what can be learned from personal mismanagement/misfortune
I gained a lot of weight in April. Over five pounds, over the big 90 for the first time in a couple years. More than I've gained inpatient at places that specialize in forcing people to gain weight.
The horrible irony: I was almost content. One of my scales said the "right number." I just wanted to lose two pounds so my other scale, which reads higher, would satisfy me too.
But this post isn't a pity party, nor is it a discussion about my weight. Having fallen into the weight-gaining dieter's oblivion, unable to look at what was going on, it's useful to put a spotlight on what happened.
The mechanism by which the diet pill involved facilitated weight gain might actually be helpful to other people in other contexts.
final gem show thoughts, toward the metaphorical as so often
The spectacle of the Gem Show--the enormous, the ancient, the dazzlingly polished, the uniquely colored, and all the buying and selling--is the ultimate celebration of bright and shiny objects.
Of course, a bright and shiny object can be anything that catches your eye, holds your attention, and comes to represent something else. The "something else" could be simply beauty (is that why magpies hoard tinsel and aluminum foil in their nests?), or prestige ("I want people to see me wearing this expensive diamond"), or commitment to a practice or community or relationship ("I wear this shawl because I'm of this religion"/"This crystal will clear my psychic space"/"With this ring I thee wed").
Acquiring the bright shiny object is a dopamine hit--excitement of taking possession of the item, significance of time and place and intention. The more symbolic the object, the more of a "hit" you get when acquiring it. Symbolic could just mean "more expensive," but it could be a gift that cost no money. Some of my very favorite "gems" I picked up hiking beaches and hills.
So, how do we keep our bright shiny objects shiny?
journeying in a single place
When I lived in Alaska, I observed the first year that living there was like traveling continuously while staying in the same place. Which is what we're all doing, all the time anyway, of course, traveling around the sun; but close to the poles, it's palpable. Parts of the year are almost punitively lush, the view foreshortened, all bower, arbor, marsh. And then the months of stark snowscape, and the gray-brown in betweens.
Moving to a place where day and night give and take more evenly around the year has clearly been kind to me and my mercurial moods. But this is the desert; this is also a place of extremes.
do more of what you love
Moving out of gratitude... Right before Thanksgiving I completed a 100-day practice of discipline, about which I'll say more soon. Most crucially, it was a vehicle for me to really privilege my sleep and to establish a sine-qua-non morning routine.
I'm preparing to start another on the Solstice, so I'm reflecting on the experience in order to decide what to undertake for those 100 days. One hundred days to build something meaningful! Grand, right? Something meaningful. Exploration of life purpose. Something I've been neglecting and would like to do more of is writing book reviews.
Here's one for this week, and maybe a regular stream of them starting on the Solstice. Let's see how it goes.