Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Change Management

I just had the most engaging discussion about change management at a fantastic cocktail party.  It was a riveting discussions that really inspired me --  I didn't want it to end.  Good thing he was not my type otherwise I'd have been a gonner.  Now I'm scrambling to write down everything this change champion told me about how change management works  ... here goes:

Change management requires visible leadership.  It's about communicating your vision, describing for people how life will be after the change and what the impact will be.  I know this to be true, because I'm a very visual person -- when I can see myself in the future, operating under the new way of doing business, and I can see myself happier and more efficient, I have bought into the change completely.

Change leaders knock down barriers to change.  They know why people are resistant and they're not afraid to address each barrier head on.  They challenge and cajole ... but in a way that's respectful and careful.  They are masters of persuasion.  I love people like this.

Change leaders lead by example.  They walk the talk.  They adjust their own behaviour first before expecting everyone else to change.  The DM of LAC does not allow paper in his office -- he is living the paperless office he wants his organization to adopt.  He's adamant about this. Brilliant.

Ahhh -- I never knew how much I loved changed management until I started talking to an expert.  This is an interesting field that covers psychology and business acumen.  I think I've found something new to be passionate about ... that is until the wine wears off!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shift your perceptions

I visited an intuitive today -- first time seeing this one, but not the first reading I've have.  My need to know and to control is what drives me to visit fortune tellers and yet every time I go,  I'm disappointed. But since I dropped $110, I should at least try to look for some worthwhile lesson.

As far as psychics go she was mediocre -- asked a lot of questions instead of telling me what she saw.  She was even dead wrong on a few counts, such as me being single.  But of course even married people can give off a single aura because of their independence.  Of course!  There was also a lot of general advice for someone of my demographic -- you don't feel appreciated, you give so much of yourself to your children, you are disappointed that married life has not lived up to your fantasy, you are angry for not having more time to yourself, blah, blah, blah.  But then there were some points that really resonated.  Even if it was just a lucky guess on her point, it was good to hear an objective point of view.

She interpreted the images she saw of me as being very sad, trapped and protective.  She said that I had checked out of my relationship a long time ago, but that it's been a gradual process since after the kids were born.  It's not clear why I unplugged, but I need to examine why I did that and figure out ways to plug back in. She said that I need to shift my perceptions.  This threw me for a loop because its something I've heard a very good friend of mine talk about.  I should focus on what's good and specifically what D does that's good. Gratitude will help me open my heart.  She told me that I crave intimacy and that I feel alive when I'm with someone that I connect with.  This is a good thing because it shows me what's possible.  Now I have to figure out a way to bring that aliveness into my marriage.  What am I seeking?  What do other relationships give me that I can't seem to have at home?  Why am I closing my heart to D's love?  She also advised me to enrich my soul myself.  Stop making my partner responsible for my fulfillment.  I should nurture things that I love about myself and spend time doing what I really enjoy (more booze anyone?).  She called me a hopeless romantic.  I can be my own romantic -- buy myself flowers, do what makes me feel alive.  This made a lot of sense to me.  Of course it could be said for most mothers.  She also told me to develop my own spiritual practice and that I should study kabalah. Wrt plugging back into my marriage, she suggested we spend more time together -- not just dates, but having conversations that don't involve the kids or money.  Just being in each other's company builds intimacy.  I also need more playfulness and laughter.   D tickled me to death tonight and it was a lot of FUN.  I agree that we need to play more.

So there's plenty of good advice here .. perhaps not $110 worth, but I'm going to start paying closer attention to what I am bringing, and in the case of my marriage, not bringing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The final testament


Just finished another great book by James Frey.  Yes, he's controversial and his talent is a bit over-blown, but this is a profound book.  At least it was for me.  I'm feeling really down lately and although Frey told the stories of the saddest, poorest and most hopeless of urban America, the message of love made me want to cry for joy.  I realize that it's cliché to say that love is the answer.  I keep forgetting that it's not just a precusor to marriage.  You have to feel it everyday if you really want happiness.  Loving yourself, loving others, loving life.  In Frey's book the Messiah is reborn and spends his time in NYC transforming people's lives with love -- a warm hug, a sincere conversation, a gentle kiss, and always an "I love you".  God is love was the message.  Love each other.  Nothing is more powerful than the love of another human being.  So spend your life loving and giving as much as you can.  This is God.  I think I'm going to cry again.  Too often we think we have love, but then it quickly dies and we're left chasing things that don't make us happy or feel good instead of just making love.  I realize this is sounding like a Hippie Manifesto.  But think about how great it feels to be loved and to love.  And yet those moments are few and far between.  When you have love in your heart, you have compassion for others, differences melt away, you accept people as they are and life is bliss.

