Sunday, October 13, 2013

Naomi's Training Journal for Walking Across England

Welcome to my training blog as I get in shape to walk 200 miles across England along Alfred Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast Walk, next summer.  There are about 10 months between now (October 2013) and then (August 2014), and hopefully, this will be a faithfully written journal of the steps I'm taking to get fit enough to take on the challenge well.  In other words, that I do it in the fittest shape I've been in for 15 years! 

I turn 60 years old in March, 2014, and so I have even added incentive, and I'd like to be celebrating on that day (the halfway point of the 10 months) a healthy weight loss of about 40 lbs.  Too many years have passed with me "longing" to do this walk without taking CONSISTENT healthy actions to get fit enough to DO it.  All I can say is that I've been "stuck" for whatever reason or other.  The reasons are irrelevant, as knowing the why about something rarely has ever helped me take ACTION to change -- a lesson painfully acquired!  At some place along the way, I just got awfully stuck, but all things stuck can get unstuck, and I'm counting on an inner strengh I know I have and the grace of God to succeed this time around where I've failed before. 

Recently I watched a documentary about two overweight men -- one morbidly obese at 470 lbs! -- who underwent amazing physical, emotional and spiritual changes when they left out of their life the foods and habits that were killing them.  (You can watch the documentary here:  Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.)  These two men made the same decision and stuck to it.  A simple decision allowed each of them to break out of deep ruts they'd been prisoners in for years -- just like me, despite many well-meaning, dedicated "starts." 

I want to do what they did.
I want to succeed this time.
I want to post a photo of myself here in 10 months that will not look like I look today!

I pray for gratitude, humility and self-honesty to do it -- one day at a time.

What I'm presently readingIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  I'm also reading Jack Frost's 2013 C2C Personal Journal, well written and inspiring
Inspiration of the day:  "With God all things are possible."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Winter Hangin' On and I'm LONGING for Spring!

Can't believe the last time I wrote something here was in January.  Funny how time gets away from me.  Well, not too funny at all, actually.  Somewhat pathetic, truth be told!!  ;-)   Spring is gurgling somewhere under the frozen lake down the road from me ... and any day now it may just decide to ACT like itself and SHOW UP above ground!  When some lovely, sunny, 50-degree days start showing up, I'll know Spring has smiled on me and delivered me from my now-least-favorite season:  winter.  NOW I see why winter is called OLD MAN.  Sheesh!

Two days from now -- April Fool's Day -- will become for me, this year, a "No-More-Fools" Day because I'm (re)launching my adventure into raw food living -- one I'd quite abandoned for all kinds of reasons.  The main reason is that it is a challenge and a half to interrupt years and years of eating habits that are not only personal, but also quite cultural.  In other words: lousy ways of eating are embedded into the very fabric of the American culture -- beginning way back in the 40s with junk like Coca-cola; the 50's gave us crap like Scooter Pies and Velveta "cheese"; the 60's slammed us with addictive drugs like McDonalds; the 70's creamed us with chemically-laden foods that made cooking supposedly "easier" and meals "tastier" -- but did more to alter our moods than some of the drugs flowing so freely back then; and then there were the "gourmet" years of the '80s and '90s when the love (addiction) and worship (idolatry) of food became raised to heretofore unprecedented levels!

So no wonder it's damn hard AT FIRST to begin to change the ways we relate to food!  Well, I'm about to be back in "boot camp," and I'll be talking about my experiences here -- hopefully daily.  Since I doubt anyone but me reads this blog, I'll feel very at ease.  Perhaps if in one year's time I manage to gain back the health I had in my mid-30's (which is my goal), this blog might then be useful to someone else.  Only time will tell.

Tonight I have my "glory" meal though ... where I can eat whatever the heck I want of the American Diet I'll soon be parting company with.  My goal is to go 75% raw (3/4 fruits and veggies, uncooked, as salads or snacks) and 25% cooked food (in the form of low-calorie frozen entrees, baked sweet potatoes, steamed veggies and fish) mainly for dinner, probably.  Throw in going back to the gym Saturday mornings, Tuesday and Thursday evenings after work, and I might just manage to lose some of this obnoxious chubb that is slowly killing me. 

