Category Archives: Me and my crazy world

It’s those little thoughts i have in the deepest of night, when all is quiet and i can trully ask myself who am I and thoughts just start to flow. This is just me.

Frustration is self-pity by another name 

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Frustration is self-pity by another name 

I found this provoking line in the book I’m currently reading, Ghana must go, by Taiye Selasi; “Frustration is self pity by another name.” It peaked my interest.

Frustration noun

1. The feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to do something.

2. A cause of dissatisfaction or annoyance.

3. The prevention of the progress, success or fulfilment of something

Self-pity noun 

Excessive concern with and unhappiness over one’s own troubles. 

Oxford English Dictionary

Feelings of frustration are fairly common in our day to day lives. We can encounter this emotion when things happen that are out of our control ( Traffic is slow due to an accident so you’re late for your meeting) or things we have control /influence over but did not adequately exercise ( You rushed through the prep for your presentation and your clients were not impressed by it). 

Our emotions are a great indicator of our current state of mind. Whist the feeling of frustration initially reveals a sense of powerlessness, a loss/lack of control over the situation, this can be temporary. How temporary it is, is a matter of choice. 

In his book, The 7 habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey talks about Stimulus (what has happened to us) and Response and how, between the two we have a freedom to choose what our response will be. 

” Look at the word responsibility- “response-ability”- the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognise that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions or conditioning for their behaviour. Their behaviour is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.” 

– Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 

This is from the Habit 1, Be proactive, which I personally find the most challenging, simply because over the years I have built up habits that do not support a proactive state of being. 

Frustration can lead one to a state of acceptance, “it’s out of my hands, I’ll take on board whatever feedback comes.” or it could lead to worry and blame; ” Half of the people in the room aren’t even qualified for their jobs, they just don’t understand where I’m coming from!”

Taking responsibility for the situation you’re in allows you to regain control and with that, a movement up the emotional scale. You can continue to find people and things to blame until you have an ill-catered party for One. While our feelings are always valid in themselves, our response to them may not be. After all, would you rather feel good or feel bad? How you continue to feel afterwards is up to you. No one else suffers as much as you do when you’re frustrated or wallowing in self-pity, not even the people you hold accountable for your current state of mind. And if it is yourself you blame, there are no gains from making the situation worse by beating yourself up about it. 

So, for me frustration is the gateway to self-pity and I’ll be using Taiye’s quote as a “warning to self”. Most of us are not well trained to quickly choose a response that puts us back in control. It might take a while to identify that our response is what’s causing our frustration, more than what has happened. But if our ultimate goal is to feel good about life and about ourselves we can apply some self-compassion which will empower us to find a solution. 

“There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” Thick Nhat Hanh

I embrace 36! 

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I embrace 36! 

Last thoughts as a 35 year old. 
We live in a highly scripted world, where what we truly believe and know to be true of ourselves lies heavily beneath paradigms. One of those scripts is on age. There is an illogical loathe for age , an anti ageing movement within our society. 

While I am not one to still proclaim to be forever 21 or 30, I did identify a mild resistance at the arrival of each birthday after I turned 30. I started thinking about turning 36 a few months ago and my true feelings over the years about ageing. The scripted lives we live have us thinking that there is something to fear or despise about ageing mostly because the physical dimension is more elevated in our society, than thee the social, spiritual and mental part of our humanity. But when I searched my soul I realised it was more about my turning a year older without feeling like I’ve accomplished certain things. 

I searched myself for these “things” and found that I was being held captive by another script. The script tells you what you need to have acquired by a certain age and when you fall short of the expectations in the script, turning an age older might not feel fantastic. The next question that came, was “do you want any of these things”, and for the most part it was a yes. But this question opened up an even more important question “what is most important to you?” And I realised, for the most part, I have a lot of these things. They don’t all take the shape and form in the script but they are there, ready to be cherished. 

This year’s birthday is “especially” special: I was diagnosed with cancer over 5 years ago and in the cancer universe, the five year mark is a big deal. I think it is a big deal. I am exceedingly grateful and I do acknowledge that maybe this gives me a little vantage point on the gifts of ageing: the gift of wisdom, the gift of insight, the gift of second, third , fourth chances; the gift of experience. Ageing means we have Life, we get to live out our hopes, dreams and sometimes unfortunately, our worries and fears. How blessed we are to be alive, older and hopefully wiser. We get to try again or move on to a new challenge. When we ask for more time to spend with our families , to achieve our dreams, we are asking for the grace of ageing. Long life, and ageing are two ends of the same stick. You cannot pick one end without the other. 