I have to return this book to the library, but wanted to note some of the other great messages:
Life is about living simply, helping others and feeling everything you can feel.  It's not about the accumulation of wealth and possessions.  It's about the accumulation of friends. The more you have, the more you want.  The more complicated your life is, the more miserable you are.  The more you work, the less you live.
God is infinity.  Most of us can't understand how big infinity is.
Focusing on life after death causes you to forsake life. 
Religion is man's greatest con.  If I claim to have a direct relationship with and a unique understanding of God and I claim that he created everything and knows everything and controls your fate including your destiny after death, I can use that power to make you live as I want you to live, including being a slave.
Religions and governments are instruments of greed and power.  They exist to exploit and control humanity and the earth's resources.

These ideas are not new, but it was refreshing to read.  I feel at my best when my love tank is full.  It's so much easier to deal with D and the kids. I can see more clearly.  The glass is half full.  I love that feeling.  And I know it can last.  My friend Tara talks about acting out of love.  She's very aware of where her actions come from and tries hard to make sure they come from a place of love.  This makes a lot of sense to me. I'm going to think about and try to feel love everyday, even if I don't get it back.  I know if feels equally good to be kind and loving to someone else.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Living Free

I experienced a completely surreal moment when my Mom and I were at a cottage this weekend.  We were busy getting dinner ready, cracking jokes, reminiscing about the past, just enjoying the buzz of a great summer day when she suddenly commented on how nice it was to stay in a small simple house.  I'd been feeling the same way, but hadn't realized it until that moment.  It was completely liberating to be free from my things -- my precious things I've built a whole house around.  At the cottage the cupboards were bare, the closets empty, the furniture sparse.  It was bliss!  Being there with my folks reminded me of growing up in a similar small house.  It was tiny and I always complained that we could afford to live in a better house.  But really, it was all we really needed.  Because now we are slaves to our stuff.  I hate that I continue to waste my life shopping for, putting away, tidying, looking for and throwing out all my precious stuff.  I wish that I didn't NEED things to make me happy.  Maybe it's not too late.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

"I hate the Olympics" is about as popular a sentiment as "I hate Christmas".  I get disappointing looks from friends and family when I express my views. "Must you be so cynical D?  It's the Olympics after all."  Precisely! I resent being made to feel nostalgic for an event that's become a corporate sponsorship orgy masked as a peaceful union of nations all in the name of wholesome sport.  Here are some of the reasons I hate the Olympics:

1) hypocrisy - on so many levels
The Olympics is about making money period. -- corporate sponsors, elite athletes, the IOC.  The whole world is watching, so let's exploit the crap out of this baby.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the US and yet McDonald's and Coke are the leading Olympic sponsors.  The irony is unbelievable.
Nationalism is another falsehood. I'm somehow supposed to feel patriotism if an athlete from my country medals. Some of the reasons I am a proud Canadian: public health care, multiculturalism, gun control, the CBC, campaign finance reform, natural resource conservation. Not taking pride in an athlete's performance-enhanced win, in a made up event I know nothing about. Sure I enjoy marvelling at other people's talent and hard work -- it's remarkable what the human body can achieve.  It's just SO overblown.

2) wasteful - thousands of public servants have been laid off in the UK, yet there was still enough money to host the world. Surely $14.5 billion can be better spent -- world hunger comes to mind.  If governments sponsored sports at the grass roots, more children would get to participate, which would improve public health.  Is that not the point of honouring sport?

3) deification of sport - Olympians are not heroes.  Humanity is not better off because of their sacrifice.  Certainly their talent and dedication should be admired, but again, their achievement is completely inflated.  I don't swoon over movie stars, so for me this is no different.  Perhaps what's missing is a balance.  Let's appreciate humanitarians, philantropists, scientists.  I guess it's the deep-seated American-esque desire to idolize that burns me.

