I am really struggling with myself these days. I want to be positive and optimistic, to move forward to make my and other peoples lives better. While I want to do this I can not ignore the fact (as much as I would like to) that:
And these are just a very few low lights of the many horrible things that are happening now. I would love to just ignore them and go on with “my life” as if nothing is happening as so many people do, but I am not that person. It is tearing me apart.
But what can I do? Calling and writing our “elected representatives” clearly does nothing these days because they are making themselves more wealthy and powerful by serving their corporate overlords rather than representing us or being decent ethical human beings.
Posting memes and links on social media to bolster my positions only make those who agree feel good and those who disagree mad, alienated, and dig further into their positions, it does not open up dialog or understanding. Calling those who disagree stupid, pointing out why I think they are wrong does not bring us together, It just serves to further divide us. And thus those few in power gain even far greater power when we the people are more divided rather than united.
And this is a major part of why I don’t do that anymore, because I understand that underneath all of our strongly held even if opposing views on things we are ALL humans with basically the same needs and hopes, we are all far, far more alike than we are different even if circumstances in our lives have caused us to see things very much differently.
But while I get that I also feel that not posting those memes especially protesting things like what our government is doing putting children into cages, is making me in some way complicit in that because I feel like I am doing nothing. And it’s tearing me up, making me depressed, keeping my from effectively moving forward, BUT posting those things, making those calls to our “representatives” focusing my thoughts and energy on that was doing the exact same thing to me. And it wasn’t changing anything. I have got to find a better way to handle this horrible reality that we are living in.
This meme is a bit toned down from the one that inspired it, I mean often these thoughts make it seem like all you have to do is think the right thoughts and success is guaranteed and that's not true at all.
But it is very true that what we feed our mind is very important. It's why I don't watch TV and why I try to be careful of what I do watch and read. An excellent documentary on how what we watch and listen to effects us is The Brainwashing of My Dad documentary by filmmaker, Jen Senko while her focus is on right-wing media and how it affected her dad, how he changed and then changed again based on the media that he was exposed to is what really impacted me even more than the type of exposure itself. It really hit home to me how what we are exposed to effects us. It does explain a lot about personal success/failure, politics, religion, and a whole lot more.
June 2nd Challenge Update
It’s time for a challenge update!
Almost a month has passed since my last update (WOW!) and I have only lost three more pounds, but the key here is that I am still down, I haven’t gained any weight back even with some real cheating!
I have decided to make some changes with the nutritional products I am using to help me achieve my goal. Not that I what I was using was bad, I think they are excellent products that have stood the test of time and research, plus I was making real progress with them. Still I have long been uncomfortable using nutritional products that are broken down into components such as individual vitamins, enzymes, minerals, etc. without a trained health professionals direction or more education than I have. I know there is research that shows (for example) that just because vitamin C is good for you that doesn’t mean that a lot of an isolated vitamin C is also good for you. Taking nutritional products is not the same as eating food. That doesn’t make them bad, I knew these products have been proven to be good overtime with research etc. But I think they should be treated more like medicine than food. But I also know that I need to improve my health including losing weight. I was doing both with them so I wasn’t really looking to change anything, but because they are supplements, I wasn’t totally comfortable either.
Then I saw a post about what someone who is following my dream (Full time RV living) is doing and I decided to investigate it, and then make a change. Why? Basically because it made far more sense to me and it is backed by even more scientific research. These products are not breaking whole foods down into isolated, individual components such as vitamins, enzymes, minerals, etc. They ARE whole foods with all the trace and complementary components that whole foods should have in place. They have food product labels not nutritional supplement labels, because they are whole food! (why, oh why, didn’t I find this years ago?) It’s fruits and vegetables that I need available (thanks to science) in a way that I know I will consume easily with no fuss or muss.
I have been terrible about eating fruits and vegetables, OK actually much worse than terrible. And I yes I know that I need them. But not being able to do nuts or seeds also makes that even more of a challenge. Now I am getting more than thirty fruits and vegetables a day in a way that is soooo completely doable, affordable, and convenient for me. I also know that what I am getting is far better because of how they are grown and processed then I could from ANY supermarket produce isle and probably better than if I grew them myself! I am still doing two shakes a day and I’m loving these even more!
