Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012

Thanks for reading! Here's wishing us all a fantastic 2013!

Blogger statistics say that the following are consistently the top 3 posts - regardless of year:

Abiding Love 

Reflections, Observations, Looking Forward 

Poetry Corner: Imaginary Villain

Blogger statistics say that the following are the top 10 posts of 2012:

How to Pee Your Pants and Still Be Sexy 

Poetry Corner: Whoopee Cushion Memories 
(I love that this made the list. Makes me feel like I'm not alone in my potty humor and deviousness.)

Friday, December 21, 2012


I'm sitting in my kitchen listening to excellent music. My mind can't help but keep returning to various memories of good times, wonderful places, awesome and very timely friendships. 

At this point in time, I am reminded of a particular song by the Celtic Woman called Caledonia. The lyrics, pleasant performance and such all remind me of these various fond memories; besides that, Lisa Kelly is simply beautiful.  

The concept of "Caledonia" is universal, really. It's not just limited to a particular place in Scotland, but many physical environments, places in time, camaraderie of yesteryear; a specific refuge. 

Caledonia is any time, any place, any person that you repeatedly draw upon in memory - that still impacts your decisions for good.  There may even be a sense of longing or yearning for this time, be it long since past or that you can return to infrequently. 

In some cases, you know you can't return to your "Caledonia", but the longing sure manages to give you strength, perseverance, hope, purpose, and energy. 

Your Caledonia inspires you, still. It may even inspire with a yearning in the background, even as you still manage to push along. 

Here I sit, reflecting. Some bittersweet feelings, some joy, but above all a recognition that I am okay. All is well. Life is good. I am doing my best. 

Sometimes my best is good enough, and sometimes it... takes me to unexpected places in less pleasant circumstances. Then again, sometimes the circumstances are very pleasant, but short lived.

However, as long as I am doing and giving my best, regardless of pleasantries, I always seem to end up just where I should be, as well as with the people I need to be with. 

I am human. I make mistakes. I am far from perfect. Sometimes I make really big mistakes. I suspect I'm not the only one that can say this. I also do good things. 

Regardless, at this time, I am still very thankful for where I've come from, where I am going, and the variety of people that have influenced me. All of which have made me who I am today.

So I hold on to my Caledonia and continue to dream. 

I don't know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I've been afraid
That I might drift away
I've been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I've come from
That's the reason why I seem
So far away today

Let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia, you're calling me, now I'm going home
But if I should become a stranger
Know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had

Now I have moved and I've kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
I have kissed the fellas and left them crying
Stolen dreams, yes, there's no denying
I have traveled hard, sometimes with conscience flying
Somewhere with the wind


Now I'm sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames have cooled, don't get any higher
They've withered, now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking, my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When hands have shaken, the kisses float
Then I will disappear


Caledonia's been everything I've ever had
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had

Friday, December 14, 2012

Now & Later

If "it" is important to me and I don't invest anything to take care of "it", then who will? This falls back on my own personal twist of Hillel the Elder's quote, which is now a motto of mine:
If not now, when? If not you, who?
With this in mind, let's reflect on the power of now versus the power of later.

The Power of Now 
In short, here are the main points of the concept of the power of now.
  • If someone is waiting on you, do it now.  
  • If no one is waiting on you and there's no hurry, do it now, so it's out of the way and you can go on to something else without "it" looming over you.
  • If you notice that something needs to be done and you have the power and/or knowledge to do it, do it now.
  • If you wonder why no one is taking care of it, do it now. Don't wait for someone else to take care of it - you are someone else.
  • If you say to yourself, I should do that, then do it now.
  • If you say to yourself that he/she should do it, then YOU do it now.
The entire point of the power of now is that you are empowered, in that very moment. You are empowered to complete the thing you think should be done. 

Why maintain expectations if not previously outlined to another party? Why wait on someone else, especially if you are perfectly capable. "He should." "She should." Whatever, it all points down to YOU should.

The Power of Later
This is where you are truly dependent upon someone else or you need to employ the power of patience by delaying for a greater good.

The aim here is that if a delayed or patient action is added to a well thought-out response, wouldn't that be incredibly impactful? Then, use it! 

Some situations are best resolved in the silent discomfort of waiting. How do you know when to use the Power of Now versus Later? The answer is really incredibly simple. 

Which one has been working for you? Keep doing it. Which one hasn't? Stop using it until it becomes effective again.

I like Dr. Phil McGraw's concept of "never waste a good opportunity to shut up." I also like Darren Hardy's philosophy of "The Compound Effect". In either case, it's hard work. 

