Category Archives: General Waist Training Information

Taking your power back in waist training

It’s almost beyond debate that there is a link between emotions and ill health, particularly in chronic back pain, IBS, arthritis, and other. If you want proof, check out the Dec. 7, 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Elissa S. Epel, UCSF Medical Center, and some colleagues, published an article affirming that the mind plays a significant role in our physical health. They demonstrated a definitive connection between perceived and chronic stress and changes in telomeres. Telomeres are specific areas of the chromosome that are known to relate to the length of cell life and aging. I attended a mini-med school class at UCSF not long ago and heard her speak on these results with respect to our national epidemic of obesity. Minimizing stress is one specific strategy that could be ameliorative.

But there are challenges in our society to overcome before that concept will be universally accepted. Sadly enough, initially men may have the most difficult time with it.

I heard today that an NFL football player recently and vehemently rejected the notion that he had shed a tear or two on the field after sustaining a serious injury. I feel sorry for him, not only for the injury, one that I would never wish on anyone, even one who accepts the substantial risk to present and future health of playing football. I feel more sorry for him because he is still victim to the  long existing and misguided social message that men must not be weak nor show weakness — and that tears are still considered as a prime sign of male, and perhaps even female, weakness.

Learning earlier this year about Dr. John Sarno and reading his seminal book, The Divided Mind, I often think about the connection between emotions and brain-caused pain. Any ache or pain I experience causes me to first ask: is there a structural cause or not? And even if there may be a structural cause, why am I continuing to experience pain? Could that pain be brain-caused?

Doctors well know that even many structural problems such as arthritis or disc ruptures, do not cause pain in many of their patients. It’s an undeniable fact if you read Dr. Sarno’s remarkable book, and that fact may change your life.

A second step I take when encountering pain or a health problem, is to take charge and get more information. Usually I do that by binging the topic, and/or by making a doctor’s appointment. What happens time and again when I do either or both of those things, is that I immediately improve!

Recently the same thing happened. I am dealing with two pesky problems the past two months, one of them being that often I wake up at 3 am in the morning. My mind starts working overtime, and I have to get up and stay up until about 10 or 12 in the morning when I collapse into bed to catch up on disrupted sleep. After struggling for about two months with this problem, I recently made an appointment to chat with my doctor about it. The next five nights, I slept all the night through! (Incidentally you can try what seems to help for me: one hour before turn-out-the-lights-time, take one melatonin and one or two droppers of passion flower extract)

It didn’t take me long to realize that I improved because I took one or more action steps to take back my power over my problem. I decided not to sit there suffer. Even though I was waiting a few days for a telephone call with my doctor, I had acted to do something, and the very act of acting, translated into improvement.

In my book on waist training I relate a personal story about a time in my mid 20s when I used to bite or chew the inside of my lip when I was under stress, which was a lot of the time. I knew it to be a dangerous practice and one I had to stop. I called a local hypnotherapist psychiatrist, chatted with him about my problem, and made an appointment in one week to see him. He gave me a homework assignment in the meantime. I was to write down every time I caught myself chewing on my lip, the date, time, circumstances, and my stress level on a scale from 1 to 10. I started the record and three days later I stopped the habit. I called the doctor and cancelled my appointment, explaining what had happened. He and I both laughed! And, never again was I plagued with this destructive habit.

The point of this blog is to suggest that if you are dissatisfied with your size, shape, or health when it comes to nutrition and well being, and if you but commit to corset waist train in some way and take one action step, you might find that automatically you start feeling better and doing the right things!

That one action step could be:

–reading my Corset Waist Training book,

–calling me to register for my coaching program (but don’t start until January since I don’t recommend you make a serious waist-training effort that encompasses food-tempting holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas),

— enrolling in a social media group that supports waist training with reliable, fact-based information and encouragement.

— reading Lucy William’s great book, Solaced, with stories about the successes of many other folks who love and wear or tried corsets for many beneficial health-related purposes, or

— binging “corset waist training” and reading online resources.

Sure, we have to evaluate possible action steps carefully, being sure before we choose one or more of them, to consult reliable, fact-based resources; we can’t abandon all sense and look for a guru or “social media influencer” to follow mindlessly when it comes to our health. We have to stay in our “adult” and take care of ourselves to the end.

But when we encounter health challenges, act we must–and accept we must that many of our health issues are emotion-based and brain-caused, not structurally-caused or other-caused. We cause many of them, especially ones that bother us and cause us pain, as well as health problems that last a long time or recur periodically without structural causation.

We need to be responsible for the many choices available to us throughout life in order to live the happiest, most satisfying life we can, while we are on this earth.