Like I said, time will tell.  So this coming Friday, April 1st, will begin for me a "no more fools" period of my life.  I figured 9 months will be a good time frame within which to experiment with my new life style.  Hey, if a brand, spanking new human being can be formed in 9 months -- in the form of an awesome little baby with all new and wonderous working parts -- imagine what can happen to me in that same time -- PROVIDING I shift away from the SAD (Standard American Diet).  Just like 9 months pregnant is not always pleasant, neither will this time be for me.  But there were some really beautiful days during my pregnancy 33 years ago ... and so I count on some of those same kind of days during this next 9 months as well!  So come New Year's Eve -- December 31, 2011 -- a baby will be born.  Hopefully it'll be the new me.  Walking around in a body that is my friend, and no longer my enemy.  Who knows, someone might even call me a "Babe" that night!  ;-)

"One oar stroke isn't going to get you anywhere, but if you take a
 load of tiny actions and you string them all
together, you really can achieve almost anything."
Roz Savage, Ocean Rower

Friday, January 7, 2011

Do I EVER get tired of seeing photos of this place? Nope.

As I plan to dig my car out of snow piles at the Croton train station this evening -- upon returning from work in New York City -- I'm reminded that there once was a time when THIS place was what I came home to in the evenings after work in Honolulu!

Hmmm . . . wonder how long it'll be before I return "home" for good!

"One oar stroke isn't going to get you anywhere, but if you take a load of tiny actions and you string them all together, you really can achieve almost anything."  (Roz Savage, Ocean Rower)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka . . . from New York ??

As much as I'm loving Christmas in New York . . . I sure miss living in Hawaii!

As my friend Chris has taught me well to do . . . I'll stay living in the moment and just keep enjoying this wonderful cold weather and the joys of the season. I look forward to the winter solstice on Tuesday night -- the earth's true New Year's eve!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What says happy holidays better than LOVE, MUSIC and PEACE?!

It's sunny and gorgeous here in New York today.  I'm finally getting my christmas tree up, and I've enlisted the help of my friend's son, Danny (much taller than I am!) who's looking to earn some extra moolah.  Thanks, Dan!

I'll be wrapping presents, baking cookies to give away as gifts (the attorneys I work with love 'em) and just doing the comfy, homey thing all day.

Have a happy weekend, all -- LOVING the ones you're with . . . enjoying some good MUSIC . . . and letting
PEACE keep your days sweet. 

Happy Christmas Week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm Baaaak . . . after way too long away from posting!

I'm glad to be back to blogging, and I thought it fitting to begin afresh w/ an article on expressing thanks ... via a gratitude journal.  My sister is very faithful at doing this, and I've often admired her for the discipline of daily jotting something down in it, and so today I'll begin one as well.  As Autumn has just begun -- and Thanksgiving Day just around the bend here in Amerikay -- there's no time like the present to be thankful, eh?!  One thing I'm thankful for today is the Spirit of Life (what the Native Americans called the Great Spirit,  and traditionally speaking, many call GOD!) wthout Whom I would not experience joy!  What are you thankful for today?

Gratitude Journal - Is it a pathway to continual JOY?

              Artwork above by the wonderful Andy Dooley!

ON GRATITUDE by Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D., CHT

A multitude of scientific studies all give the same results: feeling and focusing on gratitude is highly beneficial for your physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual health. This information first hit the airwaves less than a decade ago and in my monthly newsletter article in October 2006 (entitled, "Happiness:  Has it become a Science or is it a Question of Luck?"), I referred to what were at that time, recent studies, indicating that amazingly, the most important component to maintaining and/or raising our level of happiness is accomplished by keeping a gratitude journal. 