4) unfairness - the countries that do the best are those who spend the most money on their athletes -- the best facilities, trainers, programs.  The US and China will bring home the most medals so why pretend that this is a fair competition?

5) drug testing - why bother?  So much time and money is spent on testing and finding new ways to not get caught.  For certain sports, it's a given.  There's no place for moral judgments, so just call it a competitive advantage and let anything go. 

There are so many other reasons to hate the Olympics (e.g. relocation of the homeless, police state, brand bans, etc.).  I'd much rather the IOC be honest about the true force$ behind the Olympics.  Hypocrisy is the one thing that really turns my stomach.  Sad thing about this, is that I LIKE sports, especially participating in them. Being active, feeling your body move, developing skills and confidence, achieving goals, team work ... all made possible through sport.  Too bad the Olympics kills the joy. Here's hoping I can bite my tongue long enough to let my friends and family enjoy the games and just get outside and swim, bike and run.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Riding the wave of depression

Every once in a while I get really down on my life.  Everything seems hopeless and all I want is to escape.  But there is no escape, not without serious life-altering consequences.  And franckly it's not just about me anymore.  Plus, no matter what you think you are escaping from, it's still always with you.  Because really my problems will always be in my head.  It's nobody else's fault but my own. 
Thankfully I know that when I feel like I'm on the brink of fleeing, it's just temporary -- I'm at the lowest low of my emotional wave.  Tomorrow is always brighter.  And indeed as I type this today, I can say that it has passed.  I got my little escape from reality last night and I am grateful for it.  Of course my mood has a profound effect on my loved ones who can't understand why Mommy never smiles or why she's so cold to Papa.  This I have to work at.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Alone time

One week of vacation with my adoring family and I can't wait to get back to work tomorrow.  No, it's not the work I miss.  It's the time ALONE on my bike commute that I'm really looking forward to.  I just need some space to breathe.  I love my family dearly and we had a near perfect vacation.  Every one's emotional bank account is brimming.  I feel at the top of my parenting game right now having just tucked my three cherubs into bed.  And yet I am so looking forward to being free. We were all together every minute of every day for eight days.  That's a lot.  I was never one for appreciating privacy.  And it's not like I meditate when alone -- my mind is rarely quiet.  I just like the silence.  When you are alone you can do as you please without interruptions or comments from the peanut gallery.  It's just nice.  And I'm really grateful for it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

True Love

I attended Mass today only because I knew it would make D happy. Even though he's accepted my decision to refrain from church, I know it pains him to go without me. Usually it's a complete waste of time and I spend the entire time wishing that I was anywhere else, hence the reason I stopped going. But today, I read a little passage that caught my interest. It was the prelude to the missal, about love, written by a parishioner. We're told to love one another which is beautifully simple -- just open your heart and love. But in reality it's much harder because of all the BS (I'm editorializing here). If we took a page out of Hollywood, we'd take from our partners what we need to feel good and leave after the warm feelings wear off. True love is about sticking it out. It's about giving. You give of yourself unconditionally without thinking of your own feelings. It's the beginnings of laying one's life down for another ...

Of course the passage went on to talk about the requirement to love God before you can truly love another human being, blah, blah, blah. It's the first part that really struck me. Giving. I don't give without expecting something in return. Even from my kids -- I expect compliance. I expect that they will grow up to be decent people as long as I love them and parent them as well as I can.

This idea of giving without resentment is humbling. I know someone like this. He gives because he loves his wife immensely. It's the real thing.

I don't dig deep and give all of myself. I hold back. I'm not sure why I do this. I'm not sure that I can be this giving person who expresses her love unconditionally either. But I would like to be her. Some small attitude shifts may be all that it takes. It starts with expectation. Don't expect anything in return. Giving.

