opposed to my left.  When moving from Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downard-Facing Dog) into a Lunge, my right foot would land close to if not between my hands soon to be followed by my left foot.  But when my left foot was leading, it would falter, somewhere around my hip or upper thigh, and I would have to sort of hiccup step it to where it would eventually land between my hands.  Sometimes I would even have to help it by taking my left hand and pulling my foot up to fall where I needed it to be.  Then I would easily lift my right foot to fall beside my left. 

This has been true for decades. I didn’t think anything of it, assuming it had something to do with my left hip being slightly inverted.  I accepted this as a part of my anatomical experience, knowing that my July Challenge would really push me to confront it more deeply.

Day after day, as I added one more repetition to my morning practice, my left foot would falter.  I even nearly stubbed my toe one time!  Not fun.  But this was why I was here, on my mat, allowing myself to live with the different sides of myself. 

Then came 26 July.  I had done six surya namaskar when my left foot did something unexpected.  It landed so that my toes were in line with the heel of my palm. 

I kid you not—I literally stopped everything I was doing and just looked at my foot for a breath or two and then continued with my practice.  I confess, I thought it was a fluke.  I must have perfectly aligned every part of my body, placed my hands at the perfect distance from one another and planted my feet and the crucial pivotal point so that the miraculous could happen.  In other words, I did not expect it to happen again.  In fact, I would have accepted it’s not happening again. 

It happened again.  And again.  And again.  The next 20 Sun Salutations my left foot landed near my hands, even falling between them once or twice.  I was stunned/thrilled/amazed/awed/etc.  And then next morning I approached my mat wondering what would happen.  Would my left foot falter or fall in place?  Would I be able to accept it if it did?  Or didn’t?  Had I really met my “4 Minute Mile”?

I am not fond of the fitness messages I see that emphasize how we limit ourselves, that the only thing keeping us down is our beliefs, that we can do more if we only push ourselves a little harder.  Frankly, I feel that this kind of thinking leads to injury.  I tend to push myself too much and I need to remind myself to be gentle, to progress slowly, carefully, mindfully.  I honestly didn’t expect that my adding a Surya Namaskar a day would result in anything different. Maybe some of it would feel easier over time but, after decades of having to assist my left foot forward, I did not expect there to be any changes in my physical ability.  I wasn’t thinking in a limited manner.  I was accepting myself and my body with compassion and awareness.

And yes, on the 27th, I did all 27 Sun Salutations without having to help my left side.  This morning, I accomplished all 28 sequences, dripping sweat, surprising myself.  I have met my 4 Minute Mile and maybe in a month or a year or two years my body will lose some strength or flexibility and I will find myself stuttering on the mat again.   That’s okay.  I love that I faced a limitation with acceptance rather than a determination to make a change.  As a result, the change came and I feel limitless.

What is your 4 Minute Mile?  Have you faced it with acceptance?  Have you tried to push through it only to find yourself hitting a wall?  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Week in the Life--Cat, Kindergarten, and Kanika (and then some)

Bibi with Margarine aka Sparkles aka Sparklette
Joe & Co came over on Monday and Bibi was thrilled with her latest toy—an interactive cat that purrs, meows, even sings, and also jumps up to play with a cat toy. She named the cat “Sparkles” although I was calling the toy Margarine.  Why?  Well, Joe and Erin introduced a cat to the family, Butters, and Bibi adores the cat.  Adores it so much that she torments the poor thing, wanting to play with it endlessly.  Ironic, really, given how much Romanov tormented poor Bibi.  So the toy cat became Margarine in my mind, a fake Butters, and Bibi could not have been more thrilled with the toy. 

Tuesday Rob did something horrible to me.  He made a dental appointment for the two of us.  I hate seeing dentists, being emotionally scarred when, at the age of six, I had a tooth drilled without the benefit of Novocain.  I assume they simply didn’t give children Novocain back then.  If they did then I can only assume that Orin Scrivello D.D.S. was my dentist.  I left the dentist’s office with a choice:  spend $40 on a tooth extraction or I could replace a broken crown will cost $600 or more (and more likely more).

Guess which one I’m going to do.

This is a picture of Snowdoll with her head wedged
beneath Rob's outstretched feet.  She was obviously
comfortable but it looked really peculiar.
On Thursday, I had the joy of going with Erin to register Bibi for kindergarten.  I truly felt honored.  Erin didn’t want to go alone and Joe had to work.  Now, she could have asked a friend or any other family member.  For all I know she did.  But I would like to think that I was pretty far up the list of her choices.  So I got to see Bibi’s new school—the outside, the playground, the main entryway, and the cafeteria.  After registering her, we went to RaceTrac for some frozen yogurt.  Bibi got a watermelon sorbet and I had a coconut fat free yogurt. I don’t even know what Erin made herself because I was so excited they had coconut.  I had Rob meet us there because he and I had to run some errands anyway and I knew Erin and Bibi still had to go shop for school uniforms for Bibi. 

Who knew Bibi would be so upset she didn’t get to spend more time with us that, after they picked up the uniforms, she and Erin came by again?  Which is how Rob and I had a fashion show as well as some pleasant (wonderful even) company.  We played a board game.  We talked and just had a lovely and love filled afternoon.  So what if their return interrupted my working out?  I would stop and drop everything for family visits! 

Saturday Kanika and I walked 3 miles.  It was cooler than it has been and we had plenty of things to catch up on.  She’d gone to visit her sister and I recommended the frozen yogurt to her.  We both successfully resisted the new cupcake place that opened not far from the parking lot where everyone goes.  We apparently were not the only ones to realize that the weather was cooler than it has been; I can’t remember the last time I saw the trail where we occasionally walk so crowded.  It was great!

Kanika and I are working our way through One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds.  We started in June and, to be honest, so far we haven’t really done anything “meaty.”  Each chapter is divided into themes and June’s theme was travel with July’s focus was on getting your address book and photographs organized.  Next month?  Well, August is all about moving.  I looked at the table of contents and earlier in the year we would have tackled rooms and such but that’s okay.  We’re planning on working our way through to the end of the book and back around to the beginning. 

While exercising, I broke a blood vessel.
As you can see, it was a full week and a good one.  I didn’t post many book reviews but there will be more coming next week.  This week I am going to get some reading done.  I had hoped to write a bit about the Trayvon Martin verdict.  I’m afraid my mind could not wrap itself around the outcome.  I have avoided comments on anything having to do with the case because I know how quickly things degenerate online.  But if you want to read some of the things I found most interesting, here are some links:

Sometimes the best I have to offer is silence.