BHAY Blog: O What a Difference a Month Makes

A new perspective on my life, on each new day, on being open to possibilities: the gifts of a sunrise!

It’s been about a month since I’ve been focusing on improving my health through reducing both my weight and my waist line.  How’s it coming?  Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to pay attention to results in order to hold myself accountable but for sanity’s sake, I’m gong to commit to the process rather than define myself by any given number.

What does that mean?  Am I giving up on losing weight? On getting a healthy BMI and moving past insulin resistance so that I have a waist rather than a circumferenc?  Oh no.  I’m adopting a Buddhist concept: renounciation of the fruit of one’s works.  I have control over the choices I make, the exercises I do or don’t do, the foods I eat and groceries I buy.  But my will will not remove fat, so if I focus my will on making that happen, I’m setting myself up for failure, resentment, disappointment, or depression.  While I can change my behavior, I can no more will myself to lose weight than I can will people to love me. 

I’ve had four “O” Epiphanies since I last shared:

My first “O”- Overwhelm is not my friend.  Less really is more.  So keeping it simple helps me: move more, drink more water, eat less sugar and stop eating for a period of time during the day. But I complicate it:  while I’m doing those Big Four, why not add in more challenges: journal daily, make a nice long list of things to do, meditate, declutter, create goals for my cross stitching? Basically all of life becomes a self-improvement project rather than “a gift to be received with gratitude and a task to be pursued with courage.”* Yes, I want to have a life that is fulfilling, but overwhelming myself with self-help ideas means I’ve set myself up for failure just by looking at my day’s “To Do”List, and I give up on everything because that’s the less painful choice.

Second “O”: Oops!  I went in to a job interview, being told by a conference supervisor that they wanted a part-time person. I assumed they wanted a very part-time person, and they assumed that’s what I wanted: I never asked what they had in mind.  Life has been okay even without all that extra money, but it would have been easier if the communication among the three parties involved had gone better.  Oops!

Third “O”: Openness  One of the blessings of my part-time employment status is being open to new ways of helping people and being connected to friends and family. I spent so much time in my role that I was only comfortable out of it with a close friends and family. Now I have received support and friendship from the Knotty Knitters, my neighbor, the Jesus Fan Club, you my readers, and others, and it’s mutual: I’m more open to sharing and less insistent on being The Giver.

Fourth “O”: Oprah is an amazing interviewer. Her talk with Prince Harry and Meghan the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has left me with many things to think about and pray about, especially about biased journalism and the pain that can be hidden behind smilies.

To make life less a self-improvement project and more a joyful productive enterprise: every day until Easter: I have four things on my To Do list for that day along with the routines from the Fly Lady and my Lenten disciplines. Four things! Do-able, manage-able, and makes a given day open , free from overwhelm and gives me space to ask God to help transform any possible oops! moments into opportunities for helping others, and perhaps watch a rerun of Oprah’s interview.Each life needs space for grace.

As the vaccine begins to have an effect on the social dynamics of families and communities, it will be interesting to see what’ve learned this past year and how that will inform how we “do different” in the years ahead.

*-“ Confession of 1967”, of the Presbyterian Church USA

Today’s Prayer Poem is “Fire” by Judy Sorum Brown:

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Judy Brown, from The Sea Accepts All Rivers

Grace and peace,

Caroline

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