Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I don't exactly remember when I heard Maya Angelou speak for the 1st time...but I remember how I felt! Inspired, Awed and Moved to my very core!
Below are just a few of the brilliant, touching, spirit filling words written and spoken by Maya Angelou.
The above is so very true for me! I may not be able to quote every word I have ever heard or remember every impactful event I have witnessed....but I truly remember how people make me feel...that is a memory that does not fade.
This Journey has been filled with moments that have made me feel Inspired, Awed and Moved!!!
I AM grateful!
This thought perfectly sums up my goal for this part of my Journey. I have lived in survival mode way too long. I want to make it my Mission to Thrive...I want to incorporate the Inspired, Awed and Moved moments of this Journey and make them my daily life...and I want to pass that on...share it...preach it...live it...breathe it!!!
These are wonderful words to aspire to for me...I need to read these EVERYDAY...
Here is the truth for me...Every day I know better...so every day I can DO Better!
There are many lessons for me on my Journey...there have been and will be many opportunities for me to overcome...to Rise Above...to face my demons and to embrace those I love....There will be many paths to choose from and many paths to cross and I will have what I need to Rise Above. I will meet new faces and I will say goodbye to others...I will lose some battles and I will beat the odds. I will cry some tears and I absolutely know I will laugh shortly thereafter...I am reminded every day of the greatest love...the Love of God and the magical, spiritual gifts He provides in my life in the form of other's gifts and talents...So today I thank him for beautiful words of Maya Angelou....a person I never met...I never touched or spoke to...but remember exactly how she made me feel.
Lastly, I want to share my all time favorite poem by Maya Angelou...spoken by her...in her own beautiful, unique, spell-binding way. I hope you will take the time to listen. Though they were written about her very specific experience...the words transcend the history and apply to all!
Still I Rise-Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
As this Journey Continues....I AM...INSPIRED, AWED AND MOVED
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I have a hard time letting go of things...all kinds of things...up to and including greeting cards, scraps of paper, pictures (even bad ones), old clothes that don't fit...be they too small OR too big, old bills, checkbooks, bank statements, receipts, Christmas decorations, SHOES...and the list goes on...and NO I am not going to be on one of the those "hoarder"shows...but I do not easily release my grip on stuff that at one time or another...had some kind of value.
Sadly...my fear around letting go...does not stop at stuff!!! Sadly...it goes much deeper than that...as evidenced by the extra pounds I carry...the worry I harbor and the sometimes less than healthy relationships I hang on to!
I would like to think that I am a vertically challenged, deep thinking, devoutly loyal individual that hangs on no matter what!!! (In a good way)
Instead...I at times, think that what I am...is overly fluffy, obsessively thinking, sucker who does not know when she is being taken for a ride! (Not in a good way)
OK...so both are extreme representations of my real view of my life...but I will say that I do battle with Letting Go...and right NOW...I need to LET GO...of several things.
Mostly...I need to Let Go of the fear...
So truth...I wrote the above days ago...and did not finish the thought. Tonight...I considered deleting it...starting over...but couldn't LET GO of the thought. Lol!
Today...I was reminded that I have some things to let go of...including a few expectations!
Today...I got my feelings hurt and realized that will continue to happen if I don't let go of an unrealistic "ideal"...an unrealistic expectation!
Yesterday, I met with my new nutritionist/trainer....she came up with a great plan...something that I know I can do...
I just have to let go of this idea that I am stuck and can't do it!!
I have known since the day this Journey started that I would have to re-train my brain, revamp my lifestyle and ultimately let go ALL the stuff that keeps me fluffy and sick.
I figured out pretty early in this Journey that it was going to be one heck of a rollercoaster ride...
I have gained and lost pounds, sizes, motivation, inspiration and friends along the way...And have experienced the highest of highs and some pretty low lows...
But...with every down day...great things continue to come my way twofold...the let downs are often offset by the uplifting moments....the disappointments overshadowed by the gifts!
First and foremost, I HAVE to believe....TRULY believe that I am capable of meeting my goals and worthy of my expectations for myself...for my life.
I recently posted a quote that really hit home for me...paraphrasing...At some point in time you have stop crossing oceans for those who would not jump a puddle for you.
Though a little "victimy" for me...it has some truth to it...but in thinking about it...I thought this...I have to be willing to cross an ocean for myself and let go of all of those things that keep me from doing so...
This weight loss is my ocean to cross...the unhealthiness in my life is my ocean to cross...having people in my life who would cross an ocean for me...well...I have to be willing to do so first!
So...I guess I better get to swimming!
I got the below in a fortune cookie a few days ago...
It is time again to GO DEEP!
Monday, May 19, 2014
I had the opportunity this weekend to spend time with family, do a lot of driving and a lot of thinking. All good things...except for maybe the thinking part.