If it is no longer hard work, then you aren't being challenged enough and somewhere you are slowly slouching backwards. Stay there long enough, and you will become very surprised how you got into a very uncomfortable position.

Where do you see yourself in five to ten years? Make goals and plans and then start working on them. If not now, when? If not you, who? It's time. It might even be time to approach that goal differently than you have ever approached something before.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How To Pee Your Pants and Still Be Sexy

Hello. I am thirty-something and in the last week I have peed my pants (and more) on more than one occasion. I stopped counting at three. It's literally been a non-stop issue for most of the week. There was one day  when it happened several times.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think there are more than a few people out there who might get something out of this post. Managing chronic disease is a humbling experience, and touches most every aspect of one's life.

When I say humbling, I mean downright frustrating, challenging, irritating, embarrassing, and all sorts of other "-ings" that shall not be uttered here. In all reality, my cognitive functions just aren't able to pull together what those other "-ings" are right now.

Despite all the "ings" the show must go on! I still have things to do, and a life to lead. I still have responsibilities, including the mountain of laundry that has been mysteriously growing without regard to my efforts in the matter.

In efforts to cope with my frustrations constructively. I got on the elliptical tonight to use my frustrated energy in a constructive way; as well as to just feel good. Exercise does that for me.

While on the elliptical I came to the realization that I have recently let a few things into my diet that I know don't work well for me. So... there are a few food items I am tossing out tomorrow morning, and a few unopened items I will be donating.

I have a newborn and a chronic disease. I am sleep deprived and I need to be more focused on taking extra special care of me. I am not superhuman - but super sexy, according to my husband (he's standing over me as I type and has forced me to add that last little bit).

What does taking extra special care of me translate into?

  • personal daily devotionals,
  • good diet,
  • solid and consistent exercise,
  • sleep,
  • asking for help,
  • laughing more than once a day,
  • and of course, having clean underwear!

In working on taking extra special care of myself, as my body becomes acclimated to a new norm, I need to remember just how blessed I really am. Currently I feel most blessed to have access to a washing machine, dryer, lots of under clothing, and a crazy husband who says I'm super sexy - even as I write a blog post on messing my pants.

Friday, November 30, 2012

I Said the C-Word

Holy crud this is tough! Commitment! It sounds so easy and it's really easy to say it, too. "I'm committed."  This used to be my favorite lie. I now know what it really means to be committed, and I do not say that lightly. 

There's no way I'm going back, either. I know my "why" and I know what it takes. I'm committed to it now. I've won over  (insert weakness here). It is now a non-issue.

I get really concerned when I hear people say these things. I get concerned because they've already tossed out the reality that they are human. Because you are human, you have the potential to err. 

Never underestimate the human ability to be utterly oblivious or in complete denial. There is justification for all things, right? This doesn't mean that you should avoid trying to commit to something, someone, or to change in general. 

The burden to correct behavior is ever more present, especially when you have identified your weaknesses. If you are going to be committed to something, try being committed to being "aware", rather than permitting yourself to flirt with whatever is tantalizing to you.

The reality is, if  there was a problem once, you will most likely be tempted by it again. There's one thing I never doubt, and that's my potential to let pride and weakness creep up on me. Next thing you know commitment waivers. This is where the adage, "old habits die hard" has teeth. 

To me, commitment is to stay as far away from it as possible, as well as to try and stay as close as I can to something positive. In order to do so, I have to strip the habits that usually precede the frequent error. 

I have to change or just understand my perception of what it does for me. I also have to foster progression with whatever or whoever I should stay close to.

Staying away from something isn't always considered avoidance. Sometimes it's actually a very wise thing to do. If you know it's a problem, there's no avoiding that acknowledgement. Understanding that you can't be trusted around that thing is key to learning to live as well as to move beyond it.

What is "it" might you ask? Anything qualifies here, so long as it's a problem where self-control goes out the window. You don't need me to list anything here. 

That thing that's been on your mind during this entire blog entry or the one that just popped in your mind a moment ago; yep, those are what need to be worked on most. Those are "it".

When you are aware, commitment naturally tries to follow. Shoot for awareness and being present; see if a few appetites can't be curbed. 

For me, I've found awareness in asking myself "why?" Why do I want it? What just happened to make my commitment waiver? What's my payoff? Who do I hurt?

I'm tired of being trapped by my actions, or in some cases, inaction. What about you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Stuck

Have you ever seen a movie, play, or read a book and wish you could rewrite the ending or even just a segment in order to better suit your interpretation?

