Monday, October 31, 2011

... and they lived happily ever after?

So this morning I woke up thinking about this paleo lifestyle and I found myself mentally writing a one month review.

How funny is that? Today is the first day of being really committed to this and I'm already writing a one month review.  How could I possibly know how it's going to turn out a month from now?

After chuckling at myself for being so silly, I started thinking more and realized I do this a lot.  In the past when I've started a something new I'd immediately start talking to myself as if the goal had already been reached.  When I planned a vacation last summer I mentally ran through scenarios of me talking to friends about how much fun I had, even getting to specifics.  Weird thing is I did that before the plans to go were even finalized.

On one hand I see the value of this.  Athletes who run mental movies of themselves performing perfectly do much better in the actual game than those who don't. I've seen people do this for job interviews too, running a mental movie of the interview going well and people smiling and happy and the job being offered to them.  So I know there's value to this type of forward projection.  It's part of manifesting (by the way welcome to those from my LOA blog... glad you're here) and there is definitely a place for it.

In fact the reason I do it so naturally and automatically is that I've trained myself over the years to focus on the outcome, letting the details work themselves out how they will. 

However.......... this morning I wasn't writing a mental post about some general outcome.  I found myself saying things like "well the first week was _____ and then I had this experience on the second Tuesday and almost blew it on ______ but I got around it by _____."  I was writing a very detailed movie script for something that hadn't even happened.

This isn't how I want to experience life.  In fact I'm re-thinking the whole "project the outcome you want" idea and I may just ditch it in favor of "make a decision, go with it, then just let it play out on it's own."

Anti-manifesting?  I don't think so.  I think there are times and places in life for both approaches and right now with everything changing so fast I want to sit back and allow it to develop as it will with as little interference from me as possible.  Why?  Because I'm in uncharted territory here.  I'm in a place in life that I've never been and I know that trying to manifest a certain outcome or set an agenda at this stage of the game will actually limit my possibilities. 

I'm dreaming big here... bigger than I've ever dreamed and my limited mind and life experience cannot fathom what the future will look like or how it will feel.  The only things I know for sure is that it will be vastly different than the present I live in today, change will be huge and amazing, and it will be good!  Really good!

So the point is I'm going to do a 180 here and STOP trying to orchestrate the outcome for a while, opting instead to just go with the flow, and trusting that it's all going to work out much better than imagined.

Gotta love those Scotts.

Got these in e-mail today and thought they were cute :)

5 pearls of Scottish wisdom:

1. Money cannot buy happiness but somehow, it's more comfortable to
cry in a Mercedes Benz than it is on a bicycle.

2. Forgive your enemy but remember the bastard's name.

3. Help a man when he is in trouble and he will remember you when he
is in trouble again.

4. Many people are alive only because it's illegal to shoot them.

5. Alcohol does not solve any problems, but then neither does milk.

Time to Commit

So last night I took some time to meditate and really ponder what this whole paleo lifestyle thing is and how it applies to me.  Or rather how it fits in with the authentic and real life I'm now dedicated to.

I gotta tell you this was no easy thing to do!  It was a lot of work and I found myself wavering, wondering if I'd bit off way more than I can chew, and even thinking maybe I'm a little nutty lately what with all this "authentic talk" and thinking all this major change is imminent.
But ya know what.... I don't care if I'm crazy.  I don't care if I've gone right off the deep end, singing looney tunes at the top of my voice as I sail off the cliff of "normalcy" into the vast unknown.  Because I feel alive!  Truly alive and that's something I haven't experienced in quite a while.

It's like being all goose-bumpy and giddy over a new love - you know, how you're back in high school again and you're all kissy-face and bubbling over so much you can hardly contain yourself.  Except it's directed at life itself... I'm in love with life!

And within that great circle of life, this paleo thing makes 100% perfect sense and fits in totally with everything I'm becoming.

So commit to it?  Heck yes! "I DO!"


Ok so here's the "below the line" stuff (i.e. what I went through to get there) ...

If I'm being authentic I have to admit that so far my paleo lifestyle has been less than stellar.  Yes I've generally switched to that style of eating, however I also have been a little too eager to say yes when a friend invites me out for coffee or lunch or offers me some home baked pumpkin rolls (thanks Donna, they were great), or when I'm really hungry and tired after working a long day and cave in to a Mac Attack on the way home.

