Getting with the Program

Ok, Day 1 of my Body for Life fitness program.

First off, a couple things:

1. I’m not going to sugar coat it, I have 30 pounds to lose. Since my mom passed away I basically fed (and drowned in alcohol there for a while) my grief…and my grief wasn’t craving salads. Then, just when I shook the darkness off and got ready to commence my normal healthy lifestyle, I rolled my ankle in a big way and, believe it or not, at this age, the thing took A WHOLE YEAR to fully heal. So yeah…a whopping 30 pounds. But am I going to let that deter me? Fuck no.

2. On October 6th my fantastic boyfriend and I are going to Mexico on vacation. This will serve as my jump start to motivation. Although I won’t be at my goal weight by then, I have set a very reasonable goal of 12 pounds in the 6 weeks between now and then. I know it will be hard and I know I’m gonna have to kick some ass (namely my own), but I am totally up for it. If this works out the way I am hoping it will, you will be seeing a post from Mexico of me rockin’ a bikini.

3. I LOVE MY NEW FIT-OFAX!!!  This thing is even more awesome than I could have imagined. Granted, it’s only technically day 1, but I did my weekly planning yesterday and I just loved how everything flowed. And so far today at work I’m finding it really easy & intuitive to stick to everything and record everything.

Here’s the Fit-0fax in action on our first day

Stay tuned my peeps…it’s going to be a wild and crazy ride for the next 6 weeks!

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Philofaxy AllStars Post for Lime Tree – Fitofax

Check out the AllStars guest post I did for the lovely and amazing Lime Tree!!

It’s all about my  new Fit-ofax and I think you’ll love the hot pink juiciness of it and of course stay tuned to my blog for periodic updates on my fitness program!

Check out the Fit-ofax debut here

The Present – Open It

Have you ever known people who live in the past? They circle around it, never straying too far, as if it had its own gravity to hold them in orbit. Clinging to it as though it were some sort of life jacket in a tumultuous sea.

I get it, I really do. The past is safe. It is far easier to look back and see all the good things than it is to look forward and not know what you’ll find. Like photos that are taken with that fuzzy, beautifying feature; the flaws are blurred out. Even if it wasn’t necessarily all that pleasant the past holds comfort because, like a movie that you’ve watched before, the roles are clearly defined and you know how it’s going to end.

But I would submit to you that, watched often enough, that movie becomes less and less engaging and exciting. Eventually, you might even want to turn it off.

Whether or not you’re brave enough to is another matter.

The present is risky, sure. You never know how it’s going to turn out…what kind of future it’s going to bring you to. And some people just flat out prefer churning the past over and over with its mundane, predictable rhythm to the in-your-face unknown nature of the present.

Whether or not they admit this, the past is a choice they make. And I am always amazed when these people become confused, angry and upset when the present grows weary of being forsaken or ignored and moves on without them.

I myself have personally been sacrificed on the altar of the past more than once in my life. Perhaps the present I represented and the future I held out my hand to offer was more of a feisty, challenging adventure than they were willing to embark on.

So be it.

The beautiful thing about life is that we all have the right to choose how we want to live ours. That goes for the ones who paddle around in the known quantity of the shallows and for those of us to close our eyes, take a deep breath and cannonball into the deep.

But don’t expect me to be there when the safety starts to feel stale and it becomes obvious why the past is in fact…well, you know.

Because I won’t be.

Nothing stays the same. Not even the precious past. Guess what – it no longer even exists. It is nothing but memory.

How sad to invest so heavily in a shadow when the bright, thrumming present veritably vibrating with potential, stands before you beckoning.

Could I choose the past? Heck yeah. I have memories of times when I was so happy and felt so loved that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Experiences. People. I could tell you stories that would makes your cheeks ache with laughter or your eyes well with tears. But I won’t.

I want new stories.

Life is a series of choices. I know which one I’m making.

Life is this moment…………we are this moment.

Day 30 #Happiness

This experience

Has it been thirty days already? What fun it has been giving thought to the things that make me smile each and every day, and sharing them with you : )

And, as usual, I learned a few things along the way too:

1. There really is at least one thing to be happy about in each day…even when you are pretty convinced it is the worst day ever. So seek out the happy stuff that is all around you…I promise you, it is there.

2. It’s usually the simplest things that bring the most joy.

3. Happiness is a decision. You can look at the events of each day any way you’d like, but if you choose to frame the “good” things as blessings and the “bad” things as lessons…and maintain a sense of gratitude for both…you’ll be a much happier person.