So here's the thing. I've been mentally deliberating on something I read and the dwelling is over the use of the word "absurd".  For some reason the use just struck a nerve. I loved reading this book but this one line just didn't seem to fit - for me.

Contextually it fits and the usage is right, according to how the author meant to use it. However, it has just not been sitting well with me.

This word use has bothered me so much that my brain has been frustrated. So I thought that maybe if I substituted the word with the one I would select, then maybe I would feel better.

I know this isn't a 'choose your own adventure' kind of reading material, but I'm going to do it anyway.

The line that's bothering me is from the book Still Me by Christopher Reeve, which reads, "Life is more unpredictable - and even more absurd - than any of us can imagine."

I want to switch the word "absurd" with "incongruous". Feel free to voice your opinions.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't Hold Your Breath

Have you ever noticed yourself holding your breath? I became very curious about the effects when I was catching myself doing it. I noticed that I used to hold my breath just prior to a panic attack or when I was feeling stressed. 

In order to combat the panic and stress, I decided, I should learn what the impact of holding my breath might be. Here's what I learned in the simplest way I can explain it.

Every function of your body needs energy in order to work. A simple example of this is your muscles. In order for your muscles to contract, they must burn energy to perform that function. The body gets this energy from combining the food you eat with the oxygen you breathe. 

There are a variety of chemical reactions that occur in the body, like feeding the muscles, and the processes require oxygen. When you persistently hold your breath you interrupt and frustrate all those processes. 

Now, I'm not saying that swimmers and musicians, people who frequently hold their breath in order to perform, will have all their systems shut down and die a miserable death. What I am saying is that those who frequently hold their breath without thinking, as a response to stress, are in danger of very many side effects.

Breath holding during food consumption is also common. Generally it's due to eating too fast. Being so focused with the idea of getting food in you quickly, or eating without thought and wondering where it all went... this is not good. Slow down, consider the food. Let your body register the flavors. 

Also, holding your breath while conscious is not really any different than struggling with sleep apnea. In fact, the effects are pretty much the same.

Our bodies need a continuous supply of food and oxygen to maintain energy throughout the day and during performance activities. 

It's kind of like keeping a pleasant camp-side fire going for cooking purposes; not letting it get too feverish or letting it die down too low for the purpose it was created for.

During the night, the campfire slowly becomes barely existent, but still warm and present. If it dies, it still has enough life in it that it's not too tough to rekindle. When you wake up and feed the body at breakfast, you are simply rekindling the energy of the fire (of your body). 

If you take in too much food too quickly, your oxygen intake is off balance for the task ahead. Essentially you have an out of control bonfire and anything could happen. You've little to no control over the effects. In fact, when your body breaks down the food, glucose is created and as your body breaks that down, the result is the creation of carbon dioxide. 

As we've learned from over-abundant environmental studies, too much carbon dioxide can cause damage to your muscles and other body parts. Many other things can happen, but that's as simple as I can get it.

Now, there are times where controlled breathing can be a good thing for the body; like yoga, managing hyperventilation, playing an instrument, swimming. The difference though, is that this is controlled in such a way that there are real benefits to the body, soul, and mind. 

Controlled burns in the environment can be a good thing. But get crazy with it and unobservant, just like with anything else and...well...anything good can become a bad thing if left unchecked.

Holding your breath can quite literally hinder your weight-loss efforts, emotional well being, panic, performance, attitude, blood pressure, metabolism, brain function, alertness, and so forth.

There's a lot more about holding your breath where science and technical jargon would need to be used in order to delve deeper than my surface banter in this blog post. 

I personally have experienced the benefits of conciously changing my unsteady breathing practices. There's so much benefit to bringing consciousness to your breathing habits.

It's important to strive to correct poor breathing habits so that you don't interrupt the goals that you are trying to achieve. Once again, anything good can become a bad thing if left unchecked.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Father Dearest

I can't help myself. I have to go here...

I've long since learned that the only thing I have control over in this life is my response to events, decisions or other happenings. Because I only have control over my response, I've learned to rely on a power greater than my own. I am not perfect. I need all the help I can get. 

Throughout my life, I have often turned to my father for advice and comfort. I viewed him as a great and wise powerful person with tremendous love, self-control, wisdom, and as a great teacher. Dad generally had the perfect responses and reactions to a wide variety of situations. 

Then there were times in my life when my Dad wasn't present, be it physically or distracted by one of seven other kids in the house. I can't blame him really; that's a lot of kids! However, I always knew he was there or would be there when he was really needed.

