The Day I Unfriended My Mother

A bunch of years ago, someone important in my life, a mentor, did me dirty. The details don’t matter. The consequences of her betrayal were minimal, but seeing a side of her that was toxic to our interaction and potentially much more so in the future, I turned my back and walked away.

Life went on, until she sent me a friend request on Facebook. Without thinking, I confirmed it. And answered a direct message from her.

At this point I felt a bone-chilling surge of regret. Through the mindless compulsion to play the FB Like Me-Like You game, I’d said yes when with a little thought I would simply have BABY GAY Edelmanignored the request.

My brain began to rationalize. Maybe she’d changed. Maybe it would be interesting to see her again. Maybe things hadn’t been so bad.

That didn’t help. I was still feeling pretty creeped out.

Days later, I told a true pal how I’d dug a hole too deep to climb out of. “Are you crazy?” she asked. “You can just unfriend her. Like I unfriended my ex-husband.”

“She did a lot of good in my life,” I said.

“And she was destructive,” my pal pointed out.

“Well, yes,” I said. I went back over the history, some good deeds followed by an egregious breach of decency. I saw my pal’s point.

I sat with this for 24 hours. And then realized what was going on. The Facebook dynamics with Bad Friend, along with the other interactions with her in the past, had ignited stories from my own long ago past, now hard-wired into my brain. In that hurt people hurt people way, the past stories I was reliving in the present came from my mother.

Mom, I should say, left this earthly life 12 years ago. But she lives on in my head, as mothers usually do, given the nature of human psychology.

And some of what she does in her Gay-run incarnation is not so nice. Using my own voice now, she berates, criticizes, ridicules, derides, undermines, harangues, disrespects and gives no peace.

I’ve been working against this for years, all my adult life, really, with a ton of tools.

And change is happening. Year in and year out, with all kinds of loving, strong mentors, I moved through the stuff, chipping away, chipping away. I became a more relaxed person. I forgave her, developed true compassion for the heartbreaks that left her too impaired to nurture. Miracle of miracles, in recent years, some genuine good memories have begun to emerge.

I was glad, because the little girl inside who so desperately wanted her mother’s love, who has lived ever since with the crushing sense of failure at not having won it, is enlivened and empowered by an unimaginable sense of freedom and power.

There isn’t even regret now, about how things were with her. In fact, the loss of a proper mother has become a gift. When your wounds are healed, you learn a thing or two that you can use to help others. You can be the peace you want to see in the world. And I try to do that, humbly, joyously, every day.

But that does not mean I have to keep unpleasant folks in my life.

As best I am able, I don’t permit unsavory characters to live in my head—and as much as possible I don’t allow them in my life. Every day I pray for the courage to change the things that should be changed. Even on Facebook. I unfriended her.

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Want to explore more? Try these: 

Soul Stories Writing Retreats at Project Write Now studios in Red Bank, NJ.  

Get Unstuck. Having trouble getting around to that novel, blog, article, memoir or poetry collection? Join other gridlocked writers to learn how best to launch and sustain your work. In this small, safe gathering you will:

• Explore your best writing time, ideal writing space, how to pace yourself

• Build a specific plan for executing your writing vision

• Expand the inner and outer resources that support your creativity

• Leave feeling energized, inspired and confident about keep your writing alive and thriving

Held at Project Write Now studios, Red Bank, NJ. Saturday, October 1, 2016. 9:30 am to noon. $45. Limited to 10 participants. Newbies and pros welcome. Register here. Questions? Call 908-675-0467.

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Stop the Mind Madness. Ever feel like you’re your own worst enemy? It’s that wild mind of yours! You can transform negative thinking to positive. In this small gathering you will

• Learn how to still your monkey mind, one moment at a time

• Build a stockpile of simple sayings to keep your mind calm any time, any place

• Design ideal self-care practices to keep you present to your life

• Leave feeling calm, refreshed and energized, with simple tools for sustaining your serenity

Held at Project Write Now studios, Red Bank, NJ. Saturday, November 5, 2016. 9:30 am to noon. $45. Limited to 10 participants. Newbies and pros welcome. Registration link to come. Questions? Call 908-675-0467.