4. Sometimes the people around you won’t like the fact that you are so happy. Water seeks its own level, and if your friends, family, co-workers, whatever aren’t happy themselves, they may become discouraging, poke fun at your glee or be downright snarky at you in order to bring you back down to their level. Don’t let ’em.

5. Only you can make you happy. Don’t rely on external sources for it; look within.

6. In the equation of X = Happiness, X = whateverthefuckyouwant.
In other words, happiness is different things to different people. Find what makes you happy and then do it. A lot.

7. You can’t force it. If you run around chasing happiness you’ll only piss yourself off. Relax. Breathe. Be open to it. Trust me, it’ll find you.

8. Happiness makes you feel younger and look prettier. I’m totally serious. If you think I’m making that up, go stand in front of your bathroom mirror and frown. Then think of something that warms your heart and smile. See?

9. There is no “key” to happiness. Happiness is a door that is always open. But you’ll never see it if you keep staring at the shit in front of you that’s closed.

And finally…

10. A man once said to the Buddha, “I want happiness”. The Buddha replied, “First remove ‘I’, for that is ego. Then remove ‘want’ for that is desire. And now all you are left with is happiness.”

True dat!

Thank you for sharing the past thirty days with me…I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

Love: Just Do it

Love and I…well, we have had a tumultuous relationship.

When I was young I was all about love; I was fearless – I loved everyone. My parents, my family, my little schoolmates, the people in my neighborhood. I imagined the world was full of only good things and that, if I was a caring, kind, loving little girl nothing but care, kindness, goodness and love would come back to me.

Sweet, but naive.

As I grew, I still loved. Only far, far more cautiously and there were many a time I refused to give myself over to love out of fear.

Fear of rejection, fear of pain, fear of humiliation, fear of loss of power, fear of loss, period. I mean, Nazareth wasn’t kidding – love does hurt. A lot of the time loving means ending up in pain one way or another.

Since my last divorce I have given a lot of thought to love. I always thought of it as something…a gift…that you sort of bestowed upon the person that you love. A feeling that was more about them than about you, really. Something that started within you, but that ended up this external part of yourself that was handed over to someone else, and you kind of had to trust that they would do right by it.

Which of course, few do.

I’ve had a small number of relationships since then and, while I felt varying degrees of something for the men I was with, I can’t say I loved any of them. To be honest I questioned whether or not that was because my gut knew they weren’t going to end up working out in the long run, because I was broken and could no longer love as I used to, or because I had come to a place in my life where I was subconsciously choosing not to put myself in line for any more hurt.

I have always said, you can’t un-learn things. Once you experience enough heartbreak, loss, devastation, etc you can’t regain that childlike innocence that allows you to just open your heart without hesitation and let the love pour out.

Or, I couldn’t anyway.

What I have come to realize as I discover love again for the first time in a very many years, is that love isn’t at all what I thought it was…

Love actually has nothing to do with it’s object and everything to do with it’s source.

Love isn’t a thing we fling out of ourselves, only to attach to another person in the hopes of some….I don’t know...result. It has nothing to do with action or behavior or circumstance. And it has nothing to do with fear either.

It is not about condition. All of that fear and expectation stuff is conditional. It treats love as though it were an “if/then” statement when really is is just the opposite.

The other night I told my boyfriend that I love him for the first time. I think he probably knew how I felt about him already…I’m not a very subtle person…but although I had felt the actual words pushing against my teeth for some time, I had been biting them back.

I’m not sure why exactly. I didn’t want to scare him perhaps, didn’t want it to somehow feel like an obligation,  I didn’t want to embarrass him, I didn’t know what I’d do if it, you know, didn’t go over well.

But as I lay there in the dark silence and felt it circling in my mouth, wanting to be made real in the speaking of it, I got to thinking…this isn’t dependent on him; isn’t dependent on anything really. It is purely and simply how I feel. And if a zillion years of therapy has taught me one thing it is that feelings aren’t right or wrong – they just are.

And you know what? I wanted him to know it. Plain and simple.

While it is a validating thing to be told by someone you are close to that they in fact love you –  and I certainly wanted him to feel that validation –  it was as important that I validate myself; that I accept the emotion by giving voice to it. Yes, heart, it is perfectly alright to feel what you are feeling.