There was one particular night I drove the eighty plus miles home from college while in a state of worry and fretting over so many things; a relationship I was in at the time, academics, personal issues, spirituality, finances, life direction, etcetera. I just didn't know what to do. 

My Dad was still awake at two in the morning. Just sitting in the living room reading his scriptures. Pondering over something that was keeping him awake. Later I found out he was worried about me and didn't know why. 

So this is the circumstance when I walked in to the house. I was just hoping I could slip in unnoticed and go down to my old room, where I could be in the comfort of "away-ness" from the environment I had just fled.

It's a blur as to how that conversation started or went, but what I do recall is my Dad saying that I can't always run. Sometimes I have to stand and face the issues. I am responsible and I have power over my reactions. I have power over my behavior. Now these aren't the words he used, but these are the words that I'm using to describe my take home message.

Dad was there at a critical time for me. The impact is still profound. However, like I said before, there have been many times when my Dad couldn't be there for me.

At this point in time, I would like to let you know that it was at a fairly young age that I learned about God, but it wasn't until much later in life that I really learned how to spiritually rely on this unseen presence.

On the night I drove home from college and spent several hours talking with my Dad, I was in a state of mind wherein I couldn't have heard God talking to me if He were yelling; so He frustrated my father into alertness and preparation for my benefit.

There have been other times when presence from the Divine has carried and taught me and I have been able to recognize it. Such was the case on a particularly dark day several years ago.

On this day the Holy Spirit whispered to my soul that I really don't have to carry a particular emotional burden if I don't want to. If I'm willing to surrender, I can let my Savior release me from the tethers of fear, the unknown - of agony.

My response to this Divine teaching moment was one of relief, because this time I could actually understand and comprehend what it meant to let go of the burden and release it to my Savior.

I'm of the mind that because I am so imperfect, I need to rely on the saving grace and comfort of my Savior more often. The more I realize that my responses are all I really can control, the more I realize just how blessed I am to not only have a "present" father here on earth, but also an ever-present father with me, no matter where I am.

Today, I feel that comfort so sincerely that I couldn't help but share it in this manner. The magnitude of my thankfulness is beyond description.

Despite your individual circumstances, please know that all, even you, are indeed entitled to the loving kindness of Our Father in heaven.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Poetry Corner: Mrs. Wasden

I loved my fourth grade teacher. Mrs. Wasden rocks! I've run into her twice as an adult and she even remembered who I was - she didn't even run or cringe. Neat, neat lady! This posting is one of encouragement. Go out and make a difference, make a memory!

Mrs. Wasden

For just a short 365,
we gathered ‘round with
open minds.

Her voice, a Zenith, 
had us fixed…
A Wrinkle In Time”,
where all was suspended
by nurturing
gingersnap eyes.

She was a magic mirror,
allowing us to see,
what we could become or
thought we’d never be.
                                    365 days and twenty-years later
                                                I still rely on the memory
                                                of those days; that year.
                                    For each whiff of root beer –
hard candy to teeth clicking,   
                                                sound of Recorder,
                                                or curly brown hair,
                                    I see her, I feel her, telling me,
“You will succeed!
                          You will be great!
  Just you wait and see.”

                                    By Diana M. Bateman
                                                2004 ©

Friday, October 26, 2012

Personal Development

(last updated: February 17, 2013)

I'm coming from a negative and highly melancholy past. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. This is why I have been in a persistent quest to shed the negative and seek out the positive. 

In order for me to do this, I have had to consistently improve and challenge my personal development. Essentially, exercise for the heart, mind, and spirit.

Over the past few years, I've had many people ask me what I am reading or what I draw upon to formulate my thoughts. This material is my personal development workout that I just noted above.

I'd like to keep this blog post as a working list, so you can know exactly what has influenced me, as well as new material I find down the road. The materials in this list are not references that I've read just once, but many times. 

There's real truth here, so much so that I've tried to embody the concepts that resonate most. A single reading doesn't suffice for my retention. I read, then practice, then read again. 

Regardless of what any of us read or believe, we must continually strive to develop and grow. It is from this effort that change occurs; where lasting impact is made. 

The impact doesn't always have to be public or grand scale. In fact, some of the biggest impacts I have had, have actually been in my own thinking and in my very own life.

If you have materials that you draw upon for personal development and inner strength, please share. I'm always looking for more. 

I personally really like learning about the United States Presidents in history and really respect David McCullough's writing. So if you are interested in history, any book on just about any president he's written about is darn good. 

