Baby Talk

Oprah… has a way of nailing things right on the head. I don’t know if it’s all those quiet private plane rides from Chicago to Santa Barbara and back, but the lady has one seriously charged thinking cap.

The other day Her Lady O had the Author of “Women, Food and God” on to speak about her book, and how it is changing so many lives. After Oprah put her golden tear of approval on the 211 page weight loss bible, women of the audience and readers of the book shared their stories via home video and in studio testimony. I of course had an Oprah ‘ah ha’ moment, and impulsively squealed my “AH HA”, out loud. Luckily, myself and 2 dogs were the only ones in the room. My ‘ah ha’ moment came when a woman was talking about her 11 year old daughter. She overheard her daughter make a comment about her thighs, and how she was fat.

Two things are important here, both of which Oprah beat me in identifying. One, children are our best mirrors. What we identify ourselves as is amplified by our kids. I don’t have children, but as someones child,  I’ve realized that as I’ve gotten older, a lot of my issues are a reduced version of my parents. I exhibit my fathers self inflicted pressure to succeed, my mothers desire to make others feel happy at any cost even to myself. We identify with our parents identities because for such a huge portion of our developing lives, they are what we know to be true. In this woman’s case, she always struggled with weight, was vocal about it, hereby her daughter adapted the behavior and the identity of ‘fat’ most likely before she even knew what ‘fat’ was. Now, as a pre-teen, she stands staring in the mirror verbally assaulting herself about her appearance. Whether the child is over weight or not clearly isn’t the issue. The issue here is important point number two…

In one of my earlier blogs I talk about disapproval. Just like anything, when we practice something we naturally become better at it. When we practice disapproval of ourselves or others, it becomes apart of who we are. We are all born perfect beings, so an identity of such self hatred could only be taught, even inadvertently. My point, the daughter has learned by observation that this is how her mother speaks to herself, however when the mother hears her daughter exhibit the same behavior, she is in shock and awe. Why? Because she’s a child. Most if not all emotional issues start in childhood, what changes as we get older is the way we treat ourselves about them as our environments change. We become more cruel and explicit in our remarks to ourselves. Remarks of course that no one would make to a child. This woman, realizing this, walks into the room with her daughter and through positive and gentle affirmation, attempts to reinforce her daughters self esteem, self worth, and image. Speaking to her as she is, a child.

But aren’t we all? If our emotional issues begin in childhood, than in those issues, aren’t we always going to be children?

What’s to change is how we treat ourselves. Begin today by treating yourself a little better. When an insecurity arises, talk to yourself as if you were a child. Be an advocate for your own healing. Stick up for yourself, against yourself. Be your own vigilante versus your own bully.

Your Kid Could Be An Ax Murderer

Decisions. Choices. Meanings. Stories. Blame. Fear. Anger.

This is the inner workings of the machine that is YOU. Humans are full of “one or the others’. Full of stories about our past. Why someone said something, how it made us feel, what it made us do, all the things we can’t do now because this and that happened and you can’t fix it because it was followed by that event…

Sound familiar?

This involuntary thought process is the accelerator for most if not all problems we face everyday. It’s what leads to emotional eating, procrastination, addiction, divorce, self sabotage and reality television.

In [real] REALITY, things just happen. It is us, complicated and fascinating, that make the stories that go with it all. Instead of living in a world of simple facts, events, and leaving the past where it belongs; we perceive it, connect it to any number of emotions, and make it fact. Each time something happens that is relevant to the story, we take it on as evidence that our story, based on emotion, is what actually happened. Everyone around you is doing this, therefore, no one is ever looking at anything the same way, ever.

What we are all trying to do is protect ourselves. The more stories we have, the safer we are. Think about it. We never have to take responsibility because we can keep ourselves from being wrong, bad, dominated, and at fault. We ALWAYS end up as the victim in our stories. We ALWAYS GET TO BE RIGHT.

I love being right. I think out of everything the world has to offer, being right is totally my favorite.

I want to be right because it proves against a story I have in my past.  Every time something happens or someone does something, I get to throw a big juicy piece of evidence in this truck of stories that I have been driving around my whole life. More proof that I am in fact… right about EVERY THING. This becomes incredibly convenient when you are in a relationship. Or at a work place where you are not the boss. Or on a diet. Parents are a great place to find evidence.

What ends up happening here is we become slaves to our stories. Everyone and everything around us becomes apart of it and nothing is ever real. A new relationship is never new, its just an extension of the handful you’ve had before. In fact, the more relationships you’ve HAD the worse they GET, because the story just gets bigger and YOU KEEP TELLING IT. With every crash diet you do, that doesn’t work because they are not designed to, you add another piece of PROOF that you are going to be fat forever.

