I find myself in an amazing world, living an amazing life, with amazing possibilities.
I have an amazing home, amazing kids and an amazing husband.
All perfect then? Hmmm, not really…
I am in a situation that isn’t great. The odd person who makes life difficult. Makes me feel bad. Often actually.
I’m not sleeping very well, 4 hours last night and about the same the night before.
All because of this situation and the odd person.
I really love metaphors, I use them all the time, in fact, sometimes I use more than one (I’m trying to learn to keep them to a minimum!).
I heard a great one the other day from my friend Emily. She was talking about her Mums latest diet and how if she gives into temptation once she gives up and thinks “That’s it, I might as well just be bad all day, I’ve messed up, why continue blah, blah, blah” – you know the sort of thing. Emilys metaphor for her Mum was; Imagine you have a collection of beautiful assorted porcelain tea cups and you drop one and it smashes, would you then just smash all the rest!”?
Another one I heard in some training or other was; If you watched a really, really bad film would you sit all the way through it, and then watch it again, and again hundreds of times?
Obviously the answer to both is “NO, of COURSE not!”
But we do just that, well, I know I do! We replay things over and over in our minds. Every time we replay them we re-feel the hurt, anger, sadness, pain, injustice. So really aren’t we hurting, angering, saddening ourselves?
We spend time (waste time) hating the person who “did that to us’ but they only did it once (or lots of things once maybe) and we perpetuate it. They may not be a nice person but it is US who keep beating ourselves with their stick. And so we get stuck. Tired. Depleted. Disempowered. Disenchanted. This can leave us unable to deal with even small set backs (you know like spilt milk, or someone nipping into the car parking space we were waiting for) and unable to enjoy all the amazing stuff because we are so over come with the ongoing replays of bad things that have happened. Often things that happened days, weeks, months or even years ago! And if they are still happening we are multiplying them so we are juggling lots of bad things not just dealing with the one in hand.
Imagine playing a song you love but at the same time you have three or four other tunes that you really don’t like at all playing – would you really enjoy the tune you love? Would the others playing at the same time take the joy out of it? Would they spoil it?
I think they would rather (probably make you go a bit mad too – so lets add that into the mix). Funny what we do to ourselves isn’t it.
Time to stop. You can. I can. Just put the stick down, turn the other tunes off, throw out the bad film, put the china in a cupboard.
Vulnerable…..me? Yes, vulnerable to me.
So who’s the odd person?Learn More
I have learnt (many, many times haha) that thoughts become feelings.
And its very useful be able to to turn the thoughts off especially when they become destructive and in turn feel bad. Easier said than done? Maybe not.
I have learnt and used many methods. For a quick fix the most effective so far, for me, has been the #Sedona method – just letting go – it is SO simple if you LET yourself do it.
(NB: This is an amazingly effective method for much deeper and bigger problems with more exploration and practice).
I really believe that a lot of our problems can be self made or at least self-perpetuated.
I was speaking to my son yesterday, who has a big audition coming up and end of year exams etc. He was saying he is so stressed about this and that and he was so tired. I have felt that so many times (quite possibly where he learnt to be stressed :() but it doesn’t help! I try to say it doesn’t help but that doesn’t work; it only works when we realise it for ourselves.
If you are stressing about something, it doesn’t make you sharper, more alert to the problem, more able to deal with it. Its the opposite. You tense up, lose some rationality, become tired and lose energy and focus, resulting in being overcome by the feeling of stress rather than the event that’s causing it!
If you fall and relax into a roll you are less likely to hurt yourself than if you fall and tense up like a stick. If its tense it will break, if floppy it with bend and be moved – does that make sense? Same in our heads.
Recognise a problem, breath through it, stay ‘in the moment’ right now this minute is just that – don’t start catastrophising about what might happen or did happen, stay here and now and focus. In most cases we have options and with a calm mind we can look at them. We may not have many – or maybe we don’t have many that we like.
Sometimes we have to let go of our preconceived ideas and wants, change the plan. Tweak it or turn it on its head but we have to be prepared to do something other than go under.
Sometimes its helpful to speak to someone else about it, or write it down, do the for list and the against list. If you are sinking fast write a list of everything wonderful about your life, recognise the good bits, any good bits however small! It will change how you feel.
If its a case of choosing what to do, where to go, which option to take ( and I’m not just talking about where to go to dinner – though it would work for that too!) write your list – as short as you can, maybe up to 6 options – and pit them against each other one by one.
