Bipolar II, blogging, marriage, mental illness, setting goals, Thankfulness, the law of attraction, thoughtfulness, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Using The Law of Attraction to Lose Weight and Other Good Things

 

As a life-long avid reader, I loved to raid my mother’s bookshelf when I was teenager.  Trapped in a crummy marriage and riddled with health problems, my mother had an array of self-help books .  Fortunately for me, a good majority of them were about love and positivity.  Though I remember my mother as an extremely humorous and loving person, positivity and unconditional love from my father were elements that were often lacking in my dysfunctional household.  Because of this, I held the words in purloined books like Dr. Leo Buscalia’s,  Love, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s, The Power of Positive Thinking, especially close and dear.  While my classmates were devouring VC Andrew’s latest offerings, (which I’ll admit to  also reading), I was a 16 year-old with a stack of  bedside books by two older men who wrote about God, love and positive thinking.  Being only slightly deeper that most other 16 year-olds, I’m not sure how much of their messages stuck with me. However, these books were  written proof  that all men weren’t Troglodytes and that there were people whose lives were changed by simply making the choice to love others, love ourselves, and to think positively.

I’m not sure what happened to my mom’s copy of Love, but sometime after her death, I managed to get her copy of The Power of Positive Thinking and it was often the book I fell asleep to during challenging times.  At times I’ve thrived on Peale’s suggestions of visualizing success and replacing negative notions with positive ones.  Other times, like all humans, I’ve put these thoughts and teachings to the wayside.

Back in 2006, a big deal was made on The Oprah Winfrey Show about Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret.  I usually love Oprah’s book suggestions, so I bought a copy and skimmed it.  2006 was a chaotic year for us, with my daughter’s illness still not fully under control.  The Secrets’ message of using positive thinking and the law of attraction to manifest the things you want in your life sort of seemed impossible to me at the time.   My copy of The Secret was soon hidden away among my massive book collection.

Then, a few years ago, while scrolling through Netflix, I noticed the movie version of The Secret and decided to give it another chance.  While parts of the film were a little campy, the basic message of positive thinking attracts positive elements in our lives reminded me of Dr. Peale’s teachings.  I tend to be a positive thinker, by nature, and the film compelled me to not only gratefully reflect on the wonderful things that I already have in my life, but to visualize the things that I want as if I already have them.

My now 81 pound weight loss is proof to me that positive visualization and thinking puts the law of attraction into play.  Before I even began losing, I began to see myself at a healthy weight.  Day and night, I visualized myself easily climbing stairs and stepping lightly wherever I walked.  I pictured myself not winded and my joints not aching from carrying my excess poundage.  In my mind’s eye I was trim and svelte.  I found clothing easily and when I put it on, it was flattering and comfortable.  While exercising,  I’d imagine that I looked fit and confident and that I was someone who inspired other people at my gym.  Often when I found myself growing tired with still minutes to go on a machine, I’d inwardly recite my mantra, “I’m feeling fit, healthy, energized and beautiful,” over and over until it was all I was focusing on.

My positive outlook with regaining my health, attracted the teachers and people that I needed in my life:  a supportive family; a wonderful, dedicated bariatric doctor; a caring weight loss counselor, and an awesomely positive trainer and gym environment.  Now, when I look in the mirror, I see the person that I visualized all those months ago. When I run up and down stairs and workout at my gym, I feel the health and vigor that I once convinced myself that I had.  The realist in me says my success isn’t a result of “magical thinking.”  It was my own hard work at sacrifice that’s gotten me to my goal weight.  That may be true, but without m positive attitude and approach, would I have lost my weight so easily?  Would I have encountered so many awesome people?  I don’t think so.

This past weekend my daughter and I decided to further test the law of attraction by making vision boards to help give focus to the things that we want in our lives.  I began my board by making a list of “I am” statements that reflect the elements that I’d like to attract.  Using an “I am” statement, puts things in the present and shows that you’re living as if you’ve already met your goal.  It might sound a little silly, but it puts lots of good thoughts in your head to replace any negative ones that might attempt to slip in.

Here are my “I am”  statements:  (They’re not in any particular order of importance)

  • I am blogging several times each week and writing for pleasure and profit.
  • I am enjoying continued physical, emotional and spiritual health.
  • I am enjoying eating healthy foods and exercising.
  • I am a loving, giving partner in my happy and fulfilling marriage. (this one’s already very true!)
  • I am showing compassion to others and making a positive change in my family, community, and world.
  • I am living a life of honesty, and am able to freely express myself.
  • I am earning more than enough money to enjoy life and responsibly take care of our needs and wants.
  • I am keeping a balanced budget and spending wisely.
  • I am finding ways to continue my education, both formally and informally.
  • I am using my creativity, talents, and people skills to have a stress-free career that feels like a hobby.
  • I am living in a 3 to 4 bedroom, 2 to3 bath home, that is at least 1,400 or more square feet, with a pool, in a safe flood zone, in the Outer Banks of NC.
  • I am surrounded by the beauty of nature.

