Thursday, September 10, 2009

DAY 32 So What's Wrong With Hard?

Hi There, Journal,

Speak your mind...but ride a fast horse.--Cowboy proverb

I have been thinking about this concept of EASY vs HARD for a couple of weeks now. I've been reading it on several weight loss blogs, some from people that I respect and admire. In a nutshell, if I understand them correctly, the journey to health and weight loss has become EASY for them now. It's all a matter of perception...a shift in your you look at it...if you think it is hard, it will be...if you think it is easy, it will be.

And for a while, it had me wondering...what's wrong with ME??! I TRIED to agree, because I am a firm believer in the power of our thoughts, attitudes, perceptions. But this one kept bugging me.

Especially since for ME, it is NOT easy. I do NOT find it easy to change a lifetime of habit...a lifetime of coping with life using food inappropriately ...for so long that it was an ingrained habit that took absolutely no thought, it just WAS a part of who I had become. 

And now that I am consciously making the effort to change from the inside out, it is not easy. Perhaps they are saying that SOMEDAY, when my inner transformation is complete, it will become easy. I hope so. I hope they are right.

In the meantime,  I am left with these thoughts on Hard vs Easy...they are a little scattered, because I jotted them down on scraps of paper  as they percolated to the surface.

Could it be that our perception of "hard" is not quite right?? Why does it need to be a "negative" if something is not easy? 

Would you want it to be easy to pass the test to be a heart surgeon? Would you want that doctor cutting on you?

Would you want it easy to qualify to be an airline pilot? Would you fly on that plane? You get the picture...

I remember reading the opinion of Larry Seiler, a very talented artist (watch him paint here) who is also an art teacher. He was frustrated over the proliferation of tv art shows that promised it was "easy" to become an artist... just follow their easy 1,2,3, approach, and voila! You have a finished painting. Mr Seiler reminded us how many years apprentices used to study in the "old days", and how our current generation wants it easy and wants it NOW....the path of least resistance. They want to dive right into color and paint, instead of the honored traditions of learning the foundations with drawing and a simple pencil....but I digress.

I think of exercise...should it be fun and doable, yes! But easy?? Without resistance, there is no gaining of strength. The muscles must OVERCOME the resistance, they must work hard, in order to become stronger.

I think of hot house plants. I worked in a nursery one year...the hothouse plants were pampered, tender, vulnerable, not strong....they had the "easy" life. But plants exposed to the elements of nature which can be HARD to survive, become strong and tough, with deeper roots.

I think that is why I love this old, tough craggy tree, growing along the rim of Crater Lake, Oregon. It may not be the most beautiful in the traditional sense,  but it is beautiful to ME, because of it's strength and endurance, in spite of hard conditions.

(click pic to enlarge)
Hard work used to be the "norm".  My father-in-law, Wayne Stephenson, was one of the hardest working men I had ever met. He was a timber faller here in Oregon, back in the days before chain saws...they used huge two man cross-cut saws...camped out in the woods...and also he hunted for food to help feed the crews. He didn't think he did anything unusual...he worked hard all his life. I think that is where my husband got his work ethic, by seeing how his Father lived his life. They didn't have much money, but they had strength of character and dignity. I shudder to think what his generation would say to someone looking for the "easy" way.

Maybe it's semantics....I don't think we need to go around complaining how hard it's a struggle...moan and groan. I think that in our hard work we can be joyful and proud of our accomplishment!! 

Hard to change and lose weight?? Yes...but it's much harder to be 460 lbs!! It is hard and painful and heartbreaking. It doesn't matter to me if it is not "easy" to change and lose weight, I WANT IT...I want to succeed at this journey to a New Me. And because it is not easy, I will get stronger in order to meet the challenge. 

And I wonder...if it DID come easy, would I be in danger later when the hard times of life hit me again (and they always do, eventually). If I had not learned to be strong, would I just wither and go backwards, and regain the weight, because I would complain "but it's hard"???

I agree it's about perceptions...I think that when something is hard, we have the choice to perceive that WE ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO MEET THE CHALLENGE.  We all have sources we go to for our strength...and in tough times we learn to dig deep into them, and grow and learn. That's IS hard at times...but it can also be full of adventure and joy and surprises and beauty and fun....but easy?? Not the majority of the time, for me.  Maybe later???