Of course...thinking is not a problem for me...thinking positively...well, that is more of a stretch. But for the last few weeks, I just really am focusing on thinking about what it will be like to be on the other side of this part of my Journey.
I keep talking about change and ALL the change happening in my life...and I know that at some point...those changes will be made and new ones will enter the picture...
You know the saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same". I have never quite gotten what that means...and the French guy (Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr) who said it originally is dead and thus not available for explanation...so here is a Fluffy girl's take (whose not dead yet) as it applies to my more recent experience.
Everyday there is change...and seemingly more of it...There has to be in order to move forward...Everyday there is a challenge, a decision to be made, a direction to go, and everyday that changes...
Everyday there are choices to be made and everyday I can make good ones or bad ones...and everyday I do!
Everyday, I wake up into a world of change. Constant Change...not only in my own little world...but in the broader landscape of ALL of those that impact my little world...All Over the World!!
Though my daily life may look the same on a macro level...if you drill down and focus in on the daily details...they change everyday...little nuances or variations on a theme!!
Change is constant...and in that regard, Everyday is the Same.
So why so much fretting when it comes to change????...AHHHH....the million dollar question...I think just like with anything...I have a tendency to measure the importance of Change as it relates to perceived impact...
We use phrases like "Life Changing" (I alone, have used this phrase thousands of times just in the last nearly 2 years)
All of the above phrases invoke a sense of "bigness"...a grandiose kind of change...at least for me.
That kind of change...can be scary...fear can creep in when I make a "life changing" decision...fear of failure or losing parts of my life that I think I MUST not lose!!
Fear that I will find out that I am not capable of the change was a BIG one when I started this part of my Journey and rears its ugly head from time to time!!
Yet...as much as I fear some of the Big Change...I plow through my Everyday... moving from one change to another without paralyzing fear of failure...or I would never leave the house!
My success so far and for that matter, my failures, are rarely about the BIG changes...but more readily about all of the little daily changes that keep me moving forward...in my Fight to Light.
When I started this Journey...the below is the very first quote I used as almost a battle cry...it is a very small excerpt from one of my favorite songs...as recorded by Adele...but written by Bob Dylan.
"The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain't seen nothin' like me yet."
I can truthfully say that I had NO IDEA how true that would be for me...I had no idea that it would be ME who "ain't seen nothing like me yet"
The winds of change are STILL blowing wild and free and lately have been quite gusty!!! AND...in the words of an old Gospel song (and inspiration for one of my favorite books by Maya Angelou)
Well, I started out travelin' for the Lord many years ago,
I've had a lot of heartache, I've met a lot of grief and woe.
But when I would stumble, then I would humble down,
And there I would say I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now.
I would not take a single thing for this Journey now...even amid my at times, graceless travels through this Change...I would not trade any of it!
So...as always, I will continue to need your wisdom, support and prayers..as I face the daily changes AND the Big changes...Everyday...The Same thing until it changes!!!
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
However...I probably just gained 5lbs because I used the words Pie and Cake...that is my reality.
So...I am super busy these days...leaving little time for self discipline!
Today has been a lousy food day for me...not horrific but certainly lacking any self discipline...and quite frankly...I am dragging my feet on starting work with the nutritionist/personal trainer that I am hoping can guide me through the next 20lbs...Remember...My next goal is to lose another 20lbs before the August 16th, 2014 -RALLY TO SERVE-PLAY IT FORWARD EVENT!!!!
So...I am posting...confession is good for the soul...Right? Hopefully, it is good for the waist line too!!!
However...on some days...I just have to laugh at myself...So as I began to write this post...I decided to search for some great inspiration quote to address this day...
Instead...I have chosen the following...Forgive Me.
Monday, May 12, 2014
be strong and take heart!!!!
BE STRONG....TAKE HEART!!!
AND WAIT FOR THE LORD....
Saturday, May 10, 2014
I am surrounded by strong loving Moms who are and have always taken the time needed to be the teachers, healers, huggers, fixers to the amazing kids they are raising or have raised. I am blessed to have them as examples in my life...I am blessed to have them as friends.
I, of course, am blessed to have a wonderfully funny, kind, strong woman for a Mom...the Mom of all Moms...Everybody's Mom!!! So here is a bit of a pictorial homage to my Momma! Happy Mother's Day to my Sweet Tone Tone!!
My Momma with her Momma and My Momma and Me!
Friday, May 9, 2014
This may be one of those posts that leave both you and I scratching our heads about the heck it is I am talking about...All I can say is that I was driving home last night from work...listening to a Spotify play list and the below song came on.
Like I have said many times...sometimes music is the perfect conduit for feelings...some I did not even know I had.
Music can speak to me in a different language than just words and when it does...as in this case, I feel compelled to share.
