All in a Day's Words

Tag: happiness

Dump the Scale

Waiting for the pounds to plummet is a process that people worldwide experience daily. They awaken to step upon the metal box that adorns the bathroom tiles, praying that a certain number’s appearance commends and rewards efforts. Unfortunately the lifeless object contains no feelings, friendship, or faithful bond. A scale will never give you the validation you seek. It has no authority, only the “all-knowing” power given to it. Allowing this metal, rectangular prism to declare your fate of happiness or tears, smiles or sadness, strength or weakness, is a practice in futility. Is it time to say “good-bye” and “good riddance” to your scale?

The scale, housing itself on bathroom floors in millions of homes, lives a scandalous life of torturing souls who step upon it. Giving the scale the heave ho may be the next step. As a measurement tool, it is limited in its inability to accurately calculate body fat, size, or muscle mass. Even the number is flawed, as it does not assess a body’s water retention. Additionally its consistency from one scale to the next differs significantly. Yet its emotional power over the masses has long reigned. Whether you stand upon it multiple times per day, per week, or per year, it may change even if your body hasn’t. Yet it loses its power when you remove it entirely.

Hopping upon the scale never shows us any love, nor does it say, “good job.” The clanky base upon the floor awaits silently our arrival, yet will never be your friend, nor has it ever been. It bruises egos, shatters confidence and adds fuel to the pendulum of bad feelings. We want a good relationship with this daily visit, but the foolish number glides upward processing painful realization, upset, and awakening of a number defining us is less than satisfying. When it hunkers downward, we scream with alliance, but its upward spin makes us yell with defiance. It seems a no-win proposition to have any relationship with the scale even though breaking up is hard to do.

The scale’s utility as a weight loss assessment tool is limited.  It sets off emotional turmoil, resulting in momentary approval or disappointment. Rarely is satisfaction the resulting emotion, and its effects of overconsumption no matter the direction the dial moved, negates progress. Removing it from the household may be a plausible solution for this negative, influential, inanimate object. After years of this toxic relationship, it is time to give it the boot. Happiness you seek lies within; no number defines you. Recognizing the weight on the scale as simply assessing your gravity in relation to the ground and not your success rate, the healthy lifestyle remains the focal point. Dump the scale; it never loved you anyway!

Cookie for a Skinned Knee

Whether a cookie, ice cream, or brownie grace the table with each bee sting, academic or athletic achievement, food rewards are a challenging habit to break. Skinned knees, A’s on report cards, holidays, hurt feelings, achievements, and pain rewarded by food is a common response, fostering the “I can fix, heal, remove, celebrate that feeling” with food. Reeling us into the pantry for a sugar-laden medal and eating sweet honors, goodies celebrate the victories, or ease the pain of falling down, burning a finger on a stove, or triggered hurt feelings. Junk food consumption for regular relief from feeling uncomfortable or emotionally hurt pack on the pastries and pounds. Reframing food’s purpose and releasing the connection between food and emotion is vital for change, successful weight loss and maintenance.

Food as fuel negates food reward needs, and fosters respect for healthy choices and the body. If food’s sole purpose is energy, emotional responses must reroute elsewhere. Gathering alternatives for discomfort, emotional releases, and successes is imperative to reframe food’s function. Not an easy transition, but it changes the way we look at things; therefore, the response alters course. Exercising and building the muscle to modify eating behavior, takes practice, perseverance, and motivation. As a repeated reminder, food’s function as optimal energy, fueling muscles, and sending nutrition to the brain, is essential. Physically feeling good is the prime goal, while cravings dissipate, energy resumes, and mental clarity returns. Imbalanced sugar levels cloud judgment, energy levels, and fool the appetite by misguided hunger.

Proper nutrition provides a balanced chemical response that enhances quality of life. By rewarding emotion with unhealthy foods, we threaten the body’s optimal functioning. Equilibrium, the natural response, causes the body to eliminate the incoming threat of toxicity or unrecognizable ingredients within processed foods, by becoming inflamed, digestively distressed, or eventually diseased. Treating ourselves respectfully with healthy, edible options, and utilizing “food as fuel” circumnavigates this problem. Anything that bandaids rather than cures is counterintuitive to healing. Treating feelings with food addresses symptoms of discomfort and emotional celebration; it misses the damage it does. A cookie for a skinned knee eventually causes additional pain, sometimes irrevocable. Healthy food as fuel can temper this future predicament.

