Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Energy Loan Sharkery

Namaste BTWGers:

Got the hang of this yet? This
fitness cult® is really fun and challenging. There is so much to be aware of and to do. I'm going crazy with the learning curve of how to do it which doesn't even cover doing it, or trying to do it.

In enlisting, I thought I would exercise & eat well. Never thought I'd blog, but it totally rocks. I fervently wish everyone would blog & update often. I have checked the blog roll 50 times today to see who is doing what. It's like reading US Weekly!

Writing down the calories of food is tough for me. I can write down what stuff I ate, but still not adept at checking/guessing. I have no idea how many calories I've eaten these past 2 days but with cabbage soup and less sugar, the calories are definitely less than they were at peak xmas cookie eating season.

For the most part, I don't have manifest many of the popular or generic emotional eating issues. I would never stand in front of the refrigerator with a fork and systematically empty its contents or eat a gallon of Ben & Jerry's while watching sappy movies. I'm not a secret eater or a purger although I was anorexic back in the (high school/college) day. What I do is schedule too many things in a day and/or stay up way too late and eat/drink on the go and with an eye to getting some energy to power through. In college, I always pulled all nighters with a six pack of Tab & a bag of Doritos.

I love the term Energy Loan sharks.* I was unfamiliar with it. (I am familiar with Energy Vampires, who isn't?--but that's another post.) As someone who has subsisted for too long on sugar & caffeine, EL certainly describes my eating.

Monday morning I was busy with my life stuff & was facing work deadlines so I raced about refueling at Starbucks with my Awake tea into which I mindlessly poured multiple Slendas. It actually took me a while to realize I wasn't doing that ritual any differently.

I have quit drinking alcohol cold turkey & quit drinking Diet Coke cold turkey, but caffeinated black tea & Splenda, not so much. There is probably a screwed up psychological reason for this, (that's another post & more therapy), but there is the reason that my tea concoction & my gummy bears, Dots, chocolate this & thats, scones, cookies, etc. do give me an oomph when I need it. I haven't acknowledged these things are probably responsible for my jet lag later. I get really freaked out when they don't have my flavor & almost every barista in the city knows to make my tea as soon as I walk through the door.

Anyway, I have realized I need help, but haven't yet surrendered to a higher power. At home, I have been mixing it up a bit by also drinking oolong & chamomile with stevia or raw sugar, which is something. Baby steps.

Sugarwise, I have eaten sweet things mindlessly & mindfully, but less. I still feel the need to get the charge, the boost, the high to get through the hour, the project the day. I know many people have gone cold turkey on various things (snaps), but I haven't. I have done less and I have done well, in 2 days, with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Isn't it fascinating that the project not only challenges us physically, but mentally as well? We may have to confront a lot of stuff. Apparently, I'm meant to do battle with Energy Loansharks.


On the down low, I discussed the cult with my therapist.
He told me to tweak. He said it was ok for me to alter the program so that I could do it. That it might be better than getting too anxious and not being able to do it at all. For now, still drinking Awake tea with Splenda at Starbucks was not the worst thing, especially if I was aware of what I was doing & why (he's big on that) and if I was also incorporating healthy green & herbal teas into the mix. Hope it's ok with Our Leader.

*Chris' term for food eaten to spike your energy but which ultimately drains you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

President Obama & Nikki's Healing Story

I'm so elated about the Inauguration. The anticipation I feel reminds me of Christmas Eve. (I know Obama is talking about our need for sacrifice and Santa isn't really about that, but I'm that excited nevertheless.) Watching TV on election night when Obama was declared the winner and seeing people like civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis break down in tears was so poignant. In trying to assign some meaning to this historic moment, I remember this lovely healing story from my hero, karma yogini and fellow BTWGer, NIKKI MYERS.

I've adopted and come to love the term ‘healing story’. I first heard this phrase in the wonderful book entitled Waking, authored by Mathew Sanford. Waking recounts Mathew’s trauma and transcendence following a tragic automobile accident that killed his father and sister and left him paraplegic. In this beautiful memoir, Mathew describes healing stories as “stories we have come to believe that shape how we think about the world, ourselves, and our place in it….Healing stories guide us through good and bad times; they can be both constructive and/or destructive and are often in need of change. They come together to create our own personal mythology, the system of beliefs that guide how we interpret our experience.”

