Time to Get Real – Week of May 15

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I almost quit.

Over the last couple weeks it simply became so depressing that I seriously considered just walking away from this process and the series of posts.

I’m not sure there is a worse feeling than the one where everything FEELS good followed by not getting a good result on the scale.  My clothes seem to be fitting better.  I can almost move to the next hole on my belt.

Then I got a surprise.

Either no change or negative change.

Which is followed by some poor eating choices.  Sigh.  It’s a pattern I know all too well.

By this time I expected I would have dropped ten pounds.  That’s was not an overly aggressive or optimistic goal at all.  Ten pounds over a couple of months is very do-able.  Except it hasn’t been anything of the sort.

I’m frustrated.  I’m angry.

The computer caused break from posting would have given me a perfect out.  Just never post again.

But at the end of things, I refuse to give up.  Took a break, now it’s over.  We re-set and begin again.

The Goal

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

 

The next milestone is getting back below 195.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

197.4 pounds

Weight Change this week – -0.0 pounds

Beginning weight – 197.4

Total Weight Loss To Date – 0.0 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/23

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Creativity Overload

I love the act of creativity.

Sometimes I forget that it is the act of creativity that is important, not what is created.

creativity-illo-2Because ours is such a “produce, produce, produce” society we are discouraged from being creative because we don’t believe we’ll create something worthwhile.  What we either forget or fail to realize is that the greatest artists have turned out mountains of crap on the way to where we know them.  They had to learn the craft of what they do.  The greatest guitarist of all time (whoever you may believe that is) began by picking up the instrument for the first time, awkwardly placing their fingers on the fret board and strumming some wretched approximation of what they were trying to create.  Writers wrote crap.  Painters painted crap.  Singers sang crap.  Actors acted crap.

By coming back again and again to the act of creation they got a little better.  Then a lot better.  Creativity is an ongoing process.  A living process.  So anything that stops us from entering into that process slowly kills the creativity within us.

What’s killing my creativity is that I’m so excited about all my ideas.  You see I REALLY enjoy being creative.  I enjoy trying my hand at different things.  I want to write and play guitar and draw and paint and carve wood and act and photography and probably a half a dozen other things that I’ve forgotten for the moment or haven’t discovered yet.

AND I WANT TO DO THEM ALL!  RIGHT NOW!

That doesn’t work.  I talk a lot about the challenge of the rocks and piles.  All the things I want to do are individual rocks and they are stacked in piles.  The work pile, the creative pile, the travel pile, an endless row of piles with many, many rocks in each one.  The sheer volume of the piles overwhelms me into paralysis.  Which should I do?  If I do this then I can’t do that.  Maybe I won’t enjoy this (won’t know till I try), maybe I won’t be any good at it (being good at it isn’t always the goal.  Sometimes you need to do things for the sheer joy of doing it).  I can create a whole new pile just of reasons why I’m not getting started on something creative.

The cure for the rocks and piles issue is simple – just pick a rock.  Sometimes time and fortune forces your hand and you have to pick a specific rock.  There are plenty of times when all I need to do is just pick something, anything and get started.  It’s like priming a pump or jump starting an engine.  Once I get rolling things suddenly begin to take on a life of their own.

I am blessed that, by and large, creativity and the creative act are avocational for me.  I don’t have to pay the bills through it.  So I can do whatever I want in pretty much any order I desire.  In reality there are two areas of creativity I should be working (writing and guitar playing) and one I must (the prayer discs I wrote about HERE.  I am making 21 sets of them as gifts for a group of pilgrims who will be leaving in about a month.  So I must finish them).  I’ll look at the other two areas in later posts.

For the moment I need to remember the joy the act of creativity brings me.  I need to ignore the pile of excuses and silence the inner critic voice.  I need to forget trying to produce and simply create.

Peace.

 

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Just a quick update

Life is always an adventure.

A couple weeks back my computer crashed.  Hard.  So then I had to quickly find a computer in my current price range

Courtesy Openglipart.org

Courtesy Openclipart.org

and get it in.  First computer had a malfunctioning power switch so it had to go back.  New computer arrives, works fine.  Have to begin loading my software on it.

Then there’s a glitch (entirely operator error), so I had to go back and re-do some of it.

Sigh.

So I should be back up and running as per usual this week.  The weight loss has continued with its usual lurching progress (?).  I’m hoping that will settle out this week as well.