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Family Love, Family Drama We love them—and they drive us nuts. At the beginning of the hectic holiday season, you deserve the time and space to build your inner resources and plan for your sanest December. In this small gathering you will

Explore reasonable ways to balance your needs with the demands of the season

Develop in-the-moment strategies for sweeter family gatherings

Delve into the unique meaning of the season for you

Leave feeling relaxed and prepared for a lovely, peaceful holiday season

Held at Project Write Now studios, Red Bank, NJ. Saturday, December 3, 2016. 9:30 am to noon. $45. Limited to 10 participants. Newbies and pros welcome. Registration link to come. Questions? Call 908-675-0467.

 

 

8 Ways to Help Your Favorite Food Addict

A helpful ghost story:

Make this ghost story a winning one!

Make this ghost story a winning one!

A nice man, at his wife’s request, ordered my book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive for her Christmas present.

With the order he wrote, “It’s so hard for me as a man to know how to help her. Do you have any advice?”

That inspired some suggestions for how to support someone tormented by overweight:

  1. Listen without interrupting. When people stop any bad habit, compulsion or addiction, they have a whole lot of feelings with nowhere to go. They may need to release that energy by talking about it.
  1. Show appreciation, sincerely and often. Tell her how beautiful she is, mention what a nice job she did with something, compliment how hard she’s working at her new regimen. Ten times a day is not too much. Keep remarks sincere.
  1. Don’t criticize her food or try to tell her what to do, unless she requests your help. If she asks, first say, “What do you think?” Or even, “What do your food support people say?” Your job is never to try to control. Your job is to be an honest friend, not a fixer.
  1. Curtail your own iffy food behavior. If you like to snack of her favorite binge foods, maybe you could not keep them in the house for awhile? If you’re feeling resistant, ask yourself why you won’t support your spouse this way. As for you feeling deprived, trust me, you’ll survive. And you know what? How you’re feeling? She’s feeling a thousand times worse.
  1. Encourage her to take care of herself—doc visits, nice walks, fun stuff like museums or movies, coffee with friends. Consider being flexible about her self-care even if it inconveniences you. Particularly if her obesity is advanced, she’s in an urgent life-and-death battle with a terminal illness.
  1. Be patient. Never stop believing in her. I had two pals who always had confidence in me, even though it took me many years to find the permanent way out of obesity. I’ll  never forget that, or lose my profound gratitude.
  1. Have some fun! Laughing is great medicine. Laughing together is love. Go ahead. Get silly! Wisk her around the kitchen to a great song.
  1. Help her celebrate her efforts to recover, not just her milestones. The process is not just about reaching a certain number. It’s also about turning the new behaviors into a way of life, one day at a time. Healthy rewards—an extra hour to read a nice novel, skipping some yucky chore for the day—for small incremental changes reinforce them and teach her that she really can do this, and that the effort is totally worth it.

 

 

 

You probably don’t want to hear this

Imagine this: A Thanksgiving that doesn’t end with me in hideous pain from a super-stretched stomach. Where I don’t end up so sluggish from sugar that all I crave is for everyone to get the hell out of my face so I can get to my nap.

I’m about to have my 24th one of those holidays. Through some grace I still can’t explain, all those years ago I started eating healthy every damn day of my life, come hell, high water, birthday, Thanksgiving, pushy hosts, or my own inner pull towards kinds and quantities of foods that were deadly for me.

As you may know, I wrote a book, The Hungry Ghost, about my healthy eating transformation and the 100 pound weight loss that ensued.

There’s one big mother of a problem with my story, though. It contains a message that very few people want to hear.

Who wants to be told that no matter how hard it is to lose weight—and it is hard—it’s ten tons harder to keep it off?

Who wants to hear that you have to work at it, every damn day? That there are no magic beans?

