Facing Stress Without An Eraser

I have had a trying couple of weeks. That is, I am going through a rough patch. Nothing evil or insurmountable. But annoying. Stressful. I’m going through a rough patch that might cause a person to end the day with a well-deserved adult beverage. Or a sleeve of Donettes from the 7-Eleven down the street, chased with a wild cherry Slurpee. Or at least a Diet Coke and some pretzels. These things would erase my stress for a while. For me, avoiding alcohol and drugs is a habit that can certainly be tried, if not exactly tested by the sort of scrape…

Work Hard

  I have a saying in my classroom: We work smarter not harder in Wanket World. (My name is Mrs. Wanket at work. I know. I know.)  That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. It just means we work with purpose and focus on our collective and individual goals. We don’t flail around with busy work. We have goals. We do more in such a way that we get more. More skill, more pages written, more ideas explored. The classroom scene gets me to thinking. . . .I can do so much more in all areas of my life with just a…

Embrace the Healing Crisis

When I’m about five days into a habit of healthy eating (no sugar whatsoever, little or no wheat products), my skin clears, my clothes loosen, my head aches. My head aches so I can taste metal in the back of my mouth. My head aches so that nothing makes it stop all the way. Even with coffee and analgesics, the headache lurks in the shadow. Its eyes are yellow and they glow in the dark. My energy is low. The dimmer switch is turning lower. Everything is getting on my nerves. My sense of humor is missing. I am taking…

Get Up Early

Advice to myself: Get up early. Dumb early. Before five o’clock a.m. early. Avoid the snooze button. Drink a glass of water. Meditate while the coffee water boils. Then journal. Then screen. Then gym, or run and yoga. Start every day this way because when I do I ride a high of positive feeling that lasts through the evening. Start every day this way because I am a healthy person with time for everything and when people ask me how I am able to do all of the things, the answer rests in three numbers: 4:40. As in a.m. Most…

Guest Interview: Have Fun

My twelve-year-old daughter Margaret suggested today’s topic after I read to her the list of things I’ve written about so far. Perhaps she sees a lack in my January program. Perhaps she sees a wisdom void that she is uniquely qualified to fill. Here is our interview. Me: I have a hard time having fun. I don’t really know how.  What do you think is fun? Margaret: Slurpees in the wintertime. Going for walks in the rain. Jumping on trampolines. Me: Since I gave birth to you, trampolines aren’t fun anymore. Margaret: Why? I ruin fun, don’t I? Me: No,…

Respect the Messenger

I hate my body. I hate my flaws. I look fat in this. I hate that I’m sick. I’m exhausted. I wish I had energy. I don’t talk this way about myself anymore, but I used to. I hear these exact remarks and others like them all the time from people who are doing great work in all areas of their lives. I’ve learned to appreciate my body’s integrity as I get older. I immediately feel the effects of my choices now. I can hate my body for a weight gain if I want to, I suppose. But it was…

Enough is Enough

When I was young I loved extreme exercise. I loved mile swims for charity. I loved swim practices that began with groundwork lunges while I carried a friend on my back. My favorite weekends were spent at dance seminars in the city involving six intense hour-long classes back-to-back. I danced until I felt like puking and then danced some more. I loved it. In my twenties, I trained for a triathlon. I ran races. I exercised twice a day sometimes. After having my babies, I re-dedicated myself to extreme exercise. I ran in the mornings before work no matter the weather, and…

Exercise Is Not Penance

Workouts don’t buy food. The idea that working out every day lets me eat whatever I want with no consequence was never true. Not for me. I can be pretty fit even when carrying thirty more pounds on my body than is strictly necessary. I can charge up a mountain and feel great doing it. But if I want my clothes to fit properly without having to buy all new clothes, I can’t expect even a rigorous exercise program to make up for a diet that has sugar in it. Also, the value of a good workout is not negated when I eat…