The Quest for Greatness

My quest for greatness collapsed into twelve-week increments. Eating enough calories for satiation and preserving muscle, balancing sugar levels, while exercising muscles vigorously, was my prototype for change. To eliminate the weight, reveal the underlying muscle, and heal the emotional turmoil, were pieces of a puzzle left incomplete. The journey to find the holy grail of weight loss, weight maintenance, and fitness took work, and required a paradigm shift in the way I view food, exercise, and well being. Building this foundation began long ago in what seemed a galaxy far, far away. Tools scattered, solutions abundant, and follow-through short lived, searching for the magic pill, the pot of gold, and the silver bullet proved especially challenging. Yet the search ended when I stopped searching. The truth lay dormant in my heart and soul, awakened by readiness, desire, and effort.

Hard work is not something you can bypass; emotional healing cannot be hidden, squashed, or swallowed. Gathering the broken pieces of our bodies and hearts is a prerequisite for change. One without the other limits success, and typically resumes to initial equilibrium, unhealed, strength diminished, and pounds returned. Doing the work, focusing on the day-to-day, and utilizing community support in the process, conjure weight loss and empowering transformation. Like an everlasting Gobstopper®, the colors might keep changing, but eventually if you remain committed, you will reach the core, the great sweetness of arrival. There are no shortcuts to the center, no biting through to shortchange the journey. Lessons along the avenue of change are vital for achievement, maintenance, and increased strength. Eating for fuel, weight bearing exercise, and psychological healing, are works in progress. Without the journey, the end result is short lived.

Finding a man behind a curtain with all the answers, only to realize they were with you all along is an age old story. Yet seek the truth and you shall find the will, ability, and motivation, to carry yourself over the rainbow and back home again. Within our hearts and bodies lives the holy grail we sought to find. There stands our strength, our noble steed, awaiting an awakening into wholeness of being. Through the journey, winding roads, and obstacles there to teach resilience, lessons of forgiveness, and great understanding, we reach a pinnacle unlike anything experienced prior. These lessons build courage, knowledge, and fortitude for the lifelong journey that continues long after each of my twelve week destinations. They fill in the puzzle, putting pieces in place where gaps had stood, resulting in wisdom, healing, and courage for a lifestyle of maintained sustenance, strength, and wholeness of well being. This quest for greatness continues over a lifetime, no ending, no beginning, but a journey to the holy grail within.

When the Shift Hits the Fan

External transformation causes an internal stirring of emotions. On the periphery we alter our bodies and environment: reduce inflammation, cleanse the closets, release toxic friends, clear the clutter, and eliminate consumption of artificial ingredients. Inevitably an emotional shift occurs when we lose significant weight. Clean food choices, exercise, and community support change our energy, physically and psychologically. Deadened, dormant pieces of ourselves arise from their slumber and shift our awareness. Deep-seated, internal, heartfelt secrets emerge from the soul, awaken for healing, retrieval, and release. Speaking our truth, illuminating the untold stories and guarded spaces of ourselves, ultimately sets us free to live an enlightened existence of self-love, peace, and happiness.

When we physically change, the sacredness of secrets hidden within awaken our senses. Releasing imprisoned emotions requires courage to bare the bones of our hurt, alleviate our pain from the past, and shed the stale crusts of our core, ignored, buried, and shut out from the light. These shadows deter life’s full potential, limit possibilities, and diminish self-worth. Shielding ourselves from truth, we fear its existence and the vulnerability that lurks with possible exposure. Yet that vulnerability is the exact necessity for strength and healing. The hidden pieces of ourselves must find light, awareness, and visibility in order to heal, mend, and alleviate buried pain. Without this nakedness of being, we lay injured, in disrepair, and immobile. Love, worthiness, and healing are the precepts for change, strength, and connection.

Hardwired for connection, vulnerability, truth, and empathy are its foothold. To have a sense of belonging, we must feel worthy, illuminate our authentic selves through truth, and access the deepest depths of our hearts. Mutual exposure with others forms human bonds where empathy lives. Accessing “me also” from another strengthens vulnerability, an empowered feeling and weaving of connection. Even if our experiences are different, we walk in the other’s shoes in our mind’s eye to share the sacred space. Taking the risk to reveal our inner selves to entrusted friends, therapists, or relatives, has rewards. Exposure to those who do not have our backs, may warrant some falls in the process. While failed connection may occur, entrusted confidantes holding your story and pain with safety, empathy, and love is worth the risk.

As the body transforms into a stronger, thinner, and exposed version of our old selves, so, too, will our insides shift. A supportive network of people is necessary to carry our truth, healing, and pain. Aloneness, independence, and sole survival were never meant for humankind. Delving into our past reveals our true selves, alleviates the wounds, and stirs inner change. Although an internal process, community rises up in support. When the shift hits the fan, life happens. It spins, sputters, and spits out the dust of life experiences, awaiting cleanup. Should we allow the dust to settle upon the sills of our lives, it remains untouched until stirred by the winds of change. Body transformation is the ultimate in unsettling our dust. Worth exploration, worth risk, and worth pain to heal the inner wounds, we enable true worth of our existence to rise from the ashes with the support of community. We are worthy of this greatness!

