It only matters what works for you.

Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

What do you get out of it?

Your food, I mean.

We’ve been told over and over that if we eat a healthy diet, then we’ll be healthy. I think most of the people who read this know it’s completely untrue, but it persists as a lie. Of course the average person doesn’t do it anyway, so does it really matter?

One idea is that we don’t need to take vitamins if we eat a healthy diet. Hence the war on vitamins and supplements. I’m not sure I really understand the government’s constant attempts to over regulate them. Someone is making money off them right?

Despite my new-found soup way of life I still came down with some severe low iron symptoms. I went through a period where I ate red meat twice a day because I craved it. How much of that was me not absorbing the iron present in the food? Thyroid can cause low stomach acid, as can age, and that would interfere with absorbing the nutrients.

It’s a little gross to discuss, but many people don’t chew nearly enough. Part of that is because our food is more highly processed. It’s also because we rush everything in the US so we’re eating in a hurry. It’s a problem. A friend who had bypass surgery told me that chewing was the number one instruction her doctor gave her as she recovered to make sure she didn’t have problems with regain. I constantly have to remind myself to slow down.

Then of course, there’s the idea that there is no food in our food. That the soils in the US are very depleted by modern farming methods so the trace minerals that we should be getting out of our healthy eating aren’t there to begin with and no amount of chewing and stomach acid will pry them out of food they aren’t in.

Even though I eat mostly organic, with healthy choices, my kitchen table is still covered with various supplements and I can tell you that I notice if I miss even one for more than a day.  Some times I wonder if buying the good stuff in the first place even matters, but then I remember the chemical taste of commercial fruit and remember that it might not be what I do get out of it, it might be what I don’t.

Appreciate the journey.

Not long ago I got philosophical about the difference between gratitude and appreciation. I think we all need more appreciation in our lives. Certainly I do.

An issue I’ve had for a long time is the admonishment to ‘enjoy the journey’. That life isn’t about the end result. It’s extremely difficult to ‘enjoy the journey’ when you are limp and in pain, but now that I’m feeling better and moving forward with my life again, I’ve come back to that idea with some new insight.

By taking time to appreciate things in your life. To “to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something”, really can help you to slow down and enjoy the journey by reminding you that each minute can be precious, just like the books say.

We have a practice in our house where, should you see a moment of amazing natural beauty or a particularly adorably sleeping cat, then that moment should be mentioned immediately so that the others in the area can admire and appreciate it too. This does not count as an interruption of whatever is going on around it, rather it’s an elevated moment that is much more important that what was going on.

It can be very difficult to do that with more prosaic things. It’s easy to give thanks for the amazing spread at a special holiday meal. We’ve lost, many of us, the habit of giving thanks for the smaller meals of every day. It used to be a very common part of religious observance. The understanding of religion is changing, but maybe we should look back at some of those regular observances and see what they still have to offer.

A recent topic of conversation in our house has been the untempered need in American society to increase. Every business must get bigger. Every person must become richer and more successful. My beloved’s company has been small and doing extremely well. Somehow they determined they had to grow, and suddenly things haven’t been doing nearly as well. The partners were all making a very nice living and running a company that did excellent work and had very happy employees. Why did they have to decide that wasn’t enough?

Have we always been that way, or have we lost the understanding between wanting to be more versus wanting to have more. Certainly if I look around it isn’t difficult to see that the dollar has become the bottom line for everything.

I’m pretty sure the value in the journey isn’t supposed to be about the price tag. How do we get away from that? I guess I’ll stroll along for a while and see if I can figure it out.

 

Positive outlook, positive outcome.

That’s what they say. Attitude is everything. Create your reality. You get what you expect.

Well, here’s my chance to prove that. I recently got a letter saying that the doctor I like and trust and worked so hard to find is leaving practice to spend more time raising her children. I completely respect her choice. But my first reaction to that letter was panic. It took me 5 tries to find her.

I could continue to panic. To rehearse in my mind all the various problems that I’ve had in the past. How much trouble others have had.

Or.

Or I can take this as an opportunity to walk my talk. I can trust that I’ll be given what I need. I can believe that this is an opportunity to improve my situation, rather than an irredeemable tragedy.

I’d like to think I deserve better health care than ‘pleasant’ and ‘non-obstructionist’. This could be my opportunity to find someone who will invest in working with me to figure out how to optimize my health, rather than just keep it from deteriorating. Dare I say, someone I can trust to actually know more than I do about what is currently not functioning correctly?

I am definitely up for something better.

Is it gratitude?

 

Gratitude is a big thing right now in the spiritual communities that I partake in. “The way to get what you want is to be grateful for what you have.” is a phrase I’ve heard so often and in so many places I can’t even attribute it. I get what they’re saying.

But.

In my day job, I’m a writer, and a word geek. And the exact denotations and connotations of words are fun and exciting to me. How they can make us feel a certain way without us even realizing it. I love how you can express an exact and precise feeling when you find the right word, even though your audience might not catch the nuance. It warms my geeky little heart.

But I digress. Back to gratitude. I think we’re using the wrong word.

Dictionary.com defines it as “the quality  or feeling of being grateful or thankful:”

Freedictionary.com says it’s “The state of being grateful; thankfulness.   also a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours.”

So first I had to check up on ‘grateful’, since that’s the word they were using to define the state. And I get “thankful for gifts, favours, etc; appreciative”

And that, right there, is why I think we’re using the wrong word. Because when I hear the discussions about offering gratitude, that’s the definition I hear and understand, “to be thankful for gifts and favors.” And I absolutely agree that we should be thankful for all the things that we have. Those of us privileged to live in the west have things at a level the rest of the world finds insane. And clean running water. And public education.

