Try A Little Tenderness

Hello, world– and welcome to my week-and-a-half-ish check in! πŸ™‚ Yes, it has been nearly 10 days since I’ve posted (and an equal amount of time since I’ve found the time to comment on other people’s blogs- whoops!), but instead of pummeling my fragile self over this, I’ve decided to adopt a more novel approach: I’m just going to be okay with it.

‘Why so gentle and understanding of the circumstances so suddenly’, you might ask?

Last week, I happened to attend a speech on Marty’s behalf. He wasn’t able to attend the talk himself because he had a cycling race that night. (This was a tad ironic, because the talk was all about thriving in competitive athletics on a vegan diet.) Anyway. Being the considerate person and loving wife that I am, I signed up for the talk for Marty’s sake and rode my bike there, notebook and pen in hand. I didn’t expect that this talk would have any personal relevance for me, given that I am not at all a competitive athlete and that I am practically a vegan anyway (I haven’t even eaten eggs in a few weeks because the time needed to prepare them– 10 solid minutes– has escaped me!) So I was blown away when the talk started out something like this:

“Are you here to learn about the foods that can help you succeed as a vegan athlete? (yes) Are you here to lose weight? (why, yes!) Are you here to learn the secrets of raw veganism? (sure, why not?) Then you might as well leave right now and get your money back, because you already know the answers to these questions.(um, pardon me?)

To my pleasant shock and surprise, instead of being a (probably boring) speech about vitamin B12, plant enzymes, probiotics, and protein, this gentleman spoke for over 2 hours about the psychology of eating and emotional eating. I was enraptured. Totally consumed by every word. Convinced that this person had been sent to Victoria by God himself to give this talk specifically to me. It was amazing. I actually felt a little choked up listening to it! And it took every bit of will power and focus I had not to blabber on like a Creepy Super Fan when the time came to thank the speaker in person afterward.

OMG! You are my super hero! I loved every single word you spoke tonight! Can I have your autograph???

This talk was all about the things we do as people that inadvertently/subconsciously sabotage our efforts to “get healthy” or “go vegan” or “[insert grand ambition here]”. He talked about how we declare to ourselves that we will “Go Vegan!” or “Go Raw!” or “Lose 25 Pounds!” or “Run A Marathon!“, but we rarely start out from the real starting line on our journeys– i.e. from a place of accepting ourselves as we are already. When we stand tall and boldly declare that we will Fit Into A Size Six!!, we are secretly saying to ourselves is that we are not okay at any other size, which means that we are probably not okay with ourselves as we are, right now. The way the speaker put it was that we are trying to start at the finish line of our race. The marathon of life (or weight loss, or veganism, or whatever) is starting miles and miles away from us, but there we are at the finish line, looking into the pretend mirror and saying stupid affirmations to ourselves like “I am a winner! I succeed at running! I can run a marathon and be a beautiful, fit person!”… all the while not actually running or actually doing anything to move forward.

Wowza.

Suffice it to say, after 2+ hours of listening to this pure genius talk about all of the issues that were eating at my very soul, I left feeling full of thankfulness and gratitude. I don’t want to beat myself up or hate myself over trivial things and circumstances that are beyond my control. I want to be gentle and accepting of myself and to try a little tenderness! Even two weeks ago, my strategy for Life in General went something like this: Eat perfectly, work perfectly, blog perfectly. exercise perfectly, sleep perfectly, and look fabulous doing it. No mistakes or deviations from perfection allowed!! Now, it’s a little more like this: Eat the best that I can, even if it means ordering take out food or buying treats; accept that we work a lot during the summers and be thankful for our pretty awesome source of income; blog and comment on other blogs when I can, even if it means I won’t crack the 10-post mark this month; exercise when I can; sleep when I can; and look fairly decent doing it! πŸ˜‰

The new strategy seems to be working alright so far, but I’ll admit that sometimes it feels like I am still liking myself out of pity and sympathy instead of actually liking myself “just because”. (To use the earlier analogy, occasionally I find myself standing at the finish line of Liking Myself instead of working through the starting issues of not always liking myself 100%. I’m working on it!) Mostly, I am just thankful to have been directed to that talk last week. I really needed to hear it. (Should we all hold hands now and sing Kumbaya?)

And how are you doing lately?

Bring me up to speed in the comments section below! (Maybe I’m more likely to succeed at reading short paragraphs about your recent goings-on instead of 5 long blog posts every week? There’s only one way to find out!)

PS: The talk was given by Tim VanOrden of Running Raw fame. Without sounding like I’m the president of his Teenage Fan Club, I thought his talk was awesome. πŸ™‚

24 responses

  1. Oh my. Perhaps I ought to find out if he’s going to be in the Atlanta area anytime soon. Just reading your synopsis of his talk made me catch my breath and my heart beat a little tattoo – My psyche could use more tenderness, too.

