GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Everyday Mindlessness

The other day my husband asked if I’d stop by the store to get some butter, so he could finish preparing the meal he was cooking.   No big deal, I was near Target so I’d stop and pick up a few things.

3 things total, to be exact.   The butter needed to finish cooking, some vitamins as I was running low on my current bottle and some stroopwafels, because Target is the only place I can find them in Oklahoma City and they’re usually on sale.

I scanned the items with my Cartwheel app and discovered discounts for the butter and vitamins.

I go to the self check out and make my purchase, grab my receipt and bag, and start heading back home.

As I’m driving, I realised I had no idea how much my purchase was.  I didn’t pay attention at all when I finished my transaction.  I honestly had no idea how much these 3 items cost me.

How many times do we go through our lives without paying attention?   Have you driven some place and couldn’t remember anything about the drive?  Eating potato chips and realize you finished the whole bag.

Guess this is why it’s called Practicing Mindfulness and not Perfecting Mindfulness. 

There’s always an opportunity to practice.

Namaste.


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My First Diet

 

I went on my first official diet when I was around 13 years old.  Until this time, I wasn’t worried about what I ate or how I looked.   But my mom had other ideas. “Boys don’t chase after the chubby girls.” she told me and I was signed up for Weight Watchers.   

If I am remembering correctly, they didn’t normally take children my age.  I believe 16 years old was the youngest they would accept but my mom was a lifetime member. An exception was made.

I don’t remember much about the meetings.  A group of ladies in a shop in the City of Moore Shopping Center back in the early 80s.  I remember the large sliding weight scale like that was in the doctor’s office. I remember the books what how much and what to eat.  Cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, canned unsweetened peaches. The typical diner “diet plate”.  I remember hating it.

I didn’t really want to lose weight but I had learned to eat to avoid facing a situation that, as a preteen, frightened and confused me.   I had experienced sexual abuse, and was told that I had misunderstood the situation. “That’s probably not what was meant…” my mom told me.  I had been mistaken. That’s not REALLY want had happened.   

Stuffing my feelings with food along with being prepubescent girl, did cause me to get a little thick in the middle.  I started riding my bike regularly and I grew about 6” over the next few years so my body redistributed the weight to my hips and bust.   By the time I graduated high school, I was a healthy weight.   

That was a long time ago and I still eat my feelings.  I’ve learned to recognize when I am eating out of boredom, frustration or celebration.   I’m looking for other ways to express myself and not keep emotions and feelings stuffed down because no one wants to hear them.  Or they tell me my experience was wrong.

I can’t control how other people respond (or react) to me, but I can determine how I will handle experiences.  With food, with words, with yoga or meditation.

I choose self-care and love.

 

Namaste.


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Dedicate – Halfway

We’re just past the halfway point in Dedicate, a month-long Yoga With Adriene yoga practice.

It’s hard to believe I’ve stuck with this for over 2 weeks straight.  I’m still working on the best timing for me to meet the mat.   Mornings are better than evenings.  I don’t like getting up at 5:00 am so I’m going to work on switching up my normal morning routine.  Instead of taking care of the dogs, coffee and toast while browsing online and doing my DuoLingo language lesson, I’ll try taking care of the dogs, yoga, coffee while getting ready for work.  I’ll see if there will be time for DuoLingo before getting ready for work or I can do those after work or on my lunch break on my phone.

I’ve noticed I’m less sore in my ankles and knee but more sore in my arms and shoulder.  I think about my posture as I’m standing in line at the store, and how I’m moving as I walk through a store.   My flexibility is slowing getter better, but it will be months still before I’m as flexible as I was when belly dancing.

I feel more patient, content and less rushed through out my day.   I’m less anxious about things, I think.   Guess I’ll see how that is when I’m faced with something that causes me anxiety.

I’m looking forward to finding more of her videos and sessions to work on once January is over.   She has so many on YouTube, it’s just a matter of where do I want to begin!

Namaste.


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Hungry Vs Habit

The other day my mother-in-law was in town running errands, so in the evening after I came home from work we all went out for dinner.

I was fairly hungry at dinner and ate way more than I should have. I’ve been working on mindfully eating so I was aware of my indulgence and embraced it.

The next morning when I woke up, I was not hungry but started my normal routine of making coffee and toast.    Luckily my brain was awake enough to realize what was happening.

Brain: Why are you making toast? You’re so NOT hungry!  Why don’t you wait until you’re actually hungry to eat

Me: Well, I just usually make toast when I wake up.  It’s a habit.

Brain: But you’re NOT hungry right now.

Me: You’re right.  I’ll take some peanut butter crackers to work and I’ll eat them when I am hungry.   And I’ll take my left overs from dinner for lunch.

