From Type A to Type Ahh

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World – Ghandi


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Happy Holidays

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  It is a good time to reflect on all we have.  Ironic that it is also the kickoff of the biggest consumerism season.  Last year hubby and I decided to forgo all of that consumerism and instead decided to only make charitable donations.  1368188349-Gratitude

Our plan will be similar this year.  We are however going to go in with my sister and get my mother a new recliner that has built-in heat and massage to help her rheumatoid arthritis.  I think that kind of conscience consumerism is still consistent with our beliefs.  It was amazing last year doing this.  It brought back all the joy of the holiday season that I felt I lost.  I am someone who loves the holidays. I love running through the neighborhood Christmas lights every morning.  I love cooking and listening to classic Christmas music on Pandora that reminds me of when I was a kid.  I love taking time off to just be with my husband.  I love driving home and walking in the door as it gets dark.  This time of year just makes home that much homier.  Somehow the endless to do list and purchasing unneeded items overtook all the positives of the season for years.

We have decided to reclaim the things about this time of year that make it magical.  It starts with realizing we have everything we need right here and now.  Not one thing that makes the holidays for me costs any money.  They all unfold right here on their own.  I hope this holiday season is full of magic and gratitude for you and your loved ones.  Sing while you cook, laugh with loved ones, eat good food, and think about how you might use this time of the year to make it better for someone else.  I think that is the true spirit of the holidays.


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Guess what? Turns out I am Just Fine

a-confident-womanToday was the Village 10K Race and for me it was reminder that nearly a year ago I ran that race and realized my foot was too badly injured for me to keep running.  I was going to have to take some time off.  Not only that I was going to fail to fulfill a goal.  I was going to be unable to run the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon in December.  A lot of things about that day were terrifying.

I used running to relax and distress.  I used it as pretty much my sole form of exercise.  I would even say I used it to define who I am.   I may have mentioned this before, I had a relentless pursuit of perfection that often took the form of obsessive goal setting.  Setting goals was only step one.  The real pay off came from crossing them off.  Yet here I was.  Limping across the finish line, defeated, in pain and without telling my husband scared to death.  Who was I if I could not run and who was this girl who was just going to lay down and not complete her goal.  What was left?  I am not sure I have felt so out of control.  In case I have not mentioned it, control and I go way back.

I had to do something drastic.  For this Type A, goal pursuing, uber over-achieving perfectionist nothing seemed more out of the box than meditation.  I made a commitment.  It seemed simple enough meditate everyday.  How hard could sitting there doing nothing be, right?  All those who meditate are now laughing.  In fact there has been little in my life that came less naturally.  So I guess that was what made me realize I must really need this.  So I persevered.  I am not sure when it stopped being something I had to force myself to do to a part of my life.  It really did.  I have 3 days left before hitting one year.  It is now something I can’t imagine not doing.

What I was unprepared for was what happened this year from this one desperate decision.  I have this new-found and easily accessible gratitude for the good things in my life.  I have learned to let things go and realized that the cosmic joke, is believing we were ever in control.  All of those you might expect.  All the studies indicate that.

I think some of the external things that have changed were unexpected.  I started streamlining, minimizing possessions that just did not seem as important.  I simplified my wardrobe.  What made it easier was that I found I no longer made decisions by thinking, what will people think about me if I wear this.  All of a sudden if I felt appropriate then I just went with it.  I also embraced the fact that I don’t have to wear a lot of make up.  I used to hate putting on foundation and powder.  So guess what I stopped doing it.  Just a little blush, concealer, and mascara.  It takes about two minutes in the morning.  Know what I saw staring back in the mirror?  I saw a 48-year-old woman who has earned her position, who has a fulfilling marriage, takes care of her family, volunteers, and lives by her principles.  I never got that from make up.  I guess as I hit the one year mark, the biggest surprise is I am just fine being me.


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Aligning with My Priorities

vegetarian_diet_pyramidThe year is coming to a close and I can hardly believe it!  It was 354 days ago I made a small decision, to start meditating.  I really started because an injury had sidelined me from running.  I needed to find a way to cope with stress.  Running had been my outlet.  I thought at the time, “I will do this for a few weeks until I get cleared to run.”

Funny things happen when you make plans.  I actually saw real benefits from meditation.  I decided to see if I could commit to meditating every day for a year.  I am now 11 days away from that goal.  I look back and can’t believe where this one simple decision led me over the last year.

All of these unintended consequences happened.  Let me be clear they did not happen over night.  In fact just this week we made another change I feel I would not have made if I had not started with that decision to meditate.  We decided to go back to a vegetarian diet.  We had been vegetarian several years ago.  Honestly, I have been struggling the last year, as I tried to decide what was a priority it seemed to conflict with eating meat.  Of course this only my personal conflict.  As an environmentalist, animal rights advocate, and someone who placed health as one of her 5 core values; eating meat no longer seemed to align with who I was and what I believed in anymore.

I made a decision to go back to a vegetarian diet.  I announced this to my husband and he surprised me by deciding he wanted to do that with me. We started this week and I have to say it has been great.  I told my husband today I feel better cooking our meals because I know they are healthier.  Preparing vegetarian dishes has renewed my cooking creativity and vegetarian cooking is faster and easier to clean up.  A side benefit is my cats are a lot less interested in helping me cook chickpeas than chicken.  Another benefit was being reminded how nice it is to have a husband who supports me and my growth.  Kind of a nice thing to remember this week, since Tuesday we celebrated 19 years of marriage and 25 years together.