Monday, June 11, 2012

IMSO Day

I attended a mini-conference of CIOs in the federal government today and was utterly disappointed.  TED talks have ruined me.  When I hear our leaders speak, I expect to learn and be inspired.  Instead, it was the same old talk -- nothing new, nothing concrete. Then again, it is what it is.  I crave innovation.  I want to marvel at a great idea.  I want to appreciate a fascinating breakthrough.  I think that I am done with IM.  I think I'm done with a lot of things that disappoint of late.  This time I'm serious about changing.  Find your passion D.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Aging


I know I've been watching too much porn lately when it starts to get on my nerves. It's a fine line between getting turned on by other people enjoying sex and resenting the continuous parade of beautiful young women who are the object of millions of men's fantasies.  I begrudge my partner for being a man -- a normal virile man.  And it's ridiculous.  Watching porn does not make you love and appreciate your partner any less.  Men will always fantasize about sex with other women.  Porn just makes it easier.  A good friend of mine helped me straighten that out today.  Porn is not what's bothering me.  What's bothering me is aging.  This is new for me because I've always pretty much looked the same.  In my mind, I am forever 25.  But lately I see laugh lines, crow's feet, sagging breasts, grey hair.  I don't see me. The woman in the mirror is still beautiful, but her physical beauty is dying.  I am finally here.   Thank you empathy.  But it makes me sad.  And I feel completely ridiculous and narcissistic for worrying about aging FFS.  But it's a concern nonetheless.  My partner tells me that he still sees the hot 27 year old he fell in love with.  This is no consolation though because I want him to see me as I am right this very minute.  I am not the same person, I am better.  But who am I kidding?  As far as physical beauty goes, it's all downhill from now.  I want to be the strong and secure woman that accepts aging with dignity, not the insecure woman who fights it in desperation. Everyday life makes so many chinks in our self esteem armour and now I have THIS to contend with. At least I am not alone.  Power to my greying sisters!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This government

"This government counted on Canadians' stupidity and complacency to get elected, and is now counting on our apathy and lack of interest to escape their scandals."

I just had to save this comment to an article in the Globe and Mail .

Sadly, it sums up exactly how I feel about this government, my fellow Canadians and myself.

Survivor's Guilt

Massive cuts to my department this month and here I sit, miraculously saved.  I feel so grateful that it was not me.  And I feel ashamed for having the nerve to feel relieved when many of my colleagues are still trying to absorb the shock of what's happened to them and their families -- no one saw this coming.  These cuts were not about getting rid of dead weight and redundant positions either.  They were about shrinking the public service in favour of privatization.  Unfortunately many Canadians (at least the supporters of our ruling party) don't see it that way.  They've been brain-washed to believe that these cuts are about jobs and prosperity.  Less taxes, less government spending, less accountability, less services, less safety, health, education, environmental protection.   This government cut taxes to win votes and are conveniently slashing and burning the public service to pay for it.  It's a win-win for them and a big lose for Canadians.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Greatest Love of All

I've spent a lot of time lately blaming other people for my unhappiness. Why can't he love me the way I deserve to be loved? I show appreciation for his 'wonderfulness' everyday -- I want the same thing back.  Well why not just give yourself what you need D. That's right. Today I am going to adorn myself with love and gratitude. Big head alert. I'm the only one that can fulfill my needs and it's high time I take care of myself because it's all I've truly got.

I love you Diane because ...
you are witty - your FB posts really crack me up, your humour is a great release at work
you get things done - you can see the shortest most efficient path almost immediately and are able to multi-task like no other
you have great analytical skills - you can create a simple explanation to a complex idea; you know the right questions to ask to get right to the information you need
you are reliable - I can always count on your support
you are interesting - you can converse on many topics and are always interested in learning something new
you are a great mother - you love your children deeply, take your parenting responsibilities seriously and at the same time give your kids room to just be
you are responsible - you've got your shit together -- career, assets, RSPs, manageable debt
you are lovely - your skin, smile, long shiny hair, athletic figure -- you look good

... k ... I am starting to feel silly so I'll stop. But at the same time, if feels good to love myself. I'm always selling myself short, down-playing my achievements and shirking off other people's compliments. And it's been to my detriment. Because when you act like you are not deserving, people start to think that maybe it's true. Not anymore. No need to brag. I'll just keep it inside. Everyday there's something great to celebrate, even if it's just another example of what's already great about me. Lots of little hugs and kisses D.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Warehouse Slavery