Today I’d like to encourage you to contemplate ten excellent reasons that demonstrate exactly why you should make gratitude an integral component of your daily routine -- not something to do occasionally, or when you wake up, or when you go to bed, but to integrate it into your daily life in such a way that it is always there in your conscious awareness, in some fashion, just as your awareness of the amount of light where you are is always present. It can easily (and painlessly) become second nature, if only you choose, and LET gratitude occupy that place in your life.

1. Gratitude lowers your stress levels as measured by blood pressure and perspiration and breathing.

Because you focus on something that gives you a certain amount of happiness or pleasure, gratitude is capable of affecting you on these very physiological levels. If you think for a moment of a grinding problem in your life and note how it makes you feel, and then switch your focus to something beautiful in your surroundings, allowing yourself to feel gratitude for it being there (the blue sky, a frolicking puppy, a bold purple bougainvillea climbing up a white-washed garden wall, a contagiously laughing child behind a wrought-iron gate, the elusive scent of a night jasmine, the full moon in a star-lit sky, the burst of flavor in your mouth as you bite into a ripe peach, etc.), you will note that you immediately feel very different compared to how you felt a moment ago.

2. Gratitude increases your levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, and attentiveness as indicated in several studies.

What happens when you think about a huge pile of work that needs to be done? Don’t you feel a bit overwhelmed, perhaps even tired, just by thinking about it? Now quickly think about spending a two-week vacation on Bora-Bora or traveling around a country you have yet to explore, perhaps Istanbul and the Cappadocia region of Turkey. Didn’t you immediately feel more alert and enthused? It’s exactly the same thing again with gratitude.

3. Sleep duration and sleep quality are also positively affected by gratitude as indicated in the same studies.

We all know what happens to the quality of our sleep when we are worried and stressed. And what happens when our lives flow, when things are going well. Again, by focusing on gratitude, we get a similar effect, even when things are not flowing.

4. By creating a good feeling inside of you, gratitude literally changes your energetic frequency.

It follows that if you change from a not-so-good feeling to a better one, your inner state of energy will increase, or quicken. Raising the energy of what you focus on raises your energy in many different ways. Focus on a war movie with devastation, grayness, desperation and mindless torture and killing, or focus on a movie such as “A Beautiful Mind” or “Eat, Pray, Love,” and you will clearly feel the energetic difference. Focusing on gratitude for something in your life, something as simple as the examples in the first point of this article, and you will immediately notice the change in energy.

5. Gratitude allows you to shift your perspective about the matters you had been contemplating prior to feeling the gratitude.

When you change your inner energy, as established in the previous points, you will be in a new place inside your body, mind, heart and spirit. This position in the new feeling and thinking place will allow you to see whatever problem you are currently facing from a new perspective because when you feel better, you can see things differently. This may even allow you to more easily find a solution to your situation.

6. Gratitude strengthens the neural pathway that demonstrates to you that you are capable of choosing to focus elsewhere whenever you wish.

As you focus on gratitude again and again, noticing the increase in energetic frequency, noticing that you do feel better by focusing on gratitude, you are not only creating a new habit -- and hence, creating and strengthening a new neural pathway to the detriment of earlier-formed neural pathways that do not serve you well -- but you are also creating the neural pathway of belief in your own power to change your focus as and when you wish in order to benefit yourself. And once you believe that changing how you feel is in your power and not in the power of your circumstances, you are on the road towards inner peace and freedom.

7. Gratitude strengthens another very important neural pathway that begins to determine that you prefer to be in this place of inner well-being that you achieve as you focus on gratitude, as opposed to the place you were in before you exercised your feelings of gratitude.

If you lived in a studio apartment as a student, and then started earning good money and moved into a 3-bedroom home, you soon become habituated to more space. If you are accustomed to eating in fast-food places and one day you start going to five-star restaurants, you soon become habituated to a superior quality of food, surroundings and service. In the same way you rapidly become accustomed to being in a much better energetic place – a place of much greater inner well-being – once you begin to choose to focus on gratitude throughout your day. Being accustomed to being there, means that you will adjust back to being there quickly, on the occasions that you stray off the path energetically.

