Month: September 2010

Remembering My City of Ruins

Remembering My City of Ruins

It’s hard to fathom that it has been nine years since that fateful September morning in 2001. My experience of those moments had a profound and lasting impact on me as it has on so many others. It has not been easy to make sense of it all and I imagine it will be some time before we can see this event in its fullest perspective.  But in the telling of our individual stories we can gain a glimpse into our own hearts and into the hearts of our fellow human beings. How we responded and continue to respond to such events determines who we are as individuals, a nation and a people. Our response establishes on a continuous basis our values, our ethical and moral foundation, and our very humanity.

September of 2001 was a pivotal point in my personal life.  As I sat, or rather stood, my mouth agape, my hand clutching my chest watching as the second plane hit the tower, live and in living color on my television at home, I was doing so as a mother who only ten days earlier had delivered her first born son to college, her youngest to high school that morning and buried her father less than a year before.  I had just turned fifty the month before and the world was shifting on its axis.

Although I was living in North Carolina, New York was my home, New York City my playground through my teen and young adult years. I knew and understood and lived the thoughts and reactions of the people of New York as I watched horrified as the towers began to crumble ~ seemingly in slow motion at first and then with the speed of lightning it was over ~ I screamed, sensing viscerally the horror of the reality that played before me like a movie. I was frozen in place, unable to release the rush of adrenaline with action as tears streamed down my face.  I could not move, I could not breathe, I could not stop, slow, avert, or respond to the tragedy that played out.  My city…my city’s in ruins.

When I could breathe, even for a second, I called my husband and my son and then hung the American flag that had been stashed in a closet on the front of our house. I followed an instinct I didn’t even know existed in me. A pacifist and Vietnam War protester in my youth, I didn’t know I had any national pride. But, it was there, lurking and powerful beneath my frustrations and disappointment in our country.

Like the day I discovered that God was not responsible for what Christians did in His name and stopped holding Him hostage for the lack of love that the church had shown to me and others, I released my grip on our government as being responsible for our country’s shortcomings. WE are this country. WE are responsible for what happens to it and when WE felt the blow of evil WE rose up and expressed the best of what we are as human beings.

The powerful lyrics and haunting melody of the song Into the Fire by Bruce Springsteen paints an incredible picture of what it means to sacrifice oneself for love, honor and country…for the higher good…the greater purpose…the whole, not the individual.

Into the Fire

by Bruce Springsteen

The sky was falling and streaked with blood
I heard you calling me then you disappeared into the dust
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope

May your love give us love

You gave your love to see in fields of red and autumn brown
You gave your love to me and lay your young body down
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need you near but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

It was dark, too dark to see, you held me in the light you gave
You lay your hand on me
Then walked into the darkness of your smoky grave
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

If that is all we learn from 9/11 then maybe it’s enough.

How to Avoid Sabotaging your Weight Loss Efforts

How to Avoid Sabotaging your Weight Loss Efforts

American women of all ages are obsessed with their bodies and how they look.   I doubt there is one woman alive that has not been on at least one diet in their lives and most have been on hundreds by the time they reach fifty. The women of our generation are facing the consequences of a diet obsessed lifetime by still carrying extra weight and they are finding it increasingly difficult to lose weight with each attempt.

There is a reason for this. Dieting, in the end, just makes us fatter. Our inability to lose weight has nothing to do with a lack of will power or self-discipline either. We’ve been beating ourselves up for non-existent reasons when we fail time and time again to reach our weight loss ambitions. Here is why.

When we diet, especially on very restrictive diet plans, our brain believes we are being faced with starvation. As a result, it tells our body to slow down its metabolism. Our brain is really worried that we’re in big trouble and so it releases chemicals to tell us to eat more and store up fat because danger is ahead. It doesn’t matter whether we’re actually starving or not. All our brain has to do is think we’re starving and our body reacts.  In other words, if we are thinking and feeling “deprivation” our weight loss efforts will be sabotaged by our body’s response.

The restrictive, dieting mentality creates a situation called “famine brain”.  The more we become anxious and worried about losing weight and dieting, the more our brain tells our body not to lose weight. Those of us who have been on many, many diets and are still overweight are people who, more than likely, actually have extraordinary willpower and self-discipline. We’ve worked so hard at losing weight that we’ve actually unknowingly caused ourselves to gain and hold on to excess weight. The good news is that you can rid yourself of “famine brain” and succeed at your weight loss efforts. You just have to do it differently than you ever imagined.

In order to break the habit of thought that creates famine brain we must eliminate all thoughts that make us feel restricted and limited. We must tell ourselves every day that we will have enough to eat and assure our fear-focused brain that there is no reason to be afraid of starvation.  By stepping back mentally from the place of fear, our famine brain begins to relax and weight loss once again becomes possible.

For a detailed, step-by-step guide to unplugging your

famine brain read The Four Day Win by Martha Beck.