Friday, April 11, 2014

Facebook


Look for Renaissance Woman on Facebook.  If you "like" the page, you'll get all my blog posts plus shares from other pages.  Would love to see you there.

SR

Weight - still an issue

So I haven't written about my weight in a long time.  Weight is not really a problem with me - in that I am not over-weight.  I am, according to my BMI, within normal standards.  At one point I got down to 136 pounds (for my 5' 5 1/2" height) - which would be great to attain again.  I am back up to almost 143, and edging to the upper end of that "normal" range.  I exercise daily and try to watch what I eat.  But although I have the knowledge I need, I also have cravings that I don't want.

The problem is that I eat when I am not hungry and I crave sweets - mostly chocolate.  I eat when I am stressed, bored (which is a type of stressed), or doing something I don't want to do (also stress, but then I'm also using food as a form of procrastination).  It doesn't help that I work at home within about 3 feet of the fridge (through walls, I do have to walk to get to it).

I've heard so many people say that eating under these conditions is "filling a hole" - in one's psyche, presumably.  I have never particularly identified with this.  I don't FEEL like I'm filling a hole.  But I'm definitely not eating because of hunger.

So it's a form of self-soothing that I really need to concentrate on replacing with something else - and not healthier food - but a different activity altogether.  Maybe blogging :)  Or reading.  Or writing something else.  Not sure, but I need a more productive activity than raiding the freezer for those chocolate chips or that ice cream.

Anyhow, I feel the need to share, because I need accountability again - and because I know lots of other people have the same problem.  I need to state publicly that I have not fixed anything.  I think I've learned about some of my behaviours, but I'm obviously not in control of my eating habits.  More than some people, but not as much as I'd like to be.

And may I say that bad habits not visible before I turned 40 are now much more obvious.  I can't eat what I used to and not have it show on my waistline - and maybe there's a reason for that.  Maybe I do need to dig deep and figure out psychological reasons for eating - instead of eating them away.  Maybe as you get older, the Universe conspires to push you into dealing instead of relying on vices - and in my case, it's tool of choice is the scale.  So I guess I have to do some of the hard work. Again. Damn it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

But What Can I Do About It?

I shared an article on Facebook yesterday - from National Geographic, about how the search for the missing Malaysian plane has shown us how much garbage is in the ocean.  On the post I wrote "Okay, so now what ARE we going to do about it?"

A friend of mine commented "Exactly! Enough postings about the state of our world. What can we do?"  In asking a question, and getting a question in response, that friend of mine made me take responsibility for the question I posed, and I actually thought about it for a second.  What CAN we do about it?

Normally I'd say "hang your laundry, drive a hybrid, grow some vegetables, learn to sew, etc., ad nauseum".  But why start from scratch in your own back yard when there are large organizations working tirelessly to fight for change?

So my answer to her was "You know what immediately comes to mind? Find a good activist group and support them financially. 350.org, for instance. Also, support people who research and write about the topic by buying their books. Our individual environmental actions do little (although are still important), so supporting and helping to advertise for powerful action groups seems a good idea."   

I would seriously suggest researching companies, non-profits and activists who are already doing a good job at trying to change laws.  And I would put my money behind them (as well as doing what you can in your daily life to reduce waste and consumption).

Support the big boys who are already tirelessly working on this.  Because YOU can do very little (you are 1/7,000,000,000th of the problem*).  But if we all do a little, it becomes a lot.  And if you see that your contribution is helping to make a change, it might make you feel better.

I intend to do this now - a monthly contribution to 350.org.

Here are some other organizations you might consider supporting:

http://climaterealityproject.org

http://www.greenpeace.org

http://www.unep.org/climatechange/

http://www.conservation.org

There are excellent resources out there to help you wade through all of this if you so desire:

http://climate.nasa.gov

http://www.world.org/weo/climate

http://www.realclimate.org

https://www.skepticalscience.com  (at this link you can see the first episode of "Years of Living Dangerously)

And there are a lot more.

Or you may just want to donate money, do what you can, and let other people worry about it - because this IS an overwhelming problem.


*I'm making a point here, I know those of us in the rich parts of the world are bigger parts of the problem, so don't harp on me for that.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Only Children

I read a blog post this morning that struck me deeply.  For two reasons.  It's about a mother who has an only son (that's one reason - I'm a mother with an only son).  And it's about how unhappy she is - although I doubt she understands that (it makes me sad to see people with good lives being so unhappy - I may be depressed and anxious sometimes, but I'm generally happy with my life).

Here's the story:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/05/wish-my-son-wasnt-an-only-child?CMP=fb_gu

If you don't feel like reading it, it's about a 40-year-old mother of an 11-year-old son - her relationship with the father ended when the boy was 6.  She feels guilty because she never gave her son siblings.

But not very far below that guilt is the very obvious anger the woman feels about not having the life she "expected".  Expectation are dangerous things - especially if you've had expectations for how your life is going to be.  We ALL end up in places we didn't plan.  We ALL feel there are things that we would have liked that we didn't get.

But here's the trick that ALL enlightened souls know: if you are grateful for what you have, you will be much happier than if you are regretting what you didn't get.

