:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wherein Jackie Warner kicks my behind while I get really wordy about visual prayers. (Amy)

Progress Update Number 3:

1-I have severely limited my diet coke intake. This is no mere feat, y’all. This is Greek god-like STAMINA.
2-I walked 5 days out of 10. Let me be more precise: I have walked the last 5 days out of the previous 10, knowing I would have to make a progress update here about this. The first 5 days I was nothing but a little old couch sloth.

3-I have begun my food/training journal. ---->

4-I didn’t do so well on the treats. Wednesday was a bad day for culling it on the treats (excuse: many intense parent teacher conferences til around 8-ish pm-ish) (super excuse: translating for one hostile parent (I semi-speak Spanish; I'm not fluent or anything, which made this is even more stressful), which lead me to immediately consume 12 mini snickers bars in the teacher's lounge afterwards). But that’s okay! 3 out of 4 isn’t bad (for me).

In addition, I did not buy the red shoes, even though I made most of my goals. I bought something else instead. The red shoes were too pricey. I’ll buy the red shoes when they go on sale after Christmas. (I hate when I’m practical.)

Here’s what’s new:

*I slunk myself into a Target and up to a cashier (making quick, furtive glances around me), and bought Jackie Warner’s wildly inappropriately-titled book. I proceeded to read it (while eating pretzels) in a mere 3 hours.

*But now I’m really very excited, because I think I can actually do the things she’s outlined in this very simple (and badly titled) tome. I really liked Dr. Judith’s precise do-this-this-and-this guide to willpower. However, after last week’s experiment/goals (in which I rarely glanced at my reminder list and gave in to a lot of excuses, particularly on Wednesday and did not ONCE encourage myself), I must agree with Jackie Warner: it may be less about willpower and more about fixing my messed up hormones (in a nutshell: junk food messes up your hormones, taxes your liver, and your whole insides just go kaput. With the right foods and some extra vitamins, you can reset yourself, and this will change your brain).

Thus, I have new goals to outline, and ones I think I can live with…through Thanksgiving (and beyond).

*Also, I’d like to note that I now wish to be close, personal friends with Jackie. And not just because she’s super rich and famous and hangs out with a lot of beautiful people (okay, fine, those actually are the basic reasons why I think we should be close). If I were close, personal friends with Jackie, first, I would tell her to lose those Donald Trump-style pitches she’s peppered throughout this book, and do more this-is-how-it-is talk instead. Less ego, Jackie, more straight talk!

And then I’d ask her if she’d like to go get a Starbucks latte with me, and she’d probably say: Yes, as long as we go on a fast-paced 5-mile uphill hike afterwards, and I’d go: FINE, Jackie. I’ll drink water instead. Such a damn killjoy.

And after that, I’d ask if I can go to some red carpet premieres with her so I can look for Gerard Butler.

*I made a treasure map. Do you know about these? They’re basically visual prayers, and yes, it’s a little hokey and silly. But it’s also fun and pretty relaxing to make, and if you’re really open and sincere enough, sometimes it just so happens to work in your favor.

Wendy wrote in her last post about a similar process she once read about that was called Write It Down, which was making a list of what you want and sprinkling it with your own psychic fairy dust. Visual prayers are sort of like this, too, and if you lean crafty, you’d enjoy these. If nothing else, when you’re done, you could possibly hang it in your living room and call it Modern Graphic Art if anyone gets nosy. (Tip: don’t go into a lot of detail about what it actually is; the last time I let someone in on what I’d created, they sarcastically asked me if I still write letters to Santa Claus.) (For the record? Yes I do. And I also think ghosts can attach themselves to certain people and I’m convinced spooky shadow people show up to feed off people’s intense negativities and they’re of the devil. What’s it to ya, Skeptic Skeeter?)

So basically, to make a visual prayer, you just look through magazines (or you can draw or paint, if you have that immense talent) and you cut out words and pictures that symbolize whatever energies/material things/life situations you’d like to bring yourself. If you cut out people, cut off their heads (I know, I know--what sick psycho came up with that rule? But headless bodies help you visualize yourself as that person). Important: avoid using trashy celeb gossip magazines to envision your dreams. These are just chock-full of poor behavior and bad judgment and people with no boundaries (and that’s just the article writers), and should only be read while consuming mass quantities of junk food. OPRAH magazine has a lot of good wisdom and peaceful thoughts in it (and some really, really expensive things nobody but Oprah can afford, but you can still cut these out and maybe Oprah will surprise you with them one day). Health/psychology magazines work fabulous, too.

As you’re searching, be open to words/pictures that just appeal to you for some odd reason you can’t quite figure out why, because maybe the Universe/God is guiding you to ideas or things you don’t even realize you need (from much life experience, I assure you: the Universe totally gets a kick out of guiding people to things they never even considered for themselves and It flat out refuses to clue them in on what the poop It’s up to until the very last millisecond).