So I've been doing it half way... there I said it!

And this is where the commitment comes in. See the point of eating food that builds your body (rather than destroying it like most of the garbage available today) is to eat it all the time so you can truly begin to heal.  Eating a great paleo meal then washing it down with a soda is like putting a little sugar in your gasoline... your car may still run but it's going to be really ticked off and give you fits!

So part of last night's very serious introspection was to decide if I am really ready to COMMIT to living this way.

Because let me tell you it's no small change.  Getting grass fed beef is inconvenient (a 45 min drive one way) and preparing food to take when I can't eat at home is time consuming and quite frankly a pain.  It's especially annoying when a 6 hour work day turns into 10 hours and I didn't bring anything with me and I'm so hungry by the time I'm done I'd eat literally anything.  Then to get home and find out I forgot to defrost the meat.... well you see where I'm going with this!

By the way you entrepreneur types... how about a little "paleo style drive-thru" right up the street... can you do that for me?

Anyway, given that it seems awfully inconvenient (or am I just lazy) and that I'm going into the busiest month of the fall season (I'll easily be working 70 hour weeks up until Thanksgiving) I'm wondering if now is a good time to do this.  See the wavering?

On the other hand, if I can do the paleo thing and get through this crazy-busy time with flying colors the rest of the year will be a breeze!  And I know that once I'm in the groove the inconvenience factor will melt away and become no big deal at all.

So it comes down to this:  Am I ready to really be authentic with my body and COMMIT to giving it what it needs despite the (real or imagined) inconvenience factor?

I pondered this for a while... couple hours in fact.

And.... I'm doing it.  I need this.  I deserve it and I know it will contribute to my spiritual growth and development as much as greatly improve my physical being.

Now... time to make some "paleo to go" so I can scoot off to work. Yummy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Food Supplies and Insights

Yesterday I stocked up the freezer for another week of authentic eating.  I headed over to Red Sun Farm which is in Loveland, Ohio (just outside of Cincinnati). I've known the people who own it for years and they're wonderful folks with a deep passion for what they do.  I got 10 pounds of ground beef (wiped them out... get more guys!), some liver and a dozen eggs.   Would have gotten bacon and sausage too but I forgot.  Next trip :)

While I was there I also said hello to the turkeys who were strutting around with no clue that in just a few short weeks they'd be the guest of honor for Thanksgiving dinner!

You can't see it here but there was a big sign out front that said "caution, electric fence" so on second thought maybe they do have a clue and are this very moment formulating an escape plan!

After saying goodbye to the turkeys I headed to another store to get some bison which is very delicious.  If you haven't had it then it's definitely worth a try.

Here's an interesting bison tidbit: Bison were on the endangered species list until someone decided to start raising them as an alternative to beef.  Once the focus switched from saving the bison to profiting from them.....  well you guessed it!  Herd size grew dramatically.  Nothing like a little greed for the green to give people the incentive to save a species!

The second stop turned out to be a bust as they only had bison patties today which at over $10 a pound was too rich for my blood.  So I passed and headed home.

Paleo Insights

Ever since I started this paleo like eating thing I've been thinking a lot about how we are related to the earth and how much sense it makes to live in sync with it rather than trying to conquer it.  For many years now I've been a go with the flow person, and more recently I'm making a point to consciously pay attention to the energy of our planet and to really align with it.

As I was driving home today I got to thinking how important the food we eat is to that process and how paleo principles are an excellent set of guidelines for getting us back to our roots.  In addition it really hit me how this is not so much a way of eating as a commitment to a lifestyle that is much closer to nature than most people currently live.

Now I'm not one to be afraid of commitment.  After all I've committed fully to living authentically and keeping it real.  But I did kind of jump into this new way of eating without thinking it through as much as I should have and really understanding my part in the process.  Because of that I'm going to take some time today to think deeply about what embracing the paleo lifestyle means and how that fits in with the authentic lifestyle I'm creating for myself.  

I'll let you know how that turns out in the next day or two.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Authentic (ugh) Relationships

Ok I didn't think I'd be writing this one but you gotta take things when they happen, right?

I just broke up with my "not-boyfriend."

Funny title, huh?  Well what do you call a guy who's been your very best friend for over 5 years but who just won't entertain the idea of getting a teeny bit closer?