"It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you have"

And on the topic of only children:  ALL children have their issues.  You can't prevent them from going through hard times.  We all have different life experiences and we all live life in our own ways.  Whether or not you have siblings, you will learn the lessons you are sent here to learn.  Some people would have been better off without siblings than with one who sexually abuses them.  Others would be better off with the support of a sibling than without.  Having siblings does not guarantee any support or love in the future.  Teaching them how to make and keep good relationships will provide support for them in the future if they need it.

I hope this woman realizes what a blessing she has to have such a lovely son and to have such a close relationship with him.  But maybe she won't.  And really none of this is my business - it's her journey.  I'd just like to see her happier.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Over-reacting?

It's always good to remember that if you are over-reacting to something or someone, it means that it/they have put a mirror up to you that you are not happy looking into.

My husband and I, over the years, have realized that whenever we get truly angry at one another, it is usually caused not by our current actions, but by something creeping up from the past - something that one or the other of us hasn't dealt with.  Realizing this, catching it before it blows up, and honestly talking about what might be causing the over-reaction usually leads to a long conversation and a huge emotional release.  I thank God for this man I married who will do this with me.  I know I am blessed by this.

I over react to a lot of things - but as I mature (okay, get older!), I've learned that the over-reaction is a symptom, not really a reaction - it's a symptom of something that is not quite right with my thinking - it's a sign that I need to re-think things, re-live some past memories, let go of some anger - or acknowledge some anger and THEN let go of it.

It's quite alright to be mad at parents, siblings, old lovers, friends - it's okay to acknowledge that they screwed up, that they hurt you.  And then it's okay to forgive them and move on.  They don't even have to know about it.  It's also okay to acknowledge that you've screwed up - hurt yourself or someone else.  We're all human.  We ALL make mistakes - and it's okay to apologize for them.  Allow yourself to be human.  Allow yourself to make mistakes.  Allow others to make mistakes.

And then ... move on.

Now ... if I can only figure out what's bugging me this week and causing me to eat WAY too much ... hmm ....

Monday, March 31, 2014

TRC

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been in Edmonton this week.  The minister at my husband's church has been very involved.  The TRC is what I guess you could call a task force, that is working on healing the hurt suffered by First Nations (Native Indian - for my American friends) people who were removed to residential schools while very young children.  These children suffered emotional and physical (and sometimes sexual abuse) at the hands of churches and the government, after being torn from their families.

Let me first say this:  what the residential schools did to First Nation's children was horrible.  I have worked with people who went to them.  The pain they feel is intense and I can understand where forgiveness for the kind of treatment they received would be very hard to muster.  There is a LOT of pain there.

I do not pretend to forgive the actions of the churches or the people involved.  But from an historical perspective, there is an interesting side note.

The British system of education has an ingrained, long-standing tradition of removing British children from their homes and educating them institutionally, too. They did this to their own children.  Granted, their children were raised in their culture, and the institutional schools were part of that culture, so it wasn't a surprising shock to be taken to school, and they still got to speak their own language and live in familiar buildings, etc.  First Nations' children were removed from their culture, language, architecture, families, etc and put into these institutional schools, which was far harder on them.  But the British were not doing this as some sort of morbid punishment - they were continuing the tradition of education that had worked for their culture.

It's a horrible thing that happened.  To the First Nations especially.  But I have sympathy for the British children who were removed from their families, too. The more I learn about British history, the more I wonder how anyone ever came from that culture intact and emotionally stable.

The environment - it doesn't look good, people!

On my Facebook page today, I challenged people to do SOMETHING.  Something small that they could continue to do every day to help with the environment.  So I should probably pledge to do the same thing.

I often leave my computer on all day.  From now on, I am going to have it on for a while in the morning and any time I am working.  Otherwise, I am going to turn it off.  I do lots of other things to help reduce my impact on the environment already - I've made changes over the years that have become habit.  But it's never too late to make a new one.  And it's never too late to remind myself to keep doing all the other ones.

Why, today of all days, did I challenge people?  Well, the IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report on climate change came out today (see articles below).  And it's rather dire.  Well, let's face it, it's been rather dire for 40+ years now.  But nobody has listened.  Will we listen now?  I hope so.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10733764/IPCC-report-No-one-will-be-untouched-by-climate-change.html

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-threat-food-security-humankind

I always thought people would have to actually see and feel the effects of climate change before changing their habits.  But we CAN see and feel the effects NOW - and people still don't seem to be changing their habits.  Here is an example of how we can see the effects in real time:

http://piecefit.com/index.php/en/wake-up-all/alternative-news/item/401-couple-takes-wedding-photos-amidst-toxic-smog#k2Container

You only have to look at the news - see the mudslides, the droughts, the hurricanes, the storms, the snow, the dramatic increase in extreme weather events - to know that this is really happening.  And that we need to do something.

We need to do something because it's going to be harder to produce food - and harder to transport it - which means that food is going to cost a lot more.  Which means you'll have less money to spend on other things.  If it takes an economic argument to get you to do something - I just made it.  GO DO SOMETHING!!  And read about what is happening - because that might give you the incentive to keep doing that something.