Rainbow of Happiness

Rainbow of Happiness 

A glimmer of ecstatic happiness in simplest form takes my breath away.  I sit on an oriental rug, criss-cross-apple-sauce, like a child, exposed to life from the vantage point of my two and a half year-old son.  Seeing the world through his eyes is a lesson in simplicity, joy and magical splendor.  Technically we are in a music class, but I suspect that this little boy could be anywhere and recreate the following emotions and creative play in any environment.  Our music teacher is engaging, entertaining, and musically expert; my son stares at him intensely with curiosity and patience, awaiting the next activity. 

Out comes a plain, blue polyester bag.  The teacher unzips it slowly with intrigue and expressions of surprise as he peaks into it.  Music emanates the room, full of leaping, jingle-type beats, making you want to spring to your feet and dance.  You refrain, awaiting instruction as we, adults, have learned to do from our organized, rule-oriented culture.  The children in front of us model our behavior and remain immobile, awaiting the teacher’s big reveal, in his inconspicuous bag. 

He reaches in with one hand and in dramatic fashion, pulls out rainbow-colored silk scarves, bunches at a time, springing them upward toward the sky.  Rainbows scatter wildly around us, gliding and moving at their own pace with differing wind resistance.  The scarves rain upon us like magic sunlight, sending rays in each direction.  With each beat, the teacher takes out more scarves to share with his students and their guardians. 

Next, to show the possibilities, he begins dancing with scarves in his hands, waving them to the beat, dancing in various directions, wherever the music takes him.  My son follows, feeling the freedom of movement taking hold of his feet and arms; he swings them in a variety of ways.  He smiles from ear to ear; his eyes sparkle at the magical scene of rainbow heaven.  I model the teacher’s behavior as to exhibit the normalcy of this scene, as if dancing with scarves is all I have ever done.  I feel the flow of energy swirl in all directions, my mind enmeshed in the movement, music and magic. 

Joyfulness reigns upon us, when suddenly our guide takes a scarf, holding it by two corners, blows at the center of the rectangle towards the ceiling, sending the cloud of silk into the air.  My son watches, locked in on the scarf, waiting with hands and arms outstretched, moving to and fro to situate himself under the falling, billowing silk, and catches it, hugging it to his chest, as if he treasures the prize he has retrieved.  He smiles and giggles, like crystal being tapped gently, releasing a calm, melodic chime that alters your insides with colorful peace.  This cheerful, brilliant echo of happiness can be felt by others who observe this ecstatic play.  The engaged magician of a teacher repeats this process again and again, recognizing the significant joy he has brought into the room within a child’s happy heart.  He mentions the considerable talent of my toddler’s eye/hand coordination, foreshadowing a future shortstop in major league baseball.  As a mother, all I feel is my son’s sense of pride from repeatedly catching the scarves and the enjoyment he relishes in. 

Soon thereafter, our instructor blows the scarf with an energetic breath into my little boy’s face, for a new reaction.  As the scarf covers my son and he is momentarily surprised and semi-blinded, he pauses, but almost instantaneously explodes with laughter.  The teacher repeats this harmonious flow of movement; each time my little one reacts as if it is the first time.  His giggles flood the area, with an energy that ripples out to an audience surrounding him, producing roars of laughter, especially within me. 

I feel inside a tremendous light, so bright, watching the humorous nature of life’s simplicity.  Rainbow-colored scarves flow through the energy, breath, humor, laughter’s echoes, and freedom; they envelope me with a feeling of inner, harmonious peace.  This is the type of enjoyment we strive for and are especially grateful to glimpse as often as possible.  The reality is that it only takes a moment.  Within an instant, the uninhibited can feel happiness at the core, deep within their hearts, and outpour this blissful joy through movement, music and creative expression. 

The result you find is a rainbow, awaiting the flow of energy, full of love, laughter, and ultimate elation.  My son is no exception in our world, only an example of what is possible if you allow yourself to travel to that space.  He teaches me constantly of how simple it is and reminds me how complicated we adults make finding happiness.  It cannot be retrieved by striving externally towards it.  Joy thrives within each of us; it takes little effort to let it out.  Next time I seek the extraordinary, I know to search no further than within myself for the ingredients: Breath, energy flow, rainbows, smiles, laughter, and love.  These are the flavors of life that take my breath away, an energetic force of happiness.                                                                                                     

L.E. Falcon is a freelance writer, who lives outside of Boston and treasures time with her two children and husband.  She holds an MBA from Babson College and a B.S. in Math Ed. from Boston University.  You may contact L.E. Falcon at LEFalcon@lightalife.com.

© 2022 HerStory

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