Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Windows and Walls

Surprises are the best. Or the worst. By their definition they are out of our control and not of our making. We can go in search of them, we can be open to them. We can't will them to appear - they're surprises. We can rejoice in the positive or whine about the negative. They measure our resillience.

When change drops us in a new place, we can look for window or push against the walls. I've come to like the walls. There is a time before I make a decision that almost hurts, where I'm feeling I'm bursting either with possibility or from holding back what I know I need to do. Then I hit the wall and I have to decide on the direction. I did that today. I've been whining (to myself mainly) about weight creeping back since I lost a bazillion pounds a year and half ago. It's not rocket science. I need to walk more and eat fewer tortilla chips. Period. That's it. The bigger question is what took me so long?

Short answer, I like chips. It's cold. Longer answer, maybe I was getting uncomfortable in that new, smaller body. Change can be hard, even if we mentally know it's good. Our emotions have to catch up. That in between time can be tough. I think we have to be willing to be surprised both by our situations and by ourselves. There is so much beyond our control that we need to learn to make our best decisions, take our best shots, and if we hit a wall - use it. Climb over it, go around it, or blast a window through it. That space between a rock and a hard place, sometimes it's beautiful.

So what does this mean for our kids? Adults need a bedrock of confidence, faith, some inner tools to scale those walls. Kids need a backpack and a path. When the surprises come, parents lead the way and set the tone. You can prepare them with their own tools - for children these may be more concrete - good books, a favorite blanket or teddy, an unbroken routine. But prepare them to be flexible too. Help them learn to see the positive. What is the best part of a bad day? What's silly in a tough situation? Then make it concrete. Paint an old chair, plant seeds, make art from junk. Things change, they surprise us, and the changes are good.

So my personal wall - getting back to eating more carefully - that means I need to go to the store more often, spend more money on fruits and veggies - because I certainly deserve that as much as I do chips or chocolate - and create more of my favorite good for me foods. Here's a recipe I fix in large quantity for snacks.

Chop a half a cantaloupe or other melon (probably not watermelon) and a whole, skinned cucumber into 1/2 inch chunks. Finely chop about an eighth of an onion (I like red ones) and a whole serrano pepper (minus seeds and veins) or a 1/4 of a bell pepper depending on your love of heat. Mix the four ingredients in a bowl. Add about 1/3 cup of plain greek yogurt, salt and pepper to taste. Stir it up, let it sit for a while, and drain off any excess liquid. You can add chopped mint or cilantro if you like - or lime juice. Play around a little.  I eat this as salad or salsa for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It's better than chips. Enjoy.


  1. Thanks Suzy, I have recently had the same talk with myself. After I lost 35 pounds and then it has slowly crept back because I allowed myself the frustration of hitting a stall. So I'm rededicating myself to myself. We all have to do that from time to time. I will never stop eating tortilla chips or ice cream or chocolate, but I can life a life with less of them.

  2. Yay! We can encourage each other. I did dip into the chips again today, but not as much as usual. And I'm walking farther. It's hard after so long a successful run of weight loss to find myself fighting it again. Oh well. Surprises.