Gay?  Married?  Involved with someone else? Swinging single? Well he's none of those.  He's just a guy who for whatever reason won't allow anyone, including me to get that close to him.

If I'm really going to be authentic, I have to be honest with myself and admit that I need that closeness.  I love being best friends but I also want intimacy, commitment, and a promise that someday I'll be able to take the "not" off that title above.

In a further vein of authenticity, I also have to admit that I've been trying to pretend I'm perfectly ok with being just friends, and that I've been denying my feelings to fit in with what he wants.  This is pure insanity, not to mention completely unhealthy!  It's caused friction between us and created many awkward moments where I wanted to say something but just didn't.  Not the basis of a great relationship or friendship.

Anyway, tonight it all came to a head and I admitted my feelings to myself, then to him, then told him what I need and added that I don't expect anything he can't give but that means I need to find someone who wants to and can be "that guy."

My God it tore me up!  There's no worse pain than loving with all you have and being helpless to do a thing about it because that person won't or can't love you back.  Oh I can't even say that.  He does love me.  Just not in the "relationship" sort of way that I want and need.

Anyway so here I sit.  Being authentic isn't always fun. It isn't always easy.  But it is real and through facing and owning that realness peace can be found.  And in a strange way, sad though I am, I am also somehow at peace.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Authentic Eating (part 3)

The final part to this happened just in the last week.  I guess the best way to describe it is this:

Keep doing what you're doing and suddenly it will all come together and make sense.

So I was eating more and more home cooked meals and going through a lot of butter.  I was also eating out a lot less, not because I didn't want to but because it made me feel sick every time I did it.  By the way I've always had a stomach of steel so this whole queasy thing was entirely new to me.

So here's what brought it together for me:

First a friend tells me to go on the Atkins diet (which I've done before but didn't do well on).  But it did remind me that I feel better when I eliminate refined carbs so I decided to ask my body how it would feel about eliminating bread and grains and got the answer "yummy!"  I took that to mean it would feel "yummy" without those things so I pretty much cut them out.  No big loss there except it also knocks out the idea of a quick sandwich for lunch which is a bit inconvenient.

A couple days later someone else mentioned the "caveman" diet.  I'd heard of it but didn't know much about it so I did a little research.  What I found made sense... kind of.  The caveman diet, also called paleo diet which is the term I'll use from now on, is about eating food that our distance ancestors would have eaten way back before agriculture was invented.  It is supposed to mimic the hunter/gatherer diet of Paleolithic humans and thus be more healthy for us than the modern day diet.

Well I was in a hurry so I didn't do a ton of research but one thing that stuck with me was the phrase "natural form."  It made sense that I eat things in their most natural form so I started doing just that.  I was never one for precooked or packaged meats (except an occasional can of tuna) so that wasn't a huge change but I did switch from frozen to fresh vegetables.  I figured that the closer I could get to "out of the ground" the better.

Then someone else mentioned the Paleo diet, which I took as confirmation that I was on the right path.  Unfortunately the information they gave me totally turned me off to the whole thing because it was presented as a "diet program" and I've had enough of those to last a life time!  Still, a second mention of this Paleo diet thing in as many days made me take notice.

Finally, I found a blog about a week ago which had nothing to do with food or diets but instead had to do with living simply (something I've been doing for years though I call it being a minimalist).  Anyway, the guy who writes the blog follows the Paleo diet but he does it in a way that's slightly different than the mainstream stuff I'd been exposed to so far.

He eats mainly grass fed beef with all the fat, eggs if they're from a good source, some fruits and veggies and a few nuts.  Eureka!  When reading about this the light bulb went on and it all made sense!  If you're going to eat like a caveman you've got to get as close to what they would have eaten as possible.  If you're going to eat food your body wants it has to be as close to original form as possible.

Grass fed beef qualifies.  Game qualifies.  Real vegetables and fruits qualify.  Anything that has to be processed, packaged, or force fed un-natural foods does not.

So finally, thanks to the events of the last couple months and the clincher of this very straightforward and simple blog post over at To Simplify I'm on track!

My body is happy, I'm happy, I'm eating AUTHENTICALLY and life is good!  Pass the butter.... I want more :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Authentic Eating (part 2)

Once you're in the habit of listening to your body the next step to authentic eating is:

Prepare to be surprised!

Why?  Because your body may just start telling you to eat (or not eat) things that are way outside your understanding of healthy!