The thing is, I don’t think we always appreciate them.

Appreciate. That’s the word I think we need to be using here.

Freedictionary.com gives us this for appreciate:

1. To recognize the quality, significance, or magnitude of: appreciated their freedom.
2. To be fully aware of or sensitive to; realize: I appreciate your problems.
3. To be thankful or show gratitude for: I really appreciate your help.
4. To admire greatly; value.
5. To raise in value or price, especially over time.

To recognize the quality and significance. To admire greatly. To be fully aware of.

Those, as well as thankfulness, are what I think the teachers mean when they tell us to practice gratitude. To appreciate what we have and where we are. And if you think about it like that, you can almost imagine that the last definition in there, to raise in value, could almost be a hint.

 

Things in the media

I was thinking this morning that when I first started this blog I would often post a link to an article or a video that talked about food or health in some way. Then I got in the groove of having things to say myself, or, to be honest, I’d get away from posting for months at a time. Busy, or just limp and not excited enough about anything to write.

As I was thinking this through this morning, I realized I had just seen something that belonged here.

The idea that a woman can be ‘too fat to be raped’ is so wrong I might be frothing at the mouth.

It starts with the idea that rape has anything to do with sex instead of everything to do with power. I promise, ugly people get raped every day.

And then the idea that just being fat negates us as sexual beings.

Nope.

The problems fat people have with sex (aside from fat-phobic jerks) are that of our own self image. An unwillingness to be vulnerable to others when you perceive yourself as less. A fear that your bed partner will find you as unattractive as you find yourself, in your culturally brainwashed mind.

For all I’ve been fat my whole life, I’ve never had trouble finding a sexual partner when I want one. I’ve been turned down, maybe more than someone thin and conventionally attractive, but I’ve had plenty of admirers too. Some smarmy, and plenty of perfectly nice people looking for fun and companionship. And I definitely haven’t had any complaints after the fact, so you can be sure a good time was had by all when things went down.

Our culture is so determined to reduce fat people to non-people, now even the satisfaction of surviving something horrible and coming out the other side strong and sane seems to be something they’d like to deny us.

Meatloaf anyone?

 

Enough with the shaming.

I was reading this article about fat stereotypes online the other day and when I got to the part about fat shaming my head nearly exploded so I thought it deserved its own post.

The free dictionary defines shame like this:

shame

(shām)

n.

1. a. A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish: felt shame for cheating on the exam.

b. Respect for propriety or morality: Have you no shame?
c. Psychiatry A pervasive, negative emotional state, usually originating in childhood, marked by chronic self-reproach and a sense of personal failure.
So, we’re talking about being foolish and wrong, a lack of respect for propriety, and instilling chronic self-reproach in people who don’t fit the society size norm.
And some people feel this is a good idea. The argument is always ‘well, if it helps people lose weight’.
It doesn’t. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t think anyone actually thinks that it does. I think that argument is self serving for the many, many people who like to be self righteous and smug suggesting that those who are fat are intentionally doing something bad and consciously making a choice to do something that hurts others.
Which is utterly ridiculous.
I will accept that fat hurts society when the government stops pimping for the grain industry and the diet industry and suggesting that we continue to eat in the way that has caused the population to gain weight every year that it’s been the recommendation, and yet is ‘backed by science’. Also when they come up with a solution that doesn’t involve disconnecting the intestines and that has a better than 5% success rate.
All fat shaming does is make people hate them selves. Feel overwhelming shame that we’re BAD. And it reinforces the idea that we’re somehow doing this to ourselves on purpose.
Of course there are plenty of people who got on the scale January 2 and realized that they’ve gained 10 lbs since Thanksgiving. They all resolved to go to the gym for 8 weeks, eat salads for the first month, and by spring break they’ll all be back to their bikini best.
But none of those people are the ones who get fat-shamed. The ones who get ostracized are those those who need to lose 2 and more sizes and I promise you, the number of those people who are a) unaware of their socially undesirable status and b) who haven’t already tried to do something is zero.
Even worse, our society has made fat shaming completely acceptable and that makes life for fat children hell on earth.

What are we saying?

A few weeks ago I happened across this article about how difficult it is to find non-sexualized clothing for young girls, suitable for active play and getting dirty.

Then I found this image on Facebook that says:

When you interrupt a girl’s school day to force her to change clothes or to send her home because her shorts are short or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that hiding her body is more important than her education. You are telling her that making sure the boys have a distraction-free learning environment is more important than her education. You are telling her that boys are more entitled to an education than she is.

And suddenly I’m wondering how no one I’m reading is drawing the parallels from the current slut-shaming trends in schools to Islamic purdah? (Purdah, if you aren’t familiar with the term is what they call separating out the women so the men can’t see them, either physically or with clothing, in Islamic countries or parts of India and other places.)

The fashion industry is decreeing that all clothes should be short and tight and revealing, and in order to be ‘pretty’ you must wear those clothes. Then other segments of society tell the girls that if they wear those clothes that they are slutty and don’t deserve respect.

Anyone else see the problem here?

School administrators are telling girls that the way they dress is distracting to boys. That attitude, that men can’t really control themselves when faced with attractive women? Is what keeps the stories of horrific rapes in India rolling through our newsfeeds. It’s one of the ways they justify requiring burkas, or abayas in the Middle East. It keeps girls out of boys schools, which often keeps them out of school all together.

It reinforces the idea that boys are better and more important.

Try a search of Huffington Post, generally regarded as a reasonable information source, and look for ‘objectification’.

Or watch the awesome Laci Green:

We are on a very, very slippery social slope. Let’s not let this continue.