I’m down for that; are you?

 

 

 

 

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Our styles of eating tip us off to our success or struggles in waist training

My photographer friend Jeanette just sent me this article, a good summary of the main “styles” of eating, or relationships to food:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/04/health/parenting-food-drayer/index.html

Regarding my waist-training program coaching students, I’ve found the styles mentioned, ring true.

One early student, my third, told me that she had little food when she grew up in a poor family and afterwards had a struggle with her weight because it was “feast or famine.” When she grew up, had a nice job, and could afford to shop and eat well, she did–but overeat she did, too. We had to work hard on portion control and rearranging her thinking to an adult nurturing level as she practiced a new diet and corseting to drop some pounds. The simple (but not only) step of changing her plate size to a smaller one, helped her reach her goals.

Another potential student told me she grew up being permitted to eat a lot of junk food–and in the past, she did and accordingly, ballooned up in weight and size. She found it quite easy to fall back on old habits and put on a lot of weight very quickly, even after she had been ‘eating clean’ for a good long time (see great picture of a very healthy dinner). Sadly enough just before commencing her program, she elected not to continue, so I don’t know how she fared after that.

And then there is the “caring parent” or nurturing culture, that uses food to express love, and like my Southern mom, pushed sweets and caloric snacks on guests…and either pushed or permitted way too many sweets on us children, too!

I used to serve dessert after every meal, a pattern I had adopted from my family style of eating. Once I decided 3.5 years ago to give up almost all added white sugar, I cleaned my fridge and quit buying ice cream and other sweets. Just the other day I made the most delicious banana bread using no white sugar, two bananas, almond and wheat flour, and dates. Really delicious now that I have cleaned out my palate from expecting sugary sweets.

Our corseting house guest just left, and the last night I cut in two pieces (2/3 and 1/3) a famous San Francisco treat called “It’s It.”  If you ever are here, try one! It’s basically a yummie chocolate iced ice cream sandwich in choice of three flavors. My partner commented after eating his 2/3 piece, wow, this tastes almost sickeningly sweet — I need to get a glass of water as the sugar is almost burning my mouth.

To change any unhelpful style or habit of eating and food choice, we have to give ourselves sufficient time for tastes to change, and keep an experimental attitude to try and keep trying a variety of veggies and fruits as we decrease fats and protein–a corset friendly diet as I call it, for serious waist training. Mind you I’m not for this or that diet fad! But restricting the stomach while corseting with a waistline inch or weight loss goal, mandates a more sensible approach that includes reducing sweets, acids, and fats.

Be sure you analyze your own “style” of eating and ask what attitudes you have developed regarding food, that persist from your childhood. Knowledge of how we got to where we feel we need to change, will help us make the right choices for a healthy future!

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Rushing never pays!

My Alexander Technique teacher Elyse Shafarman, just published a useful blog on rushing around, and how it doesn’t serve many good purposes and quite a few deleterious ones! I commend her blog if you, too, encounter this problem from time to time in your life.

Somehow it seems that when we want instantaneous results, or “get behind” what we feel should be our schedule, or have a real, earnest deadline to meet, that the more we rush, the worse we fall behind.

When I was a practicing civil attorney, there was no way I could not be in court for the 9 am motion court call! And in 16 years I think I missed two such times, but was there by the second call/second chance at 9:30 am. So there are good reasons to rush–but it seems we create those reasons ourselves for the most part. Even anticipating extraordinary traffic or a BART breakdown should be anticipated, right?

Yesterday I was intending to paint another coat of white, but this time semi-gloss paint, to cover up the matte finish I had mistakenly used the first time on one closet door. I was in a bit of haste to get it done with a full plate of house cleaning to get ready for a guest, and a bit peeved at myself for initially and unwittingly choosing a matte finish to begin with. In haste I poured semi gloss paint into my pan and started on the project, noting half way thru that the color was a strange blue white, and not a cream white. I sort of like it I thought, but this means I have to put two coats on to cover the cream white. More work, more time. When I finished painting the door and a bit of trim I mentioned this strange color of white to my partner who said, “did you read the top of the paint can?”

Well, no, I had not. When I did, I noticed I had poured out light grey, another color paint from a second can I had placed on the table near the white paint can. After painting white on my closet door, I later intended to use the grey to correct some marks on our grey bathroom wall! I got so mad at myself and the time I had wasted that I sat down for a full two hours, drank coffee, and watched one of the football games! Now today I have to re-do the paint yet a third time.

Some students “rush” to lose weight or rush to see waistline inches falling off during their three-month waist-training coaching program. It’s an attitude or expectation that bodes ill for their chances of reaching the reasonable goals we establish  at the outset. I make sure those goals are realistic and not overreaching, and if anything, that they are quite conservative.