On the creativity front I’ve gotten too many balls in the air and need to bring a little order to that as well.

Otherwise life is pretty good.

Now that my computer works.

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Creativity and Inspiration

Sometimes you need a little boost.

For me, that is rarely a “rah rah” inspirational talk.  I’ve seen and heard too many of them.  Far too often they ring hollow for me.  I know what I have to do.  It’s actually doing it that is the problem.

creativity-illo-2What usually does it for me is other people, leading by example.  Being around creative people makes me want to get started myself.  It can even be inspiration at a distance.  Right now I’m reading a great book about one of my all time favorite musical groups, Crosby, Stills and Nash.  (The book is Crosby, Stills and Nash – The Biography by Dave Zimmer).  It not only inspired me to go back to listen to some of their incredible music but it made me want to dig back into my own playing again (and again and again and again, lol).

But that’s not the only inspiration I’ve been getting recently.  I have some family and friends who are doing creative things that are giving me that push to head back to all the things I’m trying to do.

My sister-in-law Janet Hallaran has been working in fused glass for a while now.  I keep looking at her stuff in total awe.  I have no idea how she does it but they’re really cool.  Check it out at Art Glass Fusion.

I’m also being inspired by a new co-worker, Mary Kate Deal.  Mary Kate is our Parish Administrator.  Turns out she is also a talented quilt maker, knitter and bow tie maker.  Check out Patchwork Pastor.

Last, but absolutely not least is The Kid, my daughter.  A couple of months ago fate decided to crap all over her.  After absorbing the pain of that, she decided to bounce back by creating jewelry.  That’s on top of her incredible gifts as a writer and the creativity she express that way.  Her shop is AzazelandPenemue.

These aren’t the only ones inspiring me.  I listen to buskers on the sidewalks of Richmond.  There are friends who stretching their wings writing, or trying other things.  Plus I have friends who have been creative for most of their lives.  I’m inspired by my friend Tara Eastman who uses her creativity within her ministry, just the way I’m trying to do.  I’m inspired by an artist that I only know through Facebook, Liz Laribee.  She not only creates but has helped create a place in Harrisburg, PA to help people be creative.  She does a lot of different things but her work in cardboard has always blown me away (check out her work at LizLaribee.com).  Whenever I pick up my guitar I think of my friend and guitar mentor Pete Avery.  I can see the big guy with one of his guitars strapped on, eyes closed and finger flying.  They inspire me, one and all.

Here’s the bottom line – I need to take the next step.  It’s not all the job of all these people to inspire me, that’s just a side effect of their creativity.  What happens next is entirely on me.  I have all kinds of tools to be creative.  I need to pick them up.  I need to try.  I need to learn from the less than successful attempts (any attempt at creativity is never a failure).  I need to make sure I keep going.

Like I said, creativity is a process of trial and error.

 

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Time to Get Real – Week of April 10

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Just so you know.

I have not quit, collapsed or been abducted by aliens.

My computer has died.

This makes update much more difficult since my “backup” systems are less than ideal.  New computer on the way.

In the meantime I have been continuing to work.  Had a small positive on the scale.  It was Easter week so I consider ANY positive motion to be good.  Plus the following day I went 15,000+ steps as we enjoyed the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.

So my posts will be short and sweet till I get a better platform to post from (soon, I hope!)

Truly stunning, thousands of blossoms

Truly stunning, thousands of blossoms

The Goal

 

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

 

The next milestone is getting back below 195.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

196.4 pounds

Weight Change this week – -0.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 8.4 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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Time to Get Real – Week of April 3

weight-loss-3

Much better.

MUCH, much better.

Last week I talked about feeling that my body was adjusting.  That feeling continued this week.  My endurance was better during my workouts.  More running breaks and longer.  My body feels tighter, less flabby.  I was prepared to be happy with just those changes because I knew they were precursors to getting where I want to be.

Then I got a surprise.

Eventually I knew that the changes would show up on the scale.  It’s what happens.  Regular workouts and food discipline.  I worked out every day except Sunday.  That’s my off day.  Just seems like a logical one for me.  LOL.  Workouts are 30 minute treadmill sessions.  Walking at 3.2 mph with breaks of running at 5.0.  Eventually I know I’ll be able to run the entire workout.  With the weather warming, the bicycle will be on the road starting next week.  Plus more walking as I continue to explore Richmond.  I clocked over 13,000 steps on Wednesday!