If you are a miss matcher like me when you get to the last one (and so supposedly the winner) you will choose another but it will have focused you and helped the decision be made.
Depends on the problem, its not always about choice.
Sometimes I have found we think we are stressed but if we look deeper we are actually excited, nervous, anticipating or something else and if we used those words to ourselves we would take the sting out of the tail of “stressed” and so our reaction may change.
So in a nut shell;
if you have a let a thought become a feeling, as in the Sedona method 1) FEEL the feeling, let it get as big as it can then 2) ask yourself – “Could I let it go?” (answer yes to this one, even if you think you can’t) then 3) ask “Would I let it go?” – can you see the difference? You have to allow yourself because it is you who is in control. 4) Take a deep breath and answer YES breathing the feeling out. Honestly if you practice it works. I didn’t even need to practice at the beginning though various things have happened over the years when its needed real concentration and was worth persevering. Look up the Sedona method, there is a lot more too it, but this is a brief synopsis that has worked for me in moments when I have needed to address a feeling quickly and unobtrusively.
There are many methods out there for helping deal with stress, stopping the chitter chatter in your head, the self inflicted drama of what could be etc. Another post another day, I hope this one helped.Learn More
After my obsession post I had various views from people who were involved in potentially extreme things… religion, diet, anorexia.
Maybe we shouldn’t bandy words about without meaning them. I am passionate rather than obsessed, though having said that I have been obsessed and I have used food as a way to give myself control and also to give myself something to focus on when going through more difficult times.
Sometimes we do feel out of control because of situations we find ourselves in, maybe through relationships, work, home, finances, illness.
Something to focus on can be a good thing.
I used to say to my kids, if they woke with a bad dream or had a bad day and were trying to go off to sleep, ” think about something happy, its your birthday in a few days/weeks/months, what would be the best birthday cake in the whole world, think about how it will look and tell me on the morning” or Xmas cake maybe….. you get the idea. It took their mind off the problem they could not do anything about right then.
So, could that have potentially started a comfort eating problem? Maybe. Could it have contributed to minds that won’t be quiet when we want them to? Maybe. Could I now add it to the list of things I did “wrong”? Maybe.
To me, at the time, it was the right thing to do. So to me now, I did my best, with what I had at the time so I am OK with that.
I am sitting here at 3.25am. I couldn’t sleep, again. Too many thoughts, too many ideas. I’m not awake because I am worried but because I am excited. I don’t need to think about what my next birthday cake will look like ( probably a raw chocolate one with fresh fruit on top:) but I can’t help but think about new ideas for food, new ways to make raw work on a day to day basis sidestepping cravings and habits of a life time. Where to have our UK retreat, whats next to do for the french one. Its fun, its exciting, its creative.
Its a long way from obsessed.
So, confessional; when I was about 19 I was at art college. I would get up in the morning and have a slice of toast with a diet spread and jam. I would cut it into several pieces and slowly eat it whilst getting ready. I would drink OXO cubes in hot water through the day (maybe one or two, sometimes only half at a time) and then I would have part of a crunchie bar as a reward for being good. Half I think.
In the evening I would cook something like lambs liver with onions and green beans and carrots – in some water, no fat. I was proud of how healthy and nutricious it was, simple, cheap and tasty.
Maybe a year or two after that I read about some super diet involving seeds and yogurt. I remember struggling through live yogurt mixed with sesame and sunflower seeds. Now I know there are great benefits there but that was all I ate. It didn’t last long. Luckily.
The other day I was in a health food shop and there was a young lady asking about diet products. The lady working there was very careful what she said, they were a similar age and the shop assistant was distinctly uncomfortable because the customer was not over weight by any means. I thought ” what on earth is she worrying about, she doesn’t need to diet” then quickly realised I had been just like that! Who knows what the diet was replacing, feeding, nourishing – not her body but her mind in some way.
I was very slim, a dancer, gym bunny, health fanatic, constantly on the move – I recently went back to Harrogate for the first time for years. Someone said to me ( in a very loving, happy to see me way) you used to be such a slip of a thing…. I did have a momentary panic, I had put on weight and was more than I “should” have been and way more than I had been, but I have been learning to accept myself as I am and the work I have done on that over the years stood me in good stead BUT there was a time when that would have meant water only for days on end. They didn’t mean I am now fat, more likely if they had any intention other than “oh, I remember you well”, it would have been that I had been too slim! But what someone says and what we hear can be very different.
We need to learn to hear what someone says – and yes, somethimes people can be plain mean in which case we need to hear that they are being mean and not us being whatever they said – and not turn it into a stick with which to beat ourselves.
