It's a long road, but I'm taking it one step at a time...

My Mini-Goal

8/08/10 to 8/31/10-to lose 6 lbs this month

Friday, April 30, 2010

Blessed Beltane

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out... Benjamin Franklin

Ben is right; what matters is not making mistakes or having a failure-- what matters is you pick yourself up and continue. Nothing I have ever done that I am proud of came easy. People who know success don't find it with complete ease and total perfection... they find it because when they got knocked down, they got up, brush themselves off and keep going. They don't sit there and cry about how hard it is, that doesn't help. They don't sit there and whine about how much better other's have it, that doesn't do any good either. You have to focus on you, on getting up, and going on, trying again, and keep going no matter how tough the road gets.

That's why I love Ben.

Tonight at sunset starts a Wiccan holiday. My husband is off and took the kids to the pool while I clean and finish up a little work and get some quiet in here for a while. We made some decorations this week, also made some incense and Beltane prosperity and energy spell candles that we will charge tonight in our family ritual.

At sunset, we light the sun candle at the altar. We have prayers, songs, chants, stories, sometimes seasonal enactments, make offerings and feast. It is a quiet sabbat, just the 4 of us today (the elusive college-age daughter seems to be too caught up in her life these days to visit us on holidays).

We're having spiced orange pork chops (lean, center-cut), glazed carrots, corn; some fruit and baked pastries for dessert. I am going to try and find balance between completely depriving myself and going overboard.

I guess these times-- holidays and such-- will be the test. Can I handle it? It's hard.

The kids don't have weight problems and I've worked hard to try and keep it that way by reserving my binging to the dead of night or when I'm in the kitchen, alone, cooking. We eat fresh, lean, baked or broiled meats seasoned with fresh herbs or we eat eggs or legumes or casseeroles. I make sure they eat a wide variety of fresh and frozen veggies which are on their plates every day; I keep white flour carbs to a minimum (about 1 or 2 servings per day) in favor of whole grains and high fiber carbs. They eat limited sweets and treats; candy only comes in at about 4 holidays a year and maybe a bag of chips or box of cookies comes in once a month. I allow them soda in limited quantities when we go out, mostly they drink water or milk or crystal lite, and once in a while diet soda or fruit drinks. I buy fairly decently nutritious cereal with minimal sugars, I don't go overboard offer them fruits and popcorn, keep the fast foods and buttery and fried stuff to an absolute minimum (once a week maybe). They run around, swim and play.

They're in good shape. I want them to stay in good shape; but I don't want them to be deprived of fun things like holiday baking and treats. But the holiday baking and treats are my drug. I get afraid that I will pass on the addiction, or that in providing it for them I will trigger my own weaknesses.

Sometimes I tell myself it is better to just do without; like an alcoholic not only giving up hard booze but staying away from bars and even friends houses where there might be beers passed around on Superbowl Sunday. Just stay away, and the kids will never miss what they never had.

Other times, I wonder if balance is the key-- can balance be found, or have I gone so far out of balance already that the only way to remedy it is to go to the other extreme.

Is balance possible with me?

Will it be possible with our kids, considering both my husband and myself are obese?

Or have I missed that boat?

And what about Naiomi?

Sorry... getting carried away there (a low-fat cookie to anyone who can guess what that's from!). But these are the questions I struggle with. After all I am going through, will I ever be able to find balance, or will trying send me over the edge? Am I better just staying away from the fence and should I take my family with me?

Boy I wish there were people reading this, I would so love opinions and advice.

In the mean time, if there are any Pagans out there who are celebrating, Beltane Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Artistic Frenzies, Laughter, and Rejuvination

I painted today (well, yesterday) for 7 1/2 hours.

I don't mean I just painted a wall white, and I don't mean I painted for a while then took a break then painted...

I mean I got caught up in a creative frenzy painting a mural for scenery of a play at my church...

I spent 7 1/2 hours... one paint brush in one hand working on the canvass, one clenched between my teeth and two more tucked between my fingers in the hand holding a paper plate as a pallette, mixing colors and bending and stretching and shading and highlighting and detailing...