After completing my “I am” statements, I created a board with pictures and memorabilia that reflect my words. Morning and evening, I read my statements out loud and imagine myself in each situation.  I’ll wrap things up with some pictures of my board.

What would some of your “I am” statements be?  What would you like to manifest in your life?  Do you believe in the law of attraction?

05visionboard
Put the things you want in your life on your vision board! (Photo by me)   
(Photo by me)
Reflect positively each day on the things you want. (photo by me)

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

01vision board
Imagine that these things are already true for you! (Photo by me)

 

 

 

Bipolar II, blogging, enjoying family, Friendship, Having fun, TBI, thoughtfulness, Uncategorized, Wisdom

The Healing Art of Having Fun

Though this is a random photo of people that I don't know, this could easily have been my friends and I in college! (Photo by Alamy)
Though this is a random photo of people that I don’t know, this could easily have been my friends and I in college! (Photo by Alamy)

A telling statement in our household is the phrase, “I haven’t laughed enough today.”  Just as our bodies need food, air and water to survive, our spirit craves  laughter and fun in order to thrive. When my daughter was in the throes of a bipolar depression, there were many days that we forgot to laugh and many days that we were incapable of expressing the joy of life.  Often, each day was about survival and mustering through medication adjustments, rather than making the most of each moment that we were together.  However, little by little, as my daughter made improvements, and as I began to trust her recovery, the smiles and laughter that usually graced our home returned.

This past Tuesday, was a rough day for my best friend.  She suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car accident a little more than two years ago and her life is vastly different. I still approach her as the same brilliant person that I’ve always known, but her cognitive and emotional skills have rendered her unable to work for now. Having always been a person who prided herself on her amazing intellect and work ethic, this has been quite a blow to her spirit. After dedicating her life to helping others, she’s now the one needing assistance.

I’ve been helping her organize her beautiful home by getting all of the paperwork that’s piled up since her accident in order.  It’s a daunting task, but one that we’ve approached with much effort and laughter. On Tuesday, the mirth and merriment halted after finding out that she needed to reapply for her Social Security Disability Benefits.  After visiting the Social Security office, we headed to her home to begin the online application. I could quickly see my friend’s spirit tiring as she searched through medical and financial documents.  Her frustration mounted as her internet connection slowed and flickered; finally halting our efforts. I was obvious that she was using all of her mental fortitude to not dissolve, defeated, into a puddle of tears. It felt terrible to leave her in such a downtrodden and exhausted state.

Today, after wellness center and weigh in, we’re meeting up to try again.  I’m prepared for some frustration, but I’m also prepared to lighten the mood.  Part of loving a friend is being their caregiver, at times, but it’s also essential to remember to nurture the other components of a relationship.  My friend needs my help, but her spirit sometimes needs me to take her away from her troubles by our laughter and silliness. Having fun matters.  It normalizes us and presses our reset button.  Having fun edifies us and fills us up.  Having fun is healing, and we can’t let the struggles of life cause us to forget that!

What do you do when you need a good laugh?  🙂

blogging, enjoying family, learning, love, marriage, memories, problem solving, Thankfulness, thoughtfulness, Wisdom, Wisdom Wednesdays

Wisdom Wednesday: The Wisdom of the Waiting Place

PhotoFunia Chalk Writing Regular 2014-02-25 09 55 34

“You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

-Dr. Seuss

Oh the Places You'll GoThis popular passage from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss whimsically describes a place that all of us have been at one time or another in our lives; the waiting place.   I’ve yet to meet the lucky individual who hasn’t experienced at least one dolefully, dreadful, transitional period in their lives where each slowly passing day seems like a personal version of the movie Groundhog Day.  All of us have been in waiting places. Whether they’ve lasted days, weeks, months, or even years, we’ve all had some sort of agonizing time period in our lives where we’ve had to wait for something. Sometimes waiting places are mini versions of hell, like when were waiting for test results from a doctor, or for word about the safety of a loved one.  However, some waiting places are right where we need to be and are for our own good, whether we like them or not.

When I was 29 years old, I journeyed to what felt like the worst waiting place of my life.  At that time, I was already the mother of my, then, three and five year-old daughters.  I was teaching elementary school full-time, and I was the wife of my university’s handsome, former, star quarterback.  Ours, looked from the outside to be a lovely marriage, and I worked very hard to be the kind of wife and mother that would keep it that way.  The problem was, while I was concentrating on my family and career, my husband was concentrating on a pretty young thing at his workplace.  Two days before my 30th birthday, he revealed to me that he wanted a divorce. I was crushed.