So now (and for many years) I believe in being a healthy weight, I believe in exercise to keep us strong, flexible, move our lymph, sweat out the toxins and to keep us mobile. I believe that the majority of what we eat should be feeding us, not just filling us. Nutrients in every mouthful. I believe in moderation and enjoyment and peace of mind and I believe I need to go back to bed and sleep!Learn More
Going back maybe 30, no 35…oh, no… OK, lets leave it at that, years I had a flat and a friend of a friend needed somewhere to stay for a few weeks. I had a spare room, so my place it was.
He was definitely a long haired hippy, quite a few of my lovely friends were then. Along with him, his girlfriend, his afgan (coat not hound) and bags of stuff came some jars which took up residence on the kitchen window sill.
These jars seemed to be very loved, they were watered, watched, sometimes covered and sometimes not and whatever was inside them grew!
This was my initiation into sprouts, the most delicious, nutricious, juicy and best of all CHEAP food going!
There are a vast variety around they are easy to grow and, if you do grow your own, they are cheap as chips. A small spoonful soon bursts into a whole jar full.
Many websites are dedicated to growing sprouts so no problem working out how to do it. They are easy to get hold of, take only a few days and no specialist equipment required, you can use a simple jam jar in fact I often, lazily, just use a sieve over a bowl. They really boost your nutrition hugely with no fuss, powders or pills.
You can take it further, as we have in France at the retreat, where we have two large automatic sprouters to keep us stocked with plenty to juice as well as throw on salads or just munch out of a bag. You can also get small stacking systems (we often use that when there’s just Robin and I at home but then I’ll usually regret not using the sprouter as we get through lots!). In winter they give variety to the basic salads available with their sweet or peppery, hot or spicy flavours and they are always fresh so bursting with vitality and enzimes.
So, here’s to sprouts – Not just for hippies!
Coming soon: Notjustforhippies.com and our retreat info on RobinandDesri.com
As long as I can remember I have been at least a little obsessed with food!
I do remember being hungry as a child and I was not deprived, just burning it off fast and hungry before each meal – how often are we really hungry before we eat? Not often, try it and see.
I had to go straight to dancing school after school. When I was younger I was delivered and I remember being given Rivetas that my mother was piling cream cheese and pineapple on, I think there could have been butter too – Riveta wasn’t really advertised as it is now as a be all to all people base for fine concoctions, way back then it was just about diets.
The topping sends a mixed message – but as the skinniest kid in class thank goodness for a Mother who was ‘on a diet but just couldn’t resist’. I still love the sucre/sale flavours!
As I grew older I had to get to dancing myself so the minute the bell rang I ran as fast as I could – a few miles across flat planes, across town, up hills, to get there in 15 minutes, about 3 or 4 miles I’d guess.
Usually I had taken nothing to eat. A couple of hours of dancing at least, then a trek back to town and the bus home, just waiting for fooooood!
Home was a funny place, not always happy, a lot of tension and conflict going on. I often spent sleepless nights working out how I could support my siblings and myself on the pocket money I saved every week (religiously I squirreled it away, just in case).
I always started with a base of a massive white sliced loaf because it was cheap and would fill our tummies; there were bags of apples and bananas too. ….
I still wake in the night and work out food for the next day, make up recipes, analyse the day before, NO sliced white loaf now but the bananas and apples figure, somewhere behind the green leaves and celery.
The other day Robin was watching me and asked what I was doing – “counting my portions” (I was counting on my fingers) I do it every day, smug when I hit ten or over, less so when 7-10 and fed up with myself (I’m working on that flagellation thing) if I don’t make 5.
That is a rare occasion these days but when staying away or travelling it can be REALLY hard to get those portions in! In the UK it is not so bad with the brilliant motorway service stations where they have M&S and Waitrose salads, washed fruits and peeled, chopped fruits but when we are going through France it is really tough.
You have to go off road and find a market or super market then find somewhere to wash the stuff – or eat bananas which is fine for the first one or two.
OR be organised and take stuff with you – even after all these years and hardly ever managing to sort myself out to take something for between school and dancing I still rarely get it together.
So that is something I will be working on “being prepared” and delicious recipes to travel with – that means they last in a very warm car or on a very cold ferry, are delicious, nutritious and easy to eat without setting up a picnic table/ getting it all over you, and without having a bag of slimy washing up to do in a hotel room – or worse, forgotten about and to be discovered weeks later, under the seat, when trying to find out “what that smell is”!Learn More