So. I have a challenge. Start thinking. Realize that in life things just happen. That’s all. Things happen because they happen, no reason. No story. A lot of people deal with some major stuff and this can be difficult. Abusive parents, rape, death, abuse in relationships. Through these experiences we build stories about them, keeping the events alive and essentially search for other tools to cope. We torture ourselves and the people around us, all for something we are powerless to change. I am not trying negate the power of an experience, what I am trying to convey is the power of YOU as a human being. The power of choice and decision. To recognize the voice in your head that tells you that because your parents didn’t show you adequate love or god forbid were abusive, that now and forever you aren’t worth love from anyone. The latter is a choice YOU make and can be over ridden at any moment. The best news is two fold: 1. Nothing bad that has happened is happening NOW. 2. You can be brilliant, perfect, and effective in life in lieu of anything that happens to you

There is so much opportunity for an amazing life, regardless of what has happened to you in the past that you equate to what makes you YOU. You can transform the way you think at any moment. If you want to lose weight, do it. Let go of the reasons and events that you have gathered as to why you shouldn’t, can’t or won’t.  We come up with reasons not to based on our stories and everything you are afraid of. Fear keeps us away from so much. When you think about how much you miss out on because of fear, it will nauseate you. Fear that your partner will leave you, that you’ll lose your job, that people wont like you, that you wont look good, or that your kids will turn out to ax murderers. None of those stories matter because you are powerless against them.

Start now, as this right here can be a perfect moment if you make it. You are you, perfect in every way.

You Are Not Your Weight

[A person who is the master in the art of living, makes little distinction between their work and their play. Their labor and their leisure. Their mind and their body. Their education and their recreation. Their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace. Whatever they do. Leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them, they are always doing both.]

Who are YOU that your reality IS?

When who you are IS something, it gives you an unrealistic relationship with that thing. When who you are IS overweight– as when you are IS something– your behavior is in an automatic dance with that something.

Example: When who we are is something, we establish this sort of primitive connection to reality. ie. The glass door is clear so we walk into it because we can see through it. Who we are is there is no door, so our action is a match for that. As far as you are concerned you are sitting still reading this blog right now, but really you are hurdling in space around the sun at thousands of miles per hour. Our mind isn’t always completely logical or even honest with us for that matter. When who you see yourself to be is directly correlated to something you have, like anger or even weight, everything you do and everything you experience will be in direct connection to that. Your weight for example, will also become the loudest part of your identity and personality;  it will be what you think of first when you wake up and last before you go to sleep. Instead of being human, you become a number, a pant size, a surplus of whatever you think you have too much of.

So how do you get out of this way of thinking? Transformation begins at the level of personal. It doesn’t begin with a diet, a book, a dvd, or a pill. Your dreams automatically get shut down when you look for a saving source; something outside of you for the desire for change. The need for any type of change is self diagnosed, and self cured.  The best place to start is to distinguish the image of what you think you are, to what you really are. Put your wants and desires for life before the complaints that you have currently. Distinguishing your weight and what you don’t like about it as something separate from the actions you take to make it what you want. In taking action against what you wish to change, you automatically get to be that person…instantly.

Control

What gives the distance of a goal time and form? It has a beginning and an end. Boundaries. Measurability. This is the inner workings of an achievement. There is always a precise action to fulfill a commitment. When something doesn’t happen, we often say that there is some uncontrollable and/or insolvable issue in the world.
Almost certainly this is your reality with your health both mentally and physically if you are living with either of them as a “problem”. A few blogs back I spoke about stories and how those stories keep us safe. If you have been meaning to lose those 10+ pounds for any amount of time and you haven’t yet, guaranteed there is an uncontrollable and/or insolvable issue that you continue to tell yourself which keeps you free of blame, and essentially keeps you safe. Reality- your life is full of options, answers and alternate routes, it’s up to you to choose them.

The one thing that gives you your whole life is your total life. You are always inventing a new possibility for being you.

Starting today I want you to create a new paradigm of being human. This is the ultimate “no excuses” lifestyle. Your new paradigm of being human is you calling the shots. Picture properly painted: unless you are on a gurney near death, you will find a way to move your body, in the fashion of some exercise, everyday. You WILL choose the apple over the french fry, the salad over the burger, and the water over the soda. You will NOT waste your money on a 30 day workout DVD, a healthy body takes longer than a month no matter how loud they yell at you. You will not count your food in points or in fluid ounces, and certainly you will never prelude any meal with a pill. Your new paradigm is to GET REAL. BECOME RESPONSIBLE. And TAKE CONTROL.
Given what is important to you, that is what you get to be and create.

