Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Guilt-Free Affair

I am having a love affair and I couldn't keep it to myself any longer. My affair is the kind that's lesser heard of than those of the heart. My experience is not entirely unique, I've heard of others enjoying a similar thing. Author of 'Eat, Pray, Love' Liz Gilbert, of Oprah-esque fame touches on this kind of an affair during her time in Italy. It's not so much the gorgeous men who whet Liz's appetite, it's the delicious food, the pizza, pasta, red wine and coffee.

My own affair is something akin to Liz's, it's one of the stomach and involves much delight for my taste buds. Let me give you an example of the fun I am having, today my 'diet' looked like this:

Brekky: Vegemite and real butter on dark dark rye and a cup of black tea with milk.

Snack: Almonds

Lunch: 2 champagne ham and jarlsberg cheese croissants, a decaf long machatio (made with creamy unhomogenised organic milk)

Snack: Rice crackers with spicy pumpkin dip from a local deli and meredith goats cheese in olive oil.

Dinner: In a matter of minutes I will be devouring a gourmet chicken, leek and swiss cheese pie with roasted veges and generous amounts of steamed broccoli, carrot and zuchini.

Dessert: Grilled fresh peach with vanilla custard (I made my own with the yummy aforementioned milk).

If your mouth isn't watering just a little, then you really should stop reading, because clearly we're not on the same wavelength. However if my day of food has turned you a little bit green, read on, you might even get inspired to join in the fun of a food affair.

So what caused the affair?

For anyone who knows me I have been and generally still am a bit 'careful' with my food. Since realising that wheat, sugar and sometimes dairy are not my friends over the past however many years I have gone through phases of being super strict or really lax.

Right now I am doing a bit more balance, though admittedly a naturopath may have a thing or two to say about my current diet. In my defense, I am eating plenty of veges.

Am I getting fat?

Nope, I lost a heap of weight being hyperthyroid- I am now about 8kg shy of what I was before I got sick. So if I put on some weight that's fine with me. This kind of attitude is a first for me in my adult life. Also, I think that because I haven't been eating refined sugar or fructose for 3 months now I don't run the risk of excess calories through sweet temptations. Also, I like really good quality foods and because I don't waste money on desserts or sweets I feel I can spend an extra couple of dollars to enjoy a gourmet pie, with less fat, quality ingredients and alot more taste- the quality makes it more nutritious. This concept is written about in 'French Women Don't Get Fat'. Interestingly it's the diet/lifestyle book that has spoken the most sense to me, ever. Disclaimer: I may be biased because I love everything french.

To summise my new found affair and how it 'works'-for the most part I try to include one yummy/special meal a day and ensure that I rarely eat food for the sake of being 'healthy'. Boring food makes me not want to eat it, however I do appreciate simple quality fresh food. My appetite has been on and off during the past 18 months of illness, to the point where the lack of interest in food has been scary and I have struggled to even eat a piece of toast. I learned to celebrate it being 'on' with yummy food. My appetite is not nearly as big as it used to be, so I make the most of it by not eating much between meals and then having a yummy (not neccesarily big) meal at meal times. You have to work with what you've got...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


All I want to do is retreat. Retreat, retreat, retreat.

I get this retreat like feeling occasionally, I have had it for as long as I can remember. Sometimes retreating is going to my parents in the country; sometimes I want something else. I guess it depends what I'm retreating from.

I've been doing a 'straight' data entry job for the last 6 weeks now and I am over it, I hope that it will be over shortly. When it was offered to me it was described as about 40 hours over 2 weeks. It's been 6 weeks and nearly 50 hours. About 30 of those hours have been in the last fortnight. It's no wonder I am tired and wanting to step back...

The work is not too difficult, it's just a bit tedious, I like to minimise tedious in my life and maximise the creative and enjoyable stuff (it's essential for healing/balance). The job's been handy and a blessing really, so don't get me wrong, I'm not griping about having work. It's just that it's made me really aware of easily I get tired, it has actually been a major factor in me having a burn out type experience of late. However it is good to know where I'm at, even though it feels disappointing.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Land of the Unknown

That's where I am right now, the land of the unknown. Today I watched Eat, Pray, Love- a story about Liz, a woman who travels to Italy, India and Bali to find herself and become stronger. I cried during the movie, mostly during the India part, it stirred up emotions from somewhere deep within. As I write this now I feel them again. What was it about India that got me? Liz was 'lost' when she was at an ashram there and she did some hard yards; she struggled with meditation, she scrubbed floors as her selfless service and faced the reality that she needed to forgive herself.