It was a surprisingly amicable split.  We shared custody of the children and remained respectful to one another for all of our sakes.  I concentrated on mothering while mourning the loss of what I’d always wanted to be; married with a big, bustling family.  After my mom died, that was something that I’d felt that I’d lost.  My father had quickly remarried and sold my childhood home. With few other living relatives, I yearned for the warm connection of family.  So eight months after my divorce, I slowly began the hunt for my perfect husband that would help me continue to create the family that I so desired.

My journey began with a list of  husbandly attributes that I was seeking; kindness, fidelity, good humor, responsibility, etc.  I fueled my list with constant, vigilant prayer and officially entered “the waiting place” waiting for the perfect guy to come my way.  Slowly, but surely, I met people and I dated them, but none were quite right.  One wanted me, but not my children, so I quickly said goodbye.  Another wanted me and, unfortunately, several other girls.  Others were sweet, but just not the right match.

Years passed  and I pretty much gave up on finding love.  I concentrated on mothering and dealing with life on my own.  I got pretty good at being the head of a single parent household and was proud of myself for my management skills.  My children were thriving.  I was receiving excellent evaluations at work, I’d started college funds for my daughters, and was even looking in to buying my first home.  I’d figured out a lot about myself and my capabilities while  banished to the waiting place and I was almost content with life just as it was when a friend suggested online dating.  It seemed kind of flaky, but that small part of me that still yearned for a big, bustling family was willing to give it a try.

The first and only ad that I answered was my now husband’s, a shy, brilliant engineer  with a son, who had been waiting, like me, for a big, bustling family.  Six months after we met, he proposed, but to be on the safe side, we waited.  We stayed in the waiting place together for just one year more, because it was a safe place to learn in.  We learned more about the things that made us happy, and strong.  I learned the things that made his son smile and hug me, and he learned to make my daughters laugh and trust him.  We tested each season for that one year more until at last, on a hot August morning with our children by our sides, we exited the waiting place hand-in-hand and said the vows that have pledged us together for the past 13 years of marriage.

The waiting place sucked, but I had to be there.  I had to learn my worth and capability, my accelerations and my limits, my simple likes and dislikes, and  even my tolerance for deprivation and loneliness, in order to fully appreciate the noisy, crowded, crazily wonderful life that I have today.

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banners flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

-Dr. Seuss

When have you been in a waiting place?  What did you learn?

If you would like to participate in Wisdom Wednesdays, please email me at clares1964@yahoo.com. I’d love to read stories of how life’s situations have helped you gain personal wisdom.  I welcome writers of all ages and experiences. 

blogging, Guest post, learning, memories, New York City, problem solving, setting goals, Thankfulness, thoughtfulness, Wisdom, Wisdom Wednesdays

I know it’s Tuesday, but I’m thinking Wednesday

What have life's reflections taught you? Picasso's "Girl Before Mirror" (Photo by me)
What have life’s reflections taught you?
Picasso’s “Girl Before Mirror” (Photo by me)

My morning’s shower seems to be my greatest time of reflecting.  I often think that world problems could be solved if all national leaders would put on their bathing suits and jumped into a gigantic shower room together to talk it out.  There’s something about soothing,  steamy, hot water pulsing on your head that stimulates good thoughts and great ideas.  It probably won’t surprise you to know that many of my posting ideas are born in my bathroom.  This morning was no exception. Somewhere between conditioning my hair and washing my toes, I had an idea for Wednesdays.

Since I began this blog almost a month ago,  I’ve been brainstorming ways that I can enhance my blog and keep with my overall theme of self-improvement.  Since I’m only two months away from hitting the half century mark, I was pondering on what I’ve learned from my nearly 50 years on this beautiful planet.  I spent my entire time of putting on make up and drying my hair reflecting on my life’s experiences and what I’ve learned from them; basically, the wisdom I’ve acquired in these past five decades.  That’s when an epiphany struck me like a burn from a raging hot flat-iron (actually, I really did burn my finger this morning with my raging hot flat-iron–ouch!).  If I’ve learned a few things in my short life, imagine how many wise things my blogging buddies have learned with their array of experiences! This revelation is causing me to create Wisdom Wednesdays and I’ll need your help!

I’m seeking volunteers of all ages and experiences,  who would be willing to write a guest post about a life experience that has made them gain wisdom.  The subject matter can be anything you wish, because I believe we can learn from the smallest of happenings or encounters.  If you would like to include a picture with your post, that would be wonderful.

