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Thursday, 8 March 2012

YOU are a treasure

Living the Moment to the Fullest

Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over
which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return
of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until
someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest,
to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where
we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as
if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let's be patient
and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Someone (it was my high school Latin teacher, in fact) once told me that I was a 'treasure' and that no matter where I went in life or what I did, I must never forget that and that people would be 'discovering' me with 'awe and appreciation' over and over again all my life. Although I was somewhat flattered by her words, then -- I never really understood what she meant -- until now!

You see, I was always rather shy -- and not OVERTLY confident. I WAS confident in a quiet way and extremely consistent and attentive to detail and correctness in my studies (which bode me VERY well for subjects like Latin), but I never ever wanted to call attention to see, I grew up....obese.

FAT was the thing people noticed about me first and the most and THAT was the first thought and impression, and perhaps, lasting thought and impression of 'me' -- not my beauty or my intelligence or my sense of humour, my quick wit, my smile, my laugh, my capacity for fierce friendship, compassion, and love. To the world, I was just 'a fatty'. Being reflective and uber-conscious on this fact, even as a child and teenager, I knew this, thus, I just 'laid low' and kept to myself -- never really getting into the whole game of 'promoting' myself in the popular circles. Of course, as a defense mechanism and to deflect from my obesity, I developed a wicked self-depreciating sense of humour which made people laugh uproariously and this did make me popular with the people who did decide to get to know me. The operative dynamic here is that people were not automatically attracted to me because of my physical appearance. In those days, the prevalence of obesity was about 1/20 children/teenagers -- so there were a few of us in that same boat, BUT, there were other people with OTHER issues -- bad skin, nerdy, bad hair,sexual ambiguity, or whatever -- that kept THEM from being in the popular crowd -- and we all found each other! So, I did manage to always have friends and a social life, albeit with the 'alternative' crowd -- the people who, for some reason or another, ALSO had to try harder, to be smarter, to dig deeper to somehow find the treasure that we all had within. Most of us who had to experience our 'rude awakenings' earlier in life, actually, have fared well and have gone from strength to strength as we've travelled our life journeys. A few of us have not done so well -- gotten caught up in drugs, drink or other ways of coping with never really feeling accepted, embraced, loved, or admired for who we are.....never really 'graduating' from those horific days when you felt that not only your treasures, but you, yourself , were kicked and bashed around the schoolyard like a football or dodgeball, from one rabid, taunting 'player' to another.

So, those of us who DID make it through -- was it because we just persevered patiently through all the suffering until it just miraculously ended one day?

Not at all! It NEVER ends, does it? Life is a series of obstacles that have to be dealt with and overcome. Some of us learned this quite early in life and some, a bit later, but no one is spared! Patience IS an important virtue, but it is not passive! True patience requires ACTION -- reflection, strategizing, and doing what needs to be done to live fully, productively, joyfully!

It is only when we live EACH moment to the fullest and find joy in who we are NOW that we realize that whatever we have about ourselves that makes us different is that which makes us a UNIQUE, but STRONG member of humanity. When we embrace that difference in order to help/enable us to discover, challenge, and strengthen ourselves -- we SHINE to the world and for the world. We, in fact, make the whole of humanity that much stronger and connected!

So, for me -- through my obesity, I have learned so much about foods, nutrition, and my body. I also knew that staying obese was not an option for me if I wanted to be healthy -- in body, but also in spirit! I knew that to be fully committed and connected to life and society, that I would have to lose the weight! The image that I had of myself within was not in harmony with the image that I portrayed to the world, when I was obese. There was this stark dissonance in who I really was and who the world saw me as. So, I worked hard (and still do) to change that about myself. It had required (and requires still!) ALOT of patience, but it wasn't going to miraculously change on its own! I have had to work at it! I make active, disciplined decisions every day of my life to eat balanced and just enough for my body's needs, I exercise, I pray through periods of temptation, I stay informed and get involved in programs and initiatives that help 'equalize' the access to adequate food and hydration for people in my local, but also global communities.

For all the years that I spent looking for what I THOUGHT were the treasures that life had to offer,I DO know it has been so liberating and really really true joy discovering and releasing all the treasures that I DID have, right under my nose, deep within me -- the person I AM -- all that I had been selfishly 'hiding' from the world.

Perhaps had I not been obese, I would never have discovered the 'treasure' within -- I don't know!

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