Monday, July 2, 2012

Revisiting The Mantra

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
June 6, 2012

The first half of 2012 is now officially behind us.  Are you finding that as hard to believe as I am?   I always find myself somewhat at loose ends for the first few days following our Summer Trip!  So much time, energy and preparation go into the research, planning and execution of those trips that, once it's over, I tend to look around and think, "o.k., what now?"  Bill begins teaching his summer class almost immediately and we go from being together 24/7 to being apart all day with little time for transition.   And all of that is just fine!   It just takes a short period of readjustment for me and some time to gear up for the second half of the year.  

My 2012 Mantra (see this January post) is never far from my mind.  It became so important to me that I worked hard back in the winter to memorize it and train my mind to revisit each part daily.  And for the most part, that has worked.  Some of the points in the mantra have been easy and fun, others have caused me to recognize some areas that could use some work.  What better time than mid-year to look back, look forward and share some of those thoughts with you?

Here's the Mantra...........(read the linked post above to understand the background)

In 2012, I will:

Look for a SURPRISE in every day.
EXPECT steady results from a healthy eating plan and efforts to have a normal relationship with food.
RECEIVE love, friendship, gifts and kindness without question from those who choose to give it to me.
Embrace JOY with every thread of my being.
CELEBRATE my own successes as jubilantly as I celebrate those of others.
SHARE my life, my time, my money and my possessions in creative ways that are new and extravagant.
Right from the start, I will say that, "expecting a surprise" has become one of my most cherished habits.  There are no days which don't contain surprises and this extra effort to SEE them for what they are has been invaluable to me.   It is a habit I hope I never lose.  Surprises happen to us ALL THE TIME, but what I've learned is that if we aren't looking for them, our minds are far to occupied with other "stuff" to appreciate what is right in front of us.   Then at the end of the day, we complain that nothing good happened i.e. the day was boring, "everyone" treated me badly (I mean, really, EVERYONE???), the weather was awful, crazy drivers wouldn't get out of my way, yada, yada, yada........

It's not even noon yet and here's some of the surprises I've enjoyed today:  an unexpected rain shower early this morning, a phone call with a friend who moved away last fall, the cost to fill up my new car was $20 LESS than the last time, I already have my 10,000 steps for today - is that enough?  

I've also learned that the surprises don't always come in a good way, but they are still "surprises," and I'm trying to find a balance I've never known between focusing on only the less desirable surprises at the expense of the ones I enjoy.   To my amazement, it all comes out pretty even with the "good" ones outnumbering the "bad" ones more often than not.   I repeat - you just have to look for them!

You've walked with me through the expectation of steady results from a healthy eating plan.  And I've achieved what I believe to be a much better relationship with food.  I also believe that I have a very realistic sense of reality with respect to my own weaknesses in this area and refuse to take anything for granted.   I am enjoying celebrating my success.   The weight loss is evident, the compliments are flowing and this time around, I'm not fluffing them off and saying, "oh, it was nothing."  It IS a big deal and I'm proud of myself.

The "receiving" and the "sharing" aspects of the mantra are two I plan to spend some extra time considering over the next few days.   Over the past six months, a couple of key friendships have changed in ways that are no longer acceptable to me and I'm getting better at knowing when it's time to let go.  That creates room for new relationships to grow and I find those opportunities abounding in the form of lovely "surprises!!"  

Working the "receiving" and "sharing" part of the mantra is forcing me to focus on being more open as I tend to be very private and guarded until I know someone well.  But the mantra is teaching me that sometimes I get the cart before the horse and think the receiving should come before the sharing when perhaps, I should focus more on the sharing and patiently wait for the unexpected "surprises" that come from the unselfish concept of giving expecting nothing in return.  That's when the receiving really starts - when it's LEAST expected!

And having said all that, I believe I'll bake those yummy crab cakes I brought back from Maryland, enjoy them with a pasta salad (whole wheat, of course) from Gina@Skinny Tast I whipped up yesterday, then sit back for a couple of hours with the book I could hardly put down long enough to write this post.  It's hot as blazes outside, but cool as can be in here and there's nothing I HAVE to do for the remainder of the afternoon.  Bill has a rehearsal tonight, so gee whiz, don't even have to plan for dinner.

How's that for an afternoon of EMBRACING JOY WITH EVERY THREAD OF MY BEING?

I would LOVE for you to pick the one aspect of my 2012 Mantra that YOU like best and tell me how you already have or could apply it to your day.  


  1. I always try to embrace joy - especially in the little things to keep any big things from weighing me down. It really helps :D

    Glad your mantra is working well for you half way through the year (half way!!!!!! Eeek!)

  2. I was pretty astounded that half of the year is gone already, too. I know where the last few months flew and will try to embrace joy is the remaining days. Still lots of good times to come.

  3. I love a surprise too! Even the not-so-great ones generally prove to be learning/growth experiences, and that's always a good thing. Well, almost always. :)

  4. Hi Sharon, I love all of your list.. I guess if I chose one, it would be to embrace JOY each and every single day.... I try to do that --but as life will bring us, some days there is more JOY than others... Tonight, I felt JOY when it finally rained here. We SO needed it! AND--it is cooler (temporarily)...


  5. Okay, hmmm, wow, this kind of thing is so not me and rather out of my comfort zone. Sure does make the glass have to be half full, at least!

  6. There are two that resonate with me: expect steady results from healthy eating and joy.

    I know now that I can expect steady results from good healthy. Yep, I am slow at it, but that is okay with me, too. I believe I have finally adapted to a normal relationship with food. Sure some foods still call my name, but, those are few and usually a little of whatever it is is enough. I am learning to just love the crunch of fresh veggies and fruit in place of other things.

    There is joy in so much of my life: family, a great partner, and other good people who share in my life. I feel like I have finally become comfortable with who I am and the skin that I live in. To me, spreading joy is about just that. Looking at what we have and what we have been given and choosing to spread that joy and love with others.

  7. I think the ability to receive is something I could be working on right now... really should be working on. Thanks for the reminder. This is actually quite poignant for me today.

  8. I like everything on your Mantra list, Sharon, and I think it's wonderful that you've taken it so to heart. So many times, we make resolutions for the New Year with the best of intentions, but it's so easy for our resolve to weaken when life gets hard.

    My day is almost over here, but I'll very consciously look for (and expect) surprises tomorrow. I'm just hoping they're good ones! :-)

  9. I popped back in because I forgot to tell you just how much I love the top photo. Oh my goodness...that is so, so beautiful! Makes me want to grow lupines, although I'm thinking it a bit too warm here for them.

  10. With this heat Wayne has been working double shifts and I might just forget what he looks like any day now. Unfortunately that same heat is keeping me indoors so I can't even spread my wings! But, I've dragged out the scrapbooking I haven't worked on since before Christmas and I'm enjoying the memories it brings back. I'm just trying to work through my stockpiled supplies and photos and then I'm going to give it up as a hobby. With everyone sharing their photos online it's just not as relevant anymore! I'll be reading later this afternoon also, hope yours is a good one!

  11. I'm sorry to hear about your friendships...if it makes you feel any better, I went through something similar as I lost my weight. Most of the people in my life were supportive and encouraging but there were a few that were not. It was hard and I had to realize they really weren't good friends like I'd thought. It's important to me to surround myself with positive people who want me to succeed. There is no place in my life for those other types of people...