Here's the current running list that I have in my personal library. The references with an * are where I would recommend that you start.

In all of these books, you'll learn a lot about what it takes to command in a variety of tough situations, as well as how critical compromise really is. 

Most importantly, you may also learn what it takes to really be true to yourself and stand for something no matter what.
  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  2. The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn
  3. Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill
  4. Building your Network Marketing Business by Jim Rohn
  5. Truman by David G. McCullough
  6. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
  7. A Thousand Names For Joy by Byron Katie
  8. Becoming A Person of Influence By John Maxwell and Jim Dornan
  9. Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  10. Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson
  11. Deadly Emotions by Don Colbert
  12. Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  13. Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  14. Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  15. Les Miserable by Victor Hugo
  16. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  17. Life Strategies by Dr. Phil McGraw
  18. Lincoln's Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk
  19. Long Run by Matthew Long
  20. Mindbody Prescription: Healing the body, Healing the Pain by John E. Sarno, M.D.
  21. Napoleon Hill's Keys to Success: The 17th Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill
  22. Quitter by John Acuff
  23. Quotable C.S. Lewis By Wayne Martindale & Jerry Root
  24. Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz 
  25. Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, & Weight Loss by Marc David
  26. Working Toward Excellence: 8 Values for Achieving Uncommon Success in Work and Life by Paul Buyer
  27. Yoga: Spirit & Practice of Moving Into Stillness by Erich Shiffman
  28. Your Inner Awakening by Byron Katie

Friday, October 19, 2012

A New Chapter

Behold, the little one! Sir Jacob
Today is my last day at work. I've been with this company for ten years and really have grown and developed a lot. I gained a lot of knowledge and built many wonderful relationships that will continue for years to come. 

I'm leaving knowing that I've done good work; and in some cases, because of the work I've done, I am leaving a legacy. But it's time to leave and give my son the best attention and support that I can. 

I am incredibly thankful for a husband who can support this and even encourage it. I make no judgment on anyone else for not being a stay-at-home parent. In fact, I really empathize with single parents where the option just really isn't there.

It's honestly a bit nerve-wracking to make such a big change, but at the same time, I absolutely know that this is the right thing to do for our circumstance and family. 

It is so much the right thing, that it really took no labor at all for either my husband or me to make this decision. Besides, I still have some growing up to do and I'm certain that Jacob will help me get there.

The goal now is to help this little guy develop well. To find his talents and facilitate them. I miss coloring. I'm certain coloring will be involved. If he colors on the wall... I actually just might join him; isn't this what paint was created for?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Where's Your Focus?

Have you ever felt like you've made something happen just by focusing on it? Be it negative or positive, you have been dwelling on a particular thought and as it unfolds the resulting sentiments were something like:
"I knew it!"
"I could just feel it coming."
"I just knew this would happen."
"I had this nagging sense that..."
"I knew I could do it."

The mind truly has power. Where is your focus? 

Think of shows like: 24, MacGyver, Alias, A-Team, Batman and the like. It's always forces of good, fighting against forces of evil. Good generally wins by narrow margins. 

It's a tough fight. But why do the good guys generally come out on top? The bad guys have pretty specific focus, goals and aims. They are determined bad guys. 

However, when their life is on the line they will throw their arms up, beg, or squeal on another bad guy in order to cut a deal. To what end? To save their hides!

When the life of the good guy is on the line however, they are willing to sacrifice their life at all costs. What's the last scene prior to the almost martyrdom of the good guy? 

They make eye contact with the person they are dying for or look at the bomb they need to stop. Their focus is on the greater good and not focused inward toward the self. And somehow at the last second, good still prevails.

Historically humankind watches shows (or plays) like this that have the same outcomes, tell the same core story with a different setup, but why? 

I personally think that this is because somewhere deep down we cheer the person on for not losing sight of the goal; for not losing focus. We feel good inside, because a character accomplished what we feel we fail at in our own lives so often. 

This isn't the case though. We are surrounded by many a Jack Bauer and Sydney Bristow. The reason the archetypal hero can be rewritten in so many different ways and not lose appeal is because of what they focus on. 

The characters' focus plays on the desires of the human heart, which are to overcome every and any obstacle that prevents us from achieving what we inherently feel is right, but that we struggle in doing. 

The hero makes a large scale impact and therefore their large scale sacrifice is willingly embraced. In no way does it make the sacrifice easy, though. It's tough and someone cries. 

Just because your sacrifice might not narrowly avert nuclear war doesn't mean the impact is any less. Your focus on the desired outcome still tremendously impacts the lives of others. 