I'm reeling from a recent article I just read on sweat-shop labour in North America. Turns out that the low-cost, free-shipping convenience of on-line shopping is once again on the backs of the poor. Long hard hours, military-style humiliation-motivation, threats of dismissal if impossible-to-meet targets aren't met, no time off --it's so inhumane that I wonder why Americans would stand for it. But what choice do they have when their children are starving. There's an endless supply of people who are willing to work, no matter how bad the conditions. These are the only types of jobs available in this god-foresaken economy. Surely the mega corporations whose goods these warehouses stock can afford to pay their workers better? Technically they are not their workers. Hell no! Warehouses are operated by other arms-length companies and staffed by further removed temp agencies. Another brilliant business model to indemnify corporations of their responsibility to treat and pay people fairly. It turns my stomach. I will never buy anything from Amazon or the like again!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Critical Thinking

More from my Hedges book, The World As It Is -- rebellion seems to be the only real means to change.  But who am I kidding, mother of three -- I am not going to take leave from work to join the Occupy Movement. So then I ask myself -- why bother? What am I doing here learning about all this, getting angry and depressed and doing nothing. What is the point. Sadly, I still haven't figured it out. But what I do find I am starting to do is think critically. Take this excellent Chomsky quote:

"Don’t take assumptions for granted. Begin by taking a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom. Make it justify itself. It usually can’t. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself. There is plenty of information. You have got to learn how to judge, evaluate and compare it with other things. You have to take some things on trust or you can’t survive. But if there is something significant and important don’t take it on trust. As soon as you read anything that is anonymous you should immediately distrust it. If you read in the newspapers that Iran is defying the international community, ask who is the international community? India is opposed to sanctions. China is opposed to sanctions. Brazil is opposed to sanctions. The Non-Aligned Movement is vigorously opposed to sanctions and has been for years. Who is the international community? It is Washington and anyone who happens to agree with it. You can figure that out, but you have to do work. It is the same on issue after issue.”

I don't instinctively do this. I trust what I'm being told and am often the first in line for koolaide. Hopefully reading and learning about the perils of corporatism will help me develop this quality.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The truth will set you free

Am reading an incredible book by the insightful and highly intelligent Chris Hedges. Even from the introduction, I am inspired by his writing. He compares his role to that of a preacher whose job is to preach the truth. He writes to expose the lies and injustices that have resulted from unfettered corporatism and to "call people to arms". According to him, being objective means that you accept the status quo. How can you be objective about death squads, massacres and civilian deaths at the hands of profiteers of war? How can you be objective about 33.2 million Americans who depend on food stamps? How can you be objective about 20 000 Americans who died last year because they did not receive adequate health care? Balanced news prevents us from feeling and its part of the reason we've lost our moral compass. Empathy, passion and a quest for justice are what's needed to effect change.

This challenges some of my recent thinking that it is dangerous to be single-minded and to vilify those who don't share your opinion. How will you ever be able to solve problems together if you are so divisive in your views? But then again, Chris Hedges viewpoint makes sense to me. You have to take a stand and fight against the injustices of the world or else you're inhumane.

I appreciate putting objectivity under the micro-scope. There's so much to learn here, that I'll have to devote a few blog posts to this.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Predictors of Divorce

I finally read John Gottman on a friend's recommendation. Not a lot I didn't know, but presented in a way that makes you think about how harmful words can be. Gottman claims there are 4 predictors of divorce. I won't summarize them all, but will stress the ones I have to work on.
Criticism: thankfully complaining is normal, we live together after all and there will be many things that will piss us off about each other's behaviour. Criticism is when you complain beyond the behaviour -- you attack the person. And that's bad. But it's what often happens. My partner is super sensitive too. So any complaint that I voice is always taken personally. In my case, it's better to not complain at all. Just accept.

Contempt: my eye-rolling, mockery and sarcasm are signs of contempt. It's the most poisonous because it conveys disgust. You can't solve your differences when you don't have love in your heart. So it's important to fight the negative thoughts, combat them with gratitude and give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

Defensiveness: It's only normal to act defensive when you are being attacked. Problem for me is that it's my first line of defense. Rather than just listen and think "k, maybe he has a point here" or "he's obviously upset, listen to what he is saying" I disparage his complaint, illegitimize his feelings and dish it right back at him. Being defense is a form of blaming your partner. When I'm defensive I'm saying "The problem isn’t me, it’s you.”

