Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

newparadigmIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything and that’s mostly do to the self re-evaluations I’ve been up to.  I’ve finally slowed my role and I’m now interested in writing up what I’ve been working on and what I’ve been learning.  So the next few posts will be dedicated to this self discovery and experimentation.

Recently I read the book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall. This book tells two stories. One is a WWII story about how Cretan rebels and British officers kidnapped a Nazi General off of the, Nazi occupied, island of Crete. The second is an interlaced story about the importance of natural movements, like the ones the Cretans practiced and what made the kidnapping possible, and how modern exercise has lost it’s usefulness.

The books emphasizes the importance of the bodies ability to burn fat for fuel and in the later chapters I was fascinated by the idea of rewiring my body to burn fat instead of carbs as my main source of fuel.   The book and my curiosity led me to the Maffetone, 2-week carbohydrate intolerance, Test.

I’ve always stated that I NEED carbs. If I don’t get them my body feels weak and lethargic and I easily get low blood sugar and become a grouchy monster. So when I read that this TEST required me to drop carbs for 2 weeks I was skeptical, and I worried for my families sanity and safety. As I read more about the test and the method I became intrigued because the list of Carb intolerance symptoms were as follows:

Carbohydrate Intolerance Health Survey. (Some Common Signs and Symptoms):

  • Poor concentration or sleepiness after meals.
  • Increased intestinal gas or bloating after meals.
  • Frequently hungry.
  • Increasing abdominal fat or facial fat (especially cheeks).
  • Frequently fatigued or low energy.
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea.
  • Waist size increasing with age.
  • Fingers swollen/feeling “tight” after exercise.
  • Personal or family history of diabetes, kidney or gall stones, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol/low HDL, high triglycerides, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer.
  • Low meat, fish or egg intake.
  • Frequent cravings for sweets or caffeine.
  • Polycystic ovary (ovarian cysts) for women.

My first thought when reading this was, “whoa, wait!  This isn’t what I’m suppose to feel like after eating?” For me, these symptoms, were my normal relationship with food.  Well, with the exception of the cysts and part about diabetes and such.

I’ve never been one to play around with fad diets or extreme restrictions but I love the fact that Maffetone makes it very clear that the carbohydrate intolerance test is just that, A TEST! A person shouldn’t continue the restricted diet for more then 14 days and then after that each individual needs to pay attention to their body to create a healthy relationship with the level of carbs they can tolerate.  Maffetone also makes if very clear that the foods are restricted but a person should never let themselves be hungry.  If you’re hungry eat!

SIDE NOTE:  My mom is currently taking this test and she is having trouble letting go of our societies current model that one must be hungry and monitoring calories to be eating right and not over-indulging.

I’m all for experiential experiments so I chose a date and took the test. As of today, I finished the test and I’m in my first follow up week where I’m slowly adding carbs back into my diet.

 

Results:

OUTSTANDING!

With the exception of Day 2 (lightheaded when I would stand up) and day 3 (felt like I had lead weights in my shoes), where I was withdrawing from carbs I’ve felt amazing! Here is what I noticed:

  • I lost 5 total pounds in 2 weeks , some is water weight some is fat. I’m not a heavy person and I mostly carry vanity weight; the weight that is healthy but hides the great 6pack abs everyone wants.  I was pleasantly surprise at the change in my body composition
  • I’ve had a ton of energy that was and is consistent all day
  • No mood swings and no feelings of low blood sugar
  • No headaches, stomach cramps, or bloating
  • I was never hungry. I ate when I wanted and then didn’t think about food most of the day.

 

Downside for me:

  • Since the test removes processed foods completely there is a lot of cooking and cleanup. I’ve always been one that when I want food I want it now! My go to foods that are quick were gone (even my fruit snacks). I did find some quick foods though: cucumber, almonds, cashew, carrots, and cheese.
  • Can’t really eat out without breaking the test in some way.
  • A lot more shopping.   Fresh food means buying what you will eat within a few days
  • I wasn’t super creative with my meals so I got a bit bored with the foods and would stare at my sons cereal box longingly
  • One day I had crazy cravings for something sweet.  At one point I was eyeing my son’s Frosted Mini Wheats as if my life depended on eating them.  I held strong though.  If you have the option it’s helpful to clean out any food you can’t have.

