17

My Epiphany

Before you ask, I will tell you how it came about that I decided AGAINST the bariatric sleeve after all I have done to pursue it.

WELL, a week ago, I had a follow-up visit with the Nutritionist. I came armed with my food journal that they’d made us keep for several weeks. And to be honest with you, I felt a bit smug. Smug because I felt that I have done so much RIGHT. Each day, I had completed all the categories: the day of the week, the time of day, the exact name and portion size of what I’d eaten, the caloric and protein values, how much water I’d drunk, how much exercise I’d done, what non-eating activities I’d done, AND the daily personal reflection they asked that you write. I congratulated myself that I’d stayed away from carbonated drinks and caffeine and that I’d almost always chosen single-digit fats and sugars, as they suggested.

Did I stay inside the 1000-calorie limit that they had recently imposed? HELL NO–excuse the expletive. But when you think about it, the changes that I’d made had been so comprehensive that I began to feel like a new person; I DESERVED to be congratulated. And yes, I did lose weight despite the fact that my daily calories at first were around 1400, and later closer to 1200. I was certain that the Nutritionist was going to give me a pat on the back and release me to have the surgery that the surgeon had told me he’d be glad to give me the first week in August so that I’d have time to recover before the new school year begins.

Just imagine my shock and dismay when the Nutritionist said the complete opposite. She said that I’d done okay, but that in her opinion I had not PERFECTED the goals to the extent that she could feel confident that I would not sabotage my own surgery after I’d had it. PERFECTION????? So, all this time she was looking for PERFECTION? Something that she did NOT say in the original group meeting we’d had. Long story short, she sent me home for another month to PERFECT this new eating life-style.

I already know what you want to ask and believe me when I tell you that I addressed your question to her, so that you will not have to. I said–very calmly, I might add–“Forgive me, but is it possible that it’s just ME? Am I the only 300-pound person who wants to know how you expect us to PERFECT all this BEFORE we have the surgery? I mean, if we could do that, then why on earth would we be asking to have the surgery in the first place???”

I would like to bet you seven thousand dollars that you CANNOT guess what her wide-eyed response was. Go ahead. Guess.

HAH! You are wrong. Her actual response was—brace yourself for this please—“EXACTLY!”

WTF? How could she say “exactly” as though we were saying the same thing? As though we were on the same side of the fence. As though she were not the only obstacle standing in the way of my much-dreamed-of and sought-after surgery?!

When she saw that I was nonplussed by her response, she continued, “I mean, that’s what I ask myself every day! I want all of our clients to see and understand that if you don’t get this right, you are going to end up weighing exactly what you weighed before the surgery and then all of this will have been for nothing! Why would you sign up for a surgery without knowing how to maintain your weight loss?”

Okay, so I’m not ignorant. I realize the total validity of what she said. BUT IT STILL DOES NOT ANSWER MY QUESTION!!! How do you expect me to do PRESURGERY what I have to do POST SURGERY?! Because if I could, then I would not NEED surgery. It would only be a matter of time, and I would lose weight, slow as a snail though it may be. But I WOULD lose weight.

And suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. Surgery or no surgery, I will HAVE to demonstrate the willpower, the grit, the persistence to consistently do the right thing, eat the right thing, stop eating the wrong thing, stop eating when I’m satisfied, nourish myself with wholesome foods and not junk, stop all emotionally based eating, etc., etc., etc. So there was my answer. That was my epiphany.

If they were going to make me do all this perfectly before the surgery, then the surgery is just a quicker, more costly route with potential complications and recovery time that I can’t afford to miss from my job. At the very least, I can thank them for helping to reestablish my feet firmly on this path. When I signed up for the surgery, I honestly thought I no longer had the ability to control myself. Well, they helped me prove myself wrong.

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2

The Irresistible Invitation

I hear your call: the invitation. Your call is insistent, almost irresistible…

and yet I hesitate,

vacillate;

hand10I see your outstretched hand, and I want to…

It’s just that I’m afraid and

hence the air of bravado, the gregariousness

that I despise in others: the stupid sham.

But I put it on anyway, even in layers.

I pretend to believe that it covers me,

covers the bruises left by emotional abuse;

the scars left by rejection.

I smile the smile that has dazzled hundreds, laying it on thick,

surprised and dismayed that it never fails to fool the rest. Aye, the fools!

The heartless fools. But you were never deceived.

I wink the wink that has smitten them in droves,

pucker and pout and raise and eyebrow: make a suggestion

that leaves them thinking they thought of it

and baby somebody’s gonna get hurt, but I’ll make sure it’s not me.

Oh, God! They don’t SEE…

But I know you see. With loving eyes

you penetrate the disguise

removing each layer (OW! Could you be more gentle?!) as I wince in pain

embarrassed and ashamed.