I could delve into many examples at this point on how this is true, but by now you are telling yourself your own story. The pang of guilt you might be feeling right now needs to have its focus redirected. 

Tremendous good comes from the tough things we have to do day in and day out. This is where the term "every day hero" comes from. The impact is huge to family, friends and neighbors. Get up, walk away and go make that thing happen. Focus. Do. Recommit.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Poetry Corner: Pristine Pools

Today I have been thinking a lot about Yellowstone National Park. Why? Hmm, I could say that it's because I would like to get away to a natural retreat and enjoy the splendor of the earth. But in all reality my inner emotions have been all over the place. The erratic internal volatility of the need to take my son and husband and just get away is on the overwhelming side of things. It sure would be nice to say: Dear Reality, would you please go sit in the corner over there while I take my dreams and go this way?

While I have been thinking this way today, I remembered a poem I wrote the last time I was at Yellowstone (see below). It was such a beautiful place, but its beauty was created out of seriously volatile events over a very long period of time. It's amazing to me that water by appearance is so beautiful, yet has become incredibly deadly to the touch. Now I'm not saying that through tough times in my life I have been made so beautiful that if you come near me I might melt your skin off, like out of some Indiana Jones movie. What I am saying is that: 1) Tough times can make beautiful things happen. 2) Patience has the capacity to create tremendous power. 3) If I remain aware, I will be less likely to lose sight of what is really important. 

I have the choice of how I will react. I have the choice of finding a way to thrive in the now, always. Tough things happen. Hard decisions have to be made. And the beauty in this is that, I have a choice. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Pristine Pools

treading the planks
of this forsaken land
I ponder the life and
death of all I see…

a boiling brew of earth
begins to drum erratically
occasionally gurgling its refrain,
as a foul misty stench
coats my skin with an unusual warmth,
and my lungs begin to burn

elements combine,
molding everything together …
dying beautifully

deep within this fissure
I feel the foul heat begin to call –
an inexplicable urge to touch
the prismatic lake
within me…

staring at the mouth wide open
I am temporarily paralyzed –

I feel my beauty fade
the longer I gaze, yet
I am captivated
by the subtle harshness
hidden between the vapor,
I remain –
looking into the clearest chasm

below the calm basin
images of terror dance off-beat
as the earth ruptures inward
while pain echoes,
migrating deeper
agitating the fragile balance

not yet ready to burst
not yet ready to take me…
I am suddenly released
with a promise
and a threat

By Diana M. Bateman
2005 ©

Friday, September 28, 2012

Throwing Fat Away

Just sharing a few tidbits on calories that I share with clients...

Let’s say I’m a thirty year old, five foot six woman who weighs two hundred fifty pounds. I have committed to exercising three times a week. The calculator at this website says that in order to maintain this weight I must continue eating two thousand, five hundred seventy-six calories per day. 

But if I want to lose weight, I need to eat between two thousand and two thousand sixty calories per day. Those instructions would also apply in reverse order if you are actually trying to gain weight.

Let’s say that I have a goal to lose ninety pounds and not maintain my two hundred fifty pounds. In order to do this, I want to keep me in the present and aware. So for every ten to fifteen pounds I lose in this journey, it would be very wise of me to return to this website and reassess my caloric needs. 

If you do this, then by the time you reach your goal weight, you don’t have to change your daily caloric intake too much because you have been wise and slowly changing it during the entire process. 

In doing so, once I reach the goal of one hundred sixty pounds, I then know that I need to consume two thousand thirteen calories daily to maintain the new weight, but only if I continue to commit to workout three times a week.

Now what if I decide to stop working out when I reach one hunbdred sixty pounds. According to the calculator, I would then need to consume one thousand, seven hundred, fifty-seven calories daily, if no longer working out. 

The drawback is: you may be one hundred sixty pounds, but in short order you will be a soft and potentially flabby one hundred sixty.

I personally highly recommend maintaining some sort of fitness efforts for life. The benefits mentally, physically, emotionally, even spiritually are so worth it.

I hope this was helpful and simple to follow.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Unplugged, Uncensored, Unrestricted... You!

It can be dangerous to be left alone with your thoughts. This is why it's important to gain mastery of them - so that your thoughts can be positively reflected in your actions, words, and more.

Why are we always watching, reading, listening, Googling? Why are you even here, reading this? What are you looking for? Why are we so afraid to hear truth from within that we can't seem to sit alone with our own thoughts for a period of time?