All of this eventually leads to stonewalling or 'shutting down'. Too often I walk away when the conversation goes bad or I avoid talking about what's bothering me because I know it will just lead to another argument. According to this book, another thing we avoid is the feeling of flooding -- the emotional turmoil you feel when you are being attacked, or ignored. Apparently the racing heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath prevents us from being able to reason, listen and problem solve. So in order to avoid the flooding, we disengage emotionally from the relationship. We start to live parallel lives. We eventually get divorced.

Healthy marriages weather conflict because they are able to successfully administer 'repair attempts' (e.g. "
Let’s take a break,” “Wait, I need to calm down") in order to deescalate touchy subjects. Couples still have love in their hearts and are able to see through their problems in a healthy productive way. The repair attempts also lower the flooding that comes from conflict so that you are physically able to work it out.

So there you go. Another self-help book that left me feeling entirely depressed about my marriage. I find myself complaining about a lot less these days. But still carry a lot of contempt in my heart. I too take a lot of what's said way too personally and it's really difficult to work anything out when you feel so horrible about how you think you are being treated. I know he feels the same way.  Hopefully I will be able to apply what I learn here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The positive side of anger

I've never thought of anger as a positive emotion. Angry behaviour evokes fear in most people, including me. Road rage, violent outbursts, yelling matches, NO THANK YOU. I try hard to suppress my anger. But now I am reading that anger is a positive emotion. Apparently getting angry is what prompts us to change, to seek justice, to stand up for ourselves. In fact anger can help you focus on what's important to you and make decisions that will meet your needs. Unbelievable.

The other thing I've read is that venting does not relieve anger. It makes you angrier. Unless, there is a empathetic listener at the other end who cares to know about what is making you angry and has your best interest at heart. In other words, my Mom ♥. It's not easy to be empathetic when anger is directed at you though. Which is why my partner simply gives me space when I am really upset. Do I express my anger in a non-violent and non-threatening way? This is a akin to complaining without criticizing. So difficult.

I'm not sure where I stand on anger. When my partner gets angry, I turtle. I do not in any way show empathy and in fact I lose a little respect for him . But if I try to be that empathetic listener perhaps it will diffuse his anger? It will help him realize what he needs to do to get his expectations met. I want to be able to do this for him.

Wow, how great is it when you start to shift your perceptions a little. I'm really grateful for learning about the positive side of anger. It can be a catalyst for change.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We have to be nible

Finally I'm working in a job that allows me to get things done with minimal bureaucracy. No briefing notes, committees, scope documents or frameworks required. It's liberating. This doesn't mean we are cowboys who write nothing down. Process, communication and recordkeeping are still key. But the 50 page strategic reports and detailed project plans get in the way of productivity and I am so grateful that my boss shares this view. Today he told me that we have to be nimble. Hallelujah!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hot buttons

Another rant, have to get it off my chest:  when we were discussing dinner arrangements for my dad's b-day this weekend, I reminded my partner that we would be having cake at my sister's place after the restaurant. He proceeded to ask me if my sister was picking up the cake because "you need to make it clear when you are organizing these type of things who is doing what." "We are not fucking idiots" was my reply. He was of course offended that I swore and when he tried to explain his point further, I lost it. It's been tense ever since.

Gawd, I want to be NICER. And yet it's this kind of bullshit that pisses me off the most. Does my partner not know me? I LOVE to plan events. I dream of becoming an event planner one day. I am VERY GOOD at planning the details. I think of EVERYTHING. I was really insulted that he doesn't know this about me! Plus, I hate being spoken to like I am a child. I hate it. Everything I'm learning about complaining without criticising, without blaming or without flipping out for that matter, stating my needs and being more forgiving -- THESE DON'T WORK WHEN YOU ARE UPSET. I revert to my old ways.

So what can I do? I could bring this up now, but it'll likely end in another fight. I'll be accused of being too emotional. He'll tell me that it doesn't hurt to be reminded and that he meant no malice. And then he'll remind me how harmful it is to swear in front of the kids. I sound really defeatist tonight. But if I don't bring this up, it will happen AGIAN.