    The world goes ’round – work is something on the order of 50+ hours a week in a manufacturing facility. Elder child nearing the end of his First Grade year. Younger child fighting off a head cold (which he’s graciously shared with his mum). Gearing up for a family get-together in the Tennessee mountains this weekend wherein I will try NOT to be self-conscious every second of the time, wondering whether my father is secretly being critical of my weight. Scheming a new blog post that probably won’t see publication until the weekend has passed.

    In a nutshell. πŸ™‚

    • I’d highly recommend seeing him speak if he’s in the area– it wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but it was *EXACTLY* what I needed to hear! (My little synopsis doesn’t even come close to doing his words justice, either– I was literally hanging onto every word!)

      And you have a blog?? Why don’t I know this– what’s the URL?

      • That’s too funny – for some strange reason, I had just assumed that my name linked to my WordPress blog… Hrm. Thanks for asking!

        My food-related blog is http://persnicketyeater.wordpress.com/ and my “other topics, including food” blog is http://itsagypsyworld.blogspot.com/

        I must confess that I have written reams worth of intended blog posts that have never seen the light of day. Perhaps they’ll find their expression in this form, perhaps not. Only time will tell. πŸ˜‰

        • Thank you! Here I was this whole time, thinking you didn’t even have a blog, and now I find out you have TWO! I’ve subscribed to your WordPress one– still haven’t figured out how to subscribe to non-WP blogs yet, though. (So technologically challenged…)

  2. Sounds like a fabulous talk that would benefit me, as well! It’s great to hear from you! Think about your life this way–the more life you live, the more you will eventually have to blog about–maybe this pace suits you. Good to hear you’re okay with it.

    Sara and I have been on vacation in southern Georgia for almost a week and just got home last night–so I’ve been away from blogging as well. Join the club!

    Kathy

    • I’m happy to hear that you and Sara were able to get away for a little bit before her sabbatical ends– how easy it is to keep busy! πŸ™‚

      Lately, my life has mostly been consumed with working, which unfortunately doesn’t make for very enthralling blog posts. However, I do have some interesting things to share with my loyal readers as soon as time permits. Stay tuned!

    • Good thing I’m so awesome at what I do, too! I’m not joking when I say that my personal mantra for the summer is WELCOME TO WINNING. πŸ˜‰

    • So true! I kind of got a “twilight zone” feeling when he got his intro out of the way and delved right into EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR. I literally felt like this random guy from Vermont had been summoned by the universe to give me a personal 2-hour pep talk. Isn’t the universe great?

  3. I think it was Winston Churchill who said something like:
    ” Perfection is spelled p-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s .”
    Always liked that one. Sort of like being too focused on an ideal and that other old chestnut: ” Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.

    With drawing, I have come to welcome spotting errors as the best way of improving. Praise might feel great, but pointing out where something can be improved is invaluable constructive criticism and much more helpful in the long-run.

    • Perfection = Paralysis. Yep– that pretty much sums it up! Right after I wrote this post, I read one of the Freshly Pressed blog posts which talked about striving for “excellence” vs. “perfection”. I think this idea will help me, too. I can be awesome without necessarily being perfect, right?

      • Hey, self-love can also mean doing something completely counter-intuitive to what your regular mindset would tell you to do, just for the sake of ‘letting yourself’ .
        A personal example, the other day someone offered me a cute little peach-flavoured cigarette and just for the hell of it I accepted. Me, a life-long non-smoker, .. am I crazy or what ? Life on the edge :).

  4. Sounds like a talk I would love to listen to. I could use a little more tenderness towards myself these days.

    As for what I’ve been up to, well, it’s the same old, same old. Getting outside every day and blogging about it. I’ll be glad when this commitment is over. A break will feel great. πŸ™‚

    • I really commend you on your commitment to going outside, taking photos, and blogging about it every day! I might have a nervous breakdown if I was doing that *and* trying to work at the Harbour! πŸ™‚

      Tim VanOrden actually recorded his talk in Victoria and is planning either to put it up on YouTube or release it as a DVD. I’ll try to stay up to date on his website to see how this pans out– I’d highly recommend seeing it in either format!

  5. Good for you! I’m proud of you! Love yourself as you are, you deserve it. Take time to breath and do what feels good for your body and mind.
    As for me I haven’t been exercising as much because I got strep throat last week, Yay! lol. But hoping to get back at em soon. I have however been reading a lot of books and spending quality time with my hubbs. We hit our 1 year wedding anniversary this past week. Other than that, not too much going on.
    Hope all is well in Victoria, I’m sending you positive thoughts from Seattle πŸ™‚

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