I keep hearing that to loose weight you should not eat after 6 pm, well since I work until 11 pm have my dinner at 8 pm and can’t seem to go to bed (typically between 1 and 2 am) after I get home without eating something, that not eating after 6 pm thing just isn’t working out for me at this point in my life. So my main goal right now is to take other steps I can to improve my health. I am NOT giving up on weight loss, but I think as my fruit and veggie intake improves other good things are more likely to happen. This improvement on getting my fruits and veggies is a BIG step. I think my next step will be more exercise.
Over all I know I am doing much better, I am happy, and thanks for your support!
The Subtle Art, Post #23
I haven't posted on my reading of "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck" in quite a while now. I say to myself that it's because I have been very busy with other things. And while I sit at my mechanic this morning rereading the last part of the book that I haven't posted on, it's because it's damn uncomfortable.
This section is about "no" and rejection but not in the way you might think. Rather than being about how to handle rejection from others, it's more about rejecting things ourselves or standing for nothing.
Mark says "If we reject nothing (perhaps in fear of being rejected ourselves), we essentially have no identity at all." I couple this with "silence is the voice of complicity" and ask myself am I doing the right thing not posting so much about the things I see happening in this country right now?
I hate the racism I see, I hate the open corruption in our government, I hate the attacks our government is now making on established science, the environment, public education, how children of immigrants are being ripped from their parent's arms by ICE and so much more.
But I also hated what focusing on these things was doing in my head and turning me into. I'd rather be a peacemaker than a divider and I know that I actually have much in common with oh let's say those who voted for Trump. I share much of their anger at the system, for example, the system is broken we just have very different views on how to fix it. As I get to know some of these people I see some wonderful people with very different views.
So can I take a stand without dividing? Can I keep communication open? Can I build bridges and not walls? Can I take a stand and not be a *ick?
I heard some time ago that a person was asked to go to an anti-war rally and they said they wouldn't but would go to a pro-peace rally. I feel like that's what I want to be, stand for things I value not against things I hate, but in doing so am I a voice of complicity?
Enough rant, for now, I have to pay the mechanic. But I while I like Mark's book a lot I think he is somewhat wrong here. Largely because I know that when you "take a stand" and point out that someone is wrong, they usually dig in and get into a defensive position rather than opening up to new ways of thinking and change. There may be times to take such a stand, but I think it is usually counterproductive.
It's true as Mark says that "Nobody want's to feel that they can't say what they really mean." But perhaps to help with human progress we need to learn to be diplomatic about it.
I started this challenge on March 16th at 280 lbs now about a month and a half later on May 2nd I am (by my scale) 266 lbs. So 14 lbs so far!
I am not losing weight as fast now as I did when I started but that is very normal. What's great is that I generally feel better, I am not dragging myself out of work dog tired every night. And a big change that I have noticed recently is I have greatly reduced my consumption of Hershey Chocolate Nuggets! I used to eat several of these a day, now I can go without eating any in a day! And I have not forced this change, I am just not wanting to eat them as much!
Anyone who has worked with me the past eight years knows I love these, some of the ladies have even called me "Mr. Hershey" And yes, I still eat them, just not nearly as much. I also still love chocolate, the chocolate meal shake is my favorite, but I am also finding myself eating things like oranges, pears, and peaches more than I have been.
I am really liking these changes and am very glad that I got on this challenge!
And no I have not eaten that nugget in the photo yet, that was in my hand, maybe later.
The Subtle Art, post #22
Confession time: I have been avoiding this section titled The "Do Something" Principle. because I feel that I really suck at actually doing things.
But really, I am not so sure about that, I mean I have been reading this book and posting my thoughts for ALL to see, that's doing something. I have lost 10 lbs in the last month, that's doing something too!
In this section, Mark says that motivation comes from doing things, NOT wait until you feel motivated to do something and certainly the two examples I just shared affirm that in my life.
I need to DO more of that, I bet you do too.
Mark says: "If we follow the 'do something' principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting - when ANY result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite - we propel ourselves ahead. We feel free to fail, and that failure moves us forward.