I was in an altered state of consciousness, completely oblivious to time and space, nothing existing but me and colors and canvass, paint splattered on me like the ritual decoration of some tribal warrior with a mind focused only on the battle.

It is relaxing and exhilerating to get caught up in an artistic frenzy like that... if I could do that every day, I wouldn't think much about food and be too tired to eat at night.

So I got home and didn't feel like working or anything; I ate a bowl of cereal for dinner and dozed on the sofa while the kids were watching some tv and running around getting ready for bed. They woke me up to kiss me good night and I realized my back, shoulder and painting arm were killing me.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it was totally worth it... but killing me nonetheless. So I popped a quick asprin.

Maybe it's because when I get caught up painting like that it's like sex, some kind of creative orgasm, I felt like having a ciggarette.... but of course I haven't smoked in 4 months and am not about to start again now, so I decided to just veg out on the couch and watch TV and try not to think about it.

I watched some documentary about an artist/anthropologist who went to live with tribal cultures where male homosexuality was as normal as having a poker buddy, and where they practiced cannibalism until even very recently. It was pretty interesting.

Then I put on some old episodes of the 70's sit-com "Soap" on Netflix live stream... and Oh My Goddess did I laugh and laugh and laugh.

And after all that creativity and all that laughter I feel so relaxed and rejuvinated. I wish I could just take a hot bath to top off the night but I have to clean the tub-- I only like to take baths just after the tub has been well cleaned-- and I'm feeling too lazy to do that (besides, it's on the chore list for Friday, and it's not my turn).

Speaking of baths, I was looking through an old Scott Cunningham book for an incense recipe, Incense, Oils and Brews, and came across a dieters bath. It looks good, but my only objection is he recommends doing it twice a day for 2 weeks... wow, that's a lot of bathing, tub-cleaning and not to mention my electric bill from all that hot water will shoot up a good 50 bucks next month. But I am considering it. But you have to start it 2 nights after the full moon, so I have a month to think on it.

So anyway... I recommend to you, if you love an art-- drawing, painting, dancing, playing music, drama, writing, photography, scrapbooking, or whatever it might be-- and if you haven't done it in a while, take some time and get creative. Sometimes it seems like there is too little time to fit such hobbies into our day or week, but the thing is when we do we feel so good and relaxed that it makes getting all the other jobs done a bit easier and more pleasant.

And I also recommend renting or buying Soap on DVD and having a good night of laughs!

Bright Blessings...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No Dice

I just couldn't get into it last night; too many distractions. Ben (the dog, not the founding father) was so excited about my going on the porch around 1 a.m. that he was pawing me and trying to egg me on to play. Rowdy young barely legal aged kids walked by, as usual talking loudly as I noticed barely legal aged kids do, still believing they are the center of the world and that anyone in the vicinity would probably want to watch their performance of "Life: starring Me!"

So I cut a bit of sage and bundled it up to make a smudge stick because my last one is half-way used up.

I am off to paint scenery (I love it! I never get to work on that big a canvass at home!). I will be back later.

But I just wanted to say, the bloating is down, and I'm down another pound.

I will try again tonight when I get home and if I am successful I will report.

Just Another Day

Got through another day... woo-hoo. I made quiches tonight; vegetable quiches. One was spinach, garlic and roasted red pepper, the other was broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

I threw a little chopped bacon in there for flavor. A little bit goes such a long way. Luckily, things like bacon are things I can take in moderation-- even small quantities-- and be completely satisfied. I'm not a huge meat-eater. And I love my veggies. It's the carbs that kill me time and time again. But I really am not into low-carb diets; too much protien and veggies are not enough.

I got my period so I am a pound up by the scale, but I'm not counting it yet because it's probably just bloating and hopefully will go down in a day or two.

It is 12:34 here, beautiful full moon night, and I am just wrapping up some work. I do not feel up to a full-blown ritual, especially since I am out of incense (dang mail order charcoal is taking longer than I thought) and I have to get up early to go to my church in the morning (a UU church, not a Christian church) and paint the scenery for a production they are putting on this weekend.

