Archive for May, 2014

In my research on weight-loss, I discovered that loneliness is one of the biggest risk factors for weight gain. So it’s no surprise to me that when I feel lonely (often), I crave comfort foods (often).

What prompted me to write this post today is that I was just now feeling low energy and a bit discouraged with my lack of progress on some projects. So I chose to let myself feel those feelings. And a sadness came over me to the point of tears. Why am I crying? And the answer was clear. I’m lonely. And my next thought was: Go get junk food and/or beer. But I know that’s not a sustainable solution. Fuck it, who cares anyway? It doesn’t matter.

And so loneliness becomes hopelessness. Loneliness is my trigger for hopelessness.

The other side of this is that even when I’m with people, I often struggle to be present with them. Some people are very easy for me to engage with, to feel connected and present with. But with others, I get lost in my head no matter how strong my intention to be present is. I feel separate from them, and lonely even in their company.

On a related note, I’ve been neglecting the sitting meditation component of this 100-day experiment. Until today, that is. I sat for 10 minutes this morning. It’s time to emphasize my practice of presence, by myself (through sitting meditation) and with others.

I will also make an effort to socialize more regularly. And I will schedule more of my writing sessions outside of my house, at the library or at the coffee shop.


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My focus is clear and I’m doing well. Physically, I have a plan to get current with my goals. I’m all caught up with burpees (225/225) and making great progress with pushups (1100/1500), pull-ups (81/150), and plank (26 min / 45 min).

I haven’t practiced a whole day of “What if I…?” yet but I’m using it periodically throughout any given day to widen my perspective. I do intend to schedule a full day of inquiry soon.

Riding the Wave

Monday and Tuesday were doosies. For much of that time I was lost in a fog of hopelessness. All that seemed real was how far I am from where I want to be. An illusion, of course, but it held me under its spell for almost two full days.

I have practices I know I can use to create different states of being; I have people I know I can reach out to who support me unconditionally. But that’s the mind-fuck of hopelessness. What’s the point of any of it? Nothing matters, yada, yada, yada.

Wednesday I woke, and the fog had lifted. I didn’t “do” anything to cause that change. My feelings simply evolved to a higher state.

The sense of relief was two-fold. First, the weight of hopelessness was gone. I felt free and flowing. My actions had meaning, life had value again. (Also an illusion, by the way.)

Second, I felt free of the responsibility for my state of being. I didn’t have to do anything to feel better. I simply waited for a change: This too shall pass.

Yes, I can make choices that affect how I feel — and I do believe we are powerfully creative creatures that can control how we experience life. I value responsibility in the most empowering sense of the word: response-ability, our ability to respond. And at the same there are waves that we ride, up and down, and sometimes we don’t need to try so hard.

Sometimes it’s enough to be patient. Just as suddenly as it disappeared, hope can suddenly and magically reappear.

The trick, of course, is remembering to appreciate this period of peacefulness, this time of hope — while it lasts. This too shall pass…

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In a session with a client yesterday, we were talking about the value of “leading with love.” The idea is that strategies are secondary; if you lead with love, whatever you do will be stronger and more effective. Furthermore, when you don’t lead with love (and lead with fear or selfishness or anger or whatever), your actions will be weaker and less effective than they could have been.

So I was thinking about this and how it might help me with my relationships. Sometimes people experience me as cold, detached, judgmental, and even arrogant. What they perceive is actually insecurity. Insecurity makes me quiet, reserved, inhibited, careful with my words, slow to act or react, less likely to laugh, etc. So my insecurities manifest the very thing I’m insecure about: people keeping their distance.

What if I led with love?

Take me being quiet, for example. Is that in and of itself enough to put people off? If it’s a quiet that’s rooted in fear, yes, because I’m likely to be perceived as cold and unapproachable. But if it’s a quiet rooted in love, that’s different. In that case, I’m likely to be perceived as gentle, maybe even inviting.

A fun synchronicity happened last night at my meeting. One of the readings included this passage: “Everyone deserves love — even those who have treated us badly.” It was a nice validation of this idea, and a reminder of the challenges involved.

I’m going to start with the simple practice of listening with love. When someone is speaking, whether I agree with them or not, I am going to practice loving them.

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A Day 4 sore throat put me out of commission for the past few days in one sense (re: the physical goals), but I used it as an opportunity to practice the spirit of these 100 days and consciously chose to frame things positively — specifically, my dietary parameters had started to slip this weekend, and this illness refocused my intentions.

I’ll admit, the compulsions to eat and drink are strong. And it’s too easy to “forget” what’s important when those compulsions kick in. I think I could benefit from a mantra. Something like “This is my choice.” Or maybe a question like “What do I choose now?”

What if I…?

In a conversation with a client yesterday, I suggested an exercise to him that I think could serve me very well, too. It’s an inquiry exercise where you ask yourself, “What if I…?” The point is to expand your sense of what’s possible beyond your every-day thought patterns and beliefs. So one day this week (probably Saturday), I’m going to focus on that inquiry.

Here’s the really important part: I don’t need to act on any of these new possibilities; that’s a different experiment. For now, I want to get my mind opening up to new options, outside-the-box options, even crazy options. Just to see what happens to my perspective on life.

I’m going to capture these new options in a notebook, and I’ll report back here.

Just today, this spark of inquiry prompted some good ones:

  • What if I only wore my glasses when I needed them?
  • What if I left my phone at home whenever I went out for a walk or a trip to the grocery store?
  • What if I deleted my Facebook account or didn’t check email for a week?
  • What if I was out of the loop on the latest trends in technology or media?
  • What if I allowed myself to sleep whenever I’m tired?

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After a bit of a binge, this 100 days begins.

Yesterday, I had some cookies, an alcoholic drink, and some pizza. Goodbye, crap! It was a nice contrasting experience, though, because it helped refine my focus for these 100 days. I can be quite compulsive when it comes to things like eating, drinking, self-pity, anxiety, and more. That compulsiveness operates at a pretty low level of consciousness. So…

My focus for these 100 days will be the practice of making conscious choices. Which will involve slowing down, checking in with how I’m feeling and what beliefs are behind those feelings, assessing my options, and choosing the option that feels most exciting and authentic to what’s most important to me.

For some recurring situations, I can prepare some options in advance. For example, afternoons tend to be a lower energy part of the day for me. I can make a short list of things to do instead of my compulsion to feel low or worry about something: things like going for a walk and listening to Alan Watts podcasts, sitting in meditation, singing to positive music, working out, taking a nap, etc. Having this list available to me will focus my choice.

Speaking of working out, I want to make that part of these 100 days too. As a conscious choice, I am going to focus on doing 10,000 pushups, 1000 pull-ups, 1500 burpees, and 5 hours of plank pose.

I’m also going to focus on accumulating 20 hours of sitting meditation. That’s the equivalent of a 12-minute sit every day.

It will also include a practice of moderation. I’m good at doing things 100% or 0%, but I struggle with moderation. For example, instead of eliminating Category 4 foods from my diet, I’m going to allow for conscious choices of moderation. I will define these parameters in a future post.

Okay, here we go…

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