I am no paragon of virtue. To this day, I don’t know why I got what I got, the restoration of health and sanity, along with profound gifts of inner resources to sustain this miracle.

But I do know how it happened and keeps happening: I spend a minimum of two hours a day managing what I eat and—this is critical—what I think and feel. We’re talking prayer, meditation, peer support groups and phone calls, self-care. That’s not counting physical exercise. Or food planning, shopping and preparation.

And don’t assume I’m a lady of leisure. I began this work with three young kids at home, and a couple years after started it, started working full time a 90 minute commute from home.

It can be done. It breaks my heart that people are still looking for the weight-loss magic, even as I understand how attractive the idea of easy rescue is. It breaks my heart to watch how people head into the holidays simultaneously dreading and thrilled by the prospect of extreme overindulgence.

I lay awake nights sometimes, wondering what will make them decide, just this once, to put a happy healthy body and clear head above stuffing themselves silly with massive quantities of food that’s chock full of illness-inducing substances.

I’m not saying don’t have a few bites extra, if you know for a fact that the small indulgence won’t ignite a flat out, soul-crushing, body-killing binge. But if you are going to push the edges of everyday eating, at least do it with forethought and awareness. Me personally? I daren’t fool around, because knowing what to do, and doing it, one day at a time, is literally life and death. Once I start eating certain foods, or even just more than I know I need, I can’t stop.

How about you? Somewhere in your own little self, you know the truth about you and your food, too, don’t you? Do you dare live from there?

And if you want to read a really, really good book about how I did what I did, with oodles of advice about what you can do starting right this minute, I wouldn’t say no. You can get a custom-signed copy of The Hungry Ghost on my web site, where this blog also lives.  Or find a quicker, cheaper version from Amazon.

Bottom line: I love you. I want you to be serene and healthy. You are more important than all that food. There are ways to feel satisfied, loved and safe that don’t hurt you. Trust me, you’ll be so glad you took such good care of yourself. Maybe not right away. But eventually, and then, every day for the rest of your life.

Educate Your Soul

How are you at receiving, really taking in, the love and abundance around you? In the clamor of everyday life, can you feel the great joy that is your natural state?

Me, not so good.

I know in my head that I am loved and respected, but I often can’t feel it. Old experiences taught me that vulnerability is dangerous, and I am still recovering from the life-long habit of numbing myself out as protection from hurt. This is frustrating not only for me (leaving me deprived and lonely and set up for some type of binge), but for people who appreciate me. It’s not nice for them when I deflect their compliments and affection.

Today while I was cycling in the park a simple new little practice popped into my head:

Start where I am! I adore music, dance and other movement, and nature. Why not load up on these fun, nurturing things and sink way down into them as they are happening. Deepening my experience with these safe, joyful activities, I know from brain science, educates body and mind for ever-deepening enjoyment of the bigger, deeper, eternal joys of life.

This involves putting fun stuff on my calendar, and letting them happen spontaneously, then slowing down enough while doing them to feel the delight in my throat, chest and solar plexus. The sweet, cool, relaxed sensation that comes, that’s love. That’s contentment. That’s serenity. Unshakeable. The real deal. Infinite, eternal, sustaining, curative, centering, powerful.

Thus educated, my system is all the more ready to build resilience, and  better serve, through receiving the higher order forms of love, including genuine success and the appreciation of those who really, truly do wish me well.

How about that?

Find more blogs like this at gayedelman.com.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Join me for Religion Rehab, a one-hour telephone workshop to explore how to heal hurts left from religion, and develop our spiritual tools. Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7 pm eastern. $20. Tickets via Eventbrite. 

Facilitated Monthly Writing Group  Third Thursdays 10am to 12noon at Renew Wellness, 252 Maple Ave, Red Bank, NJ. Meditate, write together, receive and give gentle feedback, brainstorm, set goals, be inspired and energized! $40/month. Use the “contact” button for more info or to start the sign-up process. gay at lectern 4-14-2

Your Well-Fed Ghost

This is the draft intro to my next book, The Well-Fed Ghost: TK Ways to Nourish Your Hungry, Hungry Heart. I really like it. So I decided to share it. Love to know what it means to you, how it strikes you, what your experience is in satisfying your soul needs.

