Just Keep Swimming
I have had this blog conversation before, but Eric (my delightful and accomplished agent) has gently nudged me to be more attentive to the blog, so here we go into a new year with a new entry and a site makeover. I recently made the decision to no longer do professional web design and remaking this site validated that thought for me. I can feel that web design is a part of my life that has slipped away and anytime I do it now feels like A) I am moving backward and B) it’s time I could spend writing.
This is my time off from writing, actually, but I have been dabbling a bit mostly because it feels too odd not to be doing it now. I told myself I would take time off from writing between November 1st and March 21st and for the most part, I have. I collaborated with Eric to write a smaller, introductory version of the CUSP book which will be released later this month. It is in its final edits and will be uploaded soon. I also am a person who follows the gentle nudges of the Universe (before they turn into bludgeonings) and so when I made the connection that tons of people were asking me for advice on how to publish their own books (or their aunt’s or their brother’s or their spouse’s or their friend’s…), I decided to put together a book covering all that I have learned about self-publishing so far. When I decided to pursue this line of work in July, I filtered all through the internet and the Kindle store for instructional material and found a good bit of it. “Get Your Book Published” will bring all of that information into one volume. It will also be released later this month.
There are several books planned for the coming year and I am honestly excited about all of them. When I published my first twelve books all at once, I thought, “Yep. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.” I was excited to find that I was just getting started and now I have so many plans for books it could literally carry me through years of writing. The hardest part of it is deciding what to write first. I am completely stunned and gratified that life worked out in such a way that I can do what I always dreamed of doing: write for a living and do it on my own terms. If I could only pick one of my many heartfelt dreams to have manifest, that would be the one. Not being one to look a gift dream horse in the mouth, I give it as much energy as I can. I have had a lot of people ask me how I can produce so many books. It is because I sit down and do it for usually 12-15 hours a day. I can do it because I work hard at it. It’s not about energy or dedication or some super ability. It’s just a matter of sitting down and writing and doing very little else.
I had to think about that in regard to the other things I do or at least the other things I attempt. I applied that determination to college and worked hard at it for a very, very long time. Because by the time I went back to finish up my degrees, I was considerably older than the first time, it was harder for me to learn and definitely harder for me to remember what I had learned before. I had to take an insane amount of notes and highlight my books until most of the text was yellow and the UN-highlighted text actually stood out. When I was a journalist, I often had 10-12 columns that I would write in a single week and I would just sit down and write them, taking one at a time. I kept going until it was done.
Last year at Winter Solstice, Eric and I were going down the mountain for something, I do not even recall what it was. As we came around a curve that looked out onto one of the many vista drop-offs, there was a magnificent double rainbow. Mind you, it had not been raining and was not even particularly overcast, but there it was. I think I have a photo somewhere. Let’s see…
You can click them for a larger version. Anyway, this rainbow was magnificent and was not about to do that “fade into the sky” thing, but was vibrant and full, touching right down to the earth on both sides. Eric and I both knew immediately that this was a sign that the coming year was “our year” and it was. We faced a lot of challenges, but we had amazing things happen from beginning right up until the end.
This year is not as pronounced in terms of confirmation, but I can feel that it is going to be a year of accomplishment. Around October or so, I told Eric that I would enter a 5K marathon by the time the next Harvest season (in 2014) was over. By an interesting twist, I ended up doing that on Thanksgiving day of 2013! Granted, I walked most of the way and lost sight of ever other person who was participating within the first ten minutes, but hey, I did it and I finished. My goal as I started was not to win; it was to finish. Since then, I have walked the same path many times.
Before the new year even started, I put aside my crippling dental anxiety, not to mention two hundred bones for hellza sedation, to have all of my long-needed dental work done at once. I was nearly paralyzed with fear, but you know what? I just kept moving and not only did it get one, but I got some amazing drugs. It feels so great to have a healthy mouth for the first time in over a decade. I can brush my teeth with no bleeding at all and my gums are pink and pretty and healthy already. In this case as well, my goal was to just get to the finish line successfully and I did.
In both of these situations, I had to constantly court the idea that I could fail; in fact, would likely fail. I had to push myself past that to get to the other side.