Besides, Beltane is in a couple of days, I'm doing a ritual then, and planning on doing a spell to melt fat more quickly at the disseminating moon or last quarter (I've decided to put off the drastic food-hating spell at this point) so I didn't feel into anything heavy tonight.

So I think, after signing off, I will go out and sit on the porch near my fragrant herbs under that full moon and light a candle and maybe meditate and see if I can meet the Old Wise One and have a little chat about this new issue of embarrassment and about whether or not drastic measures are called for... and I'm sure she won't give me a direct answer as she never does, but will probably give me more to think about, which she usually does.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Well, I was poking around looking for weight loss spells on the internet, hoping I’d find something interesting that could inspire me or one I could adapt for my needs, when I found this article:

It seems the author, a guy who claims to be a doctor and who, mind you, is pretty much just trying to sell diet supplements on his website. I would bet he only put this article on his website for the SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” value– so that when people go searching for Witchcraft and magic and spells in relation to weight-loss, the search engines will pick up his website. He only writes a brief paragraph on Witchcraft and weight loss, then goes on to pitch his own products for the rest of it.

But basically he thinks using Witchcraft to help with obesity is “bizarre” and advises people to “skip the magic.” (and by the way, really, if he thinks Witchcraft is nothing more than lighting a candle for the afternoon or carrying a crystal for instant gratification, why be so worried about people doing that? This is why I believe mentioning Witchcraft is for the search engines.)

One thing he is right about– people do look for spells thinking that they can get instant gratification. People who don’t understand Witchcraft decide they are desperate for results and will try anything, so they buy a book or do a google search thinking if they just light a candle and utter a little rhyme over it, that they will be a size 6 by the time their date comes to pick them up.

The fact is, these people who don’t understand and have never studied The Craft, and Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, are wrong. All they have proven is that they understand zip about Witchcraft– If you have realistic expectations and understand magic, you don’t expect it to work miracles. But it does help. Immensely for me.

Why do people claim Witchcraft cannot have an ounce of truth to it, and then go on to cite the improbability of fantastic things that even most Witches don't believe in, things born out of fiction and superstition, and claim that it's evidence that Witchcraft doesn't work?

It's like if I told you I don't believe bunnies are real because you can't produce the Easter Bunny. You show me real rabbits, and I say, "Sure, they're there, we know about rabbits, but what about the Easter Bunny? You can't produce him, can you? So bunnies don't exist!"

It’s silly, isn’t it? Asking to prove something by asking for the fiction that grew out of it and ignoring reality in front of you.

Witchcraft is like bunnies; most people demand the Easter Bunny as proof. Then they ignore the more subtle but real evidence– the hole in the ground, the scattered poop balls, the garden veggies that have nibble marks in them, the furry little long-haired cotton-tailed creatures hopping around under the name of rabbits– and ask for something fantastical as proof for bunnies.

When you try to tell them that your bunnies are their rabbits and you never believed in the Easter Bunny, either, they don't get it.

No one should be expecting instant-gratification with Witchcraft; no one should be expecting a “get out of working for it free” card. Witchcraft requires time to tackle an immense problem like this; it’s still a pound-by-pound, day-by-day, problem-by-problem issue that will take as long as it needs to resolve itself– and as long as you keep working on it, it eventually will resolve itself.

But you still have to do the work– the biggest misconception of all about Witchcraft is it does things for you instead of you doing the work... when what it actually does is help you do the work more efficiently. The fact is, without creating a clear channel for all that energy to travel, it just scatters and is fairly ineffective.

You have to create your own path toward your own goal and keep moving along on it– Witchcraft can most definitely help me move along that path. But if I stopped making the path, what would Witchcraft have to offer? The magic would have no where to go.

This is why I have said from the beginning– I don’t see Witchcraft as a fix-all to my problem. I have to work through the psychological and the physical and the spiritual issues; I have to eat less, exercise more, drink water and do the right thing... Witchcraft is an aid; a tool. It helps me in those necessary yet very difficult tasks; it could never, ever do it for me.