The Game

Believe it or not we all have a split personality. There is you, the slightly eager, maybe curious, solution seeking reader of a health blog. You have every intention of taking care of yourself and the people around you, and you would like to have a happy, simple life.


Then there’s the other you. The one you designed when you were very young. Imagine the first time you recognized unfairness, meaning: something made you angry. Hurt you. Confused you. At this point you generated a phrase, or maybe just a word. It dictates the feeling you had that you couldn’t articulate at the time. This was the birth of what I like to call, your “act”.

act. [akt] verb; without object
to pretend; feign: Act interested even if you’re bored.
to serve or substitute (usually followed by for): in the absence of my sanity, my alter ego will act in my place

Your act is responsible for everything unworkable in your life, and everything that comes at you that you see as unworkable, is handled by your act.
Example: Me. My act is, “hear me.” In the face of something that isn’t working, I am convinced that no one is listening to me. So I talk more, louder, in different tones. Go about it different ways. Once I’ve decided that I’m unheard, that’s it. No matter what anyone may say, I’m not being heard. God as my witness I will keep talking until I faint. Just to insure that everyone, ya know, hears me. [crazy]

Your act can be your saving grace as it normally is what creates an unreasonable drive and determination, (tune in next week…Teaser!) but for now I’d like to stick to if left unattended and unchecked, it can break apart our lives.

So here’s the game. The whole point of life as far as your act is concerned is to be validated. It’s more important than love, health, marriage, everything. You will forfeit and destroy relationships, and to preserve your act you will even refuse to be healthy.
As fascinating as this is to uncover, (which I hope you are doing) it’s also incredibly boring. Your whole life has been surrounded by a fundamental concern you established as an adolescent. You are trying on jeans at 40 or fighting with your partner in your 30′s and you’re best test for that current reality and valid feelings is a concept you generated when you were 8.

Please take a moment to laugh at that.

While you are at it, imagine a picture in your head. You, face to face with an elementary school aged child. He or she is telling you how to operate every element of your life that isn’t quite working for you and you say “You are definitely correct. Excellent plan.”

This is our struggle. We look through life and everything in it and we are so unaware of the distortion that’s right in front of us. No wonder most of us feel like we are never good enough. No wonder we are never satisfied. With years of living the best that most of us can come up with is “there’s something wrong with me.”

There’s nothing to fix here really. It’s just an understanding that in moments where life gets a little challenging, being aware that you and everyone else around you, isn’t always operating with both feet in the now. We are all walking around like little kids. Combining all of our experience and all of our knowledge as adults, just that little bit of awareness will change the way in which you handle your interactions with others but most importantly yourself. Would you ever look at a child and tell them that they are fat? Ugly? Not worthy of love? Absolutely not. But when you say that to yourself that’s exactly who you are talking to.

Balance

One wonders why he is clumsy while walking forward with his head turned backwards.

Our world gets it’s volume and depth by the people we have in it. If people aren’t there we don’t get to be anyplace.

The plural of human beings by virtue made us not a singular.

The give and take of human relationships are always the hardest. Finding that epic balance where no power is lost for either human, and where the capacity to see something, anything, can cause breakthroughs in each persons performance as a human being.

Really it boils down to five things:
1. Commitment.
2. Integrity.
3. Agreement
4. Listening
5. Receiving.
Commitment- Your commitment to show up. A commitment to creating workability in your world as well as your relationships. It starts at the personal and works it’s way out, not the other way around. Ironic how some can stand for so much- world peace, hunger, cancer, AIDS, whale migration- yet they come home and tell their partner to shut up. There has to be a commitment to show up on all levels.
Integrity- Life becomes non-linear when you focus on real integrity. You have more space to live in when you aren’t focused so much on integrity being a morality issue. Integrity doesn’t just mean telling the truth, it can mean everything from being on time, to taking out the trash, to keeping yourself healthy.
Agreement- The most consistent things in your life right now are created solely out of an agreement. The consensus of an agreement can make anything a reality. From whispering in a library to the days of the week. There really is no Sunday-Saturday, it’s just something human beings have agreed upon to keep track of things, and keep things in order. Think about the smooth reality you could create if you came to similar agreements in your relationships.
Listening- The size of our life is a function of how much we are listened to, and how much we listen. The biggest problems can be solved, simply by listening. When you make someone feel known, respected, and heard, you are facilitating that epic balance of power between two people.
Receiving- If you have ever taken an economics class you’ll be familiar with Milton Freidman’s adage “there is no free lunch.” We are conditioned that everything comes with a price. Lunch, friendship, love, happiness. In many cases things are a give and receive, but there are moments in where it isn’t so. A hard one for me, COMPLIMENTS. I can’t take a compliment, I have to give one back.”Cassandra I love your hair.” “Why thank you I love your…shoes. Iloveyourshoes!” I may not even mean it, it’s pathetic! Hands down, it’s always a symbol for something greater. Imagine the level that your relationships could go to if you were able to 100% receive the free goodness and abundance that they were giving you.