K, maybe I can change how I react. Instead of "We are not fucking idiots", how about "Yes, everything's been arranged. My sister and I are quite good at this sort of thing you know. When you remind me of something I already know I feel like I'm being spoken to like a child". Am I being condescending? Slightly. Am I stating my feelings? Somewhat. Am I asking him for what I need? Not really. Do I sound loving? No. I'm still ticked off about the whole thing. Grrrr.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Intuitive Eating

Unfortunately I rushed through this book because it was overdue, but I think I caught the just of it. In order to return to your inborn instincts to eat only what your body needs, you have to de-program all of your learned eating habits. You know the ones -- depriving our bodies, feeling unnecessary guilt over food choices and binge eating to avoid the guilt. Some of the principles were helpful:

1. Respect your hunger - don't eat a PB&J sandwich on the way to a nice restaurant meal. Let food satisfy your hunger. I do this -- stuff my face with crappy snacks so that by the time I eat dinner I'm already full and the food doesn't taste good because I am not hungry.

2. Respect your body. My body houses my spirit and mind. It's here for the long term to carry me through life. Rather than focus on imperfections, respect what my body has done for me. For example, take my feet -- they are dry and calloused and tired looking. But look at how many kilometers I've run!

3. Separate exercise from diet. Moving my body is good for my health. I've got to stop thinking of exercise as punishment for poor eating. I also have to realize that exercise can still be enjoyable even when I'm in poor shape. I'm improving my strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and cardio. Weight loss should not be my motivation to exercise.

4. Don't make food my enemy. When we make certain foods 'forbidden' we end up craving them more. We satiate our desire with something else, but it never satisfies because we still crave what is forbidden. So we cave, binge and then hate ourselves afterwards. This example was memorable -- if you offer free pizza to some college kids everyday they'll initially be excited but by the 20th day they won't want to ever look at pizza again. If I allow myself to be habituated to 'forbidden' foods I might find that I don't want them as much as I think I do.

5. Satisfy your desires. Think about what you really want to eat -- sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth, chewy, crispy, saucy, etc. Don't just eat because you have to, but eat what you really want to eat. This one is tough. I tried it yesterday -- one donut and two brownies is what happened. It's going to take some de-programming, but the idea here is that if you allow yourself to eat what you want, you will end up choosing what your body needs. You will make healthy choices.

6. Feel your fullness. In an ideal world we would not eat for emotional reasons, we would not eat to avoid wasting food, we would not eat out of bordem. As with anything, taking a few minutes to be aware will guide your behaviour.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Objectivity

A good friend of mine is taking a hiatus from the news -- or at least discussing it. At first I thought he was bored of the same old headlines and was starting to become apathetic like the rest of the non-voting populous. But as I listened to him explain his disdain for politics and the insularity that results from being emotional vested in your parties dogma, I too started to ask myself "why am I choosing to get worked up about politics?" I tell myself that I am staying informed of the issues. But really I'm looking for evidence to support my own views. I automatically find fault with new ideas that come from 'the other side' and have even started to lose respect for those with opposing views.

My friend suggesting removing the ideology and judging new programs on their own merits instead of looking for hidden agendas and categorizing them into divisive camps -- "Liberals Good" "Cons Bad? Can I do that? Do I want to? How do I even start?

The other thing I realized is that I am getting way too worked up over things I cannot change, some of which include:
politicians lie
politics is funded by big business
everyone has an agenda
people are motivated by their own self-interest
money is power and power corrupts
there's very little if anything politicians can do to prevent people from behaving badly -- there will always be bad apples
men want sex all the time (just had to throw that last one in :-))

I know myself and I don't think I'll be able to take a neutral point of view when examining an issue, but I'd like to be able to practice acceptance and consider that I could very well be wrong. Why not listen to the other side? I might learn a thing or two.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Is Marriage Relevant?


Just listened to an interesting debate on Q on the relevancy of marriage. On one hand marriage is a false promise that we make to stay together, because it can be easily broken. Yet we crave the certainty and want lasting love. It's definitely more romantic to be together because you want to rather than have to. But there's also something to be said for making something last -- for working through adversity and having a refuge to come home to. Another author suggested that we set term limits for marriage. Let's get rid of the notion that happily ever after needs to be a part of marriage and instead stay married for the time that's required to raise kids and re-evaluate after that. Now THAT makes a lot of sense!