Thursday, May 14, 2015

Contemplation and Cake


"There are three things extremely hard: 
steel, a diamond, and to know one's self."~Benjamin Franklin

I can admit it: I'm a slow learner. I've been on this lovely planet for 37 years, and only recently have I started to understand what "knowing myself" means. I've spent most of my life looking to others to figure out what I should think, how I should act. But, if you think about it, why should we expect to know ourselves any better than we know others if we don't give time and thought to what lies within us?

So many people have helped me to get to this beginning point of self-discovery: family members, friends, colleagues, and even people who did not have my best interests at heart. Those people have taught me some tough but important lessons to say the least.

Two major learning experiences in the past 6-7 years have really catapulted me into new ways of thinking of life and my role in it. The first was the discovery of meditation through Meditation Oasis, a series of guided meditation podcasts. I began listening to them to fall asleep. I suffered from anxiety and insomnia, and their "deep rest" podcast pulled me out of that vicious cycle. From there, I began to listen to some of their other podcasts (available free from iTunes) and learned to bring my thoughts back to the present and to accept life as it is, not as I think it should be. One of my favorite lines from the "trust" guided meditations is "who are we to know what's intended in this life"? This really puts our existence into perspective. Though unique and important, we are small parts of an infinite universe. Just because we have consciousness does not mean that we can completely control our own lives. 

The second major learning experience was a class I took called "Characters in Conflict." The basis for this class was David Keirsey's Temperament Theory. We studied fictional characters in relation to their temperaments, and in the process learned much about human nature. I learned my innate ways of looking at the world and was able to recognize that others look at it differently. Knowing my core values helps me to embrace my strengths and be cognizant of my weaknesses. It helps me communicate more effectively with others (which has been a great asset in my personal and professional relationships). 

About a million inspirational quotes about knowing yourself, loving yourself, and being true to yourself abound on the internet and on office posters. But I never really gave them much thought until recently. It must be fairly difficult to adequately describe what those words mean. We are all on different paths, and I don't think we can fully explain our journeys to anyone else. Sort of like good poetry, I can feel my path in my heart, but my brain hasn't quite caught up yet. What I do know is that I am much more confident and calm. I rarely feel anxiety or have insomnia. I am a better friend, mother, and teacher than I could have been 10 years ago.

Food for Thought

This blog seems to have a mind of its own. It started out as a weekend posting, but seems to be settling into a Tues/Weds/Thurs posting. Honestly, life has been a little more difficult recently, mostly because it's a stressful as well as emotional time at work . I am getting ready to say goodbye to another outstanding group of seniors, and as always, it's bittersweet. And this brings me to my thoughts on food this week...

First of all, I ATE THE CAKE. And the world did not end. I still stayed within my allotted WW points, but I was disappointed in myself. Not only did I eat cake (on Friday), I also ate three cupcakes over the weekend. But as I look back on the last week or two, I made soooo many more good decisions than I did so-so decisions. Although I will continue to limit refined carbs and sweets, I don't plan to live without them forever. And this past weekend proves that I CAN enjoy in relative moderation, but I have to be intentional. I didn't spiral out of control, but I easily could have. So, the answer to my question last week about when things will get difficult? Yeah...I got a taste of that last weekend. I conquered, but it wasn't exactly easy. 

This weekend will be spent in Kansas City. BBQ and craft beer are central to the itinerary. Check back next week to see what happens.

The Stats

3.23.15: 37 lbs to lose
3.29.15: -4 (33 lbs to lose)
4.4.15: +1 (34 lbs to lose)
4.12.15: -2.5 (31.5 lbs to lose)
4.19.15: -2 (29.5 lbs to lose)
4.26.15: -1.5 (28 lbs to lose)
5.3.15: -1 (27 lbs to lose)*********10 lbs down!!!**********
5.10.15 -.5 (26.5 to lose)*********Wearing smaller pants!*********

What I'm Reading

Tasty, by John McQuaid: a non-fiction work about the evolution of taste. 

"More than vision, or hearing, or even sex, flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us. The ultimate that the introduction of killing into the world, and with it untold suffering, also expanded intelligence and awareness, and ultimately led to human consciousness" (p. 21, Tasty). 

Whoa--I guess our relationship with food has been complex since the beginning!


  1. Leslie,
    I am working to lose weight too, but I love food and drink, as you know. I have lost about 15 pounds since mid-January, when I started. It really helps to walk every day, about 30-45 minutes, with my faithful companion dog Zoey. She is better off and so am I. My goal is very similar to yours--I want to lose about 38 pounds, which would get me down to 225, still not exactly male model material when I am 5'10" but definitely a lot better than the 263 I started out at. I enjoyed reading your blog because you are so straightforward and clear in what you have to say. Plus you have a wonderful sense of humor and know never to take yourself too seriously but still to be serious about all the stuff that matters. Perhaps we can both encourage each other and meet our goals!

    1. Thanks, Fred! Your comments mean a lot to me. Yes! I am totally in for helping each other out. Let me know if you find/create any yummy, healthy recipes, and I will do the same. KC BBQ was fantastic--no weight watching there! But totally worth it.