I spent last week nibbling on salad, walking my arse off, having a swim, and rowing our boat around a nearby island. Truly, I only slipped up twice with a small bowl of chippies, and one sweet biscuit; both were delicious by the way. I was strictly using my eating window, and usually a kilo should drop off me in that first week. Hopping on the scales on Monday was an excruciating experience – I had gained, yes gained, half a kilo! That’s it! Those stupid digital scales, were meant to be cooking scales anyway, have been thrown out the window, hopefully to float off and never to return. Gained, good grief. I weighed myself all around the bathroom, and sure enough, I was two kilos heavier by the loo, and three kilos lighter by the shower, and three different weights at the basin. ‘Perhaps they need a new battery’ suggested my lovely husband, who was keeping well out of the way by this stage. I had thought of that but was beyond help, so it’s too late, they are turfed.
Trying to keep it all in perspective can be difficult in these extremely stressful times. I keep thinking, what have I got to be stressed about? For me the change is: my lovely husband working from home most of his day, a reduction in salary but not as much as people who have been furloughed or worse still, laid off; and having to shop on specific days dressed like a bank robber, a very hairy one since I can’t go to the hairdresser. Everything else is fairly much the same, and now I can even swim again. But the weather hasn’t been compliant and there’s still a few Portuguese man of war about that we are a bit weary of. Not being able to just hop on a plane and travel to my family if they need me, is very stressful, as I’ve always had that option up till now. I make that sound so easy, when in reality it’s thousands of dollars, and three calendar days of travel to get there. On top of that it’s now a repatriation flight and fourteen days isolation at the governments charges, either end. I don’t know anyone who would have twenty-eight days leave and a spare five grand up their sleeve before they even get to see their family!
So I decided it was a me day instead. I put on some soup. I love soup. We bought a tiny little preloved slow cooker last year, which looked brand new when we picked it up, a much better deal than the ‘cooking’ scales. Many, many litres of different soups have been made since then over the ‘cooler’ months. It makes enough for three meals, that’s one each and one in the freezer. People who have had covid-19 say that prepared meals are essential if one gets ill, and has no energy or ability to get groceries and cook. I like that idea, so now there’s some jars of soup in there just in case. It’s nearly time to prepare for hurricane season anyway, and soup is easy to warm up on the gas stove in an emergency.
I made ugly scones. Ugly scones are kind of like a muffin, but completely vegan, dairy free, and baked in huge dollops on baking paper. They turn out all uneven, and bits stick out, and are delicious warm with your favourite spread. Not something you might serve up for the Governors visit, mind. Mine were apple, grated carrot, ginger and allspice flavoured. Why? Well, that’s what was in the cupboard, that’s the beauty of ugly scones. Whatever’s there goes. I ate four, and was going to take a photo to show you, but ate those too. I promise I’ll be good again next week. Email me on the contact page and I’ll send you the recipe if you would like it: https://idontdoironing.com/contact/
I practised being in ‘the now’. My lovely friends in New Zealand who are Buddhist, believe that we are actually already dead. When talking with them my brain grasps this concept, but when away from them, my brain debates this concept. It’s to do with reincarnation, everything being made up of particles from the universe, and timelines that aren’t linear. The past ‘you’ no longer exists, and the future ‘you’ is already dead, so we only have now. Lost you yet? Yeah well anyway, even if I can’t quite affiliate to the being dead already when I’m most definitely alive and breathing, I can relate to living in a ‘now’ state. I’ll try and explain.
Living in ‘the now’ is learning to clear your mind of all the past regrets and future speculations, to be able to fully appreciate what is happening right now, in this moment, and be grateful instead. That is easier said than done, and it can take a while to retrain your brain to recognise when it’s reminiscing, or hypothesizing, and nip that in the bud to just ‘be’ and accept now as the most wondrous moment. Once this concept is practiced, it’s a fantastic tool, to help put everything in perspective, when things are beginning to feel out of control. You might have heard people talking about learning to be grateful, and it’s pretty much that simple. When I started to learn this first, I used eating my breakfast, as my tool. Lately I have realised that with my intermittent fasting, I don’t eat breakfast most days, so perhaps that has interrupted my ability to be grateful and stay in the now? My lovely husband has been encouraging me to eat breakfast again. ‘You love breakfast’ he said. Yes, I do, but is it because it’s when I practice, or is it because I actually enjoy it? Now that got you thinking!
