Friday, February 24, 2012

Lost In Space

The space of my life right now is filled with crazy difficult challenging things. School, work, joint issues, relationships…you know what I’m talking about. 

In a few moments of reflection today in my doctor’s office, I realized that within the crazy spaces, there has been a lot of “fun,” as in moments or stretches of moments of oblivion. Those “caught-up-in-the-moment times of ‘ahhhh….’” times.  

A good joke, an unexpected moment with a friend, being drawn in by a beautiful flower or bird, a meeting of the minds with colleagues over a cup of coffee… For me, these moments get buried in the monotony of my primary spatial existence. When fun is happening, I often concentrate on what future challenges lie ahead instead of breathing in those moments of laughter and calm. 

You know how you can hear 10 really good things about yourself and one bad thing, and you remember and focus on the one bad thing more than the 10 good things? If we only concentrated more on the good than the bad, how much better we’d breathe and eat and exercise and overall treat ourselves better. 

I sometimes get so caught up in how my jeans fit and what I eat and in reminding myself to read the latest/greatest report on weight loss that I forget how to live in my body and have fun in it and with it. Those are the times I need this guy: 

Danger, Lynn Haraldson!

The two things I thought about in the waiting room today were: 

1. Maelie Julianne – grandbaby #3 – turned 1 year old on Feb. 10. All the regulars were at the party – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – and everyone wanted to see and hold Mae. She allowed people that and entertained everyone with her teetering walking, but she escaped the crowd once in awhile, gravitating to one of her favorite toys her mom put in the corner of the dining room so it was out of the way. I watched her play while everyone else talked and ate lunch and I thought, ‘How cool! Mae’s 1 and already she knows she needs time alone.’  Don’t we all? To recoup and recognize fun when we experience it? Of course! But…do we do it?

2. The soup kitchen where I volunteer is surrounded by poverty and need. Everyone who works there understands that and does NOT take that truth lightly. But inside – where we do our work – there are a lot of moments of fun. Peeling butternut squash and telling jokes, inventing a cabbage and tomato dish with only what’s in the pantry, washing dishes with a latex-glove-encased stopper sticking out of the water… Heck, even putting on a hair net can be hysterical! (You’ll have to trust me on this.) Thinking of my fellow volunteers and the paid staff who patiently guide us through our work made me crack up in the doctor’s office. I’m sure I made a few heads turn, but I don’t care. ‘How lucky are you?’ I thought. *grin* It was a fun moment.

I’m five weeks into the spring semester, and I’m learning a lot about enteral tube feedings and medical terminology and bacterial growth in food. But it’s the life lessons I continue to learn that mean the most: 

Little. Things. Matter. 

Little things make me sane. They ground me. 

I know each of our lives is multifaceted. But thinking strictly within the realm of diet and exercise, how often do you allow yourself to have pure, unadulterated fun that doesn’t include body image or food? 

Body image and food (and all that they encompass) have become the buzz in the background of my mind, and I’m not sure that’s always a good thing. But…like laughter…it keeps me grounded. I just have to remember to keep a pulse on all of the things that make up the space of my life. And that includes fun. 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lynn, I just saw you posted this on facebook and had to respond. What a great post! First off, I think it is simply wonderful that you take such joy in your grandchildren. What a blessing for you to have them in your life. And second, I think it is so great that you volunteer and that it has such an impact on your life.

And boy can I relate to the whole idea of body image and fun being background noise in my life. A lot of my self esteem is tied up in my weight--not a good thing I know--and I constantly think about food and what I am going to eat next in order to stay looking good. I recently have lost some weight and am heading down the scale again. And... people are beginning to notice and say nice things. And... it is so easy for me to get caught up in having my appearance validated by others. (Shallow, I know!!)

One of my closest friends refuses to indulge me or focus too much on my weight loss because he thinks I have too much tied up in all that. This post is a reminder to me that it is okay to have thoughts of food and weight in the back of my mind so that I can stay healthy, but I have to work in order not to be ruled by these thoughts. So much easier said than done, that's for sure!