It struck a chord with me when she said was that she was at 'the source' but had never felt so disconnected. I could identify with the feeling of disconnection, one of the most painful experiences a human can have I believe. Right here I could go on a rant about how that leads to addiction; but I feel no need to share information like that. I just want to be here and now and discuss how it feels to identify with a woman who has travelled to 3 very different countries in one year- when I have not spent more than 10 days outside of Australia in my life.

I could see my own experiences and struggles reflected back to me as I watched Liz face her typically western issues. I recognised her struggle to want something more and to find the courage to take the journey. In her I saw my own confusion, pain and guilt and the way 'dis-ease' is created by living in our western 'civilisation'.

Although I live a comfortable suburban life I sometimes feel as if I am trying to find my footing in a place that is foreign to me, like I don't truly belong. Have you ever felt as if you don't belong? Disconnected? It's painful, uncomfortable and a feeling that rarely leaves you alone.

I have been feeling out of place since before I became unwell; in fact my journey of being unwell started before I became hyperthyroid, it started with perfectionism, with buying into how things 'should' be done, by selling out on my true wants and needs to please others and from always wanting more yet never giving what I truly needed to myself.

No one ever taught me how to give myself what I need, nor did they really mention that it was important. When faced with 'dis-ease' in a serious or chronic form it forces the point that we all have needs and dreams and they are not to be ignored. Illness woke me up, nothing like the rug being pulled out from underneath your feet to give you a good jolt. I now believe that nothing in life is more important than feeling fulfilled- what is life without joy, peace and some fun?

It is impossible hard for me to explain to others what has happened to me and how much has shifted internally for me during the process of healing. Sometimes I get really frustrated by it, because I look at the world so differently to most people around me. I now look at life differently and my priorities have changed, big time. I think this is why I feel like I don't quite fit. It takes courage to speak my truth, to own up to where I am at and honour it. Some days I feel like I am all out of courage. Right now I require bucket loads of it, I don't really have a job, I certainly don't have a career, my health is like a precariously balanced see saw and makes things unpredictable...I don't know what I am capable of anymore and sometimes when I push it I fall flat on my face (regardless of the determination).

On the upside I do know I am truly in love, I know I live in a wonderful place close to the sea and that I have amazing family and friends, I am supported and I have faith. I remind myself of how important all of this is and always put things into perspective by reminding myself that the job, money and vibrant health will come, it's just change, healing and strengthening. I am scared, nothing looks the same to me anymore. I feel like I woke up from illness to a new kind of me and a world that seems to be changing. Where do I fit?

Does anyone else relate?

Monday, March 7, 2011


It's important to celebrate regularly- the big, little and medium size wins. Just now I recognised that I had something to celebrate.

I asked for what I want.

I have called a recruitment agency in my pursuit for work, I no longer fell victim to the idea that I have to fit someone elses mould. I did not choose to give my self a hard time for my limitations (energy levels, fatigue easily, still dealing with my tendency to do burn out). During the phone call with the recruiter I stated my situation and work needs and even had the confidence audacity to throw in a request- do you think you might be able to get me some work in a University?

I was speaking with the department who specialise in Social Work, but I did not say- I will do anything, throw me to the wolves I just need some money. I know a me from the past who may have done just that. I did not say I will try anything you give me (even if it kills me). I unapologetically stated that I am in recovery, that I only want part time casual work and that ideally it would be project or shift type work that meant I did not work a full day. I did not feel guilty or 'less than' for this being my current situation, I felt confident in knowing that I have alot to offer.

Today I celebrate asking for what I want, what I need. The recruiter, Lizzy, responded really well to my University work request and said she'd been looking into working with Universities, she was open and positively responsive to my seemingly left-of-field request. I reminded her that although my CV might be very social worky I am not attached to that and would be happy to try something a little different.

I have not made any commitments to myself about having to take a job that she offers, but I have opened up to the possibilitity that I can use my background and skills in social work to find some temporary work that will work for me, that will be comfortable and fulfilling...and even energising?

Wow, haven't I changed, celebrate with me? What have you got to to be pleased with your Self about?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ok, wow

Today I opened my e-mail to this 'Note from the Universe':

Sarah, sometimes that which you don't understand is drawn to you so that you will understand it. But never because you needed the lesson, and not because all must be so initiated, but only because there had been earlier thoughts of awe, wonder, or criticism. And such thoughts, as all thoughts must, have rearranged your life.

    The Universe

Need I say more? It resonates, it speaks to me and makes me see things in a slightly new light. I like the way this new light makes things more clear and even adds a slight shimmer to the view before my eyes- kinda like magic.

Does it do anything for you?
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