I have always been a planner. Maybe I learned it from my father, who carefully planned our family road trips and taught me to be his navigator and expense-recorder; I know I grew up enjoying my own road trips twice, first in the planning and then in the doing. I don't think I'm rigid about sticking to my plans, most of the time, and one of the things I love, especially when traveling, is deciding in the moment to take a side trip to see something that sounds interesting or drive to the end of a road just to see where it goes.
Unfortunately, this open and adventurous attitude has often seemed to fly out the window when I contemplate anything having to do with self-care. Somehow, I feel that unless I make some very detailed plan for myself, I'm not in control and destined to failure. Whether in the realm of exercise or food, having a set plan and following it has always seemed like the secret of success, and if I can't get it together to plan my meals or follow the schedule I've set for myself, I am a loser and not worthy of taking care of.
Needless to say, this is not an attitude that has helped me much in my recent struggles to get healthy and fit. I am the Queen of Impossible Expectations, or at least I have been, and every time I don't manage to stick to the program, I've landed in a slough of despond.
Fortunately, I think that all the thinking about and practicing with mindfulness that I've been doing has started to bear fruit, and I use that metaphor deliberately.
Last Friday, the third opportunity I had to add a new food to my current restricted fare, I had planned to have broccoli, as I was sorely feeling the want of variety among my vegetable choices. I went to the grocery store, fully intending to purchase said broccoli, and looking forward to steaming it for dinner that evening. But when I stepped through the doors of my local Whole Foods Market, there, in rosy, succulent glory, was a mound of gorgeous apricots. Apricots were also on my Phase 2 list, but I didn't feel in a rush to add them because I felt perfectly fine in the fruit department. But as I stood, riveted by their sensuous beauty, I thought how the apricot season is so short, and I immediately jettisoned the broccoli. That evening, I enjoyed my steamed cauliflower and had three tiny, perfect apricots for dessert. And I felt just fine about having to redo my entire plan.
A hui hou.