 

So as I sit in reflection on my last day as a 35 year old, I plead with myself, to be kinder to myself, to forgive myself of the stupidity of my youth; to embrace the ageing, the challenges and to be grateful for all that love me. I embrace the tough lessons, the difficult-to-get-over life lessons. I sit in quiet expectation of the unfolding of my being, careful not to be impatient and slowly stepping out of the shadows of fear. Love is all around me, in different shapes and forms! 
I embrace 36. 

The Valley of Despair

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The Valley of Despair

If you’re working on a long term project or some form of transformation you will be familiar with “the valley of despair”. 
For me, it’s been through my ongoing fitness transformation that I have begun to understood this place and been able to apply it to other areas of my life. For most people on a weight loss journey, we call this the plateau; when we’ve got our habits in check, our nutrition is improving and we’re working out well but still those hips won’t shift! 

Zero pounds lost!

To say it can be disheartening is an understatement! You’re putting your all into this weight loss so it’s not unreasonable for you to expect results. You lower your expectations, in the hope of uplifting yourself but still that scale isn’t giving you a single ounce! Now, there are many reasons why that could be happening but I’m not a fitness expert so I’ll leave Google to help you with that one. But what I have learned is that the valley of despair has been a good place for me. Whilst I would love to be dropping those fatty pounds on a weekly basis, I’ve learned to use other methods to measure my progress. 

  • How many full body push-ups can I do in one set compared to last month? 
  • How much more weight can I lift?
  • How clean is my food diary? 
  • How much better am I feeling, mentally, emotionally and physically? 

For example , this weekend we had a cupcake each but by the next day, my husband hadn’t eaten his. When he said he wouldn’t be eating it, I threw it straight into the food caddy. It’s only moments later I realised what i’d done. This time last year I would have eaten that cupcake. Not all your progress can be quantified. 

Take stock!

In the valley of despair I have really learned to change my mindset and work on my habits. I have some way to go but I realise that, had that weight just dropped off with little struggle I would still have the same poor habits and a weak mindset. Some things are meant to be tough and like my PT Robbie always says; – most people think that starting is the hardest thing. But trudging on and doing your best even when you can’t “see” the results, that’s hard! – I would agree. 

Huh?!?

Now most of us have done this, we’ve been wallowing in the valley of despair for so long we decide enough is enough. Fair enough! But going back to the same habits that got us in this situation in the first place is plain silly. If you’ve had enough of the valley of despair and want to quit! Go ahead, but choose another strategy, don’t give up completely and lose all the hard work that you’ve put in. 

Pause 

In the valley of despair, there are lessons to be learned. The longer you’re there the more there is for you to learn. This applies to many areas of our lives! Keep hope alive; reassess your goals and strategy but whatever you do, don’t give up! You’re no longer the same person that started this journey, you’re better, stronger, healthier. 

Stay blessed! 

  

“The audacious hope of rooted things

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“The audacious hope of rooted things

I walked into PoundStretcher (bargain store chain in the UK) one day after work and found rose shoots selling for £4 each. Curious as to whether they could actually take root and grow, I started looking for a couple I could take home. Then I overheard a conversation between two ladies nearby. Like me, one of them wanted to buy, curious as to whether, at that price you could actually raise a rose bush. But her friend said, “You get what you pay for, you know. Do you honestly think that these could take?”

And with that, I decided not to buy any, that day. But it stayed on my mind. Eventually, I went back and got two shoots: They did take root and have even flowered in their first year. It reminded me of a passage in Cynthia Bond’s novel “Ruby” 

“Ruby had felt it then. The audacious hope of rooted things. The innocent anticipation of the shooting stalks, the quivering stillness of the watching trees.” –Cynthia Bond, Ruby

  
These plants reminded me that it’s not about how people perceive you or what value someone places on you. We all have this intrinsic power within us to Be! I had doubted myself and made a decision on someone else’s perception. How much discouragement we allow to change what are often intuitive decisions! But if it’s what we really want, we need to go for it. No decision is set in stone.

I find great joy in tending to my flowers and vegetable patch. I love the anticipation of waking up to a new plant; vulnerable but strong. It is amazing that a small seed covered with a little dirt grows to become a plant that feeds, shelters, provides beauty. 

 I want in some way to be a rooted thing, audaciously hopeful in my ability to grow into something of great use. 

  

Fitness Hustle: My Journey 

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Fitness Hustle: My Journey 

Bank Holiday Monday and I found myself in the gym.  Actually I made a choice to catch the bus into town for my session.

