Monday, May 10, 2010

DAY 274 Time to Slow Down and Think

Good Afternoon Journal & Friends,

Have you ever lazily floated down the river in an old inner tube? Drifting, letting the current carry you along... enjoying the warm summer air above and the cool water below? I can remember doing that... it was sooo enjoyable.

But drifting along in this journey to health... that's another story. And I'm sorry to say, that I've been guilty of drifting lately. I didn't even recognize it until a couple of days ago when, for the 3rd time in a week, I read the same message, all from different sources. 

First, I read Helen Keller's thoughts about her time at Radcliffe College... how she missed her quiet times of reflection and contemplation. She was so busy with studies and activities, that she said she had no time to "think".

Next, I read a blog entry by Ruby Gettinger, from the tv show Ruby. The show follows her weight loss journey, and in her blog she talked about the behaviors of addicts of all kinds... such as drugs, food, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. What struck me was how she said addicts use all kinds of distractions to avoid having to face their issues. And not just their "substance", but also things like keeping so busy and overcommitted, or always having a tv on, or always listening to music... anything distracting to avoid getting quiet, honest with oneself, and looking inward. Here is an excerpt:

"I understand why an alcoholic wants to drink, how someone becomes a drug addict, why someone listens to music or watches TV 24/7. Some people go through life so fast making sure they can't feel or think too much. Others medicate to numb the mind, body and soul so they can't think or feel." (The whole post is here) 

And lastly, I've been enjoying following the blog of a Scottish artist named Ralph Taylor. The name of his blog is "The day to day life and thoughts of an artist, thinker and barstool philosopher."  

Recently, he wrote a post called "The Desire for Silence."   And in it, this sentence caught my attention: 

"I fear we live in the age of communication where the one thing we seldom, if ever, communicate with ourselves."

That is when I realized that I had been reading the same message over and over... 

Slow down 
Tune in 

I was drifting back into my old habits of avoiding my feelings, and along with that I noticed I was getting sloppy with my exercise, sloppy with calorie counting, sloppy with my nutritional choices. I felt the sloppy choices  were spreading, because I was not paying attention, but rather drifting along.

In Dr Phil's book "The Ultimate Weight Solution", he talks about a principle called Instinctual Drift.

He explains that Instinctual Drift is the tendency, under stress, to revert back to our natural tendencies, our learned behaviors... behaviors that were so over-learned in fact, that they have become second nature... habits to which we instinctually drift when under stress or pressure. 

I've been sick so many weeks, and it's sapped my energy so long, that I was not putting the effort or focus in that I needed in order to NOT drift along.  

Dr Phil goes on to say that whenever we are not actively managing our weight and health with a high degree of awareness, this is when we will drift back to our old behaviors. 

Yikes... that was me!  Now that I am feeling better and getting my energy back, I notice that I am more willing to DO the work, to focus and think. I must admit, it's kind of scary how easy it is to lose that focus, to find yourself drifting away. 

Of one thing I am convinced... no one is going to hand this to me. It will not just happen. 

It takes me paying attention...making conscious choices... living DELIBERATELY. It takes work! And I am willing to do that work. 

I am thankful to have been shown that I was drifting off course, and to have caught it before it became a disaster.

Back to paddling upstream to my destination!

From Dr Phil's book: "If you don't require much of yourself in this area of self-monitoring, your ability to maintain your goal weight will be weakened considerably."

My verse for today: "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

My quote for today: "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think." --Martin Luther King, Jr


cmoursler said...

Good post. It is easy to get distracted. That is why I stopped watching Tv.
Now when I am not doing something directly, I notice because I am not doing something.
Then I have to THINK of what else to do.
I do my blogging at night mostly.
That is my free wheeling time.
Glad you stopped the drift and started the motor.

Certifiably Fit said...

Great message contained in this post. Glad to see you realized your were drifting.

Anonymous said...

Great post! GREAT. I believe that we too had become drifters starting in October. We drifted right through the holidays and all of a sudden we were like, wait, how did this happen. How did ALL my jeans shrink at the same time? But seriously, we started drifting and now we are paddling back upstream too. It's not easy. But I am so glad we got the wake up call before it got too out of hand! We're paddling right beside you!

Anonymous said...

Loretta, As you said, "I've been sick for so many weeks, and it sapped my energy for so long..." One can only do so much when sick, but

The minute you started to feel like yourself, you realized the content of this post! You didn't just roll over and decide drifting was more pleasant.

Now that you're feeling better, you're hitting it again. No one could ask anything more. Give yourself a pat on the back for zooming up the engines just as soon as you got the gas. :D


CinciMom11 said...

WOW! Great job catching yourself, Loretta! That's interesting the same message kept appearing to you. Good for you for paying attention. :) You've certainly been under the stress that leads to instinctual drift. Your new instincts went head-to-head with your old ones and won. Those new instincts allowed you to pay attention to the message you kept reading, and those new instincts kept you from getting caught up in 'poor me' thinking. GRRRREAT JOB!

debby said...

Loretta, this is a great post. Great quotes, and your thoughts just pull it all together. You have given me food for thought and encouragement all at the same time. Thank you.

snoconegirl said...

that was a great message..i think i needed to hear it myself..i am afraid of losing my focus and lately i havent walked for one reason or another..but i do count the calories..but you look great .i love the new picture you have proud of you for sticking with it..its a hard thing to do sometimes..i loveya retta..kelli

Kat said...

Great post Loretta. I think it is great that you caught yourself drifting and are now steering back on course. It is the awareness that is going to help you to meet your goals. I love the thought that you put behind your posts.

Vickie said...

I saw your link on Debby's post this morning. I thought this was a lovely and thoughtful post. I put a link to it up on my own blog this morning. Well written. Very true.

mamajuliana said...

Thanks for this post...I needed it, too! Sometimes drifting can b so comforting and numbing, but that is so dangerous!


Ms. PJ Geek said...

good message for me--just what I needed today. I'm having sinus headaches this week and really don't feel like exercising at all. With my kickboxing class over I feel adrift.

dailyseeking said...

I like the analogy of "drifting". I have floated down a river in an inner tube. You can get so complacent that you travel further than you intended. Thanks for your responses on my blog; they minister to me!

Leslie said...

Really excellent post, Loretta. I am entirely guilty of drifting myself and tending to tune out my inner voice with busy-ness and noise of one sort or another. I needed to hear this.

M @ The Woes and Throes said...

"Live deliberately." wow. This is such a good post.

M Pax said...

The learning on this journey never stops. Things come up and we find old habits rearing their heads. My panic last week led to an overwhelming urge for a hamburger. I bought some organic 4% beef and will make my own later tonight before the craving does me in. I tried to convince Husband to go out for a burger the other night. He wasn't int hte mood, so i was saved from that travesty.

Anyway, so you caught yourself and are making a correction. That's what matters. That's the important thing, that your compass is pointing back at new habits and new paths.

You should feel encouraged by this. Honest. :)

Lori said...

This is such a great and thoughtful post! I think we all need reminders to focus. Sometimes when we think we are focusing, we really aren't and just can't see it.

karen@fitnessjourney said...

In some respects I think a little drifting is necessary. We have to paddle so much harder to get back to where we belong, but the effort eventually makes us stronger.

Anonymous said...

yes I need some time to think these days its all about everyone else and its made me sort of frazzled.

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