Staying Busy is My Therapy

IMG_20180505_221722959The list of things I do to keep myself busy is fairly long.  I am a Pastry Chef, Executive Chef, writer, builder, wood worker, stone mason, gardener, painter.  I am a Reiki Master and I study holistic medicine so I can learn to help people heal themselves without pills and chemicals–and now you can add jewelry designer to the list.  It isn’t that I don’t ever sit down and do nothing…on occasion, I do…just not very often.  Truth be told, when I’m alone, I often eat standing up–almost like I don’t finish one thought before moving on to the next.  Some people say I’m crazy, I say I multi-task…a lot.

IMG_20180508_165328283I have an instant gratification fixation.  I love mowing my lawn because I can see where I’ve been and how much better it looks.  I don’t care that I still have an acre to mow–I look at the lane I’ve just mowed.  And it looks good!  I also like mowing because I can talk to myself and no one can hear me.  They don’t know whether I’m singing or what–and all the while, I’m solving the earth’s problems.

My new venture–wire weaving to create jewelry from gemstones combines a lot of those things.  I like sparkly things–I love crystals–they make me feel good, and they’re awesome–and humbling.  You want to argue if there’s a God–take a look at a snowflake amethyst with purple, blue, orange and pink crystals and think that a zillion years ago that was a handful of sand.  The perfect recipe of creation–time, heat and pressure transformed that dust into a dazzling thing of beauty.  Miracle?  I say it is.  My designs may not be miracles, but it’s so cool to take five strands of wire and an incredibly thin wire and begin to loop, loop, loop and watch this “thing” grow and come alive in your hands.  Pretty awesome–and gratifying.

I used to use a lot of those busy things as distractions–so I didn’t have to think about things that hurt.  When I would stop and do nothing, the thoughts of “there’s nothing good about me…I’ll never be good enough,” would creep in.  So I did use activity kind of like a drug–escape.  I did those too, and they created their own trap and I had to escape the things I used to escape things.

Things changed when I joined Mercy Ships and for the first time my life was about helping people who weren’t in a position to help themselves.  I had dabbled in it fairly often, but this became my life’s mission.  During that time I learned that as I reached out to someone else in the midst of my own pain, my pain was healed.  Layer by layer the onion was peeled away and I began to be able to look at myself as being whole–not splintered, not broken, not not good enough.  I was a train wreck, but I could still help someone else out.

Fast forward 20 years and I’m still just as busy.  I still work 12 hour days and when I get home, the “other” work begins.  The difference is this work–all this busy-ness is therapy.  It makes me feel good to see a broken stick of a plant take root and grow.  It makes me happy to see the plants in my garden so laden with produce that I have enough to last me and entire winter and have enough to give to my neighbors, my employees and friends.

I’ve often joked that I am a life long student.  I get excited when I find something new to learn.  I can’t just half way do something.  I’m all or nothing.  If something isn’t worth giving 100 percent, it’s not worth taking the time to do it at all.  And, I’m the same way about things I do for fun–because actually, most of what I do I do for fun.  It keeps me sane.  It’s my therapy.  Staying busy is my therapy.  I get up before the sun, and I don’t stop until it’s dark.  Man it feels good to be alive.

My Day 28 Paleo Reveal

When I began “this Paleo thing” 28 days ago, I really knew very little of what I was getting into.  All I knew was I didn’t feel good, I was somewhat overweight, I was tired all the time and I looked like I felt.  Something needed to change and I wasn’t going to do another diet.

I re-upped my membership to Weight Watchers which worked great the first time, but this time I just couldn’t get into the rhythm…the time wasn’t right, I guess.  My days begin at 3:30 a.m., I have an insane schedule, and it just didn’t fit in.  Besides, I wasn’t going to start getting up at 2:30 to cook breakfast.

I kept seeing stories and recipes about Paleo.  The food looked good, I had never tried it before and I said to myself, “Self…you can do this!! I can try anything for 28 days–what do I have to lose?”

My first breakfast was…different.  Day 1 breakfast was a Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Onion and an egg in the middle.  I love sweet potatoes–just never had one for breakfast.  First you bake a sweet potato.  Cook two strips of bacon, set it aside, cook diced onion in the bacon drippings (I’m in at bacon grease!), scoop out the sweet potato flesh, mash it up and mix it with the crumbled bacon and onion then fill the potato shell with that mixture.  Make a well in the center, crack an egg (organic and free-range, of course), the pop it into the oven til the egg is cooked.  Plate it up and pour real maple syrup over it, and there it is…different and GOOD!!  Now I’m intrigued.

I have to say, getting ready to make the shift was more work than actually getting started.  You have to get rid of everything in your pantry this is processed, has flour and/or sugar.  I was left with….spices…bummer.  Fortunately, I did have in my other pantry jars and jars of tomato sauce, Marinara, salsa, diced tomatoes, etc. from my garden…it was a start anyway, and I didn’t feel so much like the old lady who lived in the shoe.

It really is not that hard to stay on track.  I do catch myself from time to time reaching for a nibble of something…I work in a kitchen after all.  My little inner voice reminds me and I stop in mid-reach.

After 28 days, there is still really only one thing I miss…cheese.  I love good cheese.  For the sake of the “experiment” I have refrained.  I also discovered I have a sweet tooth that strikes at 8 p.m. every night…I never knew that!  Thank goodness I’ve discovered many Paleo dessert recipes that hit the spot.

Honestly, it is a bit of a challenge to completely change the way you eat when you’ve eaten pretty much anything and everything (thus the problem!) you’ve wanted to for all these years.  My go to proteins–cheese, peanut butter, rice and beans…gone. I have had nothing to drink except water (about half a cup of coffee in the morning) for 28 days.  Once I got past the one day of mild headache, fatigue and general grumpiness, it was OK.

One thing I’ve started doing every morning as soon as I come back inside from walking the dogs is to drink an 8-ounce glass of warm water with half a Meyer lemon squeezed into it.  Meyer lemons are a little sweeter than regular lemons and they don’t smack you in the face.  Since I’ve started doing that, I’ve had ZERO sugar spikes and crashes.

Every day includes a period of meditation of gratitude.  I’m thankful for my health, the changes that are taking place in my body and for the food I am using to eat my way back to a healthy place again.  I keep a little black satin bag in my pocket that holds a twin quartz given to me by Byron, my Reiki instructor, a Herkimer diamond that is an amplifier for the higher vibrations (higher vibration you feel good, lower vibration you feel bad) and my wellness note of “Get Healthy–Body, Mind and Spirit”.)  I wear a blue labrodorite bracelet which is the strongest protector of the mineral kingdom which helps strengthen your natural energies from within.

OK…the results…I sleep better, go into dream sleep almost immediately, I’m not sluggish, fatigued and just generally feel better.  All those things are great–well worth the change if that’s all I got out of it.  But, the results “outweigh” (sorry, couldn’t resist) the challenges.  In 28 days I have lost 15 pounds and 5 inches off my waist.  My skin is clearer and not all grey.  This is a lifestyle change I can live with.  I’m in this for the long haul–the scales don’t lie.

**I will begin putting recipes into the “Let’s Eat” section very soon.  Life kind of got in the way since I added that to the front page.  I’m excited to share with you the fun stuff I’m cooking.  Blessings!!  Love each other!!  And, LOVE YOURSELF!!

Setting Intentions