It's been entertaining to watch people pick up their cell phones and look at them as if willing them to ring, or just turn to a game when an actual conversation opportunity lays in front of them. I'm guilty of this as well. I just think it's interesting to see the evolution of convenience, even in just my lifetime.

I can honestly say that in some ways I'm an addict. I have actually used my iPhone to avoid conversation and thoughts that come with meditation. I have actually even been at the dinner table with my husband and rather than talking, I have been "plugged in". Once I noticed this quite some time ago, I actually began making a real effort to leave the phone in the other room. I've completely turned it off for a day or so and sometimes I even leave it behind while I am out and about. But for the most part... it's in my purse or back pocket.

I crave solace and some time just to myself. I use this time to: write poetry, think, really evaluate life and relationships, write letters or record in my journal, and to contemplate in general. 

I've found though that nowadays in order to do this, I have to have the phone off or completely be removed from it. I figured out why though. When left to ponder we truly face tough things. 

Internally there may be a battle raging and it may need some real sorting out. By avoiding the contemplation, I get to avoid the issue for just a bit longer. 

I have come to cherish my daily dedicated time to being unplugged, uncensored, unrestricted and just me with my thoughts. This time is used to discipline and redirect myself for the better. 

This time is used to visualize me meeting my goals and to recall why I am putting my energy where I do. It's a challenge and sometimes even a struggle, but it's so worth it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Crap, it's that time again.

I recently listened to someone interview Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS magazine and author of The Compound Effect

In this interview Darren relayed an experience of attending a seminar as a young man wherein the speaker asked, "What's the percentage of effort that you have to give in a relationship (be it work, personal, etcetera) in order to have it be successful?" 

After participants tossed out numbers like 80/20; 50/50; 70/30 the speaker announced they were all wrong. Then he further clarified that the amount of effort any one particular person must give in any relationship for it to be successful, is 100/0. 

This story has really resonated with me. My take home message from this story was that if we hold back any amount of effort at all, then we aren't being fully invested. 

Success is based on one hundred percent effort, investment and persistent dedication. I'd like to add that this includes the relationship with ourselves as well. 

How often do you approach your relationships with others or yourself, in an attempt to improve it or take it to a new level, yet still hold something back? 

In my opinion the biggest hold-ups tend to be (but are not limited to): 
  • resistance to change
  • poorly perceived personal responsibility
  • fear
  • laziness
  • lack of knowledge
  • selfishness
  • close mindedness
What in this list has a hold of you?  For me, it is the answer not shown - all of the above. I am, however, in the process of making changes. I like the direction I am headed. I am challenged. 

I've learned that whenever something becomes easy, that's when change needs to happen. Step it up a notch or really mix things up.

Not a fan of your current circumstance? For your information, in order to move past what's bugging you, something actually has to change. You actually have to do something different

In case you missed it, YOU have to make some changes; not your parents, spouse, kids, boss, whomever... YOU. Struggling? What has your "effort" ratio been lately? I know I have to adjust mine...again.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Well That Sucks

There isn't much that is picture perfect. I seem to discover this over and over. For the purpose of this blog post, I'll sum it up this way - positive attitude. 

Well it just sucks that you can't control everything that happens! You can't control other peoples responses or the decisions they make anymore than you can pray away another person's free agency or develop superhuman powers.

I can't tell you how many times over the last few years that I have learned to cope by simply saying "sucks to be me" or "sucks to be you" in lieu of a total breakdown or saying "get over it". 

Simply put, oftentimes it is what it is and half of the discomfort we face is the amount of energy we put into fighting something that just is or has already happened. It's done and you can't change it. However, you can change the way you look at it. 

You can change your perspective of what you can do now, regardless of what just happened. Meaning we now have to be determined to accept the situation or event in order to move beyond it. 
  • Christopher Reeve broke his neck, lived as a broken-bodied man for several years and later died - sucked to be him! Yet, he still managed to change the lives of many and create a legacy of ability for the disabled. I'd say he successfully moved beyond his circumstance. 
  • I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis... sucks to be me! Now what? What abilities do I have to work with and how can I use them to move beyond my current circumstance?
  • A friend lost his job. Sucks to be him! Now what? What can he learn from the situation and find a new job?
  • A friend broke her wrist in play, which interrupted her desired workout schedule. Sucks to be her! But guess what she discovered? Not all is lost, she can still exercise effectively, just modified for a time.
  • My husband and I are suffering from sleep deprivation with our newborn. Sucks to be us! But this won't always be the case. What can we do now, to cope and get through this time?
I could go on with that list, but the point I'm getting at is - it's done and we have options on how to move forward. These things have happened or are happening. There may not always be a pleasant way out, but there is always a way through (loosely quoting Robert Frost here). What will you chose to do in order to get through?