Please indicate in the comments below if you would be willing to participate in Wisdom Wednesdays!  I’ll start it with my post tomorrow.  I look so, so forward to reading your posts, and I hope you’ll participate.  Posts and pictures may be sent to the email address on my contact page.  Thank you! 🙂

 

blogging, enjoying family, love, memories, optifast, Thankfulness, thoughtfulness

Days 34 & 35: Thankfulness

It’s finally happened!  I saw him!  The seasonal celebrity that I’ve been waiting for was posing sprightly on a four-foot pile of snow right in MY front yard this morning.  No, it wasn’t Hugh Jackman, because it’s scientifically proven that his mere presence near snow would cause instantaneous melting! 😉 It was none other than the jaunty little messenger of Spring; the Robin.  I ran to get my phone to snap a photo, but alas he had taken his flight before my return.  Yet, still, I saw him with my own, two winter-weary eyes, and for this I am deeply thankful.

Not the original little dude that I saw this morning, but perhaps this is one of his cousins!  (Photo by Sujit kumar courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Not the original little dude that I saw this morning, but perhaps this is one of his cousins! (Photo by Sujit kumar courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I’m genuinely thankful for lots of other things, too.

  • The ever-abiding love and support of my husband and children
  • The sisterly love of my best friend who has been everything a perfect friend could be to me (even when I haven’t been perfect) for most of my life
  • My cats, who make me laugh every single day
  • The health and happiness of myself and my loved ones
  •  The appliances that make my life easier (sounds silly, but I lived in an apartment for many years without a washer and dryer or dishwasher)
  •  Shakes to drink :), books to read, art to appreciate, a house to clean
  • The ability and desire to seek joy and help others
  • Conversation, laughter and connectedness
  • Hot tea and good blogs to read
  • Having a heart too full and a page too short to list everything that I’m thankful for! 🙂

What are you most thankful for on this beautiful day? 

(By the way, it’s my weigh-in day.  I’ll post my progress this evening after my appointment.  Wish me luck!)   I’m sorry, I almost forgot to update!  I lost 3 more pounds!!  🙂

blogging, enjoying family, love, marriage, thoughtfulness, Valentine gift giving, Valentine's Day

Day 25: Why I Married a Man who got me a Hairdryer for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner!
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

My husband and I had been casually dating for less than a couple of months when Valentine’s Day awkwardly reared its ugly head. It was still during that getting-to-know-you stage, before the “I love yous” had been exchanged and before our normal gift giving routine had been established.  Finding a gift for him wasn’t all that difficult. I knew he adored science fiction, so I ordered him a reasonably priced book signed by one of his favorite authors.  I imagined I’d receive something equally as benign that would show that he affectionately appreciated my interests.

When the big “V” day arrived, we met at a little eatery near my house, the restaurant that would eventually become “our place,” to have dinner and exchange gifts. After a quick smooch hello, I placed a neatly wrapped package at his place.  Instead of doing the same, he explained that my gift was too large to bring to the restaurant and that he’d give it to me back at his place.  I kept my cool and smiled understandingly, but the kid in me was  more than excited at the prospect of a really big present!  I quizzed him incessantly throughout dinner for hints, but he wouldn’t budge.

When we finally arrived at his house, my curiosity was off the charts. Finally, there it was in front of me, a huge square box wrapped in lovely white paper with red foil hearts.  I tore into it like a kid a Christmas.  The paperless box revealed this cover:

imagesDJFNIZTM

I ignored it, certain that this package would be like a set of Matryoshka dolls with each package getting smaller until the last, little box I unwrapped was a book I’d been wanting to read or a dainty pair of silver earrings.  However when I carefully removed the strip of tape across the top of the box, I was staring face-to-hood with this monstrosity:

Yep, it's a hairdryer just like Grandma used to use!
Yep, it’s a hairdryer just like Grandma used to use!

Even though my head was racing with thoughts like, “Wow, he sure hasn’t been listening to my interests,” and ” Does he have any idea that no person under the age of 70 uses one of these?”  I still wrapped my arms around his neck and politely thanked him.  He kissed the top of my head and said, “You know, that’s not just hairdryer don’t you?”  I looked at him with confusion.  “It’s also a time machine.”  I turned my head to the side like a puppy who’s just heard a high-pitched noise.  “You’ve always said that you don’t have the free time to read as often as you’d like. I thought with this, you’d be able to read while your hair dries.”

I finally admitted to him, a few years after we were married, that my  hairstyle just wouldn’t work with a dryer like that, and the thoughtfulness associated with it was the true gift he’d given me.  To make closet space, I lovingly donated it to the Goodwill with the hope that it could become someone else’s time machine.

Years later, my husband still has no concept of the implements needed to create my crazy hair-do, but he does know me, and the things that make me happy.

__________________