Friday, July 31, 2015

Getting too Comfortable

I just finished a book called Hidden Treasures. It's about the Fly Lady systems of cleaning and organizing. I did try her method last year and found it too intense for me at the time. However reading this much more personal version was helpful.

The biggest a-ha moment was about change. She talks about how we put in a big effort to change and then sit back to enjoy it. We get comfortable with the way things are and quit doing the things it takes to keep it that way.

Wow. This definitely happens to me. See, once I decide to do something, I jump in full force. I like big projects, at least at first. I did major overhauls in each room of the house. I loved seeing the changes, but then my home got to a place where I was no longer ashamed and I slowed down. I lost the drive to finish the last few corners and daily maintenance has always been my nemesis.

The book says "Becoming comfortable with where you are causes you to stop moving forward... You have to get to a level of discomfort with where you are to move ahead and find peace"

I think this is true of any life change. Maybe I just had to coast a little while in order to get uncomfortable enough to move forward again.  Maybe I'll even try the Fly Lady system.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

OA - Steps 8 and 9 - Amends

A friend was talking today about how in the Bible miracles didn't just happen.  God often required people to do something first and/or to use what they had at hand before the miracle occurred.  That reminded me of my OA journey.  It has been miraculous healing and it has been a lot of hard work.

Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. 

Once you search your soul for character defects and harmful behaviors in step 4 and ask your higher power to remove them in step 7 you are ready to live life with different rules, better coping strategies, and more peaceful results.  However, you still have the mess of the past to clean up.  Some religions call this penance, I just think of it as making things right. 

Some names came to mind right away.  I knew who I had hurt and how.  Others were more hidden.  As I had analyzed my past with my sponsor in step 5, I discovered that very often hidden in my resentments, hurts, and fears were my own wrongs.  Human beings often hurt others when they themselves are hurt.  I learned that it didn't matter who started it or who did more damage, I was still responsible to clean up my side of the street.  I was also responsible for the choice to hang on to un-forgiveness and pain and letting it corrupt my life. 

For me this step was a process.  There were some names on the list I was willing to reconcile with right away.  Going through the process gave me the strength to tackle other names that were not so 'easy'.

Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others. 

My first amends was to a former college roommate whom I felt I had treated unkindly.  I found her through social media and sent a letter of apology.  She wrote back and thanked me and included her own apology.  It was an amazing moment of healing.  We both felt honored and validated.  It was a precious experience. 

Not all amends are this easy or productive.  The people you approach may not be ready to accept your repentance or to forgive you in kind.  They may not even want to talk to you.  It's not about that.  It's about doing the right thing for the right reason and leaving the results up to God.

There are a few types of amends.  First is the direct amends - an apology or possibly financial reparation.  This can be done face-to-face or in a letter. It is important no to mention anything the other person did to you.  This is only about asking forgiveness for your actions.

Another type of amends is indirect.  This involves situations where the person has passed away.  Many people find healing by writing a letter and taking it to the graveside or burning it.

Lastly, there are living amends.  This is where you live the apology.  Some situations are too tricky or the person involved would actually be hurt by your revelation.  It is your job to live out the changes in behavior that will show them your apology.  In a way all amends should be followed up with living amends.  Otherwise the words are hollow and meaningless.

So - what does all this have to do with food, or drinking, or any other addiction?

The Big Book of AA says that if we do not rid ourselves of the character defects that cause self-seeking behaviors and cause us to harm ourselves and others we will return to our drug of choice.

For me this means, I cannot afford to bury my feelings and my selfish behaviors if I want to live a healthy , happy, free life.  The road to peace is the road of repentance and restoration. 

I've lived on the other side - enesticized by food and afraid of life.  This way is so much better!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Cooking failures

Grr.... cooking should not be so hard.  You follow a recipe and you get the result.  That's how I remember it back before I started relying on so much processed food. 

I do not remember falling on my face over and over and wasting food by creating failures.  However, maybe that is part of why I quit in the first place.  Maybe I just blocked the flops out of my mind.

Today I sliced my thumb grating carrots for cole slaw.  I got a giant head of cabbage in the last co-op basket.  Despite the fact that I did not have the right spices (realizing my spice collection is seriously lacking) it turned out basically the way I remember it.  However, I didn't want to use the whole head of cabbage because it would go bad long before I ate it.  A friend suggested a frozen slaw recipe.  I found one that used things I had on hand (except for spices I thought I had).  I had to boil  vinegar, sugar concoction. It started to boil and before I could reach the burner control to turn it down, the mess erupted all over my stove.  The smell of 'candied vinegar' burning on the stove was horrendous.  It might also be permanently attached to the stovetop.  All this for a dish I may not even like.

Two days ago I made chocolate banana bread that turned out well, but last week I made blueberry muffins that were burnt and greasy.  The pre-made or even box mix ones never have that problem. =s

As with so many things in my life, I am just not great at this.  I am ok, sometimes, and I can improve, but I don't think I'll ever be good at it.  That leaves me fighting the temptation to quit. 

Change is not easy.