So simply stated we just need to give less fucks and DO something.
30 Day Challenge Update
It is officially time for my first-month update for the Be Your Best Challenge.
On weight, my 30-day goal was 7 lbs. When I started my scale said 280 today it says 271 so I beat my first month's goal by 2 lbs!
I have to say that was with a bit of cheating (especially that one Friday night after work!) and going off the products completely for a couple days. Plus without any kind of regular exercise, I still need to work on that.
Beyond the improvement in my weight, I am very pleased with my overall energy. I help some friends do some moving yesterday and was not completely exhausted, good recovery. I also fell during that and yes my knees are sore, but not nearly as bad as I think they would have been before. Again, very good recovery.
I absolutely know that I am getting better nutrition with this program and I am feeling it. Also saving money over what I was before, which is a nice little bonus. I do have a long way to go on some of my regular food choices but I am seeing that improve without forcing it too, like a couple days ago a got an Orange rather than a bag of chips, Sad to say I don't remember when the last time I had an orange was, and it was delicious!
I highly recommend this program to others and invite you to join me in the challenge. Will you rise up? Here is a link for more info.
The Subtle Art, Post # 21
Today's read was a pain in that it was about the value pain can bring in making our lives better. Like painful muscles from working out make us physically stronger, emotional pain (if we allow it) can make us emotionally stronger.
From Mark: "Our most radical changes in perspective often happen at the tail end of our worst moments. It's only when we feel intense pain that we're willing to look at our values and question why they seem to be failing us. We need some sort of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we have been deriving meaning in our life, and then consider changing course."
I hate to admit it, because I hate pain of any kind, but as I look back at my life I can see how true this is. And I am glad that I looked at my values and how I got my values and changed course rather than self-medicating with some substances and missing out on a better life.
To some extent, even without a clear pain point I am doing that again know and hope that I always will. My life in many ways is better now than in the past, but it's not still not what I want in many ways, so I am again looking at my values and where I get my meaning, evaluating and changing course. To that end I am really glad I got this book it is a very helpful tool in that process, thank you Mark Manson!
But as much as we look at our values and meaning, we are never going to fully know and that brings us to doing something anyway!
Challenge Update #3
I did not post an update Friday and the Dr. visit was one reason for that. Glad to say that I came away with a clean bill of health most pleasing to both of us that my risk of diabetes (which she was concerned about) is lower now and my weight is down. From their scale at the clinic 280.2 lbs. last year 279.9 lbs. now.
Which gets to another reason I did not post last Friday, I seem to have a totally undependable weight scale. When I stepped on it then, I thought it said 271, but the light was poor and as I adjusted on it to get a better read it was jumping from about 260 to 280 so I stepped off and after the dial stopped bouncing around I stepped back on and it said 275! So I really don’t trust the thing and that rather throws off all the numbers I have been sharing. The good news is that I am losing weight and feeling better. I may have to get a different scale and start over on my progress reports.
I have also been having an odd tingling all over my body that I wasn’t sure about (and still not) Dr. says that is likely a reaction to some toxin, which today when she said that immediately made me think of the chemicals at work that I and others have been having issues with. She said it’s hard to know without a lot of testing and it does seem to be decreasing now, so I am not that concerned about it.
The Dr. was pleased that I am doing a challenge to lose weight and improve my health, and so am I.
The Subtle Art, Post # 20
It's been a few days since my last post and I'll admit to putting off this chapter which is titled "Failure Is The Way Forward".
I don't remember all the details but somehow I have it implanted in my head and emotions that failure is just that, failure, and it's bad and you don't want bad.
In my head I know that is wrong, that actually failure is the way forward, that is is the path to success, but I still avoid it.
Mark says: "At some point, most of us reach a place where we're afraid to fail, where we instinctively avoid failure and stick only to what is placed in front of us or only what we are already good at."
Yep, that's me, and I bet to a large extent it's you too. And it leaves us stuck. The only way out of stuck is to press on and be willing to fail at something we believe in and are willing to commit to until we succeed. And hopefully, that thing includes just simply improving ourselves. Being a bit better today than we were yesterday.