Start today. Take out the trash, listen to someone, start your commitments with yourself, and say thank you to a compliment.

Friendship

The plural of human beings by virtue made us not a singular. 

Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran says of children:
“They come through you but are not from you”
Our biggest obstacles in life can come from our relationship with our parents. For women, our mothers are such a force in how we see the world. The relationship between mother & daughter is the most dynamic on the planet. It can be the shadows of all shadows and the platform for greatness all at the same time. As I get older, my mom gets older, her mom gets older… Our relationships with each other transform so much. My mother is a much different mother than her mother. My mom and I have moved from being a unit but still separate to becoming equals in life, invested in each other happiness and success, rather than mother energy sent to child-child receiving. I think when we as women get to this point with our mothers, it’s when we appreciate our ability to be mothers ourselves.

Life is incredibly cyclical. Everything leaves and comes back around in sometimes the most ironic and serendipitous ways. A fundamental element to living is being able to receive what we are given, maximize our blessings, and manage our shortcomings. A big part of life is being independent, but the rest is really how we manage and nurture our relationships. Without people, you don’t get to be anyplace.

Women- take a moment today to really appreciate your girlfriends. You may have a significant other, but I’m willing to bet that most women will say that their best girlfriend is her soulmate.

“For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves the bow that is stable.”

Ready is the New Why

At some point, young kids figure out how to drive adults crazy. My neighbors kids like to throw their toys off the balcony, and no matter how many times their grunting dad has to march down to get them demanding for them to stop, they never do. My theory is the throwing part is actually not as fun as they make it appear. The real fun part is observing how angry their father gets walking down the stairs each time, picking up the toys, then each time giving them back to them. I think the toddlers find it fascinating how he never figures out that if he were to just not give the toys back, they would no longer throw them.

Then there is the infamous three letter, one syllable word that every kid picks up that can be used infinitely… WHY. Anything anyone says can be returned with “why”. It’s infuriating. It can literally go on forever. Kids use this to be funny, but really it’s an amazing diversion tool. When told to go clean their room, they answer with why. When told why, they ask why. Etc, etc, etc.

Adults, especially in our culture with all of our available therapies, exit routes, and excuses have found a simple phrase that works for anything. “I’m Not Ready.” As much as I am a supporter of psychology, the practice of story telling…and re-telling… often times keeps someone in a place where they could easily exit, be free from, and become ready should they chose.

In some circumstances, this is a valid answer and feeling. But just open your mind for a moment and think about your whole life. How often have you really been ready for anything? Life is about adjustment, it’s just the way it works.

Addicts of any substance or lifestyle use this a lot. I’m not ready. Its a nearly un debatable response that works in every situation where change or evolution is possible. “I know how I am.” “I have to do it my way.” It’s a great way out, and it’s a great way to get people to leave you alone and not hold you accountable. Our friends, our family, our partners- you may be an individual but our entire world, its made up of people. Without other people you don’t get to be anyplace.

My team sees this a lot with weight loss. “I’m not ready to go on a diet right now, I’m too overwhelmed with other things.” Other things like not being able to do fit in your favorite jeans, go up a flight of stairs without being winded, or god forbid just walk into a room and not feel self conscious. All those things seem pretty overwhelming.

Its all about how YOU wish to live. There’s nothing in the world that can keep me from living my best life, but ME. We all have the choice to live in the perpetual circle of readiness and why, it’s up to you to jump off that merry-go-round.

When we sit and wait to be ready, its like clicking the ignore button when our computer wants to run an update. Eventually you are running on a old system, with old quirks, designed for a different time. You wonder why things get worse, hiccup and shut down. You are an iPad2 running on a DOS system.

Is it the chicken or the egg that comes first? Sometimes in order to move on…to move forward… you have to do just that- move. Life becomes non-linear when you focus on the integrity of the goal. If the goal is to live a happy, healthy, successful, elaborate, well-designed life, then the only way to do that is to DO it. Ready or not, your life is waiting.