So that next objective is in sight.  I can not slip up at this point.  I can not get comfortable and lazy.

It can’t happen.

The Goal

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

 

The next milestone is getting back below 195.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

196.8 pounds

Weight Change this week – -2.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 8.2 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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Creativity and Prayer

It’s always been a joy for me that my jobs usually afforded me the opportunity to be creative.  I began by studying theater.  When I left college I moved into radio (long story) and discovered that my ability to tell stories, express meaning and emotion just with my voice made me successful as an on air personality.  I could do more than just read the news or update the weather.  By approaching all those routine items with a little creativity it helped me connect with my audience.  That turned into an almost 20 year career as a radio personality (the top of the pyramid in those circles.  At least the way I look at it.  Another topic for another day.)

creativity-illo-2For the last 15 years I’ve paid the bills by “taking my talents” into the church.  My role there is as teacher, mentor and minister to young people.  The ability to tell stories well, to communicate concepts in a manner that is interesting and engaging is a huge gift here.  Having great core material to work from doesn’t hurt either!  Creativity is something that can help me here as well.

Let me drop something in at this point.  It’s something that any creative person already knows but a lot of us had to learn the hard way.  Creativity is a trial and error process.  Sometimes thing work out beautifully the first time (somewhere, for someone) but very often it is a process filled with discarded ideas and attempts.  Learning to deal with that can be a huge hurdle.  Again, another topic for another day.

So here’s my latest attempt at bringing a little creativity into my work with the Gospel, young people and the church.  It’s actually based on something I did before (I posted a photo on Facebook, HERE).  Let me give you a brief overview.

In the Episcopal Church we recognize seven principal kinds of prayer.  (You can find them on page 856 of any Book of Common Prayer)  Unfortunately, from a teaching point of view, most of them have names that are church jargon (Penitence, Oblation, Intercession, Petition) which creates a stumbling block.  It’s tough to have to learn a whole new language before you can learn the concepts.  But those are the names I’m stuck with, so how can I ease the way to learn them?  I decided to create image based “tokens” to help people connect.  I created the ones linked above (which are slightly larger than quarters) last year while I was unemployed.  They’re really designed more for personal prayer use than teaching.  So this year I moved up to three inch wooden discs and fiddled with some of the images I’m using.  Here is what I’ve created this time: (Click on the image for a larger version)

PetitionwPetition: the prayer where we ask God about our own needs.  Two hands raised, palms up.

 

 

IntercessionwIntercession: Asking for the needs of others, even the whole world.  Yes, I’m a little optimistic about the ice pack at the North Pole.  I’m hoping humanity comes to its senses in time.

 

Adorationw

 

Adoration : Lifting our hearts and minds to God with no request other than to enjoy the divine presence.  That always strikes me as basking in the warmth of the sun.

 

Praisew

Praise : Our understanding is that God is pretty awesome.  Creator of the Universe, the whole deal.  We don’t praise him to try and suck up and get something but because God is worthy of praise.  Pretty straight forward here, hands raised in praise.

 

ThanksgivingwThanksgiving : I was raised to say thank you.  We say prayers of thanks for all the gifts we have received, for anything that draws us closer to the divine goal.  We are given things out of God’s love for us and we say thank you out of our love for God.

 

OblationwOblation : Prayers and actions of giving back what God has given us to the work God wants done in this world.  Traditionally, we are asked to give the first fruits of our labor, “off the top” as it were.  The image of grapes as those fruits is traditional and appeals to me.

 

PenitancewPenitence – This was the image that I changed for this set.  Originally it was an eye and a tear but that felt like I wasn’t getting the whole concept.  Penitence isn’t just about feeling sorry for doing something wrong.  It’s confessing that we screwed up, doing what is possible to fix the problem and working towards not doing it again.  So the image here is a torn piece of cloth and the needle and thread of penitence mending what was broken.  I like it a lot better.

Creating these tokens has a special meaning for me.  To do them properly means I need to put myself into a quiet, creative, dare I say it, even prayerful place.  I need to slow down and focus on what is being created.  It doesn’t always happen.  Take a look at the left arm on “Praise”.  That was the first one I did on this project and I wasn’t in the right “head space” for it.

Like I said, creativity is a process of trial and error.

 

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