Traveling home from Denver, I recognize that I am in the midst of my own powerful healing story. I was invited to Denver to participate in The Huffington Oasis, a collaborative effort created by Arianna Huffington and Seane Corn to promote a contrast to the talk and politics of the Democratic National Convention and to offer delegates, press, staff and anyone else who wanted it, yoga, massage, facials, meditation, whole food vegan snacks, organic green drinks and more as a way to unplug and recharge rather than the usual vodka, cigarettes, coffee and donuts used for that purpose.

The creators of the Oasis recognized that the DNC brings together bright and brilliant minds engaging in big, far-reaching, life impacting decisions. In that recognition, they began to conceive of a place where these big decisions could be made from a mindset of calm, balance, and tranquility rather than fear, anxiety and stress. The Oasis became the supportive environment for that mindset and it was a huge hit at the convention. Seeing our nation’s leaders come into the room stressed and anxious and leave renewed and relaxed was a healing story in and of itself. It was truly a blessing and honor to be a part of it. My prayer is that this one becomes a healing story for all conventions everywhere.

However, The Oasis is only one part of this story. The other part of my healing story happened at Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. When I arrived for my shift at the Oasis, I had no idea what was coming. When I was gifted with ‘the golden ticket’ to the acceptance speech, it took all I had not to disrupt the tranquility of the Oasis with screams of sheer joy.

And as I sat in Mile High Stadium on this historic night, in this incredible setting along with a crowd of 85,000 + Americans, filling a football stadium, waving American flags and signs calling for "Change” I start to realize something deeper than I ever expected was stirring within me.

This amazing grace began when excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech started to play. As the big screen displayed the 1963 images of protesters being beaten, fire-hosed, and viciously attacked by police dogs, I vividly recalled (as I have many times before) that defining moment in my life. That’s the origination point of this healing story.

As a 10 year old black girl watching the civil rights protest on television, I clearly remember making what I now know as a ‘fundamental illogical childhood decision’. (I learned this term recently while studying yogic philosophy and psychology in India.)

The decision that 10 year old girl made at the time was this: if people that looked like me were being subjected to this kind of assault and cruelty by police, government officials and authorities – there must be something horribly wrong with me. In that moment I decided that I must be terribly flawed, unworthy and fundamentally wrong, otherwise this attack by the authority figures that I’d been taught were good, right and honest couldn’t possible happen.

This decision I made as a 10 year old girl has been a mighty force, a limiting belief that has run through my entire life.

On Thursday, August 28th in Mile High Stadium at approximately 6:30 p.m. in an absolutely grace-filled moment, more than 4 and half decades after I made that fundamental illogical childhood decision..the spell was broken; the lie undone. Decades of unworthiness, defectiveness and hopelessness that have been a familiar undercurrent of my every triumph, failing or anything in between dissolved. Every dimension of my being feels and experiences this transformation to wholeness, compassion and truth. It defies words. And, this all happened even before Barack launched into his historic address.

After Obama’s speech, the transformation amplified, becoming even more rich and full. It is an experience that continues right into the present moment.

This healing story now guides my life in a new way. I now think about the world, myself and my place in it differently.

Yoga teaches us that there is no separation. From that teaching I know that this is not just my healing story. It’s a healing story for people of all races, for America and for our planet. My awe and gratitude defy words.

Nikki is attending The 44th President of the United States' Barak Obama's swearing in ceremony as well as a fancy ball or two. Along with her healing spirit, she is taking her precious granddaughter Myanna, and my slinky black Richard Tyler gown. She promises us Nikki's Healing Story II.

From 'I Have a Dream' to Obama Inauguration

Update 1/20/09:

Love the crowds. I feel the energy through the TV and through the internets. I'm going to remember this day for a long, long time. I love all of the tales of hope & healing. So many people are sharing poignant & heartfelt stories about what today means to them. The media is actually allowing people to speak from their hearts straight to us without the absurd filters and divisions into "left" and "right" usually imposed upon news coverage.

Whether they grew up in the days of Jim Crow or the hip hop days, so many people honestly felt this could never happen, that a person of any color, or any person outside the narrow view of "mainstream" could become president of this country. Some wouldn't even dream about the possibility, and now it's true.