There ARE times that flow and are gentle and quiet...they can be described as easy. Times when I can make the right nutrition choices without an inner fight, or get my exercising done without struggle. And those are the fun times...but if I get upset and thrown off track because suddenly it gets hard again...then something is off in my expectations. I forgot to enjoy the "easy" times as the exception, not the rule.

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.” — Phillips Brooks 

I don't think it's very helpful to tell people just beginning on this journey to expect it to be easy...that is just setting them up for failure, for them to ask themselves the same I asked myself: if it is supposed to be easy, then what is wrong with ME???

My hardworking husband used to be annoyed at the popular cliche that people told one another as they said goodbye: "Take it easy!" So he invented his own retort: "Hit it hard!"

Remember that saying: "Easy come, easy go"??

Well, I prefer this one: "Hard won, but permanent!!"

Maybe in a year from now, I will be singing a different tune...but for now, I plan to enjoy the journey whether it is during an easy time OR a hard time!. So there. ;-)

Now, where is that fast horse??

From Dr Phil's book: "I'm not powerless over this behavior. I'm in charge of myself. I have to choose..."

My verse for today: "The Lord is my strength and my song."

My quote for today: "Dreams are where you want to go...hard work is how you get there."

Enjoy the Journey,



Anonymous said...

Many things are difficult if you see them that way, or you could see them a different way not necessarily HARD. My older daughter is a math whiz and is very advanced at school. Sometimes I look at her homework and think, wow that looks so HARD. I'll ask her, "was this hard?" And she says things like, "No, it was fun" or "No but that one was boring."

As though ANY math would ever be fun or not boring!!! Whhhhaaaaaaattttt???? Why does she think that way???

I named my blog Easy to be Thin because I do believe in the power of positive thinking. For approx 20 yrs I have wandered this earth with the idea that being thin was hard...and it has been. Then I thought what if I decided it was easy? Would it be?

It is! I have not found it difficult to stay low carb or to do walking on my treadmill. So I guess the only hard part I would say is just waiting to get to thin!!!

I know I didnt feel this way on a low fat diet or on weight watchers or any of the diets I've tried where I was starving. Since I am never starving now, its pretty easy to eat this way.

Socially, thats kind of weird. People look at you like you are a lunatic, so yeah thats not fun, but is it hard? I'm not sure.

I have had situations where I told my kids to think positively and we would write down their hearts desire on a piece of paper and pin it above their beds so they could focus on this in the am and in the evening.....ALWAYS a positive result. So I thought, ok mama, put your money where your mouth is and be positive, even here on this blog.
And there you go, Easy to be thin was born.

And I am worthy of being thin EVEN if its easy to come by! Yes! I am. You'll notice I didnt say QUICK to be thin, ha ha It is taking a while.

Retta said...

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing about your experience. It is fascinating! Your children are blessed to have a Mama that is teaching them healthy and positive ways to think. :-)

As far as the nutrition part, I had similar experiences with other approaches, and I agree...low carb IS easier than them for me, too.

What I find is that *change* is the hard part, for me and for most people who have something in their life that needs fixin'.
If change were easy, we'd all be skinny by now...LOL!

Maybe once the change inside me, in my thinking and "way of being" is complete, I will be singing the Easy Song, too. I sure hope so, that would be fine with me. :-)

In the meantime, I will believe for the strength to match the task, whatever comes my way...that way I'm covered either way...whether it be easy or hard.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment,

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

You've said things here that make a lot of sense...and I can see exactly where you are coming from. I've never thought about it in these terms about it not being easy...and would we want it to be? (well, yes, I really would.) I would like to say that this 88 pound loss has been the easiest I've lost, but every day has not been "easy," and sometimes, those "not easy days" ended up being "not easy weeks."

What I have learned, though, is that all those years of relying on my own will power or gumption or whatever it was I was trying to use, eventually brought me failure, and most of the time I felt I was barely hanging on. Now, I look to Him for strength when I've messed up and I'm having less and less problems getting back in to a correct pattern of eating. I'm believing for that day when it's a permanent way of eating.

I'm learning so much on this very much...and I'm not talking about weight loss things. I'm learning from you, too, Loretta. Thank you.

Retta said...

Thank you, Margaret, for your comment. I appreciate you so much!

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