This happened to me just a couple weeks after I got that initial message.  I started getting all these cravings for fat.  Good fat.  Lots of fat!  I even found myself eating butter all by itself!  Every time I cooked this little voice said "add more fat to that."  How weird!

Interestingly, when I ate out I never got that message.  In fact I often got that "I don't like this" message followed by a queasy stomach.  But at home I definitely wanted more fat!

So I started listening and adding more fat, usually in the form of butter or coconut oil.  As a result I began to have more energy and my joints stopped aching as much.

Next was the message to "keep it simple."  My meals kept getting simpler and simpler until I was eating just one or two things at a time.  For instance last night was hamburger fried up with onion and the night before was chicken and peas.  All with added butter because hey... I'm loving the fat!

The point is that when you listen to your body - when you really listen - you may find it asking for stuff you never thought you'd eat.  That's fine... just go with it :)

Authentic Eating (part 1)

I'm not so different than many people.  I've been on and off the diet wagon for years, sometimes being meticulous in my eating habits and other times not giving a damn.

But over the last few months I haven't been feeling physically as great as I had been and it's really been nagging at me so I decided it's time to take a look - an authentic look - and get this part of my life straightened out.

Rather than simply jump on yet another diet bandwagon, I decided to take a more novel approach.

I sat myself down with a mirror, looked deeply into my own eyes, and said "Ok Maria, what do YOU want to eat?"

I flat out asked my body that question and then pondered it for a good 2 months (as I continued to stuff myself with all sorts of junk).  On one level I knew that didn't feel good but on another I just wasn't ready to do anything about it.

Then a few weeks ago a couple things happened to bring it all into focus.  As I was eating yet another fast food burger I distinctly heard this little voice say "I don't like this."

What?  I looked around but there was no one there.  So I ate a little more then heard it again.  "I don't like this." At that point I was also starting to feel a little sick so I did something I never, ever do.  I threw the rest of that burger away.  Just stopped eating it and chucked it right in the can.

That was the day my body started talking to me and though I didn't always listen at first I'm getting much better at it now.

So the first step to eating authentically is: listen to your body.

If it's not talking then keep asking and listening and eventually you will get an answer.  But you won't be able to know what it wants - what it really wants - until you listen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So why a blog?

Good question.  I could write all this stuff in a journal.  I mean really, is anyone interested in my life?

It doesn't matter.  Blogging this journey is an exercise for me, not anyone who might follow along.  By making it public I set the bar higher for myself.  I can't wimp out on my decisions if I have a potential audience to answer to.

It becomes much harder to give in or give up when I'm right in the middle of a story.

So that's why I'm going the blog route.  We'll see where it ends up.

My Story

Like everyone who's been on the planet for any length of time, my story is pretty long and boring.  If you become a regular reader I'm sure you'll get snippets here and there and if you pay attention you'll get a good idea of who I am.

But I don't want to bore you by starting with the whole "I was born a.............." thing.

So let me get to the core of it.  I wasn't living authentically.  Not really.  Like so many others I did what I thought I had to do in order to get by in a world that didn't make sense to me.

I ended up very sick and very depressed and for a long time could hardly function at all.  I was completely numb both inside and out and very little phased me.  Like victims of war, I passed through life shell-shocked and was mostly just sitting there waiting to die.

There are lots of reasons I got to that place but they aren't important.  What is important is that sometime in the not too distant past I decided that since I appeared to be stuck on this planet anyway, I may as well get off the porch swing and figure out how to function in this world.

I also decided to hell with everyone else!  I'd make decisions based solely on what felt right to me at the time (no small task as I've since discovered).  As a result I committed to being true to myself and living within that truth.  Scariest damn commitment I've ever made!

But also the best one!

So that's how I got to where I am right now. Let the rest of the story begin to unfold.............

So what's it all about?

What do you see when you look in the  mirror?

Do you really see YOU, or is it someone else - a type of human/droid doing what "has to be done" to get through life?

If you could start over today knowing what you know about how the world works what would you do differently?  Would you stand up to the main stream, chuck the norm, and follow your own path?  Or would you cave once again, becoming the human drone you see in your mirror today.

This blog is going to cover a lot of things. Me being me I'm sure I'll rant from time to time and wander from this topic to the other but the core is about keeping it real and being authentic.

That's where we start.  Welcome to keeping it real!