Monday, February 23, 2015

Lessons on Judging

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."
-Jesus Christ

I've learned the lesson too many times to even try to count. I even teach the lesson to my students. I've sat through sermons, spent time in Bible studies and also taught lessons specifically on the dangers-- the evils-- of judging. And I'm still guilty.

Time and again... lining up at the start line at 5k's, half marathons, CrossFit competitions, I size up the competition. And thoughts march through my brain like committed but misguided troops...

She's going to give me no trouble.

I just need to stay in front of her.

I can totally beat that guy.

And each time I'm completely sure that my judgments are precise, I'm put firmly back in my place. Like yesterday at the park...

My husband and I left our comfortable couches on a beautifully sunny afternoon. Jogging a mile to our neighborhood park, doing burpees on the way, we reached the pull up bars smiling and sweating and breathing hard. I barely noticed him at first, in the shade of the palm tree, bending over a loudly colorful woven back pack-- the cloth kind that hippies carry. 

He stood and called to my husband, "Look at those guns!" I distanced myself immediately-- better to let my husband handle it-- another wise guy trying to fit in with cracks about our level of fitness. Mild annoyance was soon replaced with great annoyance laced with a touch of disgust, as the guy continued to talk, slurring his words quite noticeably. I couldn't bear to meet his eyes to see the level of intoxication.

We took turns on the bars, my husband and I then the wobbling, weaving, slurring guy. I kept my distance, hiding my eye rolling by stretching and feigning interest in the park's flora and fauna.

And then the story came... Eleven years ago. A five story fall. Cracked and broken ribs. Shredded spleen. Tracheotomy. Pronounced dead. Awakening to the inability to walk. Or talk. Eleven years ago. And today, teaching yoga in the park. Equilibrium off. Balance terrible. 200 reps daily. His dog Coco. Life. And an invitation to join him for yoga class.

Oh, dear God. Forgive me. The shame I felt. Feel. 

How quick I am to believe the best about myself and the worst in others. How desperately I want others to believe the best about me. The standard I use to to judge others is the standard by which I will be judged. I'm so grateful for second chances that become hundreds of second chances. I'm so grateful for grace. For forgiveness. For moments when heaven meets earth, and God appears in the form of a stumbling, slurring messenger with a neatly groomed yoga dog in a colorful hippie back pack. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I'm Hungry! or Am I?

Sometimes I'm just hungry. ALL. THE. TIME.

Ok, let me be real. I'm not hungry. I just want to eat. ALL. THE. FOOD. ALL. THE. TIME.

I get that tickling little feeling. That restlessness. I need something. Maybe something sweet. Maybe something salty. Maybe something sweet and salty. I'm not quite sure.

The problem? I'm not really hungry. I feel hungry. And feelings can't be trusted.

How do we avoid eating everything in the house when we get this feeling?

  1. Check yourself-- When was the last time you had something to eat? How much have you eaten today? Are you eating enough total calories to sustain your activity level? Typically, none of these things are a problem for me. I am usually just wanting to eat. Apps like My Fitness Pal are great for tracking your calories and macronutrients-- and for accountability. Somehow, I tend to eat less when I have to type in a record of it.
  2. Distract yourself-- Could you just be bored? The kitchen is the hub of most houses. I sometimes find myself just wandering in there. Get out and do something. Find a hobby. Read a book. Play Uno with your family. Call a friend. Walk the dog.  
  3. Soothe yourself-- Are you emotional? Many of us are emotional eaters. That's actually a scientific thing, you know. Eating certain foods (chocolate, carbohydrates) causes the release of serotonin, which is known as the happy hormone. It makes us feel good. Exercise also causes our brains to release those happy hormones. Get some exercise. Enjoy a cup of coffee. Take a bubble bath. Talk to a friend. 
  4. Relax yourself-- Are you overly stressed? When stressed, our bodies release cortisol. It triggers the body to want to replenish our food stores. Spend some time each day doing something just for you. Read a book. Do some yoga. Take a walk. Meditate. 
  5. Guard yourself--What are you watching? I find my favorite TV shows are of the food variety-- Top Chef, Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay... I love competition, and I love food, so it's magical when it's combined in one show. And there's Pinterest. My feed is full of delicious pictures of food. There's a strong possibility that all this food watching is making me a better cook. There's an even stronger possibility that it's making me want to feed my belly. I refuse to give up my Food Network, but I will be aware. Don't wander to the kitchen during commercials.

Most of the solutions return to being mindful. We need to pay attention to what we are doing. Be in the moment. Get rid of distractions. I suspect that will also get rid of stress. We'll be happier and healthier. Because at the end of the day, it's not about fitting into a certain size of jeans. It's about living long and enjoying the living.