The yearning to connect, to belong, to be fulfilled, to feel substantial, we all have it. It’s

We pause. We observe. We absorb. We gently let ourselves be. Breathing in, breathing out.

We pause. We observe. We absorb. We gently let ourselves be. Breathing in, breathing out.

universal. It’s inborn. It’s the human condition.

All the same, that deep ache can be mystifying. Painful. Confusing. Baffling. Even

infuriating. But while such a powerful need can be difficult to accept and manage, it is also

a gift. It is an invitation to open a passage through which life’s infinite, eternal goodness and power can flow. The craving to be filled up is the portal through which the healing wind, the soothing water, the sustaining light can enter and bring us back to the sanity, safety, health and wholeness that is our birthright.

Mystifying but true: It can be hard to embrace this yearning, answer its call and accept its gift.

What we might think of as real life gets in the way. We fall into entertainment, distraction and comfort-seeking. That too is human nature, often exacerbated by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, particularly in our earliest years but also throughout the rest of life. Stuff happens. Dishes need to be washed, dogs walked, lunches packed, income earned. Childhood patterns bleed through to the present day and we react emotionally, creating or exacerbating all kinds of messes. People we love disappoint, betray or leave.  And then there’s the larger world with all its currents of sorrow.

There is pain in life. Truly, I don’t know why. But fighting this unbeatable truth is not helpful. Battling reality merely squanders our limited energies. We can let our heartbreak obstruct the peace that surpasses understanding, or we can use it to open our hearts, souls and minds. The choice is a difficult one. But still, it is ours.

It’s natural to want to turn away, run, clench ourselves up tight and resist feeling the pain and seeing the truth that life on earth is always finite, often painful and sometimes brutal.

But by running away from the pain, we abandon ourselves. And we miss the miracles that not only mitigate suffering, but also, if we will only open our eyes, overpower it.

It’s quite natural to recoil from pain. That’s part of our innate survival system. If it hurts when you do that, don’t do that. It’s natural to want to run away. Trouble happens when we make an identity out of comforts, earthly acquisitions and achievements. The job, the house, our own status and the status of family and friends, these things become idols. We let them define us.

It’s also quite natural to take for granted the easy parts, the simpler times. To skate along on the surface of things, taking advantage of opportunities, doing what needs to be done. There’s a risk, though, of never feeling into the larger, invisible, ineffable something that creates, energizes and unites us.

But when we let things of the world control and define us, we are suckling at an empty teat. There is no mother’s milk in things of the world. Play with them, says Eckardt Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of the Power of Now,  but don’t make an identity out of them. They are not us.

My income and assets and job title and family status are not me. They are tools of my earthly life, yes, and outcomes of my worldly actions. They are part of how my body, my current soul-container, survives and thrives. But I let them define me at the risk of emptiness, frustration, depression, loneliness and an ever-escalating anxiety that whatever I’m doing is not filling me up, not satisfying me, not nourishing me.

The call is always there. Always. It’s innate, inborn. Developmental psychologists tell us this querying emerges in children around four or five no matter how they are raised and taught as a need to understand where they came from and why they are here.

We avoid the call at our own risk. For many of us, our evasions turn into, at the very list, bad habits. At worst, they become killing, insanity-breeding addictions. We are driven to seek comfort and escape in drugs, food, alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex, TV watching, email checking, web surfing, work, busy-ness, controlling people and situations. We look to these things to rescue us from our pain, our past, our frustrations and disappointments.

And for awhile we may find it. Then our comfort and escape sources and substances seek us, stalk us, track us down and demand to be serviced. What was first an attempt to deal with life’s pain becomes a source of pain in and of itself. We are perpetually shut down emotionally, physically and spiritually. The addiction takes us over until finally it shuts us down for good. We either live in ever increasing insanity, or as our body gives out, in misery until we die before our time.

