Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's 80 degrees, so that means I must bake!

I know, right?

I'm about to run out of these focaccia rolls I'm currently addicted to, but I didn't want to go to the store because 1) I'm there so often they practically know my name and 2) I'm trying to save some money by using what I have. I know, crazy. Luckily for me, I am actually capable of making my own bread. And having it be edible.

The recipe said to let the dough rise for an hour in a warm spot. Not sure this is what they meant...

I have a recipe for olive-studded focaccia, so I decided to use that as a base and just leave out the rosemary and olives. Oh, and not bake it as a loaf but in rolls instead.

The rolls look very.... rustic. Possibly suggestive as well, which is why they've all been angled just so.

Note to self, get better at pinching the seams together when making rolls.

Anyway, they were super easy and I will probably make them again. Most likely because I'll eat way too many in way too few meals and then wonder why my pants don't fit.

Mmmmmmm bread....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

There is...

When I was going through my yoga teacher training, I would download podcasts and put them on CDs so I could listen to them while commuting to and from work. I downloaded some guided meditations (which I did not listen to while driving) and also some discussions about the yoga sutras.

I can't remember who I was listening to now, but I'm pretty sure the yogi passed on a few years ago. It was literally him sitting in a classroom teaching a class, and you could even hear students asking questions. I found them very engaging and interesting, and even though I never got past the first three yoga sutras, I listened to them several times over.

One of the teachings that stuck with me was the idea of disengaging from your emotions (ha ha, I accidently typed email there. Yeah, disengage with that too!). Non-attachment is big in the yoga world, because one cannot find enlightenment if one is attached to... well, anything really. By disengaging with the notion that we own our emotions, we take the power of attachment away from our ego and thus free ourselves.

He goes on to suggest that instead of saying "I'm happy," "I'm angry," or "I'm sad" to reframe it as "there is happiness," "there is anger," and "there is sadness." The emotions are acknowledged (which is all they really want anyway) without the anchor of possession. Their control over you lessens. You're no longer stuck in a dinghy being swallowed whole by Moby Dick the Great Emotional Whale. Instead, you're on calm seas, seeing the emotional fish swimming deep below you while your little boat remains unaffected.

I find myself doing this often, especially in the car. Because I have a lot of time to think (ruminate, obsess, worry, generally work myself into a tizzy) during my daily commute. But by reframing what I'm feeling into its basics - there is anxiety, there is excitement - everything gets acknowledged without me labeling myself as anxious or excited. Labels are just a short, lazy stroll to stories and as we know I'm trying to do away with those.

I'm finding this is also a good way of finding the deeper emotions beneath the superficial ones. Why is there anxiety? Because there is also fear? What is the fear? Why is there fear? Is there a need for it, or is it being triggered by something old and no longer relevant?

You start going down that road and it takes all the power out of the anxiety and the fear. It has no hold on you. It's just there. And if it's just there, it can just be *not* there.

Of course, this also takes all the fun out of being happy. Which is why, being human, I'm perfectly willing to give up my fear so long as I can own my happy. I guess I'll be putting off enlightenment for a little while longer. ;-)

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Fall.

See? Told ya.

I have no real plans for my weekend. No staying out until all hours of the morning, no rushing from here to there. I can do whatever, whenever. I've got to say, I'm kind of looking forward to it.

It is supposed to be 80 degrees here by Sunday, and I feel like it's summer's Last Hurrah and I should enjoy it while I can. There may be a hike in my future, and odds are good I'll do a little porch-sitting while I still can. There might possibly be a yoga class, but that will depend on my desire to get in my car and drive somewhere. 50/50 shot right now.

Life is good. :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sparky People Week Grumble.

So I am up 2 pounds. In one week?!? WTF, yo?

I know I was off significantly with my tracking this weekend, but not this badly. And there was lots of exercise on those days where things were wonky (drunk dancing burns off the alcohol calories, right? Right?!?). I am a little confused here. I shouldn't have back-tracked this significantly. I wasn't this far off. Was I?

I'm pretty pissed at myself right now. Am I not allowed to have any friggin' fun at all?

For the first time in two weeks, this weekend is mellow. No real plans, and definitely none that keep me out until all hours of the next morning. We'll see if we can't even things back out.

This is also the part where I start to evaluate my current goal weight. Maybe it truly is no longer obtainable. I mean, yesterday I put on pants that I bought back at my original goal weight 10 years ago. They still fit. Well. So what does that tell me? It tells me that maybe I'm reading too much in to numbers.

It may be time to admit that if I consistently cannot get below a certain number without boomeranging back up, that I am no longer meant to be below that amount.

It may well be time to suck it up, buttercup.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

So it seems yesterday I randomly developed a rash.

Yes, I have recently introduced new products (conditioner, hair de-frizzer, and lotion), but  I'm not rashing out anywhere other than on my chest. I haven't eaten anything I don't normally eat. I'm not particularly stressed out or otherwise worried about anything.

Basically, this is apropos of nothing.

Although, we all know that these things are *never* apropos of nothing. There is always a trigger, and if it isn't an obvious physical or emotional trigger then it's something else. This is my body's way of releasing something, and the best I can do is just accept it and let it do its job.

I just wish it would have waited until after the Masquerade I'm going to this weekend. My costume does not include a turtleneck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sparky People Week... uh.... 4?

Five pounds down as of today. My scale actually tracks percentages (like 142.4) but I'm intentionally not keeping track of those this time around as we know how I can get about minutiae.

I had a lot of social type things last week so diligent tracking was spotty at best. I just tried to make the best choices I could under the circumstances and not worry too much. Because hell, it's not like I have friends from Florida come to visit every day. I also didn't worry about what I consumed during the fire circle because 1) I actually didn't eat that much all things considered and 2) I WALKED IN A CIRCLE FOR 7 FREAKING HOURS.

