Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Ice crystals rise up
from the ground, glistening points
of light reflect sun.
This first post of the new year will not include a resolution. At my place of work, I was asked over the desk if I had a resolution and I explained I preferred revolutions instead. He accused me of thinking I was perfect, which made me laugh, because I am far from it. I can see truth, however, and try to live my life so; it is a daily if difficult practice.
Unless it is a true goal, annual resolutions set one up for failure. I suggest revolutions toward resolution of cultural injustices, a goal toward solving cultural challenges, if you will. I propose a radical change of thought that can encompass any system of belief you currently engage in. This change of thought could foment a paradigm shift in our culture which may be what is necessary to make the healthful changes needed to prevent the death of this planet and life as we know it.
Several years ago a friend did me a favor. If you’ve read my blog, you know stuff makes me cranky and I complain about it. I’m a whiner. Someone who rants and rarely raves. Someone who thinks life should not be so hard and such a constant struggle. Someone who thinks we missed the boat somewhere and American culture has gone awry.
This friend had been graciously and patiently listening to my litany of the current day’s complaints. Then she gave me this kind remark, “I know you struggle everyday in this life, as many people do. I know life is hard for you and you pray for life to be easier. Listen to me: Life. Will. Never. Be. Easier. Girlfriend, you must pray for strength to get through the everyday crap that’s going to happen.”
She is right, of course, and once I started praying for strength, life became a little easier. “Little” being the operative word here. Wait, what?
**A short note about prayer: I began studying Christianity at the age of 5 and when I questioned those tenets at the age of 12 my mom took me to the library, signed me up for a library card, and introduced me to the reference librarian who showed me where to read what I was seeking. I’m still seeking and studying. I never mean to offend about anyone else’s system of belief because after all my years of studies I believe each person can believe what they want to believe and still have room in life for other people’s beliefs. Difference in our beliefs does not make us different in body, mind, or soul. My beliefs are rather all-encompassing so when I “pray” or send thought energy outward, I pray to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; Holy Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, friend of Jesus and his mother; Buddha; any deity I didn’t mention by name, forgive me, you know who you are, and I know you are listening; the gods and goddesses of the universe; the universe itself; Mother Nature, trees, water, and the ether/air; my ancestors; every cell of my body as I’m God or part of God, and anybody else who might be out there listening, because I want everybody who can help to hear me.**
Part of the struggle has been about confidence and body image. I get to have a very round body, one outside what our society finds acceptable as beauty. I have always had and felt a great reverence for nature. When I began praying for strength, I began perceiving differently and noticing how beautiful all bodies were, how differently people approach their bodies and what they eat and how they move, myself included, and how our culture wants to prescribe a certain type of body as acceptable or beautiful and bodies outside that image not so much.
In modern America entire multi-million dollar industries have been built around weight control. Entire multi-million dollar industries have been built around processed and artificial food in the attempt to gaslight the American public into purchasing fake food in the name of weight control. An entire multi-million dollar medical industrial complex has been constructed based on false and unfounded science around weight control, food, and the healthy body size. An entire multi-million dollar pharmaceutical industry has been built around fixing the damage this false and unsupported science has wrought. An entire multi-million dollar insurance industry has been created to bilk even more dollars out of your pocket on the chance you might get ill, almost guaranteed with the success of the industries mentioned previously. Every one of these industries receives your tax dollars in the way of subsidies. The money of the average American supports all these industries. Your pocket money. Not just your tax dollars.
You cannot control how you look.
Let me repeat that. You cannot control how you look.
Yes, you read right. You cannot control how you look.
You can body sculpt and food control all you want but you are limited by genetics multiplied by environmental chemical exposure, add to that the stress of body chemistry alterations through ingestion of artificial, processed “foods”, made exponentially worse if you’ve been poisoned by the placement of silver-mercury amalgam fillings in your teeth. Even the knife of plastic or cosmetic surgery has no guaranteed results.
Yes, you can control what goes into your mouth. You can control how much movement you take and how often. You can take measures to control your reactions to distress and you can create a good sleep pattern. You can stimulate your intellect and your spirit.
You cannot control what goes on inside your body. You cannot control your chemistry, which is why each and every body is different. The same, but different. And each and every body is perfect and not perfect. Even the people we deem to have physically “perfect” bodies will tell you their bodies give them distress. One only has to go to the pool or the gym to see bodies are like snowflakes, no two are ever alike. Not even twins.