I heard Colin Powell this morning. He is the epitome of Establishment to me. I imagine him truly believing any man or woman could pull him/herself up by the boot straps and become president, but he was terrified that it wasn't so. It is so. Namaste.

Update II 1/20/09:

Wow! What an amazing day. It's been inspirational.
Loved the poem.
Loved Facebook/CNN thing.
Hope my dress is having fun at the ball.

Energy* Intuition* Healing*Health

Disclaimer: Not a medical anything. Not a yogi healer (just play one on the internets). But I do have a workshop!An introduction to energy techniques suggested by Donna Eden, Judith Orluff, Caroline Myss (and others) to get in touch--physically & emotionally-- with your body.

Cityoga Energy Workshop

Saturday January 24

10:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
*Energy Testing *Asana

Donna Eden
Judith Orluff
Caroline Myss
Energy Medicine Insitute

' Our emotions reside physically in our bodies and interact with our cells and tissues.' Caroline Myss .1/19/2009



Namaste BTWGers;

I recently had one of those milestone, significant, life altering birthdays. I had a million goals I had to accomplish before my birthday. I awakened the day after the day that changed everything and I still had a half a million goals to accomplish. Naturally, joining the cult was one of those goals. Mission Accomplished! Oh wait, I have to successfully complete the program as well. No excuses.

Obviously, health, fitness, strength, flexibility, endurance, weight loss, low cholesterol, health,
muscle tone, stress relief, balance, centering, feng shui, world peace, etc. are all Gap goals, but I have others as well, and they are all related at some level. I just know if I can do 50 push ups and weigh 5 pounds less, I'll be able to resist buying yet another pair of black boots and if I can focus, I'll be able to get my work done while I'm at work.
Everything is Related.*

Finding my 2nd Act
Not Procrastinating
Living off the Land (aka not shopping)
Overcoming Sugar Addiction
Overcoming Caffeine Addiction (somewhat ambivalent here)
Energery/Intutitive Healing
Dhanurasana (Wheel pose)
Yoga butt (why not?)


*My signature platitude.

Today is the 1st Day.....

Namaste BTWGers;

I love blogs! I spend way too much time reading them. I love jazzy blogs with mucho content & stuff. I love rambling on in stream of consciousness. I love opining. It's no surprise that I love the Huffington Post. I'm excited and anxious to be starting this fitness cult®. I'm doing so much stuff with BTWG (or trying to) that I might as well try this blogging thing too. I can't wait to actually learn how to do it! Maybe by April?

I don't have too many talents, but one of them is the ability to regurgitate platitudes when the situation warrants. I have friends who text me for platitudes the way some people ask for Tarot readings. Generally, my platitudes are generic, banal mots. Occasionally, they are poignant and spot on. Hopefully, I will have the perfect platitudes for this project.

I’m so excited and anxious to be part of the Gap. I’m not so organized. I’m still trying to figure out how things should be. I’ve never used Excel in my life. (Props to Alison for teaching me. She’s the best mentor ever!) I’ve made some cabbage soup and bought some fruit and healthy-ish snacky things (I love Luna bars & all things Kashi.) I’ve made lists of things I need to do or find or locate or keep track of. I just did all of this today because that’s how I roll.

I’m excited but with trepidation because I’m not good with paper work or with rules. I need discipline and structure and, especially, deadlines, to accomplish things, but I also bristle at structure and expectations. It’s my Catholic school upbringing, I ‘m decades away from wearing the plaid skirt, but these issues still linger....

I love the idea of eating well. I actually know how to do this, but I don’t. I subsist on sugar and caffeine for screwed up psychological reasons. The idea of counting calories makes me crazy. I can write down what I eat but what number it is...not feeling it. It will be a struggle. I’m not good with numbers especially dollar numbers.

I love yoga & weights. I need cardio/aerobics but not as good with that. I can walk for days but I REALLY HATE RUNNING. I’m already anxious about handling fitness on Monday; fitness on Tuesday, not so much.

Somehow, I have always been incredibly healthy. Good genes. I’m rarely sick or injured. However, I’m not very strong physically, and I could use more endurance. My flexibility seems limited when compared to yogis, but not so bad in the real world. I’m hoping to do better.


® Sam Allen.