My writing has a similar challenge. Of the books I published in 2013, many have been around for quite some time in some form or another. An Insider’s Guide to the GH Fan Club Weekend started as a lengthy webpage called “The GH Fan Club Weekend for Dummies” in 2002 and grew over the years. Most of the Bio-Universal Energies series is nothing more than the classes I have taught for over two decades. Sure, it was a lot of work to get it all into book format and develop covers and submit it, but the core of the potential was there. I just never followed through because I presumed failure.
My big goal for this year is my weight management and achieving good health. I am currently in good health and have no known medical issues, but my weight is significantly more than what I would like for it to be. I was not always fat and I do fully know and understand why I got fat. This circumstances that created the weight gain no longer exist and I have never followed through on what it takes to get rid of the excess weight they created. I have worked very hard, don’t get me wrong. I have probably lost hundreds of pounds over the year, only to let my weight slide right back to the set point, sometimes with a few more pounds added in, because I refused to see it through to the finish line. Those who have read my journals over the years know a lot of the times I have tried, but not all by a long shot. There were plenty of times that my serial failures made me too ashamed to post that I was trying again. I started with great enthusiasm at times and at other times, I started with grim resignation. I started for good reasons and I started for bad reasons. I started over and over again, but I never once finished. I would get to the point of having some success and then I would convince myself of what I deserved. I deserved to be comfortable. I deserved to be pampered. I deserved to be indulged. I validated those perceived entitlements in so many different ways. Because I am in good health. Because I do not smoke, drink, take drugs, gamble, or over-shop. Because I do not know other ways to self-comfort when I get discouraged or depressed. Because I love food. Because I am a sensory person. There are always reasons and reasons are not even the distant cousin to, but the twin sibling of, excuses.
I have had starts that felt different before, but this one feels different. I rarely start anything new in winter, but I had a book automatically download to my Kindle the day it was released, so I must have pre-ordered it at some point although I have no memory of having done so. I read it in a day and the plan was very similar to Carolyn Aspenson’s plan that I used successfully for a while last year. The book is called The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor and as I read it, the ring of truth was everywhere. Admittedly, I skimmed over the many, many studies he cites and went for the main idea of the book and it really worked for me. Some of the ways he chose to explain his point connected with me in a profound way and just made a great deal of sense. I started eating this way a week ago tomorrow and I held to it for the most part, although I did not do as well while Eric was in the hospital for a few days. (He’s fine – just ruling out the causes of some cardiac symptoms). I eat a lot of highly concentrated protein (so lots of eggs and lean meats, especially fish), lots of non-starchy vegetables, pecans, and strawberry protein smoothies. Honestly, that’s about it. I eat easily 10-12 cups of salad greens a day. I fill up a giant mixing bowl in the morning and munch on them through the day. I have plenty of water and tea through the day. I do high intensity strength training for twenty minutes twice a week to the point of muscle exhaustion. So far so good. I have lost six pounds in the past week and a good bit of it was from around my middle. I feel good, but I will confess that I still miss homemade white bread, biscuits, potatoes, cornbread, candy, and cookies. I miss popping something in my mouth and feeling “better” instantly. The foods I am eating and not nurture foods as far as my emotions are concerned. I miss having comfort measures when I need them and that has left me a little raw at times.
It isn’t hard to follow this eating plan even if I am eating out. Almost anywhere I go has turkey or steak and I can have a big salad with it. I have them leave off the bread and the potatoes. This is not particular easy, even though I have not once been actually hungry. My deprivation is solely from the emotional and comfort standpoint. I am still struggling with that, but I am holding on for the outcome. By the time I cross this particular finish line, eating this way will be what is natural to me and with any luck, I will have found other ways to comfort. Anyone who says, “Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” doesn’t know where to find good food. I’ve been skinny before and I have truly had some foods that taste better than that feels. Still, there are some things I want to accomplish that are more difficult in my current shape, plus as I get older, I can feel the slowing down of my body and I want to give it every opportunity to stay vibrant and active for as long as possible.
So that is my year: Writing books and getting across this one personal finish line once and for all. I do not have fear of losing and regaining. The whole point of eating this way is to cause hormonal shifts that re-establish the weight set-point at a much lower weight. It will take a lot of focus, but I know if I could “cross the finish line” on all of those other challenges, I can on this one as well. It is just a matter of doing it, one step at a time, one day at a time. Just keep swimming… just keep swimming.