Ali

debby said...

Right now I am weary of food and body image being a constant buzzing in the back of my mind. I am mostly over the body image thing. But if I keep reading blogs regularly (and I do) that kind of keeps it in the forefront...

val said...

The quote that's been taped to my mirror for years is this one by Robert Brault--no idea who he is:

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

I feel lucky having you for a friend. love, Val

Lynn said...

Ali, you're not alone in getting caught up in having your appearance validated by others. I don't see that as shallow, though, but as a reminder that there is more internal work to be done. I want to be enough for me, but when I seek validation from others, I realize I'm not enough and so I set out to find out why...again. If the scale is moving for you and you're happy about that, that should be enough. I know, easier said than done!

Debby, I had to back off blog reading for that very reason. I was starting to compare myself to others and feeling like I had to do the same challenges or eat the same foods as them (even though that's hardly the purpose for their blogs).

Val...you're the best :)

Anonymous said...

Loved your reply, Lynn. And I mean to say "I can relate to the whole idea of body image and food (not fun) being background noise in my life." Yikes--can I ever write a comment here without making a typo!

And you are right that there is more internal work to be done--even at 41 years old! My close friend whom I mentioned tells me all that time that I should not let others validate me or my worth. And of course, I am in therapy so these issues are not pushed to side. I just wish I knew I looked good and that I liked my appearance without the validation in the same way that I know I an intelligent woman without needing that same external validation. But... this is why I am a work in progress.

Ali

Anonymous said...

I agree Lynn. Betsy and I were talking the other day about having an activity that focuses the brain to the degree that our thoughts cannot be in ten other directions. She is taking an ice skating class - a new sport for her and if she loses her focus she falls down. She says it feels good to let all the other things racing through her mind go for that period of time. Maybe I should learn to meditate?? This is the quote I have taped to my fridge "Do we feel a sense of disappointment over a regular or ordinary day? Ordinary days are the sustaining notes of daily life. They allow the high notes to be high and the low notes to be low. They provide tone and texture. Live life with an appreciation for the moment, for the simple pleasures of an ordinary day" I don't remember who said it, someone online credits it to Kim John Payne? I do have to remind myself to enjoy a laugh with my co-workers and to sometimes laugh at myself. The other day one of my male co-workers said I should do something about my gray hair - we are the same age, he is of course kidding with me, but I was offended, so I focused on his hysterical laughing, his frizzy hair, the wrinkles around his eyes and toothless smile and tried to keep my sense of humor. But for hours after that all I could think about was how much gray hair do I have ... thank you for thinking deep thoughts and putting them into words for the rest of us:)

Love,
Pam

Deborah said...

Lynn, great post. I'm not great at living in the moment and constantly focussed on what life will be like WHEN / IF I lose weight, or what's coming up, or what crap I've left behind. I really don't appreciate the small moments as they fly by - but I do realise (somewhere deep down) that they're the moments that matter!

Deb

40 Minus 100 said...

I was just searching the net for weight loss blogs and found YOU and I'm so excited becasue YOUR before and after pic has been one of my favorites for awhile now and I had no idea you had a blog! I instantly recognized it when I saw it. I have the pic on my Pinterest board of weight loss encouragement and also on my own newly begun weight loss blog. (Is that okay? I will go link it to your blog right now!) :) Anyway, THANK YOU for sharing your success!

~ChubbyMommy said...

You are so right...it IS the little things that matter. Those moments are what we remember and cherish.

I have the buzzing in the background constantly about food issues, how i look issues, what i should/shouldn't eat. I often wonder if i got rid of that kind of buzz, what would take it's place? I focus too much brain space on things dealing with weight and food; in a way, i need that buzzing to stay on track, in another way, it takes up a lot of space.

I need my own robot, too, to warn me of "Danger!" ;0)

Lyn said...

Ugh, I have that constant buzzing too. I have gotten rid of it at times and I have SO much more clarity to think and do what really matters instead of obsessing about food.