Suddenly, swallowing it back seemed to me as though I was telling myself it was a thing to be hidden. And if you know me at all, you know I’m a cards on the table kind of girl. So why had this card been so different? I had no answer.

I realized it wasn’t as much about whether or not he was “ready to hear it”, as it was about the fact that I was ready to say it.

My mom always said to never, ever, EVER say the L word first. And that is a direct quote by the way, she was not a big proclaimer of love, it was always the L word. Toward the end of her life that changed, as it often does with people face to face with mortality, but her “rule” always stuck in my head. And amazingly enough I have abided by that rule.  I will say it back if I feel it, but I have never uttered it first.

Her message was that there is too much risk involved in saying it…at all, let alone first. Once you say you love someone, they can hurt you in all kinds of heinous ways. It’s like rolling over and exposing one’s soft pink underbelly and hoping that the bearing of teeth that results is a smile and not the show of fangs before evisceration.

No disrespect to my mother, but I don’t buy that line of reasoning anymore. Love is something entirely new to me now. It isn’t risk. It isn’t a means to an end. It’s not, “I love you. You love me too? Great. Phew, glad that’s over with, now let’s move on to X and Y and then blah, blah, blah, Happily Ever After”.

Love isn’t relationship, per say, it is relating. It is a verb not a noun. It moves; it is a continuum. It changes. It is not a thing of certainty…andwe want it so to be a thing of certainty and security in our society.

But there is no real security or predictability in life – everything is always in a state of flux or growth. Life flows. Love does too. Love isn’t possession or attachment or a condition or an end point…it’s freedom.

No conditions. Love me too, or don’t. That information is not going to alter what I feel.

My mum had her analogy about when you “just know” about a person being the one, remember that? Well, I have an analogy of my own for you too now I think:

Love is like breathing.

There is no, “should I take this breath?”, “what will happen if I exhale?”, “what if the air is cold and it hurts my lungs?”, “I hope I don’t look foolish breathing”, “is this the right time for me to breathe?”

You don’t think about it…there are no prerequisites for breathing, no conditions…you simply do it because it is a natural part of being alive.

Just like love. Love is an outpouring of your bliss, it is the opening of your heart. It is the sharing of the song of your very being! And sharing feels so joyful to us – and so we share.

Sharing for sharing’s sake and with no other motive. Not for any reason other than because it feels so damn good!

Exhale…bliss.  Inhale…joy.

Perhaps it isn’t love that is so different now; perhaps it is me. But either way I can say this, let go of the fear, quit over thinking it…if you love somebody tell them. Maybe they’ll look at you funny, maybe they’ll run screaming in the other direction, or maybe you’ll discover that they love you too.

Does it really matter? I submit that it does not. Love because you can’t not. Because loving is a gift you give yourself and to all the world, really. Love because you’re alive! Don’t worry about it. Just feel it.

And by all means ENJOY it.

Day 29 #Happiness

‘Yakin
No, not puking…’yakin. Kayaking : ) I’m a noob and have only been three times in my life, all this summer and thanks to my awesome boyfriend, but I can tell you that I love it and I hope to make it a regular activity from now on.

I’m not one for noisy recreation (well, except for…you know…) so things like jetskis and the like really don’t do it for me. The water is such a serene place; I like to interact with it in an equally peaceful way. Kayaking is perfect for that.

We spent the day paddling out in the lake, swimming at our favorite place to anchor and hang out, and then relaxed on the deck with some wine after our arms were reduced to exhausted noodles. Or, mine were anyway!

Just about the best day I can imagine.

Life, she is good : )

Day 28 #Happiness

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Tradition

It is Jewish tradition to place a small stone on the head marker of departed loved ones when visiting their grave sites.

There is some debate as to the origin of this tradition…some say harkens back to the time when graves were marked by cairns. Each time the site was visited, a stone would be replaced on the cairn, and so the marker would endure for generations.

Others say it is an old superstition to bind the deceased’s soul to the grave.

Still others…and I am a big fan of this one…say that, unlike flowers which will eventually wilt and lose their beauty, placing a stone on the head marker means that your love for them and your memory of them is as undaunted by time as rock itself.

Today would have been my Aunt’s 79th birthday, were she not murdered six years ago. I went to see her today, to say that I remember her and that I miss her every minute of every day. It warmed my heart to see so many stones there. Sometimes mine is the only one, but not this year.

I love you Aunt Sandy and always will. Memories of you today are my happiness.

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