That’s no way to live. Instead of running to hide where the hurts may be temporarily eased but are ultimately inflamed, you need to feed your soul.

I mean, really feed it. Put every single thing in your life, bar nothing, into honoring the call to something greater than yourself. Accessing that deep well, the God that, as Elizabeth Gilbert says in the book Eat, Pray, Love, “lives in you as you.”

It’s a job, for sure. When I first began to learn about soul nurture, I was 38 years old, pregnant with my third son and completely clueless that to mother my children I had to mother myself  abundantly, unreservedly, and first.

Self-care? When my mentor first explained this to me, there in her sunny solarium, all I heard was gibberish. Her words made as much sense as if she’d been speaking a language I didn’t speak. As if her lips were moving but no sense was coming out.

But I was desperate. Running on empty was no longer working. I wasn’t the kind, strong person I wanted and needed to be. I was parched, lonely, afraid and had started to act in ways I and my family did not like and would not and should not tolerate.

Slowly I learned. It really is true that you need to fill yourself up before you can put yourself out there. The more I gave myself a break, softened my heart, prioritized differently, identified needs and asked to have them filled, the more strength and power I felt. You can’t draw on an empty bank account, drive on a dry gas tank, or do a day’s work with an hollow belly.

This was a new kind of strength, not born of bluff, bluster, anger and aggression, but of kind, powerful, gentle strength and love. As if some great wisdom could now flow through me, taking care of me, taking care of my responsibilities, and, most important of all, showing the love for my family that I felt but was unable to fully express.

It was not easy. It is not easy. I still have to remember, and re-remember, to attend my own needs with as much grace and generosity as I would a needful loved one. Some of us were taught to loathe self-centeredness. And for sure, there is a kind of bratty me-me-me attitude that cannot see the rest of the world and wouldn’t care if it could. That’s a kind of selfishness that’s full of greed and blindness to compassion.

That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about softening and receiving compassion for yourself, that you might live the life your creator wants for you, and be a presence to those you love and serve.

Self-nurture is where love as an adult begins. It’s important to receive all the abundance and miracles that are around us, from our family and friends, our beautiful environment, from nature and artists and just breathing in and breathing out.

But it starts with how you treat you.

No one is like you. No one can do or say what you can say. What matters most is not what you have or do. What matters most is who you love and how.

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The Well-Fed Ghost is the sequel to  The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at gayedelman.com. You can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.

My Aromatic Adventures

What smells so good? That was my question the first time I ventured into my friend Wendy Bright-Fallon’s office in Red Bank, New Jersey.

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It was a lemon. From a diffuser, a wee humidifier type thingy shaped like an egg that was gently wafting this scent.

For the next two hours that scent went straight to my head, in the nicest, sweetest way possible. Wendy and a small group of us were meeting for some gentle networking and support. That scent added so much to the room and the meeting, beyond my ability to even understand.

Which is a good thing.

I need not to be so much up in my head. For years and years I lived as if my body was there solely to carry my head around. Then I gave up my obesity, the story chronicled in The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive.

It probably won’t surprise you that there is far more to sustainable weight loss than eating less and moving more.

For me there was dealing with onslaught anxiety that came when I was no longer taking the edge off my emotions with binge eating.

Big time angst. Nearly paralyzing fear sometimes.

Enter, body awareness. I started working with a therapist who ever-so-slowly introduced me to staying centered, present and calm by consciously being in touch with my senses. Whenever I felt excess stress rising, I could feel my feet on the floor, my butt in the chair, the waistband of my jeans. I could gently tap my fingertips together, or stroke the insides of my arm. I could tune into the ambient sounds, or look around the room and pick out a color, say all the reds.

Sense of smell, that one was harder, depending on where I was, who was around and how recently they had, um, bathed.

At that lemony meeting, I learned from Wendy and another highly aromatically-inclined friend, DeeAnna Nagel, I could actively work with sense of smell.