8. By becoming a habit, gratitude automatically allows you to remain in a much better inner space that is not easily perturbed.

The stronger the habit, the more robust the neural pathway that is associated to your choice to focus on gratitude throughout your day. As this begins to become the normal place in which you live (i.e., a better place of inner well-being), it is much harder to perturb that place. In other words in the same way in which someone who trains at the gym on a regular basis, or someone who power walks or runs on a regular basis, has a physical condition that is harder to knock off kilter, so it also applies to someone who has chosen to have a continual feeling of inner well-being, and who will therefore not be easily thrown into a negative place no matter what the outer circumstances.

9. Gratitude causes you to focus on the now as opposed to focusing on past pain or sorrow, or focusing on future worries.

Just for a moment think of something that is worrying you. For another moment think of something that caused you pain in the past. Now focus on something you are grateful for … perhaps the warmth of the sunshine flooding through your window, or the aroma of cinnamon coming from your kitchen, or the brilliance of the sun in the sky. Now evaluate: while you were focused on feeling gratitude, you no longer had the future worry or the past pain in your mind and emotions. The gratitude left no room for it – not if you allowed the gratitude to flood your being for that moment. And the reason for that is the fact that focusing on gratitude takes you – immediately – to the NOW where there is no room for thoughts and emotions from the past or future. It is a place of utter peace.

10. Experiencing gratitude implies that your ego cannot dominate you because it can only dominate when you are not in the now.

Using the term ego in the sense that it is that part of you that has untold unwanted thoughts that you feel you are not in control of, thoughts that in turn take you to untold feelings over which you also have no control, then by focusing on gratitude and bringing yourself into the now as explained in the previous point, your ego – all those unwanted thoughts and unwanted emotions brought about by those thoughts, no longer has the power to dominate you. The one that you are when you are in the now is the eternal you, the divine you, the you that always was and always will be and hence, the you that is not the ego.

Consider these points throughout your day. They are simple. They work. Your life improves. Your subconscious thought patterns and beliefs change. Your inner well-being increases and this new increased level of well-being becomes second nature.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Weeks and One Day - H A W A I I !!

Feast your eyes on this sun-dappled pathway to my favorite beach in all the world!  Knowing I'll be within walking/biking distance of it in just a couple of weeks is putting a spring in my step big time!  Hawaii is my favorite place to be, and I'm blessed beyond measure to be able to house-sit for dear friends who live right in Kailua Town, two blocks from Kailua Beach ... which can be seen in the photo just below.

Kailua Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Originally uploaded by quangas

Monday, August 9, 2010

HAWAII BOUND -- Three Weeks and Counting!

Surfer Crossing
Originally uploaded by _BigK_
I cannot WAIT to touch down in my beloved Hawaii in just a few short weeks!  I'll be joined there by a wonderful friend from England ... and will be met at the airport by another wonderful friend -- someone who knows the Island of Oahu like the back of his hand, as he's lived there for nearly 30 years!  Who's got it better than me?!

That sign over there to the right stands outside a terrific surf shop up on the North Shore in the town of Haleiwa.  We'll be staying on the North Shore (home of the famous "Bonzai Pipeline") for the first few days ... in a little 2-bedroom cottage in Pupukea.  I'll get to explore stuff I never got a chance to when I lived there.  That's part of what this trip is all about.  Mainly, though, it's a physical and spiritual retreat for ourselves . . . with FUN permeating every day!  (We're going to do what WE want to do when WE want to do it.  My friend and I figure we both deserve it -- given what we've each been through in the last 10 years with our kids!)

Above:  "Beach Stuff" -- also originally loaded by BigK.  Thanks for a cool photo, BigK!

"One oar stroke isn't going to get you anywhere, but if you take a load of tiny actions and you string them all together, you really can achieve almost anything."  --  Roz Savage, Ocean Rower

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