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Monthly Archives: October 2012

I’m Fat

Like a gay man who went and married a woman to be socially acceptable, I’ve been living in denial. If I just keep trying, I can be different.  I can be OK.

But I’m fat.  I’ve been fat since the third grade when my weight began to creep up.  Over the last thirty some odd years, I’ve probably lost and gained back the equivalent weight of a full grown adult, but the end result is still the same.  I’m fat.

Over the last few years, I’ve gone through much self-discovery and eventually got that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.  That might sound like a giant “DUH” to some of you but most people go through life with the deep-rooted belief that they are inherently flawed in one way or another.  And because of this, they need to be saved or fixed.

Well, looks like I missed something.  In all this self-acceptance there was one part of me that I hadn’t accepted and still believed was “wrong”.  My body.

I don’t hate my body and my appearance like I once did but I’ve still been trying to fix and change it.  I’ve still been behaving like it shouldn’t be this way and I know better.  There’s nothing wrong with me.

I want to be healthy and active but not because it’s wrong to be otherwise.  I just like the feeling of wellness.  And if none of my actions result in weight loss ever again, so be it.

I’m not here to tell anyone else what to do, or not do, but I would remind you that you don’t get to say how it goes for anyone else.  You can play all kinds of cards you like but you still only get to use the hand you’re dealt.  If you think you’re being helpful by saying anything to a fat person about being fat, read this link (you’ll have to copy/paste into your browser):

http://lovelivegrow.com/2012/10/21-things-to-stop-saying-unless-you-hate-fat-people/

Then watch this video.  Bob Newhart has the answer to anything you have to say.

I, like many overweight people, have at one time or another been bullied or shamed into trying to lose weight.  I’ve been on countless diets, done exercises that I don’t enjoy (even hurt my foot once) and spent years wanting nothing more than for it all to disappear.

If I’m being really honest, I’ve only been close to a “normal” weight about three times in my life and none of those were good situations.  I lost weight in college when I had to support myself and was living on mostly oatmeal, Top Ramen and Taco Bell.  I got to my lowest weight (138 pounds) just before I had my gall bladder surgically removed for being infected and full of gallstones.  And finally, I managed to drop about 45 pounds when my first long-term boyfriend left me for another woman.

Never once have I managed to lose and maintain weight loss through diet and exercise alone.  I’ve had abject poverty, extreme illness and emotional distress to thank.

And then when things improved, my weight returned.  Perhaps I lack the desire or willpower.  Or maybe it’s something in my physical make up.  Regardless, there’s nothing wrong with me.  There has never been anything wrong with me.

Fat was once a symbol of health and wealth.  Thin and frail meant you were poor or ill but now we celebrate thin above all other body types.  Fat now represents lazy and unhealthy.  What if neither point of view was correct?

A famous Renaissance painting of Venus altered to emulate today’s ideal body.

There is something about all of this that reminds me of the Buddha’s words regarding the middle path.

As a youth, Prince Siddhartha enjoyed the indulgent life of pleasure in his father’s palace. Later, when he renounced the worldly life and became an ascetic, he experienced the hardship of torturing his mind and body. Finally, not long before attaining Enlightenment, he realized the fruitlessness of these two extreme ways of life. He realized that the way to happiness and Enlightenment was to lead a life that avoids these extremes. He described this life as the Middle Path. These three ways of life may be compared to the strings of different tensions on a lute. The loose string, which is like a life of indulgence, produces a poor sound when struck. The overly tight string, which is like a life of extreme asceticism, similarly produces a poor sound when struck and is moreover, likely to break at any moment. Only the middle string which is neither too loose nor too tight, and is like the Middle Path, produces a pleasant and harmonious sound when stuck. So these who follow the Middle Path which avoid the extreme of indulging one’s desires and opposite extreme of torturing one’s mind and body unreasonably, will find happiness, peace of mind and Enlightenment.

And sometimes the things we do to our body to make it lose weight can do more harm than those extra 20 or 30 pounds ever could.  To quote the Beatles, “Let It Be.”  Now that’s some radical self-acceptance.