I ordered a sampling of essential oils and a diffuser like Wendy’s and I’m just playing around. I use it in my office, where I often don’t want to be. (Naps and novels are so much more alluring.) Yet associating my office with the delicate scents wafting from my own egg-shaped diffuser has made not only easier, but more fun to face down the gremlins who try to keep me from showing up to work.

I also run the diffuser when I’m meditating, and find I go deeper. I dot my favorite oils, lemon and/or frankincense, on the insides of my wrists when I’m going out into the world. When the going gets tough, I put my hands near my face, take a quiet, deep breath, and feel calmer calm.

What a gift. I’m having so much fun playing!

Most recently I’ve been experimenting with scents in support of creativity. As a writing coach, for years I’ve taught how checking in with our senses is so incredibly, wonderfully essential, so vital and nourishing for inspiration. So it seemed perfectly natural that when I do writing workshops I use the aromas.

My clients and students love it!

A person’s best work comes from being centered. And our best as writers includes tons of words invoking sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touchy-feeling words.

I love finding and integrating new tools to support my personal growth, my deepening spirituality and my need to express myself—and help others do the same.

And that’s the story (so far!) of my aromatic adventures! How about you? How are you actively using your senses these days? Do tell!

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My upcoming events–including more aromatic adventures! 

Aroma Writing Workshop. Saturday, March 7, 10 am to noon. Renew Wellness 252 Maple Ave, Red Bank, N.J. Gay Edelman, guest speaker. Hosted by Wendy Bright-Fallon and DeeAnna Merz Nagel. $25. Prepare be nurtured, inspired, relaxed and motivated! All kinds of writers welcome.

Talk and book signing. “How I Lost 100 Pounds and Kept Them Off for 20 years.” Saturday, March 14, 2 pm. Middletown Township Public Library, 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown, NJ. Free. No registration required. Everyone welcome!

Talk, “Beyond Perfectionism.” Sunday, March 15, 9 am. Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse, 1475 West Front Street, Lincroft, NJ. 07738. How to back off, relax, lighten up and increase the peace in yourself and the world. Free. No registration required. You are welcome!

5 Secrets of Sustainable Weight Loss

Please don’t envy me. People do sometimes. I can see it in their eyes. But envy is a distancing sort of thing that denies the envied her humanity and the envier her own possibilities. Instead, consider stepping into my shoes for a moment.

Yes, I did lose 100 pounds 20 years ago. Yes, I’ve kept it off all that time.

But to this day I don’t know why when the doctor told me I needed blood pressure medicine, that then and there I committed to a new level of self-care regarding weight and food. The only thing that explains it is grace, that nameless, faceless something that comes over a person and a life and says, “You are healing. You are safe. You are well, no matter what.”

While I don’t know for sure why I received this beautiful miracle, I do know what actions I took.

I found role models and teachers and did what they did, or what they otherwise taught me that I knew was smart and wholesome.

It was not easy. It still isn’t easy. Folks who choose the path of extreme healing may not be popular in circles where people like to laugh off personal responsibility and tell you it’s okay just this once to have that certain special food you know will bring you down. Life goes on the same as it always did. The world doesn’t shift to suit our new state when our food is under control.

But we can achieve remarkable health if we work for it.

There are five strategies that got me where I am and keep me here:

  1. Food plan. I avoid at all costs foods that cause bingeing. I also weigh and measure all my meals.
  2. Support system. I surround myself with kind people and talk to them all the time.
  3. Body movement. Gentle exercise very day keeps my metabolism up and decreases stress, anxiety and depression that can spark unhealthy eating.
  4. Self-nurture. Radical self-care cures upset emotions like no food ever can.
  5. Belief system. Daily time for prayer and meditation to a power greater than myself fills my soul. When my soul is full, I don’t even want to overeat.

So, please don’t envy me. Instead, consider doing some of what I do. Dare to experiment relentlessly, one day at a time, to find what works for you. We can never, ever give up on ourselves.

What say you? Isn’t there one little teeny tiny thing you can do today to take really, really, extremely, very, very good care of you?