 

What I’m learning:

That’s for next time…

 

If you are interesting in the idea of burning fat as fuel go to http://philmaffetone.com/what-is-the-maffetone-method/

There is a lot of information including fitness suggestions, recipes (for after the test) and the MAF TEST.

Or google “fat for fuel” and you will find a ton of triathlete sites that suggest this style.

I definitely recommend the test for anyone. The fact that it’s so short and simple (but not easy) to follow makes it a worthwhile reset for the body.

 

Unitl next time…

 

 

 

 

 

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Rumplestiltskin

A question for you…

I have to admit that I love the ABC series Once Upon a Time.  It’s season 3 and in the premiere the main characters Captain Hook, Rumplestiltskin, the Evil Queen, Snow White, Prince Charming, and Emma Swan (Daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming) are on their way to Neverland to save Henry (Emma’s son) from the treacherous Peter Pan.  Yes, you read that correctly. Peter Pan is the bad guy.  Also Neverland is not a place you want to be.  In an earlier episode Wendy describes Neverland this way, “There’s a reason it’s called Neverland. Because once you set foot in its soil, the Shadow never lets you leave.”  I think that’s why I love this show.  It blows apart everything I know about fairytales.  It always keeps me guessing, which is awesome!

Certain TV shows grab us because they are able to play with human dynamics really well.  I believe when these shows create dynamics that the viewer can relate to, but create them in extreme situations that the average person doesn’t face, we love them.  Breaking Bad and the Sopranos are examples of exceptional execution of extreme situations with normal, relatable human dynamics.

I love human dynamics.  Something about taking the chaos of human interaction and finding the patterns within excites and fascinates me.  It drives my husband nuts sometimes because I see them in fictional TV interactions and sometimes I get deeply sucked in watching them play out.  If these fictional interactions are done well, they awaken me to an aspect of myself I wasn’t fully aware of.  Which, in turn, adds to my personal growth in the real world.   The below interaction between Rumplestiltskin and Emma Swan is such an occasion.  In this scene Rumplestiltskin is telling Emma that she lacks imagination. And in Neverland that just doesn’t cut it.

Emma: Why are you doing this?
Rumple: Because I want to succeed.
Emma: What makes you think I’m going to fail?
Rumple: How could you not?  You don’t believe in your parents, or magic, nor even yourself.
Emma: I slayed a dragon, I think I believe.
Rumple: Only what was shown to you.  When have you ever taken a real leap of faith? You know the kind where there is absolutely no proof?  I’ve known you some time Miss Swan and sadly, despite everything you’ve been through, you’re still just that bail bonds person, looking for evidence.  Well dearie that’s not going to work in Neverland.
Emma: I’ll do whatever it takes.
Rumple: Well you just need someone to tell you what that is.  Sorry dearie our foe is too fearsome for hand-holding.  Neverland is a place where imagination runs wild.  And sadly, yours doesn’t.

You can watch the exchange here but it might be hard to follow if you don’t know the characters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YbpQQOAL6Y

I’m not sure how many people would have any reaction to that exchange.  The scene itself is just a plot device to justify Rumplestiltskin going off on his own.   However, when I watched the exchange I felt like Rumple was talking directly to me.  He was very clearly asking me, “Can you create something if no one hands you a recipe to follow? “  “Can you use your imagination to picture something wild and your creativity to make it real?”  This hits home because I’m working on the process of imagining my life and the imagination piece is a struggle.

So what’s the real difference between creativity and imagination and why are they important?

Let us start with definitions.

First Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions:

  • Creativity: The ability to make new things or think of new ideas
  • Imagination: The ability to imagine things that are not real: the ability to form a picture in your mind of something that you have not seen or experienced

In essence the difference is between real and unreal creations.

