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 ©