Now for me, I might not even be able to accomplish these things without utilizing Witchcraft; just like some people might need therapy; or weight-loss surgery; or to join a center where there is guidance and support and a strictly mapped-out eating plan.

So basically the Witchcraft does the exact same thing the good Dr’s supplements do: it is an aid to your efforts. A tool you can use. It helps you.

But it can’t do it all for you, and it won’t be instant or without serious effort.

Seems to me this doctor misrepresents his products (the ingredients listed are all commonly found in dieting supplements– they are not new revolutions– but some of them don’t work the way he claims, and they certainly don’t help with most of the problems people with severe obesity face-- like bad habits or overcoming abuse) as badly as he misrepresents Witchcraft.

I hate that Witchcraft, which has been one of the most beautiful and uplifting and powerful and positive forces in my life– right up there with the love of God/dess and family– is so frequently misunderstood. The skeptics who are so quick to dismiss it and scoff at it are as infuriating as the flaky people who think having watched Charmed and reading one new-age book makes them an expert on real Witchcraft.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reassessing Goals

So, 4 months have passed, and I've been off-line for a while, so I thought it was a good time to review.

Some of life's challenges have sure given me a run for my money for a while-- my car, my computer, my husband losing his job, worrying about my daughter (long story-- but it's hers to tell, not mine), and my back problems, etc.

But I am hanging in there. 30 down seems like a lot to most people, for me it's about a drop in the bucket and it seems there is still such a long way to go. But I can't focus on that or I'll get discourage; I have to focus on my accomplisments. The distance to come doesn't matter; as long as I take one step at a time I will get there, that is the important part I must keep telling myself.

My little runner, though still in the early stages of her journey, is more than a quarter of the way in. I've lost almost 10% of my body weight and lowered my BMI by 5 points. People are noticing by looking at me, and I am noticing by the feeling. I have a little more energy and a bit more stamina. I'm losing at a rate of about 7 or 8 pounds per month, which is great, but I expect it to be cut in half soon... but even 5 lbs per month would be good to me; that would put me at my half-way mark-- 75 pounds-- before the end of this year!

I have completely quit smoking (not so much as a puff since New Year's Eve!) and completely cleaned & reorganized my house and am in the process of redecorating.

What I did not accomplish: I didn't get my garden started! Oh, I've got herbs and such, but no tomatoes, peppers, cukes, zucchini or carrots. Partly was because of the financial crisis that is thankfully over, but also because we had an unusually long winter here. Usually veggies get transplanted by the beginning to mid-March; it was still too cold in early March, though. Even the local growers here had difficulties, the produce was, frankly, crap for a while. And by the time the weather began to warm up there seemed no point, because the temps could be up in the 90's by the time they are ready to fruit, and most don't set fruit when the weather is that hot. So I decided to just forget the Spring planting this year and hope for better conditions for fall planting.

And moving right along, I've found an issue I need to work on...

On a side note... why does it embarrass me so much when people complement me? I know they are doing it to be encouraging and they are happy for me, I know they mean well, but still, I want to run and hide whenever they do it!

Part of it feels like it is because I don't want attention drawn to myself or my problem. Yes, I'm losing weight, but that's only because I got so fat in the first place, and that makes me feel so shameful and slovenly and sloppy. I'd rather remain invisible, thank you very much.

Part of it might be that I don't want people to notice because if I fail then they won't be disappointed in me or won't think I'm weak and pathetic.

Maybe it is my low self esteem, low confidence, low self image, low self love-- all that rearing it's ugly head-- making it that I can't bare a compliment, as if psychologically some part of me feels like I don't even deserve one.

I think I might have to pay a visit to the Old Wise Woman to work this out; I'm not really sure what the deal is here. I need to get to the heart of the matter before I can figure out what to do with it.

Also, Beltane is coming, and I plan to do a good, long look into my situation with divination.

Still thinking about that "drastic" spell. Maybe I need to consult the Old Wise Woman about that, too.

Dinner tonight is-- leftovers and ramen noodles. Crystal lite. Maybe I'll make some sugar free jello, and go for a long walk with the dog later. I also have to do laundry-- that counts as exercise, no?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

OMG I'm Back!!!