I also went out and Googled the connection between these two words and how they relate to creating change in a person’s life.  The articles I’ve found also mention innovation, but innovation doesn’t apply to this blog post so I’m leaving it out.  It turns out that for life changing endeavors, creativity and imagination play pivotal roles.

So, here are the definitions I synthesized from my research:

  • Creativity: Taking perceived reality (all of the facts, evidence, arguments and proof) and coming up with original solutions.
  • Imagination:  Creating something completely wild and extraordinary without the limits of what is perceived possible in reality.

Please note that I use the word perceived in both of these definitions. I do this because reality changes for us depending on our perceptions at the time.  So what might be impossible to me one moment can become completely possible at a different point in my life.

So back to the questions I heard Rumple asking me.  Can I create something if no one hands me a recipe to follow? Can I use my imagination to picture something wild and then use my creativity to make it real?  When I started this article I thought I knew what my problem was.  I thought that I had let my imagination muscle atrophy by not allowing myself to come up with the wild ideas.  I thought by not using my imagination I also wasn’t allowing myself to use my creativity to make my life what I want it to be.  As I think on it more, I realize my imagination is fully intact. I just have a tendency to misdirect it into unproductive thoughts such as how much effort something may take and all the possible ways that same something might go wrong.  When I let myself imagine these wild ideas I don’t follow through and I don’t even bother to give myself a chance to be creative.    It’s not that I don’t have imagination.  It’s that I imagine great things and then imagine all the way those great ideas can be foiled.  Well done.

This is a big “aha” for me.  I now realize the true power of imagination.  It can be our greatest ally in becoming our highest most productive selves or it can be a super villain that thwarts us at every turn.  Creativity is the workhorse, the recipe creator, of our lives and it can only be cultivated and put into action when imagination is used for good, empowering endeavors.

Now I have an answer for Rumple.  Yes, I can use my imagination to create something wild and I believe I can create it in the real world if I can hold the imagination super villain at bay.   Perhaps that is what Peter Pan represents in the ABC show Once Upon a Time.  He is the form of imagination that manipulates us into inaction by stifling responsibility, maturity and personal power.  By indulging Peter Pan we leave the possibility for great achievement forever lost in Never Neverland.

“You quit your Job? WOW! What a leap of faith. How did you find the courage to do it?”

A Leap of faith? Regarding my decision to quit a job? Really? All I did was leave one career working for someone else to another one working for me. Not really a leap of faith in my mind. It could be a leap of faith for some, but for me it was financially feasible, and planned a year in advance. I must admit that it’s weird to be dependent on my spouse for support while I figure out my new trade, but the weirdness isn’t really worthy of a leap. It feels more like stepping into a new pair of shoes.

So, now I’m thinking: what is a “leap of faith”? When have I made one? What did it feel like? And as I searched my past I realized I’ve made a couple, of what I would call, profound (capital L) Leaps.leap

The first was when I started dating a man 12yrs my senior, who smoked (I swore to myself I would never date a smoker), and who stated outright that he was a life long bachelor and that eventually I would see him for who he was and I would leave. But something inside of me said, “Stick around!”

I also took a leap when I quit my job at the Longmont Chamber of Commerce. It was a stable job that supported my lifestyle, but it started to change me into a person I didn’t like. My outlook on life became one of bitter resentment and that’s not how I wanted to live. So, I honored my sense of integrity and loyalty, and gave a full months notice. I left that job with little in my savings account and nothing to fall back on.

My most recent leap was when I joined the EGCM (Equine Gestalt Coaching Method developed by Melisa Pearce) program. It was a leap of faith for me because I didn’t go in with curiosity and an attitude of “maybe I’ll do this for a living and maybe it will be a new fun thing to do with the horses”. No, I found the program, did a bit of research and less then a month later I jumped in with one goal: To become a full time EGCM practitioner. No, if’s ands or buts about it! I was going to do the program in the 18 months, then quit my job and become an entrepreneur!