You may not agree with me but that’s okay.  All I want to be is healthy and happy.  Being at peace about everything contributes to both of those.  I have a healthy body that serves me well.  That’s all I need.

There’s really nothing wrong here.

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Yea or Nay: It’s all the same

So I’ve been trying to figure out how to say this without actually stirring up a shit storm in the comments but there’s no gentle way to put it – Atheists and Fundamentalists are exactly the same.

That’s just silly.  They have totally opposite points of view.  How can they be the same?

What you believe is not what I talking about.  But how you believe can be exactly the same.  If you actually feel pretty confident in your beliefs about how the universe works and you’re unwilling to examine or change them, then you’re totally the same.  Go figure.

As I spelled out in a previous post about the observable principles the universe (Oct. 5, 2012), it operates like thus, “Everything is dual; everything has two poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

Believing in a creator god or believing that there is no god whatsoever are opposites that eventually meet in extremis.  The meeting point is the strongly held belief.  So atheists and fundamentalists have something very important in common.

I was struck by this notion while having a conversation with someone who generally appears open-minded until the conversation goes into the spiritual or metaphysical realm.  For someone who sees the world only through a scientific/materialistic point of view, there is no room to imagine the possibility of an intelligence or consciousness that might be underlying and connecting it all.  Just as for someone who sees the world as having been created and guided by a creator god, the idea that no one is in control or determining anyone’s fate is just as absolutely unimaginable.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

“All truths are but half-truths;” and there is your starting point.  I don’t believe in anything and that allows me to be open to everything.  I operate more on an “I like/respond to/am attracted to that” and “I don’t like/don’t respond to/am repelled by that” scale.  That’s really all you do, but then you label these things as being bad/good, right/wrong, moral/immoral.

I like when people are kind to each other and I’m repelled when they are cruel.  So I will make choices that engender what I enjoy.  I can label cruelty as bad but I know that is only a half-truth.

The zen philosopher Alan Watts once used our immune system as an example  of looking at things from a larger point of view.  Within your body, wars rage unseen at all times.  A foreign invader is attacked and killed by your white blood cells so that you may remain healthy.  He described it thus,  “So what is discord at one level of your being is harmony at another level.”  What if the conflict and strife on this level of existence was ensuring peace on another?  What if we were all part of a much larger existence that we can’t even imagine?  What a cool idea!

Once I let that sink in, I have not been able to hold a strong belief about the way things are or the way they should be ever since.  I’ve had a lot of interesting ideas though.  And when something else comes along that can add to or negate any of my ideas, I can change out of them like an old pair of jeans.

Believe what you like but please try and keep it in perspective.

Be kind.

The What and Why of It All

I’ve had a few conversations this week with friends and loved ones that have led me to surmise that people look at the world with one of two questions in mind: What or Why?  Most people generally focus more on one than the other and it can often be a source of confusion or conflict.

What-focused people have a more scientific outlook.  They want to know what is happening, what is causing that and what can we do.

Why-focused people have a more philosophical outlook.  They want to know why did you do that, why is this happening and why are we here.

There’s no right or wrong way to be.  It takes all kinds.  I’ve always found it interesting to look at how life, the world, humanity, etc. occurs for other people.  I know that we don’t all have the same point of view, and we aren’t interested in the same things.  That’s a beautiful thing.

Recently, I’ve learned that I’m more of a What person.  I like to take stock of what is happening and I don’t seem to be so concerned as to why it’s happening.  My basic premise is “Shit Happens, Deal With It” so asking why just seems like a lot of mental masturbation to me.

I don’t think I was always this way.  I was more interested in “why are things this way?” when I was younger.  I was interested in philosophy and read books that inquired into the origin and meaning of things.  Somewhere along the way, my “why?” got answered.  So now all there is for me to see is the “what”.

Someone else can take up the mantle of “Why?” for me.  I gladly pass it on and look forward to what you discover.

How to stop worrying and love the breakdown

Perhaps you’ve begun wondering how I can talk about the complete collapse of everything you’ve ever known as a wonderful and exciting thing to be a witness to.  I know something you don’t.  Would you like to know what that is?