So you cut out/paste/draw/paint these things on some type of medium (mine was construction paper, having access to tons of it), and you either leave lots of spaces so God can get in (what I do), or you place a religious symbol of significant meaning to you in the middle of it all (a picture of Jesus or Buddha or the Sanskrit symbol for God or your favorite vacation spot, for example), or you write/paste a prayer or poem of gratitude on the back.

Then, each day, you contemplate your visual prayer. When you look at this prayer, you’re opening yourself up to God, and you’re letting good energies flow through, and hopefully—if God’s not objecting to your requests because they’re beneath you and He’s not distracted doing Heavenly inventory, or dealing with poopy people making the world poopy, and He's on a little break from war and famine and all that goes into fixing Tiger Woods—you will slowly begin to experience the energies/have access to the material things/find yourself in the life situations that you placed on your visual prayer/treasure map.

I’ve done these before, and when I’m in the right mind-frame, they really do seem to work. Which leads me to an important note: in the past, when I’ve created a treasure map and I’m in a Debbie Downer kind of phase, or I’m asking for things (subconsciously) I know are all wrong for me, or I’m not wholly dedicated to working hard to make the things I want to happen actually happen, visual prayers do not work at all. (Neither do spoken prayers, for that matter, in my experience.)

When seeking guidance from above or wherever, I think that’s key: being positive and true to yourself and willing to do the work for the things you ask. And I think this is key because, honestly, God just isn't going to GIVE you what you ask for, it's not how He works. For one, God simply doesn't have that kind of time. Second, this is Life, not the Oprah’s Favorite Things Giveaway Show and the Universe isn't a Wall Street bank. Like, this one time? I read Tammy Faye Bakker claimed years ago that she prayed for a pink Cadillac and Jesus just drove one right up to her door the very next morning. Just showed up on her doorstep. In a Cadillac. Jesus! The Holy Peace and Love Guy!

Which is so silly. I highly (HIGHLY) doubt Jesus would choose to make his 2nd coming appearance in a Cadillac. Jesus is clearly a neon yellow convertible Volkswagon Bug guy. Plus, who really believes this happened? Who? Anyone with a brain can figure it out: Jim got tired of her nagging him for a new car, so he ran out and bought one, then dressed up as Jesus as a joke and drove it home to her. She read way too much into it, blabbed about it on tv, and now people think Jesus is like overstock.com. Everywhere you turn now, someone is demanding Jesus do things like win sports games they've placed big bets on or be on their side in political elections they have corporate interests in or whisper the winning lottery numbers in their ear. All stuff that doesn't even mesh with the Messiah's prior messages. Dagnabit, Tammy Faye! Look at this mess!

Where was I? Yes. So the Universe is busy, and It simply doesn’t have time to be the Ultimate Oprah and give everyone on the planet a trip to Australia (you’re welcome, Australia). But I really believe if you’re very, very sincere and remain open to all possibilities and are willing to put in a lot of groundwork, what God does have time to do is provide you numerous opportunities to make your wildest dreams come true, IF you’re paying attention and willing to do some groundwork. And so, occasionally, I make visual prayers.

And so here are my new goals over the next several days (based on my new BFF Jackie’s ideas) followed by one visual prayer:

1-Re-balance my hormones/re-train my taste buds via food (and one multivitamin) per day: 2 eggs, 1 whey protein shake, 1 c. of low-sugar oatmeal, 3 cups of vegetables/2 fruits (this is in addition to anything else I eat, striving hard to make appropriate choices).

2-Drink 3 liters of water + lemon every day (lemon detoxes the liver, rebalances the Ph) (I have no idea how much 3 liters is or what the poop a Ph is, but I plan to only drink water, now that I’ve ditched the Diet Coke habit, and I’ll just trust the lemon to re-set all my Ph’s, whatever those may be).

3-Drink a cup of tea each night—1 bag of decaf green tea + 1 bag of fruity herbal tea. Most late night snacking (my weakest point of the day) is an oral fixation…any snacking not associated with hunger is usually due to thirst or an oral fixation. Who knew I was so thirsty and orally fixated?!

4a-Work out 5-6 days each day this week and next, for a at least 20 minutes each time. I have already started this. And these are not easy workouts, please know. These are intense, man-I-hope-I-don’t-throw-up-on-this-gym’s-treadmill-because-that-would-be-terribly-embarrassing workouts. I’ve already negotiated with C—he’s totally fine watching Melissa for 30 minutes (and more whenever I want, he said) and now I am re-invigorating my lapsed gym membership.

4b-Learn to love the burn. (I actually don’t anticipate a time this will happen for me.)

