Salix's Shiny Things

A magpie blog.

Loss and gain – coming to terms with where my body is taking me September 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 12:52 pm
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For the past couple of months, I’ve been pretty disciplined about keeping up an exercise routine, and my body is starting to look and feel different.  Additionally, I’m in the beginnings of a new relationship, and for me, that means lots of butterflies in the tummy, most of the time.  Personally, I can’t fit much food around those butterflies, so I’ve been eating much less in general, and more fresh fruit and vegetables than I had been eating. I feel better, lighter in my heart, more energetic.

And my body is starting to look a bit different too.

On the one hand, I’m so happy to look down and my hands and wrists and see more definition and less puffiness.  They look like my arms again.  Strong but graceful.

Does that mean I disliked they way I looked before?  I want to say I was ok with how I looked, I had come to accept it, and that’s true up to a point.  But then again, I feel more like I’m looking at myself, my arms, when I look down and see my less puffy wrists.  Perhaps that’s mostly an artifact of history, that I’d had stronger, more defined, arms for longer than not.

And I’m losing enough weight that my pants are all feeling looser.  That makes me happy.  But again – does this mean I was unhappy at a larger size?

I had come to accept my size for what it was.  It didn’t define me, my size 16-18 body was/is my body, and I love it for all the amazing things it can do – high kicks, long horse’s stance times, crazy dancing.

Now I have to keep that in mind, and not fall into the trap of feeling like I’m a better person now that I’ve dropped a size.  That’s a big trap in this culture, huge, deep trap.  Easy to fall into.  Very difficult to get out of.

I am building a bridge and a net with my meditation practice to keep me from falling into that trap, and into the well of depression and self-doubt that be found when I cling to external things like body size for a sense of self-worth. By cultivating acceptance and love, accepting impermanence, and cultivating my beginner’s mind, I think I can make a pretty strong bridge, and weave a good safety net for when I have a bad day and fall a bit.

This place in my life I’m in right now is full of flux, lots of changes of all sorts are happening right now and it’s difficult sometimes to feel grounded and safe.  But that, in itself, is ok.  Even hurricanes don’t last forever.  But this is one storm that, while intense, is washing out a lot of built up trash, helping it break down and become fertile mud to plant seeds of wisdom and happiness in.

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Life, the Universe, and Stuff (mainly, depression and coping) May 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 7:14 pm
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Hello, hello, hello!

So, it’s been a month and a week since I’ve posted here.  Battling depression and suchlike.  Writing this blog and journaling does help, but it requires a fairly significant amount of energy, which has been pretty much nonexistent this month.  It’s a stupid catch-22 with depression:  doing the things that make you feel better is great way to cope, but actually having the mental energy to do those things isn’t there, so you just sit at the bottom of the depression pit.  Blegh.

But the mood is lifting, mental energy is finally growing to the point where I can do more than 1 thing a day, like clean AND write!  Yoga And clean!  And Write!  Clean and crochet and yoga and help kid with homework!

Every little is a Big Accomplishment after you’ve had to live at the bottom of the depression pit.

One thing that I’ve really wanted to explore in my writing but didn’t have the energy for this month is my experience attending church these past several weeks.

Yep, I’ve become a regular church goer, and my son is now a choirboy!

Which is weird and strange and odd and oxymoronical due to the fact that I’m a Super Secular Science Person.

But… I’m also an anthropologist.  And a pragmatist.  And heavily influenced by my study of the history and philosophy of the Society of Friends (Quakers)  and experiences in  Friends affiliated schools  (meeting for worship is pretty awesome, actually!)

Going to church is a great way to meet people, of course.  And I chose to attend a small church of the same denomination that my mom and her family belonged to instead of one of the more “cool” churches in town (Unitarian Universalist, for example).

As an anthropologist, I analyze my behavior in this way:  I have a human need to connect to my family and my ancestry through familiar things – and absent their physical presence, I can find connection through rituals and traditions.  And because my mom’s denomination (Lutheran) is not very popular in the US, it tends to attract folks who have established connections the culture and traditions, so there are plenty of midwestern germanic old-school liberal types like my mom and her family  in the congregation.  Folks who are very kind if not greatly effusive, emphasizing practicality and scholarship over spirituality.

So, my “people”, in other words.  My family’s culture.

And because I have social anxiety that’s fairly significant, just this once a week thing has been an enormous energy drain.

But it’s an expense that is starting to become an investment.  The energy I spend to go to church and interact with people is great practice.  It’s a gentle and nurturing environment where I don’t have to be “cool” or show off how witty and hip I am, or demonstrate how intelligent I am, or otherwise prove my worthiness to a group of strangers I want to associate with.  I can just relax and practice socializing, work on my conversation skills, be a bit awkward but still accepted.

In other words, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

So I guess that makes me a secular Lutheran?  Well, why not?  So many of my college friends are secular Jews, so why not a secular Lutheran?