Yes, there were leftovers even after eating an enormous amounts of food.  American portion sizes are ridiculous.

Anyway… I caught myself in an eating pattern out of habit rather than out of hunger.   It’s a small victory although I did mindfully mindless eat a whole small (4″) chocolate cream pie while watching Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Today I have a geocaching group meet up at one of my favorite restaurants.  I’m not hungry right now and I don’t expect to be hungry at the restaurant.    Being aware right now is a huge accomplishment.

Doing daily yoga has helped with being aware and connected in the moment but I’ll save that for another post.

Namaste.


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Learning a New Language

A few years ago I discovered the app Duolingo, and thought it would be fun to learn Spanish.   It’s something I could use daily in the job I had then, and the one I have now, and I’ve always wanted to learn a 2nd language.

I’ve gotten pretty far in the course, but with the old Duolingo system of having to practice to keep your circles gold, I was spending more time reviewing past lessons than learning new ones.  So I eventually stopped.   I’ve seen with returning that once your lesson is gold, it stays that way!  You’re constantly adding on what you learn so you’re always reviewing. I’m enjoying the new system a lot more.   So much so that I decided I’d learn Dutch.

Dutch is a fun language.  “Ze zijn zijn zons” has been my favorite sentence so far and my favorite word is constantly changing, most recent from slagroom (whipped cream) to handschoenen (gloves or “hand shoes”).  It’s helped reading some posts online from Dutch friends, but don’t know any Dutch speaking people personally or IRL.

Friday night I went to my cousin’s birthday get together. He has learned Spanish and a lot of friends are native Spanish speakers.  I noticed at the party half the room was speaking Spanish, the other half English.  Everyone was friendly and I had a great time but it was just so obvious that Spanish is more useful in my life right now than Dutch.  So for 2019 my goal is to finish the Spanish tree in Duolingo, become conversational (forget fluency!)  I have a GoComics page set up for Spanish comics to follow, I know there’s the Duolingo podcast and I’ll look for more when I have time today, plus I know we have a few Spanish radio stations I could set up.

I’m sad to leave Dutch behind for the moment.  I thought I could learn both languages simultaneously but that didn’t work out for me.

I’m not giving up my Nijntje videos though!

Namaste.


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Use it or Lose It

Use it or lose it…

I’m not referring to the paint tubes I still want to go through and ditch the duds.   I’m talking my body.

I signed up for Dedicate, 30 day yoga journey with Adriene. Today is day 4 (Jan 1st was a Welcome Day).  The yoga sessions are gentle, and mindful.  There’s opportunity for modifications.  It’s all very self-centered, meaning I’m constantly checking my awareness of my body and how does this feel, can I move deeper or is this my limit for today.

After Day 1 I was kinda sore but not bad.  This morning, the bottoms of my heels hurt as I was laying in bed.  My butt was cramping as I was driving home from my cousin’s birthday get together last night.   My body is screaming  “What The Actual F*&K!!”

I think about how my mom was at my age, and how different we are.  I can sit on the floor and play with the corgis, no problem.  I lay on the floor with them when they’re in a chill mood sometimes.   My mom never sat on the floor. “I couldn’t get back up”   She had back problems, degenerative disk disorder, so I know there was pain.  But she never moved for the sake of moving.   On the weekends she’d “go shopping” (browsing) at thrift stores or Walmart.  That was the extent of her exercise.  No daily walking, particularly after she retired. She couldn’t do it.   Her mindset was “I can’t”.   I see myself falling into it at times, but I’m able to recognize it and think “is this me or my mom speaking through me?”

I wonder if Mom had started a practice of walking around the block, or at least up and down the street for 30 minutes regularly if she may still be around.

I’m going to start moving more and keep moving.  I may be sore, but it won’t stop me.


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Sketch In the New Year

Last night my husband and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant for their special New Year’s buffet.   I mentioned I wanted to sketch my dinner to get used to sketching in public without the local chapter of Urban Sketchers to act as a buffer.  Oh, you can read about our new chapter in Jan 2019 issue of Drawing Attention  

I was too hungry to sketch before eating, but after I was finished, I decided I’d sketch the plate of naan we had on the table, along with my empty chai cup.   I’ve sketched in public before, and have had people come up to me, but never when I’m on my own.  A few of the workers stopped as they passed by to see what I was doing.   No one screamed “OMG THIS WOMAN IS DRAWING THIS HORRIBLE PICTURE”, no one made me stand up to share my work with the whole restaurant, no one really even spoke more than a few phrases in passing as I drew.

Drawing in public is scary to a lot of people, but based on my experience, we create that fear. There’s no phsyical danger in it.  No one really cares what you’re doing, they’re too concerned with themselves. You could be on your phone, or in your sketchbook.  Which is more rewarding?

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