Find more about what I did and do in my book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at gayedelman.com. You can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.

Winter, Here I Come!

I love the golden light of fall and the poignancy of the long, slow slide into the dark, cold days and nights of winter.

It’s a latency time for Mother Nature, a time to rest and restore. For me, it’s also time of feeling shut in, disrupted from nurturing routines of long walks in the park and daily solitude and meditation in my backyard gazebo.

Last winter’s biting cold and relentless storms were so awful that I resolved to go into this one better prepared.

Essential was to find a space for meditation and prayer. The dining room is nice enough except for the interruptions, and there are always interruptions. Have you ever resolved to give yourself a few minutes of reflection at home, only to find yourself throwing on a load of wash with no idea how you got from the chair to the basement? Happens to me all the time. I’ve lived in this house for 36 years and it knows very well how to whine for my attention.

Or I’ll decide to check something quick-quick on the computer and before I know it I’ve just spent 20 minutes on Facebook. Yikes! I love Facebook. But wasn’t I planning to meditate? Don’t I know that centering myself first thing in the day is the greatest gift I can give myself—and everybody else in my life?

When a new friend heard my dilemma, she made a brilliant, simple suggestion:  Turn a closet into a meditation nook. So I did! The crates of office supplies found a new home. Then, a chair, a little table and a lamp and I have someplace to go to be alone with my highest self, there behind a “do not disturb” sign and a nice blue curtain.

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Some days, I expect to spend an hour or two; others, when the world calls or the brain just won’t settle down, 20 minutes. But do it I must, in acceptance that outdoor meditation is wrapping up for this season, in gratitude for good friends with great ideas, and in awe of the relentless inner call to deepen my conscious contact with the one who created me.

How about you? Do you meditate? Do you have a special place for it? What’s it like? I’d love to hear about it…

 

Find more about connecting with your inner truth in my book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at gayedelman.com where you can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.  On Twitter, 

25 Ways to Relax in Under a Minute

Taking care of yourself equals receiving the care and love of your higher power. Self care is imageGod’s love, pure and simple. Your creator does not need or want you to feel all beat up, bent out of shape and burnt out. Your creator wants you to feel rich, lovable, fulfilled and loved. This is where your strength and comfort come from.

The hardest times to do self-care are when you’re beset by life’s unavoidable obligations, trials and tribulations. Try one of these when you’re so overwhelmed you feel you can’t possibly take more than a minute.

  1. Brush your hair
  2. Pull up your socks and tie your shoes
  3. Wash your hands sloooowly after using the loo; revel in the hot soapy water
  4. Splash cool water on your face; blot ever so gently
  5. Take a long, slow drink of water. Keep a water bottle nearby for this
  6. Look around the room and pick out everything that’s your favorite color
  7. Raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold to the count of 30, then drop them. Repeat
  8. Send someone a little “thinking of you” text or email
  9. Lightly run your hairbrush over the tender inside of each arm and give yourself a chill

10. Read a page in a meditation book you keep near your work station just for that purpose

11. Call your BFF and ask permission to work just a little bit not-so-hard. I promise she’ll give it to you.

12. Pray this three times to yourself: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

13. See how many things you can write in a minute that you’re grateful for

14. Stare out the window. Set a timer. Find one at http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer/  I dare you!

15. Make a list of what you’ll do with your first million.

16. Pray the Serenity Prayer a few times: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Or another favorite prayer or inspirational verse. You might like to memorize one or two at a more relaxed time for this purpose. I often use the 23rd Psalm. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+23&version=KJV

17. Stop. Breathe. Wait. Tell yourself, “There is nothing in front of me that’s life or death.” (Unless, of course there is. In which case, put this blog down and  go to it!)

18. Consider the importance to life of marshmallow peeps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAUUL-Ypdu8

19. Repeat to yourself: I am enough, I have enough, I do enough.

20. Reach your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug!

21. Take off your shoes and assuage your arches

22. Think of a friend who’s struggling and send her some good vibrations

23. Think of someone who’s on your last nerve, like your boss or your teenage son, and pray, “Bless him. Bless me.” Repeat.