I'm officially at the halfway point of this journey. Just 5 more pounds to go. This is usually the second place I can get derailed. I'm feeling pretty good in my body and clothes, maybe this is good enough, maybe I can start relaxing a little bit.

Uh... no.

Although something I will have to keep in mind is that my goal weight is only 2 pounds above the goal weight I chose 10 years ago when I did Weight Watchers. I am now a decade older, not sitting in an office 40 hours a week anymore, much more active in job and life, and have more muscle mass than I ever did last time around. This where I'm going to have to pay attention. Will my body really maintain my goal weight, or was it chosen in vanity? Or am I telling myself stories that I can't have what I once did? Only time will tell. The key will be to try to remove my ego from the process as much as possible.

Ha. Ha ha ha.

Monday, September 15, 2014

She Burns. Oh, how She Burns

Saturday night I went to my first-ever Fire Circle. One of my friends and her sister organized it out in the middle of nowhere (the best place to have one, if you ask me). It rained on and off pretty much all day, but by the time we started at midnight, the clouds had cleared and the stars were out.

It was a pretty intense and fabulous experience and I'm still processing it. I was not the only one who brought things for burning, although I think I brought the most. It was bittersweet watching those bricks of journal paper go up in flames, but also very freeing. For a couple hours, I could still find the shape of a couple of them when I looked in the flames, but after a while they were gone. Little more than ashes on top of ashes under yet more ashes.

The bonfire kept us warm throughout the cold, early fall night. We moved about it, ever circling in one direction or the other, in bare feet until the earth simply became too cold (although some of us even then). The drums kept time. Songs were sung, dances danced, tears shed... whatever you needed could be found in the flames, smoke and embers.

As the sky finally lightened from deepest to pale blue, our shuffling (because let's face it, we'd been walking in circles for six hours and shuffling was all we could do) became one last dance for the dawn. We gave our Thanks and even as we took our sore selves to home and bed, our minds were still somewhat left in that time of Other.

There is a space now in me that wasn't there before. It is unsettling, but this time I'm not trying to frantically fill it with something, anything. I am accepting it, sitting with it, letting it be. Because the emptiness is not anything to panic over. It is the space where all things spark. Possibility needs room to grow, and now I have that room.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Letting Go

Last night the September Super Harvest Moon came in to her full glory. Every single one of the astrological newsletters I subscribe to (and several others that I came into contact with separately) expounded on this being the one of healing, of letting go. If there were old emotions, feelings, things that no longer served you or needed healing, now was the time.

So last night I took advantage of that. 20 years worth of journals (13 in all) have been relegated to six bricks of paper. Which will be burned this Saturday night.

Last night I dreamt that I went into my storage closet and it had been completely emptied. There was nothing in it but a couple empty storage bins. At first, I was angry and upset. Then I looked closer in one of the storage bins and saw a couple sewing needles and some thread. Potential in the emptiness.

This is me, starting over.

This is me, free from the baggage, free from the shit I've been hauling around from place to place. Free of the unwitting spells I cast on paper that kept me trapped in the past, in false stories, in wishes that never came true.

This is me, free.

Tabula rasa
Tabula rasa
Tabula rasa

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sparky People Week 2

No weight lost, no weight gained. It's a draw. We'll chalk this one up to seeing how far I can stretch the boundaries of this program and how much I can get away with.

Turns out, not a lot.

This is the point where I usually get depressed, throw in the towel and give up. Not this time. We're reframing things. Sometimes in order to figure out how something works, you need to figure out how it doesn't work. So now I know. Now I have this information and I can move forward more thoroughly informed regarding my choices and the consequences of those choices.

It's a good thing.

This process is a journey. You can't go from 0 to 360 mph in 2 seconds without something burning out, falling off or exploding. Slow and steady wins the race.

Even if it's boring and frustrating as all get-out.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Mysterious Case of *******

On Sunday I was killing some time before work (because why take Labor Day weekend off when you can work through it) by going through some of my old journals and marking down entry possibilities for that book I keep talking about.

Things were going along, all fine and dandy, until I came to the one marked "11/03 - 12/04". Towards the end of that one, I started coming across entries with the name of a certain person blacked out.

That's when it got hard.

Prior to those years, I was pretty free and easy using full names in my journals whenever I wanted. After all, these were people in my life, people I cared about. I was spending time with them, and these journals documented that time spent. What was the problem? Well, there was no problem. Until *****.

This person spent a good nine months in, out, and around my life. I entered into the relationship openly, honestly, and yes I'll admit naively, but I went forward trusting the goodness I thought I saw. It was a lie. A manipulative, destructive lie that took me far too long to see.

When I finally saw the truth of things, I went back to the beginning of this person's time in my journals and systematically deleted the name with a sharpie. Each time I made that black mark across the page I said "I erase you from my life." For a long time, I even refused to verbalize that name, instead using He Who Must Not Be Named as a descriptor, or "Hewie" as a derogative short. Now, I am far more selective with the names that appear, although in all honesty I probably still use too many. These days there is just one friend who knows the identity of this person, and she is a dear one indeed.

This discomfort I felt in reading some of those journal entries was so great I eventually had to stop. And frankly, going back holds no appeal to me. I'm also saddened by the idea that I'm only up to 2005 and I have a whopping nine more years of depressive woe-is-me entries to slog through.

Can you see the black cloud of depression swirling around these books?
I am really beginning to understand the desire to burn old journals. Right now, building a great big bonfire and cleansing myself of all these old injuries and stories holds great appeal. I've been carrying these books around for years now, moving them from home to home. Never letting them stray far, and within easy reach if I need to remind myself of those old self-talk brain loops.

Those books represent what was, and holding on to the past is just holding me back.

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way . This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been...