My question to you is, do you embrace the fact that issues have been or are present, in order to move beyond them (in a healthy and positive way), or do you wallow in a state of never ending stasis; never getting over it enough to continue living? It all sucks! But you absolutely have a choice in how you respond to what's happening in your life. 

Gandhi really had it right when he said, "You must be the change you wish to see..." You don't like it? Change the way you think about it and move on in your best, most positive way, regardless of anyone or anything else. 

You will be a much happier person if you learn to surrender or discard that resentment, frustration and anger. Life is good, regardless of any bad that creeps in. One bad doesn't ruin all good. The good, most of the time, does outweigh the bad.

Here's a public challenge to be determined to see the good, so that you can recognize it more often. It can be done.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Surprise Yourself

Log off. Do the thing that's next on your "To Do" list that you've been putting off for ... forever.  Do the thing that you've said, "someday I'm going to..." 

Do something different than your default activity. Press the off button on anything around you that has the on button currently engaged. 

Go, do and surprise yourself! 
Bye! Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Drive Through Life

As I have been becoming adjusted to the life of a mother, so many things have taken on new meaning and have brought a heightened level of understanding. Such as the modern day drive-through window.

Goodnight! What used to be a five minute errand has now become 20-30, if things are running smoothly with a babe in tow. This is not a complaint, rather a realization made public. 

I can understand how a tired parent would find it easier to hit a fast food restaurant, using the drive-through window, rather than going home to cook a meal. 

It really doesn't save time at all, but if you are already out and about, it certainly saves on energy devoted to feeding the crew. It also makes more sense why I see minivans pull into a fast food window or quick stop coffee shop, just to get a thirty-two ounce soda or daily coffee. 

The time and hassle of getting in and out of the car with a car seat or child is too much just to get a simple fix of caffeine. I have found myself deliberating the term is "is it worth it?" 

It sure makes things more visible, if you still have a lingering addiction(s). It also brings to light how ingrained old habits are which have long since been broken... they start to creep back in.

Some may think that I am over-thinking this or putting too much pressure on myself, but I don't think that at all. I think I am absolutely worth the effort of questioning this, rather than blindly following convenience and socially accepted norms. 

An occasional stop, wherein I struggle to make the healthiest selection possible is one thing, but more than, say, twice a month... I'm not happy with that.

So the question is, do I condescend to a quick food stop, for sake of sanity and ease but then lose total nutrition? Especially while in the same stop I'm also training my kid(s) into this kind of habit? 

I'm asking myself this question now, because the answer is incredibly important to me. I need to make the decision now - not on the go. 

It may be more difficult to wait a few minutes with an already hungry family to make a better, lower-fat, sugar-reduced or non-fried meal. It may be more inconvenient in the short term, but certainly less so in the long term. 

I'm interested in reducing physical and health-based consequences, not creating them. Is this unrealistic? Only to those that haven't made it a priority to care enough to actually change their behavior. Oops! I said it and may have offended someone, but if I did, then good - it hit home. 

I absolutely refuse to turn around ten years from now and look back to see that it was during this time that I could have committed to not embrace a drive-through life, especially when there were better options and better habits to step into. 

Regardless of the direction, it requires practice. My practice is currently outlined. It is to start: 
1) making and packing lunches if I'm headed out for the day - I've got a cooler and ice packs - they will be used; 
2) driving home, not "through"; 
3) prepare a healthy snack bag to have on hand.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Poetry Corner: Prickly Pear

Here's a good example of how the meaning of a work can be interpreted differently, based on experience. Today, I am hot and frustrated because... for one brief moment I came out of alignment with the universe and have a bad attitude about nothing in particular. I'm thirsty, and for some reason, I am craving all the things that I have already decided are not good for me. I am, in a sense, a prickly person inside. So here is a work I penned while exploring Carlsbad, New Mexico; a very beautiful place by the way. 

Prickly Pear

                                                As I undress
                                                this prickly pear
                                                I imagine
                                                                        desert kisses
                                                                        my throat
                                                                        needles become pliable
                                                                        making acupuncture

                                                                        red fruit
                                                                                    and blood marry

By Diana M. Bateman

Now that I have shared, I am on my way to meditate and recognize that all is well. I need to quench a thirst that, I think, only meditation can bring.