When I stated this journey, I only had one objective, which was to make it to a session. That has since grown into turning up, learning and applying. What’s been interesting is how much my objectives have changed since I began. I had an image in my mind and a number to achieve but experience is a good teacher. While I was convinced I was going back to an old body that I thought was ideal; my journey has revealed something better. I am building a new body, a healthy one and in this process I am also dealing with the issues that got me here in the first place.

There are four barriers I have had to deal with in this journey; 

1. Emotional issues – there are a number of things that get you to that unhealthy weight. Dealing with these issues is essential. This is where you find your why, “why am I doing this”; your motivation. Answers  like,” I want to be toned”  don’t cut it here because one could still ask why you want to be toned! Something like, ” I’m embarrassed by my body, I find it hard to find dresses that suit me. This has led to me going out less and as such I don’t have much of a social life which makes me sad.” A response like that leads to motivation because you are dealing with your true feelings. Please note we cannot judge this stage and try to psycho- analyse it. We have to be honest about how we truly feel about things in order to resolve them. Sugar coating my feelings only led me to a place where I still felt unhappy with my body.

Let it burn! 

2. Physical pain – working out is a physical exercise, the more excess weight you have coupled with limited mobility, the harder the workouts are going to be in the beginning. You should expect this and as you get better at the exercise you do start to feel less pain. But this is when you need to push yourself; make the moves  more difficult with more sets, reps or weight. You need motivation to keep going, motivation you get from understanding why you are doing this. Without motivation, it’s easy to talk yourself out it.  This one is intertwined with the next. 
Mind over matter 
3. Mental strength  – I say this one is intertwined with physical pain because it is the physical effort that gives rise to that burn in our muscles (commonly referred to  as lactic acid) that sometimes determines whether we continue with a specific routine or increase the repetitions. Starting out, it was always at this point, when my muscles were “burning up” that I always gave in. This is where your mental strength must kick in. I have learned to breathe through this burn and focus on my routine in order to complete my reps. It’s not easy, but it’s essential in order to push yourself further. I still struggle, especially when I am doing a new routine but you can do it. It’s not going to kill you, in fact if you’re feeling that burn you’re doing better on that routine and thus creating the desired results. 
Focus honey
4. Other people: This could be people in the gym with to-die-for abs, people on a weight loss journey who just seem to be dropping pounds, people who don’t see what the problem is with your current weight. While I call this barrier ” other people” this is really about you. I came to understand that this was my journey. You could go into this as a group or pair but this is a solo adventure. It is essential for you to understand what you can share and who you should share it with. If you’re open to every opinion, you are going to struggle to settle into a routine and with that, results will elude you. Most important,  is your perception of what other people think of you. Most people have a lot on their plate to be concerned with your progress and those that do bother to make it their business are probably not about your progress; ignore them. Simple words, but you’ll have to work at it. 
It’s a marathon baby! 
I have watched people lose the same amount of fat  that I want to drop within record time and in the past, this would have set me back. But the reality is that some people will do “better”  than me. Their emotional issues, pain threshold, mental agility and perceptions mean that we cannot have the same results. Stick to your lane and run your race; you’ll get there: That’s what I continue to tell myself! 
To a healthy you.

Sugar Low

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Sugar Low

As part of my weight loss  journey I try to have zero carb days on my non workout days. I mentally prepare myself for it, also making sure I have my meals and snacks organised so that I do not reach for something that is a carbohydrate. Now, I have a lot of love for carbs, a little too much maybe, so this exercise is a lot about self control as it is about getting my body to a healthy state.

As I sat down at my desk at work this morning,  I found myself thinking,” its going to be a long day. ” And within a second of that,  a little voice said to me. “You’re lucky it’s  a zero carbs day. That means you still have Proteins, and greens to eat. Needless to say, the pity party was short lived. 

Yes, I am having a zero carbs day, But I am replacing all that with Protein, Veggies, Mushrooms and fats. I have options; not everybody does. The law of relativity brings things into perspective. When you look at your situation in relation to another, its either great or bad. If I see a healthy woman enjoying a red velvet cake, I might feel miserable. But faced with a woman forced to forgo meals so her children can eat, my zero carbs day is a luxury. I chose the latter. 

According to myfitnesspal, I still managed to get some carbs from the vegetables I ate so technically there is no “zero carbs day” but the objective for me is to reduce the levels of sugar in my system and when I’m not having an active day, I go a bit further and eliminate foods high in sugar. This includes fruits and even healthy options such brown rice, sweet potato and butternut squash. I’m getting better at it, and with the day’s meals done I’m proud of myself for sticking it out! 

What changes have you been struggling with? 

bantugoddess