So if you would like to have a go. Get yourself your favourite cereal, pancake, full cooked breakfast, ugly scone, whatever it is you really love to eat first thing. It might even be your lunch. When you eat it, there should only be your breakfast, and nothing else. No phone, no noise from t.v. or radio, no interruptions, nothing. It’s just you and your breakfast, and the natural noises around you like nature, the road near your home, the clock ticking, or chicks chirping. Eat slowly, you need at least ten minutes put aside for this. As you eat, examine each mouthful. What is the texture? What does it taste like? Which parts are your favourite? Don’t ask why, just acknowledge and then be grateful that you have breakfast, that you are enjoying your breakfast, and you have the ability to provide or receive breakfast. That’s it. Then, once this becomes easy you can extend it into your usual day. ‘I’m so lucky’ is often a phrase I catch myself thinking, and I know it’s working, because I really am lucky, and I’m grateful for it. A lady I was trying to explain all this to, said ‘I’d never have time for all of that!’. Now the interesting thing is, if you make a special time to do this, you will have more time in your day. That’s because it weeds out all the ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ and helps you to keep you focused.
Another way is to meditate. I already mentioned meditating standing up while doing Tai Chi, in an earlier blog. If you are new to meditation, then the easiest way I have found to start off with, is to study nature. So again, you will need ten minutes of uninterrupted free time. Sit quietly studying a piece of nature. Look, smell or feel a flower, blade of grass, a smooth stone, or even a twig and do nothing but study it, for a few minutes, then put it down. Next close your eyes and visualise the same thing in your imagination. Hold it in your mind for as long as you can, and when you begin to lose the picture, open your eyes, pick it up and study it again to remind you. Ten minutes of this most days, will help to teach you to empty your brain of all the small stuff that crowds in and controls your moods, and realign you to the bigger more important things, that will now seem more manageable. If you find that thoughts still crowd in, don’t fight that, just acknowledge that it’s not the right time for them, and go back to what you’re studying. Once you’re managing the whole ten minutes easily, extend the time a little. Don’t forget, it’s natural to think, just don’t dwell on it. After learning to do this regularly, you will find yourself automatically doing it in other situations, leaving your mind clearer.
If you would like to learn a little more about learning to meditate, clear your mind, and live in ‘the now’, get in touch using my ‘Let’s chat’ page: https://idontdoironing.com/did-you-know/ Or you could try one of two methods I’ve suggested. If you do, please share in the comments below what that was like for you, that would be great to hear about.
I decided to try my ‘being in the now again while eating my breakfast yesterday. I set up my bowl, spoon, and teapot outside, as it was a lovely morning here in Bermuda. Appreciating the blue water, and sun on my face, I cleared my mind, poured my tea, and went to eat my first mouthful of delicious nutty muesli. This incidentally costs a fortune here, so it’s only half a cupful allowed. As I acknowledged that my mind had already wandered, and dismissed that thought, I concentrated on appreciating its texture, taste, and the little pieces of brasil nuts, that are so tasty. I could hear Brown Chicken clucking, and as it got louder and louder, my attention was diverted to her and fifteen chicks, now twice the size of sparrows, sprinting across the lawn. Crap! I ignored them. Yeah, right. By the second delicious mouthful I had two chicks sitting on my foot, and one on my shoulder, and had to brush the cheekiest one off the table, just in time. Eat my breakfast, I think not. Maybe I’ve domesticated them a little too much. I’ll try my ‘now’ meditation again tomorrow morning, inside!
More soon – Sally
Ps. I didn’t really turf the scales, that would be wasteful and add to pollution. I put them way in the back of the cupboard, out of reach. Where I got them from to begin with! Lovely husband is sourcing a new battery……….