And that’s it. I actually think it’ll be fairly easy to fit into my lifestyle/schedule. Even while traveling next week to Missouri to visit C’s family—our hotel has a fitness center, and these are just regular, easy to find, every day foods. The only problems I see are dragging myself faithfully to the gym each day and breaking the news to Melissa in about 2 weeks when the next phase kicks in (also super easy to fit into my life) there’ll be no more pasta or potatoes with dinner because Jackie said so (there’s a scientific-y reason that supports her reasoning to eat pasta/potatoes earlier in the day, but I don’t have the book in front of me right now to clarify).

5-And, of course, I’ll be gazing at my visual prayer each morning, thinking about where I’m headed:


Katie said...

Amy, you are so my kinda girl. Visual, determined, and constantly in a death-cage-match-with-eyeball-scratching fight with chocolate. I always imagine chocolate wears green shorts. Because he's minty and hard core. I really admire your goals especially the one to retrain your tastebuds (those little buds, they're tyrants when they run the brain) and I've heard that before about lemon water cleansing the liver, so good on ya! Jackie must know a thing or two! I think she'll be a good friend to you through this. She sounds a little self-indulged, but super motivated to reach goals, and I know myself as a Type B------(when it comes to exercise) (or is that code for Lazy?) (probably lazy.) needs a little Type A ass-kicking every now and then.

And way to go with the walking and the FEEL THE BURN workouts!!! They are hard. Epecially now it's getting colder, getting out of the nice toasty house to go sweat my (seriously large) ass off in a place that probably doesn't have my couch or coffeetable, and definetely doesn't have my fleece socks is super hard and mostly not all that fun. But I'm finding the sense of accomplishment is nice. I'm so happy to have another COFFEE chick to talk workout/fitness with who has goals such as I.

Also, I think you're funny. Also, I totally relate to the painful parent-teacher conference experience and subsequent desperate chocolate eating. Also, my pants are getting tighter so you are an inspiration to me.

When/where are you doing Missouri? If it's on the western side of the state that's where I live. Well, of course I don't take up the whole state, but that's where I could drive to. If you were interested. And if it wasn't weird to meet a stranger. Anywho...

Yay for Amy!! I like your progress girl! Yippee!

patresa said...

a classic amy post. i love classic amy posts.

friggin' tammy faye baker sticking jesus in a pink cadillac. what the crap, tfb? that reminds me of people who make their dogs wear tutus and bonnets. it just ain't right.

also: NICE PROGRESS! really! restricting diet coke intake. 5 of 10 days working out. the journal. buying jackie's badly titled book. excellent! great work, amy! impressed with you.

also impressed with jackie's thoughts about balancing hormones. yes. i think she's onto something. also kind of surprised, because that's the same thing i read in my new agey natural health books. and those have titles like "earth's wisdom" and "star keeper nutrition."

LOVE LOVE the visual prayer idea. i made something similar a few years ago, but i called it a "vision board" and i didn't have the prayer of gratitude on the back. i want to make one of these. i will do this.

amy said...

Thanks Katie & Patresa!

Katie-I'll be in St. Louis next week (we stay in this hotel that's right near the airport and overlooks a Hustler's Emporium--it's a little bit o' classy in a roughed up part o' town, I like to say). I bet that's too far a drive. And then there's Thanksgiving and all. (FYI: I wear red shorts when wrestling chocolate. When we're in a death roll, it looks just like CHRISTMAS!)

Patresa-I know it! There's so much good, holistic information hitting the non-holistic peeps in metro suburbia right now (look at me: I embody "metro suburbia," right down to my Mizrahi for Target pants). It's really encouraging. One day, I really hope we'll all ditch this corporate fascism love and live in communes, eating whole, natural foods and doing right by Mother Earth. (Jackie Warner can be our Boot Camp guru.)

Everyone else who reads this: I apologize for the length. In my next post, a new COFFEE goal for me is to write 2 less paragraphs to get my point across. (But I really needed to that stuff about Tammy Faye off my chest. It's been bothering me for years...YEARS.)

Steph said...