You don’t blanch at the ugliness, the stench of ill-treated sores.

You dress my wounds, bathing them in your tears (of joy?)

It is for this that you have called to me!

And now I recognize you for the Wounded Healer that you are.

I want you for my own!

…But you have others to attend to…

2007. Dedicated to Henry J. Nouwen, author of “The Wounded Healer.”

3

GOD: as a gala apple

bitten_apple_300x300_flickr_Pink_Sherbet_Photography_

Thank You, said I

(with bright eyes and full heart).

He filled both my hands at once and my heart suddenly and it

seemed

wrong and right;

lewd, and sacrilegious and necessary

to compromise the integrity

of the flesh

of this perfect creation

and Creator.

And in that sacred moment my eyes

were enlightened.

We became One only

as I comprehended that our Intention was One

and the same:

To become

One.

And this we did.

I, with grateful heart and shining eyes;

He, with relief of fulfilled expectation and destiny

apprehended.

Together realizing the only reason for

Our Being

Here.

And I knew

that He who ever was

Ever is

and was now living in me

and is alive forevermore.

Ah! said I, with tearful eyes and gladness of heart.

Oh! I cried out.

Now live I indeed…

Yet not I , but You Who lives in me.

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Olive Green

                                                      Olive Green

I am14_2[1]

Olive Green:

muted; understated,

but promising.

Alive,

vibrant and reverberating.

Deep and Seductive.

For refined and sophisticated tastes.

                                                       Compelling,

                                                         Pungent, fuzzy and

                                                        I surprise you

                                                         when I bite back.

                                                      I am

                                                        Olive Green:

                                                        unique and confidently so.

                                                         Pleased with myself just for

                                                     Being.

                                              Reassuring, stabilizing, grounding,

                                                    Earthy

                                                     without being dull.

                                                        Mesmerizing, enigmatic:

                                                     indecipherable to the impatient.

                                                     A Jewel

                                                    for those who

                                                                                                         can wait.                         January 2012

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Some thoughts on “Living in the Presence”

presenceAs I mentioned on the ABOUT page, I’m a book lover. For me there is NOTHING like a good read. I’d like to share with you a couple of my thoughts on a book I read back in 2007 when I was doing graduate work at Wake Forest. This post contains a piece of what I wrote back then:

I like the way Tilden Edwards takes hard subject matter and makes it seem almost as natural and easy as breathing.  In his book, Living in the Presence, he encourages us to remember that “each of us is an adventure of God’s Spirit.” What powerful and liberating words. What a refreshing thought.

For much of my life I have anguished over my vocation and my spiritual growth. What exactly am I suppose to be? Am I moving down the road quickly enough to make it there? Who can help and mentor me? Will my irredeemable faults like procrastination and lack of discipline finally prevent me from fulfilling whatever is my destiny? Why the hell does everyone else seem to be doing fine?!

Sometimes I have felt that indeed my own probing, contemplative mind has been the very key to my misery. I have sometimes wished rather to be one who is clueless, alien to the angst of ever-questioning, and ever searching.! What bliss there must be in the simplicity of not knowing that there are spiritual depths to be plumbed and spiritual mountains to climb. In this regard, the words of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz in her Response to Sor Filotea deeply resonate with me: Although it has not worked in my favor, God has granted me the favor of loving truth above all else” (Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, in Poems, Protest, and a Dream, Introduction, xxvi).

And yet, here are Edwards’ words like fresh water for a weary traveler. I am one who has felt what he refers to as “a fever of our undernourished, deepest nature (9) and have tried to cure that fever through greater sensuality. I have sought gratification through educational and financial pursuits. I have tired to quell the deep aching, the longing, the incessant gnawing in the void…But Edwards’ words have a strange, settling effect even as I quiver in anticipation of more; will I be satisfied?

Will I be one who recognized that “contemplation is not an experience to be gained, but an eternal identity to be realized” (5)? If I faithfully put into practice the spiritual exercises he suggests, will I cease my attempt to “possess this way of being” in favor of “relinquishing [my]self into participation in it” (5)?

Edwards’ words open for us a plethora of possibilities. For instance, saying that we are an adventure of God’s spirit suggests that God may have already (happily) planned for more than one outcome! And adventure is like a pleasant experiment; pleasant because there are various anticipations not only about the end result, but about the experiment itself. Of course there are precautionary measures taken in advance to deal with those possibilities. there is precious little dread or trepidation in an adventure, but utter joy and delight in the promise of new discoveries. Is it possible that God could be like this? I for one like to imagine God this way!

Tilden Edwards’ book offers us much to think on and new ways to imagine God. It helps take the pressure off to accomplish something or get somewhere and enables us to slow down and enjoy the journey.