Pacing the Cage-Bruce Cockburn
Here is one thing I know...music and lyrics are wonderfully open to interpretation. I am pretty sure that when Mr. Cockburn wrote this song...he was writing about a larger global meaning probably intermingled with his life...his own meaning.
I am further sure he was not writing about a fluffy girl's view of her weight loss/life journey. Of THAT, I am completely confident.
As I listened to this song...the lyric "Pacing the Cage" really struck me.
There have been many different "pacing the cage" stages for me on this Journey. Firstly, I think for me the "cage" represents the limitations of my life...typically self-imposed...some societally imposed...some imagined...but all feel very real.
Being overweight is a cage...It is a limitation. For me, it is also protection...from risk, from change...from others. Not necessarily consciously...but truthfully.
I am finding that as I shed the pounds...I find freedom and discomfort...a juxtaposition of who I have been and who I am becoming. I find myself pacing within the limits of the cage...traveling between the two.
As I read the lyrics of the song...there were several lines that rung true for me in context to this Journey...
Certainly on my sickest days...I felt like I had lived too long...and the days seem to creep by in a perpetual state of sluggish. On those days, pacing was not even an option. On those days I often put on a façade so that I could survive in the busy world around me.
As this Journey began...the inspiration I felt stirred a deeper, unbelievable desire in my gut...to lose my gut...and I began to mentally pace the cage I felt that I was trapped in...the pacing was good...it was motion...it was different.
So as this Journey has progressed the "pacing" has become more about letting go of my old habits and transitioning to a new lifestyle...to a "new me". Of course...that is a good thing. AND...within that transition comes uncertainty...change...energy...clarity...all things that strangely can be overwhelming...too new to understand.
As this Journey progressed from just about losing weight to all about gaining a better life...the pacing continues...I find myself constantly pushing the limits of the "cage". Like I said earlier...the limitations placed on our lives can also be comforting and I believe, limitations within reason, protect us from the not so great stuff in life.
And for me...change brings discomfort...growing a new skin...is painful and wonderfully invigorating all at the same time.
I love one particular verse of this song. It really speaks to finding my way along this Journey.
Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friendSo it is in this Darkness that I find having a relationship with God is essential. For me...it is in this Darkness that I find the Light of God. That makes the darkness my friend.
Though this all may be overly introspective for the reader...for me...this is a great message to get as I continue to pace the cage that exists in the form of my fluffiness.
This song...and the way it touched me..provided me with a good Change of Pace.
Pacing The Cage
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it's pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you've lived too long
Days drip slowly on the page
And you catch yourself
Pacing the cage
The magnetic strip's worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And everyone was taken in
Powers chatter in high places
Stir up eddies in the dust of rage
Set me to pacing the cage
So I gave you everything
All that I could pillage
All the spells that I could sing
It's as if the thing were written
In the constitution of the age
Sooner or later you'll wind up
Pacing the cage
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land
For the coming of the outbound stage
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
That is one very important part of this Journey for me!
Move Everyday in Some Way!!!
Now...generally I mean physically. After years of immobility, lethargy, illness...MOVING in some way each day has been key to overcoming a tired body. AND...overcoming a tired body...Every Day for the past 19 months...has been one of my biggest challenges.
As I began to move physically...I began to Move Emotionally as well...
I quickly found that as I my body began to change...to move...so did my feelings!!!
For me...both are intrinsically linked for me. I have found that I must be willing to BE IN MOTION on all levels...so that means physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally....Moving forward...maybe even moving backward on some days...but always with the intent to Move Forward.
In order for me to fully embrace this Journey...I must MOVE!!!
As I write this....this quote comes to mind!
For me...not moving...means feeling Stuck...trapped in my body...my mind...a relationship or a circumstance...does not matter which...there must be movement. Feeling Stuck is a lousy place for me!
So everyday of the last 19 months...I set out to move! Again...sometimes that movement is not forward...sometimes it feels like I move in the "wrongest" of wrong directions and other days I can feel the power of movement as I take a step forward...a step closer to my goal.
Today was a day of movement for me...on many levels...Today...I stayed in Motion. Today...I took steps to advance this goal and today...I embraced this Journey.
As always, with that comes some trepidation, some reservation and some hesitation...and I kept moving!!!
But...when I started this Journey...I could not walk...so I crawled...and that crawl has slowly progressed...and though I may not be "running" yet...I am willing to learn how to...and some day...This Fluffy will fly!!!
In the meantime...I will Stay In Motion...I will Ask, Seek and Knock...
In the meantime, I will seek the courage I need in the Place God Leads...
Sunday, May 4, 2014
One of my dear friends gave me this wonderful gift last week...
She gave it to me, I think, because she knows that it is something I need to hear, read, remember and live...