24. Stand up. Reach up. Streeetch as tall as you can. Lean to left. Lean to the right. Streeeetch!!!!

25. Forward this list to someone who might need it! Pat yourself on the back for doing a good deed. Feel better!!!!!

Find more self-care, self-loving guidance in my book The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Find more inspirational suggestions in other blogs at gayedelman.com. You can also sign up to receive the blog as an email newsletter.

What I Learned From My Poor Broken Nose

“In your face” took on an entirely new meaning for me while on vacation a couple weeks ago. One minute I was cycling along a quiet Adirondack road. The next, SMACK! I was face down on the pavement making hurt animal noises.

“I broke my nose,” I wailed to my husband, who rounded the bend too late to witness my flight over the handlebars but plenty soon enough to see the blood pouring down.

We quickly concluded I was more or less intact. No loss of consciousness. Mind was clear. Bleeding controllable. So we climbed back on our bikes and slowly tootled on back to the camp. (Adirondack word for cottage.)

The phone triage nurse kindly provided by our health insurance company reassured me after lengthy questioning that an ER visit wasn’t necessary, and advised on home care and what to watch for regarding head trauma. Yes, I was wearing a helmet.

So our low-key, relax-and-relax-some-more-then-take-a-nap vacation got dialed back a little. I rested, entertaining myself and my long-suffering husband with detective work as new bruises emerged, trying to figure out from the shape and location of the marks what hit what when.

I’m home now and my ENT doc assures me that, yes, the nose is broken and no, it doesn’t need repair. Yay! But still,  I’m feeling just a tad bit fragile. Friends who’ve taken such spills tell me this is to be expected. And this isn’t my first rodeo (so to speak) so even as my body’s still going, Whaaaa?????, my mind knows they’re correct.

And I expect a full recovery, including a return to cycling as soon as I can put weigh on my hands and arms (I hit so hard my triceps are STILL sore.)

Morals of the story:

Mindfulness isn’t just for calming yourself. It’s also about being present where you are so you don’t hit the pothole, panic and brake too hard too soon.

 While panic is not useful, it can’t, by definition, be prevented in the moment. Advance treatment, through prayer and meditation, rest, good nutrition and smart therapy, is advised. I’m on the case, but being on the case doesn’t mean that shit doesn’t happen.

Shit happens. My dentist broke his leg skiing. Broke his arm taking out the garbage. A friend nearly broke her back tumbling down a full set of stairs in her house. My son, when he was three, broke his collar bone falling out of bed, a mattress on the floor. And that’s just the ordinary stuff. For now at least, let’s not even go toward the evils folks do.

Fun involves risk. Sometimes even requires risk. I will not give up cycling. I will, however, always wear long sleeves and long pants from now on. My elbow was scraped open though the sweatshirt.  Let us not imagine the hamburger elbow that could have resulted had I ventured out with more skin showing. My knees, covered by my favorite stretchy jeans, were also battered but the skin was unbroken.

Don’t go global. My first reaction, after the shock, was, “Great. There goes a great vacation.” But within moments I talked myself right out of that crap—I was sill in my beloved Adirondacks, and still with my beloved husband. And I was still alive!

Neglect self-care at your own risk. I considered going sight-seeing the next day. I felt bad I’d ruined a day trip we’d sort of been planning. But, you know what? Healing takes what it takes. That has to be honored. Still, two weeks later, at home now, I need to be aware that  recovery takes time, including extra naps and more time for soul reading and contemplation.

And thank God for the helmet. Amen

In fact, thank God for it all. Appreciation is a great state of consciousness. Life is precious. There are certainly better ways to be reminded than landing smack-down on your face in the road, but there it is.

All’s well that ends well. Happy cycling! Let’s have some fun, shall we?

You can read more like this (not including the broken nose!) in my other blogs here and in my new book, The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive.  Not just a diet book, it’s about finding your way home to your very own special soul.