I know how it all works.

That’s crazy talk, right?  Not really.

As immense and complex as the universe is, it is still governed by rules.  A long time ago, when religion and science were best buds rather than bitter rivals, people much smarter than me observed things at work and noticed these rules.  All of the great scientists in the past few centuries have only rediscovered what was known by the ancients.

Religion of today is merely an elaborate game of Telephone (as a good friend recently put it).  Remember when you were a kid and you played that game where one person whispers something into the next person’s ear and then down the line, until at the end the last person says aloud what they heard and it’s almost nothing like the original phrase?  Yeah, that’s what’s become of religion.

But somewhere back in the mists of time, things made a lot more sense.  What I’m referring to is the ancient wisdom known as the Hermetica.  Tradition has it this wisdom came out of Egyptian and Greek scholars from a teacher known as Hermes Trismegistus (‘Thrice Great’).  He laid out the laws of the universe and if you could understand these laws and work with them (rather than be at odds), you could operate in true harmony with all of life.

This knowledge was buried or lost after the fall of Rome but rediscovered during the Renaissance and available to humanity once again.  This knowledge along with other ancient texts were what caused the Renaissance in the arts and sciences in the first place.

So what is this awesome wisdom, you’re probably wondering.  It’s quite simple but very profound.  Hermetic philosophy is based on Seven Laws or basic tenets.  And if you start to notice some of these sounding familiar, well they do show up in all major religions but are usually misunderstood or misused.  To me, they read like the rules of the game.  And that’s what life is, a wonderful, exciting, thrilling game.

The Seven Keys of Wisdom (from The Kybalion, a compendium of Hermetic Principles):

One: “The All is Mind; the Universe is Mental.”

Two: “As above, so below; as below, so above.”

Three: “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”

Four: “Everything is dual; everything has two poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

Five: “Everything flows out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right, is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.”

Six:  “Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to the Law; Chance is only a name for a Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”

Seven: “Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”

Learning these keys is only the beginning but this is more than most people will ever comprehend in their entire lifetimes.

Number Five is my favorite.  It’s basically Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

If you want to know the secret to Life, the Universe and Everything, just spend some time observing it.  No one is keeping you in the dark but You.

Too Big NOT to Fail

During the last economic downturn, the phrase “Too Big to Fail” was bandied about regarding many of the banking institutions that were in jeopardy due to problems many of them caused themselves.  If you know anything about how the natural world works, you would know that something that becomes too big and unwieldy will eventually fail; it has to fail.

Nature works diligently to create stasis, also known as balance.  In order to do this, it creates a diversity of interconnected systems that keep all things in harmony working towards mutually beneficial outcomes.

We humans stopped doing that a long time ago and decided that the natural world must bend to our will.  This amusing fallacy will ultimately be our undoing.  Remember, it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

All of our human systems are moving towards monopoly, monoculture and a one world order.  That’s the ultimate recipe for disaster.  Our economic, agricultural, political and social systems are designed for the current climate.  If things take a major turn, they cannot adapt or shift gears quickly enough to compensate for those changes.

The strong and the smart will be surpassed by the mutable and adaptable weaklings.  Maybe that’s the true meaning of “The meek shall inherit the earth.”

Remember the dinosaurs?  They ruled the earth for millions of years but were quickly wiped out.  Perhaps by a meteor or a sudden change in the planet’s climate.  They couldn’t adapt to the changes they had to face and they perished.  And meek little creatures continued on.

I often wish I could view things from a larger vantage point to see what it’s all leading to.  The planet is trying to right its current imbalance, that we have undoubtedly contributed to, and if we don’t start working in unison with that, we will not be here to see what comes next.  We are the dinosaurs now, but hopefully we’re a little smarter and can adapt and survive.  Otherwise in a few million years, something else will be digging up our bones.

Humanity is not too important to fail.  We’re just another variation on a theme – infinite diversity.  That’s what the universe is all about.

And perhaps we’re supposed to fail.  If there’s no reason to adapt or evolve, then why should we?  I can’t help but root for the bigger picture, even if I’m not going to be in it.