CURSE YOU, Tammy Faye!!!!! I bet I've read this post about five times, and I still burst out laughing every time I read the bit about Tammy Faye and Jesus delivering her Cadillac! Classic! In fact, my last class yesterday all thought I'd lost my mind. They were working on an assignment, and Tammy Faye's Caddy was still on my mind. So I logged on and read it again; sure enough, I started giggling at my computer, and the kids all stopped work and stared at me! This only made me laugh harder... it was a truly funny moment. I couldn't explain it to them, either. They have NO IDEA who Tammy Faye even is, which is also quite funny, I think!
Am so proud of you for kicking the diet Coke habit. I know it about KILLED me, and I still get a real hankering for one about 3 times a day... Takes real... um... gumption (not the word I was looking for) to refuse that kind of goodness! Attagirl!
I'm really curious about how this re-balancing of the hormones and the re-training of the taste buds goes. I could use some of that help, for sure. While Jackie can't title a book, she might just be onto something with all of this. Keep us posted, please!
You know, I must admit to poking fun of a friend (to her face, in fact) when she told me about making a treasure map. This was about a year ago. (We're still friends, but I'm sure I put a dent in her feelings about me.) I thought it was the new-age equivalent of that letter to Santa... and my reaction certainly didn't motivate her to explain her rationale. To hear your explanation, though, means I owe her a big, fat, juicy, and sincere apology. I totally get it now, and it really does make sense! I'm not super crafty, but I do know what I hope to become and be - and I think this project just might be what the doctor ordered! Thanks for sharing!
As always, I love your candor and perspective. So glad you're along for the ride!

Wendy Jans said...

Amy, you are so funny with your hilarious tangents about Tammy Faye and her holy cadillac.

I also really appreciate the amount of times you are able to incorporate the word "poop". It really is a descriptive word.

Jackie's book sounds really interesting. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it works for you!

I loved this: "...in the past, when ...I’m in a Debbie Downer kind of phase, or I’m asking for things (subconsciously) I know are all wrong for me, or I’m not wholly dedicated to working hard to make the things I want to happen actually happen, visual prayers do not work at all. (Neither do spoken prayers..." This is sooo true! I think that was exactly where I went wrong with my "Write it down..." experience.

Awesome post. You rock.

amy said...

Steph & Wendy...thanks!

Stephany--it's okay. My person making fun of me was my husband, and I still love him. :-) And I'm so happy I made somebody laugh! Half the time I write things like this, I'm thinking: I bet people think I talk way too much (offline, I actually don't, so it all comes pouring out of me in blogs...I'm very repressed). But I do live to entertain, whenever & wherever I can.

Wendy--if I could say the word poop a million times a day, I would so do it! I still think the Universe swooped in when you write your list of Bills to call and nudged one to pick up the phone. The Universe is totally sneaky like that (I find this both awe-ing and annoying, personally :-)).

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Awesome BLOSSOM Amy! I so heart your visual prayer. :) I also did not know this information about TFB, but I suppose this is not necessarily a shocker. Seriously TFB!!!

I also want to tell you congratulations on your accomplishments - you my sister just worked out FIVE TIMES MORE IN THOSE TEN DAYS THAN MOST OF AMERICA! Yes, shout that out. Shout it loud, and then sing it loud. Woot!! I think that is smokin' right there!

Ok, so also, about Jackie Warner. I used to watch Workout on I believe Bravo, and I have to say, that Jackie, she would touch my heart. I am glad to hear that you're getting so much out of her book because (based on the few shows I've seen), I'm going to imagine it's reciprocal. I am going to say that I bet our Miss High Fa-lootin' (sp??) Jackie Warner gets as much out of her readers inspiration as her readers get out of her knowledge and experience/expertise. So way to support Jackie, Amy! :)

T-Free said...

Congratulations on the Diet Coke limitation! Caffeine is a powerful addiction. And WAY TO GO on the walking! That is so awesome. Seriously impressive display of willpower and determination.

Haha! I love that you slunk up to a cashier to buy the book. Did you pick the kindest looking cashier? That's what I would have done. And I think that Jackie Warner would be damned lucky to have you as a BFF, and should let you just have a Starbucks latte once in awhile without a guilt trip! :)

I love the idea of visual prayers. So cool. (I believe in ghosts, too. *raises fist in solidarity with Amy*) I want to make one of these too! I especially agree with this: "... maybe the Universe/God is guiding you to ideas or things you don’t even realize you need." SO true. I sometimes feel like I'm the last one to see what others realized I'd been needing all along.

And this:

"Jesus is clearly a neon yellow convertible Volkswagon Bug guy."


I think your visual prayer is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it, and all of these other great ideas with us. You've inspired me, Amy. :)

amy said...

Tanya, I so love your attitude towards life progress--you are so totally right! I *did* walk 5 more days than about a million other people in America. And tonight, I had the intention of going to the gym but didn't make it, but the point is I had the intention of going. I bet it didn't even cross the minds of about a million Americans to even THINK about visiting the gym.

(Also, I really do personally like Jackie Warner. I would hang out with her even if she wasn't rich or famous or in contact with beautiful people, because I think she has a good attitude about life as well.)

Tawni-YES! How did you know I picked the cutest, kindest looking cashier?? I have to say--many times I'll read your posts here and be nodding my head going, I do that! I do that too! I think we may be long lost soul sisters.

Especially if you believe in ghosts and also recognize Jesus to be free-wheeling, peace sign wearing, neon yellow convertible VW bug guy. Uncanny!