“The strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves” – Anthony Robbins

But wait! Weren’t each of those actions a Leap of Faith? If Anthony Robbins is correct, and I think that he is, there is no way I could have made those changes and remain true to how I defined myself before each of them. I had to change my identity first. Changing my identity was the leap of faith! This realization brings clarity to the actions that were previously considered the leaps of faith. I can now see the old identity and the new one that replaced it, and below is a description of the shift that occurred in each case.

With the man I was dating I had to let go of my Damsel identity that was so cautious about my choice of dates. I had to step out of the identity of a girl that dated a specific, in the box, finished package type of guy, and I had to move to an entirely different identity. The name that I feel fits this new identity is Gambler. I became someone who was willing to be open to dating and growing and if need be moving on. After my identity changed I was able to let go of the man I envisioned being with (finished package guy) and instead follow what I felt was inside this man: character, integrity and a good heart. This new me could date this man believing that we could grow in the same direction even if our paths separated at some point.

Did I have to change my identity to date this man? No.

Would the relationship have worked if I hadn’t? Probably not, because I would have tried to change him into what I wanted him to be and I would have tried to mold him to fit my Damsel identity, to be what I envisioned: that finished, total package. Instead I was able to enjoy the man he was as I stepped fully into my new Identity of Gambler. By being open I found a friend, a lover and a husband, and he found the space to eventually change his own identity a few times as well. The shift in beliefs, values, and rules I now held changed all my future decisions. Now we have been together for 12yrs and married for 6yrs. Needless to say I’m not disappointed with the way that Leap turned out.

With my Chamber job I thought I was following freedom and independence, when in fact, I was living the Coward identity. I held on to the secure job and consistent paycheck regardless of the negative impact to my mind, body and spirit. I had to move from the Coward to a person of integrity who followed her personal truth. For me this new identity was that of the Seeker. I also realize that establishing my Gambler identity helped with this shift as it allowed me to trust taking a chance with change.

Could I have left the chamber if I hadn’t made the shift in identity? No way! That “security” person needed her apartment, needed income and a title, and would live with resentment to keep it.

Only when the Seeker took over and I became a person of truth and integrity did leaving the Chamber even become an option. That’s because my beliefs about myself and others had changed. The rules of the game were new and different. My beliefs changed regarding how someone is supposed to move through the world, and this allowed me to see roads and opportunities that I couldn’t see before.

This leap of faith worked out really well, too. After leaving my job at the Chamber I found a career in IT that sustained me (rather well, I might add), for 8 1/2yrs. Interestingly, I wouldn’t have landed the IT position had I not previously shifted my identity to the Seeker. During the interview for a secretary position, I told the VP who was interviewing me that I would have to leave if a better job came along. I did this knowing full well my comment would likely cost me the job I was interviewing for. But I had to be honest. Surprisingly, instead of hiring me for the secretary job, they called me back to interview for an IT helpdesk position that paid more and offered much better potential for growth. By taking the leap of faith and moving into a new identity, I ended up with what the old Coward identity always craved. For the last 8 1/2yrs I have had the freedom to grow as a professional and I have more independence then ever financially, emotionally and physically.

And most recently with EGCM, I changed from a Servant identity, which manifested itself as a life long employee, to the Magician, a person who has the vision and creative abilities to realize the work that I was always meant to do. Once again I don’t think I could have changed identities from Servant to Magician if I hadn’t already adopted the identities of the Seeker and the Gambler. The decisions since that shift have all been in line with these new identities.

So after examining my personal leaps – what did I learn? I learned that it’s not how dangerous or scary the life change is, but the mindset behind it (i.e. what beliefs, values and rules are informing the decisions), which was created by my definition of self. Quitting my job was not a leap of faith. In fact, I was only able to quit my job because I had already taken the leap. In my case it was moving from an identity of Damsel, Coward and Servant to an identity of Gambler, Seeker, and Magician.

The leap of faith is an act for sure, but more then that it’s the decision to become something new; to let go of an entire aspect of self and step fully into another one without ever looking back. Stepping up and deciding to be me was, and always has been, the leap of faith. Leaving my IT job was just the next step once I hit the other side.