As you might imagine, when I started this Journey...I had to tap into a "Belief Beyond Reason" to even start this process.
It was NOT reasonable to believe that I, this "morbidly obese", chronically ill, tapped out, middle aged woman, would quite suddenly say...I am going to pick myself up and start working out and lose (or at least try to) 120lbs in a year. It was Beyond Reason to believe that was even possible. I had been almost completely debilitated with chronic pain..and further defeated by ALL that comes with chronic illness...emotionally, physically and spiritually!!! So who would possibly believe...what reasonable person COULD believe that I, after literally 20+ years of living this way...would just GET UP and Begin this Journey...
Funny enough...It was ME who believed first (right after God)...through an absolute miracle...It was ME who believed when it was BEYOND reason to Believe!
Then...others began to BELIEVE...the minute I spoke the Dream...Other Humans began to Believe that this tired, old, ragged, fluffy girl...Could change the trajectory of her life...Could stop traveling down a Dead End Road and find her way on this unbelievably different path...This path to Light...in more ways than one!!!
Another dear friend sent me this today:
Funny enough...though it was ME who Believed First...It is ME who lets FEAR slow me down...It is ME and me only, that thinks about Forgetting Everything and Running...BUT...Because I am now surrounded by Believers...Those that truly Believe Beyond Reason...that I even have the strength to Face Everything and Rise.
It is because of the unbelievable Grace God has placed in my life...that I even can conceptualize Believing even when it is Beyond Reason.
As I sat in church this morning...I heard a sentence that truly touched my heart. The sermon (generally) was about Living IN Christ...Living in Relationship with Christ and the concept that God created with intention that Spirituality is ALWAYS worked out in terms of Community...WE need each other...WE are better together...As the minister spoke (His sermon was much more in depth and cohesive that I am presenting here) he said a single sentence that struck a chord in me...that touched me...
He said, " We can't be who we are meant to be without each other".
We are a community...A community in Christ and we need those in our lives that Believe When It is Beyond Our Reason to Believe.
Though I cannot fully explain here...at this very moment...I can share with you that this weekend...God has given me the Opportunity to Remember that I am capable of Believing When It Is Beyond any conceivable Reason to Believe.
This weekend God has shown me, through my own community of Believers, through His community of Believers, that we are meant to be, work, live, trust and BELIEVE together...
WE are better together...ALL of us..
As I continue on this Journey...I am reminded that I started this Journey because God gave me an opportunity to Believe Beyond Reason....I have been able to continue on this Journey because others Believed Beyond Reason.
As this Journey...This Fight To Light continues...The same Unreasonable Belief will be key!
Thank you to all of my own...faithful...Believers in this Journey...
Today...thanks to my Guardian Angels (you know who you are)...for literally breathing a new brand of inspiration into this Journey...Thank you for Believing Beyond Reason...in me!
Friday, May 2, 2014
These past few weeks have been challenging for me...challenges I really could not comfortably share here...or anywhere for that matter.
My faith was stretched to the opaque...til it was barely visible...and yet, again, I am on the "other side"...I, in the last week, have truly thought that this Journey was bigger than me...more than I could take...only to be reminded that this Journey IS bigger than me...But not bigger than God and the amazing, unrelenting, power of His Grace.
I wish I could write that I will not ever again doubt God's unyielding love...but truth is, I probably will...
I am flawed that way!
Truth is while I was busy being angry about those that underestimate me...I underestimated God. Again.
So...I have some work to do...Everyday!
Today, I reached out to a personal trainer/nutritionist. I need a boost along this weight loss Journey...so, I am asking...seeking and knocking on someones door! Asking for help, seeking some wisdom and ready for the change.
It is May 2nd! In less than 4 months, I, along with a dedicated group of friends and family, will be hosting the 2nd Annual Play It Forward-Rally To Serve event,...AUGUST 16TH, 2014!
I want to lose 20lbs before that event. It has been a while since I set a goal within the goal! So I am setting one today.
In the midst of ALL of the many growth opportunities I have encountered on this Journey lately...I need to Get Back to Shrinking!
I will need help doing that!
So while life has seemed crowded with faith testing moments lately...God has literally blown me away...and placed some amazing Angels in my life!
So 20lbs in 3.5 months...20lbs less of me to worry, to fret and 20lbs less to haul around!
Again...this place will be key and so will your support!
Lastly..Truth is for me...Life does not always appear outwardly beautiful. At times, my limited vision keeps the beauty hidden and I can feel lost in the mess...but I have realized that in order to fully embrace this Beautiful Life...one must not only open her arms...but equally important open her heart, her eyes and mind to the possibilities that exist in God's Big World..Possibilities that far exceed the imagination.
I have work to do...I have shrinking to do...I have a beautiful life to live...a beautiful Life to Embrace!