Sunday, August 5, 2012


I have been making a conscious, concerted effort lately to step outside my own mind and take in reality with all of my senses. Maybe you immediately get what I am saying. Maybe you, too, have a habit of retreating to your safe space where the *stuff* going on around you is muted and distant, where you can control with one click or one bite *exactly* what your life experience will be. This selective living experience is truly less than desirable, but you don't tend to notice it until you shut off the withdrawal mechanism. It's like the old hermit guy who, for whatever reason, retreats from the world, living in his isolated cabin in the woods where a long beard and ragged clothes don't matter because nobody sees him; like the modern man who similarly hermits himself in his dim room with his computer or his TV and doesn't bother anymore with the more frustrating and distressing life outside the box. It is so, so easy now... in this world of technology... to escape ones' self this way. Like disappearing into a whiskey bottle or a drug needle or a hot fudge sundae, everything else spins around you unnoticed and even in the chaos, *your* reality is calm.

It doesn't have to be like that. Even though we can't control *everything* around us, we can control our reactions. And in fact, we can control far more than we imagine we can. Most of those things we feel *stuck* with, we are not actually stuck with. We have it in our power to change things, yet it is easier... more comfortable... not to. Think about it.

Today I am going swimming with my daughter. Yes, in a bathing suit. Yes, at a public pool. Do you know why? Because I want to. That is the life I have always wanted. Swimming with my kids is part of my desired reality. We think, "oh if ONLY I could lose this weight and look halfway decent in a swimsuit, then I could enjoy swimming again!" We long for the cool water in the heat of summer, the freedom of weightlessness in the pool, the feeling of sun on skin. We don't go, though. Too embarrassed. To white and pasty and fat. What if someone sees me?

That, you see, IS in your control. You want it? Take it. Put your self-imposed chains aside and do it. Let go of the shame. This is your life, your one and only life. If there is a pool or a lake or a river that is safe for swimming, then it is there for you to swim in. If you choose not to, but WISH you could, you are creating conflict for yourself. And conflict is in opposition to happiness.

Create your happiness, IN the things that are in your control. There is enough sadness, enough things that we cannot control: loss of a loved one, debilitating illness, other people's choices. Don't let things you CAN change make you unhappy. Please.

So we will swim, we will laugh in the sun, we will play. I will come home and have a glass of cold-brewed iced coffee while I continue with the de-cluttering (shackle-breaking, as I have sometimes felt shackled to *things*) and making my surroundings reflect the state of mind I want to have. I hope you, too, will free yourself... escaping not just obesity or unhealthy habits, but also the mindset that keeps you chained to a lesser-than life.

**cold brewed coffee: in a Mason jar, mix 1/3 cup of coarsely ground coffee with 1 1/2 cups of cold, filtered water. Stir, put the lid on, and leave it on the counter for 12 hours. Strain through a sieve and then a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Dump the grounds; rinse the jar and put your newly made coffee concentrate back in the jar. Store it in the fridge. To serve, mix concentrate with equal amount of water or milk (more or less, to taste) and pour over ice. Recipe can be doubled.


Anonymous said...

Very wise. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. I am so glad you are back!

Leslie said...

Love this Lyn. While I haven't gone swimming this summer (yet), I have finally started wearing short above the elbow sleeved tops rather than 3/4 lengths - even though my arms are not the way I want them to be. This is HUGE progress for me. I still occasionally feel mentally uncomfortable about them, but then I realize I'm physically very comfortable! When I think of how many summers I suffered in the heat trying to hide body parts, it makes me sad. But I can do better now, and so far the sky hasn't fallen over my jiggly arms!

Enjoy the pool and your daughter. Have a blast. She loves you just exactly the way you are. And it sounds like you're beginning to as well!

MargieAnne said...

Thanks for the recipe for cold brewed iced coffee. That's a keeper for summertime.

You wrote..... We have it in our power to change things, yet it is easier... more comfortable... not to.

I couldn't agree more.

For years I've had to compartmentalise the various aches in my heart. I can't change the way others live or the circumstances they find themselves in. I can still go into overload if I dwell on all these things together. But I have learned and continue to learn how to live my own life. If I'm honest I have shut down somewhat to protect myself but I can change that whenever I choose.

My priority is building up my health so I can handle stress and have more energy. Losing weight and being more active is part and parcel. Doing things for fun is one of the most healthy things we can do.

Enjoy swimming .... can't wait for summer.


Lori said...

Welcome back, Lyn. I appreciate your new perspective on life and want to learn from your lesson. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have really started renewing your mind after your recent hardship. It looks like your life is taking an amazing new turn and I can't wait to see what great things I believe God has in store for you. I love your honesty and thank you for sharing your thoughts and part of your life with me & the other followers. Today I leave your post pondering the things in my life that I CAN change. Hmmm. I've never looked at it this way!! Thank you Lyn!!

PS- So happy you're back!!! :)


Anonymous said...

Lyn, what you are saying is SO true. I definitely relate to retreating to my safe place and simply blocking everything around me out. Then nothing else matters. I can forget everything.
Your swimming story is inspiring and I will keep it in mind when I next time say "there is NO ways I am getting into a bathing suit!" I am striving to take control of what I can control and improve my life and create my happiness. My weight has dragged me down long enough now!
I hope you had a WONDERFUL swim with your daughter! :)

Susan Reese said...

Of all the posts that you have written this is my all time favorite! Thank you Lyn and welcome back! Sue

Virginia said...

I am so glad to see your return, and also that your friend will recover. You are an inspiration to me, and believe it or not, if it is possible to care about someone in the internet age, thru a blog, I think from the posts I read, that we care about you. I can see you turn a corner every time you write...hang in there honey. And O the before and after pics are fabulous!

Elaine said...

Good for you, Lynn. You know, when I lived in Europe you would see topless grannies and obese men in speedos. They were concerned about how they FELT instead of what others thought about how they LOOKED: that's a personal goal of mine, now.

Wise post, and good advice for all of us who hide from relationships and reality sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I have missed you....although you don't know me, you are a part of my daily life! I draw inspiration, support and companionship from your blog. Glad you are back!

Cris said...

I generally read this blog in the 'reader' on my gmail account- but I just had to come in and comment on this post. Its like you are BACK! I love it.

I had been concerned with the primal/medifast battle in your recent posts, but this one give me much hope. You are going to be just fine! Wishing you the best!

<3 Cris

Tammy said...

Awesome post!! Thank you!!:)