My revolution is to join the “No More Body Talk” campaign. You are perfect and normal and average and beautiful right now, today, just the way you are. I don’t think we should talk about our bodies, each other’s bodies at all, though I’ll admit medical stuff about bodies fascinates me. Please don’t ask me if my weight is “normalizing” (as if I am abnormal to have this body) or how I am doing with my weight loss. I think we should talk about the new gardening or composting technique we discovered, the new delicious treat we found at the local farmers market, how good it felt to go to the pool, learn how to belly-dance, or run that marathon, or neighbor ABCD down the street who has fresh eggs and zucchini for sale. I resolve to revolt by creating and eating delicious healthful food and to keep moving. Losing weight is not my goal. My body is as normal as this body is ever going to get and if it bothers you, for all your good intentions, you are paying way too much attention to my body. And your body is normal as well, normal FOR YOU.
Do not mistake me. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter. You should pay attention to your own underpants, eat and drink healthfully, regularly take some movement, maintain a pleasant attitude and attempt to manage responses to distress, do your own research and be in charge of your health, stand up for your rights and take care of your responsibilities, pray for strength, and be grateful for what you have. That part does matter to keep you feeling well. Just don’t judge yourself according to some arbitrary meaningless standard of appearance. Don’t judge others as well. You don’t own that person’s underpants and you don’t walk in their shoes. Other writers are talking about this topic; read body acceptance advocate Ragen, who has researched the same primary documents I’ve found and who writes at Dances with Fat. I especially enjoyed her recent essay “Would Life Be Easier Thin?”. Since this is the body I own, I won’t know the answer to that question. When I was 5′ 5” and 130 pounds I don’t think life was easier, but I was still young and struggling to learn how to live in this convoluted culture.
Your appearance does not affect your performance. If you are letting your performance be affected by your appearance, get a grip, grow up, and do your job/work/play to the best of your ability. Performance can be affected, however, by undue pressure to maintain a prescribed appearance, and the stigmatization of body appearance is undermining our society’s strength as unified individuals.
What a great revolution to undermine all those multi-million dollar industries by loving and accepting one another as we are right this very now and not buying into the lie that the way a body looks is “wrong” or the numbers a body has are “bad”. To force medicine to serve all bodies as individuals not based on a chart of numbers and food to be made actually nutritious. This kind of good and right thinking could trickle up to tax dollar use. Change begins with thought. Thought produces action. Action produces change.
Resolved: You and I are normal. You and I are average. You and I are perfect. You and I are not perfect. You and I are beautiful. As is. Right now. Today, as it is. The same for the you and I of yesterday. Yesterday is what it was. And ditto for the you and I of tomorrow, which shall be is what it shall be. Let’s save our planet through love and acceptance.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – admiring how hardy the green sedums are in the dry cold, I’m afraid to water them in fear the water will freeze and expand and break their pots; likewise how the neighbor’s little bamboo has such lovely yellow stalks and sharp green leaves and how it sways against the wind; and despite its invasive nature, I love English ivy, the shape and dark green of ivy leaves, the way it can climb or hang depending on its victim, the strength of its vines.
Currently Reading – The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life (sociology) by Marilyn Webb; The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives (sociology and politics) by Sasha Abramsky; The Abominable (a novel) by Dan Simmons. Yes, concurrently.
Winter Classic Reading Choice 2014: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
This week I have been grateful for:
- A bright white tablecloth.
- My dying narcissus. “Dying is a part of life.” Mom.
- Days at home away from work where I can deal with the discomforts of my illnesses in the privacy of my own home.
- Still being able to work.
- No reaction to a new skin oil I’m trying. So far. Loving the light citrus scent of it. So far.
- Pure coconut oil which resolved a recent skin rash in three days.
- Finding a couple of “play” shirts in my size and colors at Ross for 6 dollars each. Remembering I had 4 dollars on a Ross gift card and having the card in my wallet. I love Ross. You never know what you are going to find, and they often have swimsuits in my size.
- Finding some glass food storage containers discounted at Fred Meyer. I am moving away from plastic and toward having less in general. Goodwill or Salvation Army will soon have several boxes from me. As soon as I can find the energy to do the cleaning and sorting.
- Completing another Sunday Musing.
- Having delicious easy to eat foods in my fridge and cupboards when it is hard to eat.
- Finding real beef stock at New Seasons in the freezer section. Not a speck of preservative or artificial anything in it. Don’t know if the beef was pasture raised, but what the heck. At this point in my life the damage has been done, and I don’t have the wherewithal to find, purchase, preserve, and prepare the healthful foods I know my body needs in the way I know they should be prepared. Close is good for me.
- Our weather has been cool and mild. I’m glad we haven’t had the extreme cold and winter storms like the east coast and the mid-west. Too BRRRRR!
- Finding a “lost” bag of mandarin oranges packed up two weeks ago at our family Christmas celebration and misplaced upon unpacking before more than one went moldy.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.