No, I didn't give up! IN FACT I've been continuing to lose. I am down to 345.

Okay, okay, so it's not "melting" off me like butter... but you know what? Even losing slowly as a glacier moves is still better than not losing at all.

I definitely do not lose as easily and quickly as when I was 30. No big deal; bodies change. I didn't do it then, so it's a bit harder now. Every choice or action (or inaction) has it's consequences. Instead of lamenting about how much faster I lost when I was 20 or 30 I'll just take comfort that I can lose faster now than if I waited another 10 years.

You know, I don't mind aging; I actually like myself better at this age; I know more about who I am, where I'm going, I've taken the Fool's Journey (at least most of it) and I have come to realizations that have given me a much better perspective and handle on life. I wouldn't do my 20's again if you paid me.

I just get angry at myself sometimes, at what I've done to my body and my health, because it's probably going to shorten my life by 20 years or so; if I can reverse some of the damage and gain back even 5 it will be worth the effort.

But I can't dwell on that anger. I have to forgive myself, move on, and let go. And that is the ritual & meditation I am doing this next full moon: forgiving myself. Forgiving my younger self for the mistakes I've made; forgiving my older self for not picking up the pieces and putting them back in the right order soon; forgiving myself for procrastinating and ignoring important things. Yes, I've screwed up, now I must let it go and move onward and upward.

I owe you a couple of picks; I did take them. And will update that this week by Beltane.

So what happened?

My computer and my car went down at the same time... and this all took place during my husband's layoff.

So, my husband and I worked on it and he got a better job, better pay, better hours, and started just 3 weeks after his layoff.

The computer was a wreck... I don't even know what happened... viruses, etc.; I'm not technical, I can't deal with that stuff. So until I could get it fixed, I just considered it a sabbatical. It was nice, really... I worked on my BOS adding stuff and revising stuff I'd been meaning to for years. I'd just been shoving things into it scribbled on paper, it was becoming a bit of a mess, really, it's embarrassing. I've been getting artistic and creative-- sketching and drawing. I also cleaned and organized my entire house, top to bottom, and re-acquainted with old friends... the beautiful weather in the last few weeks has kept me outdoors a bit more as well. Oh, and I've decided to go back to school this fall, to a college that teaches metaphysical sciences, so I'll be taking more advanced studies in tarot and herbalism and meditation. That's exciting.

When I finally got back on, I couldn't find my blog, then I couldn't remember my password (I actually thought I had been logging in with a different e-mail address. Oops. I'm such a techno-klutz).

And as for the car... well, it's still in critical condition, but we have a tax refund coming so that should give us the balance we need to fix it. It's such a good car, save for a tire slow leak it has not given me a problem since I got it 3 years ago (and it's 10 years old!) so I really can't complain. It will be riding again.

I have to admit, though, I am in Disney withdrawal.

And as for the weight-loss progress--

I got to thinking, I might have to do some seriously heavy spell work. I have not broken my addiction to food; I can still feel it there, under the surface. I'm afraid I'll fall off the wagon. I am thinking of doing a drastic spell to make me hate food.

I know, I know; it sounds drastic, be careful what you wish for, etc.... But I seem to have 2 choices: revolving my life around food spending half my day thinking about it while I try to resist it, or hating food and forcing myself to eat something or have a protien drink a couple of times per day.

I don't know. It's drastic, but it might be what I need to break this chain/cycle. Heck, weight loss surgery is drastic, too, isn't it? But people do it.

Tonight for dinner: baked chicken (skinless), leftover cucumber & tomato salad from last night (my basil is so flavorful this season!!), spinach, some kind of Mexican squash I picked up at the market and forgot what it's called (broiled & seasoned with fresh garden herbs).

Did I ever mention that if it weren't for my husband and kids I'd be a pescatarian? Maybe I'll talk about that next time.

Hey, I wonder if anyone is reading or has found this blog? Bet you thought I'd quit on you, huh!

(happy dance).

My Blog + Additional Info Pages