No matter: those students with the habit or personality of not well tolerating anxiety, expecting instantaneous results, and not doing their homework first, sometimes can’t wait to see even modest improvements.

They want to measure their waist and weigh every day, not once a week as I advise (concentrating not on weight, but on measurements). They begin to obsess on numbers, and not on the process.

No matter I tell them before we begin, that many students in my experience don’t see results until the last two weeks of our three-month coaching program. No matter I tell them, that most students sometime in the program will “hit a wall” and want to quit, but that they should persevere all the way through in order to have the best chance of seeing the waist-training process work well to reach their goals.

If the student:

(1)  has a firm commitment to their goals,

(2) has done research before entering our coaching program sufficient to know that their coach/adviser is trustworthy and has their best interests at heart,

(3)  maintains that trust in the advice they receive, and

(4)  is willing to tolerate a bit of anxiety for only three short months (the time just rushes by!),

then that student will likely take the advice to continue on, and accordingly, they will and do each their goals.

Rushing rarely, if ever, pays!

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“Free Will” when it comes to improving our health/size/shape–does it exist?

We can improve our self-control, and this is a morally significant fact about the competence of normal adults—the only people whom we hold fully (but not “absolutely” or “deeply”) responsible… in many cases our freedom is an achievement, for which we are partly responsible. (Yes, luck plays a role but so does skill; we are not just lucky.) (Daniel C. Dennett, 1984).

Dr. Denett is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He wrote the above passage borrowed from his review of Sam Harris’ book, Free Will. See, https://samharris.org/reflections-on-free-will/. Wikipedia says that Sam Harris is (among many things) a neuroscientist and critic of religion. See, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Harris

I sometimes ponder the concept of “free will” vs. determinism (and the related concept of motivation) when it comes to choices we make and habit change vis-a-vis figure re-shaping or corset waist training. Making certain choices and habit changes regarding foods and how we eat, will help corseting be more comfortable and will encourage better overall health and a shrinking waistline and/or weight–if those are our goals.

While I’m not competent to fully understand the niceties of the intellectual debate about free will and determinism between Harris and Dennett (and likely, not that interested in doing so) , I come down on the side of Dr. Dennett.

I agree with him that “perfect” freedom is, of course, an incoherent idea. No one has perfect freedom. We are authors of our own destiny–and we are not.

For example, I don’t believe it possible today to deny the foundational work of Freud and other psychoanalysts demonstrating the existence, power, and influence on human behavior of the unconscious (see, a few immediately prior blogs). Usually we are not aware of what lurks there, nor are we then in control of its influence on our behavior. Even bringing some suppressed trauma to consciousness does not automatically mean that we instantaneously start making better choices or change our normal behavior; that takes more.

I also have a below-rudimentary understanding of the influence of genes, but I know they, too, have certain impact on the projectile of our lives and health, size and shape, and choices. I take after my slim mom (skinny, wiry, with minimal appetite) while my younger sister takes after the body shape and size of my dad (robust, stocky, with large appetite). Sadly and for better or worse, I missed out in studying Richard Dawkins’s idea of the “meme” to explain how behaviors and ideas replicate themselves like genes or viruses–but despite the effect of genes, I still believe in the value of making the ultimate effort to live in the conscious, and try hard to change deleterious behavior and adopt new habits when it comes to taking care of our health–if that is our goal.

The question is, are we as a society (world?) really choosing? Or are we subject to mass hysteria according to our innate? desire for thrills, titilation, and some measure of power and control in our lives? Do we unwittingly and mindlessly (forget free will!) join in certain thrilling “epidemics” like opiods, fake news that stoke our biases, out-of-body drug-induced experiences (i.e,. see Michael Pollen’s new book), hyper and constant texting, and other trends that become anti-social if not dangerous when carried to the extreme, yet behavior apparently of our choosing?

For example, I ponder the ubiquitous need or compulsion of almost everyone who owns an iPhone/android (and almost everyone does these days, except a few souls such as myself), to walk down busy sidewalks as if one owns them, and cross busy intersections as if no danger exists, head down, texting. Why do so?

I have no clue, save for the lack of exercise of free will. I’m sure there is no gene that compels us to engage in what I deem to be anti-social behavior that probably merits governmental regulation (see, e.g., Hawaii and a SoCal cities regulation against texting while crossing intersections). There may exist some unconscious mass compunction for self annihilation, or generalized desire to wipe out humanity, starting with the elderly or youth who can’t so easily jump out of the way. But it surely isn’t rational behavior in my view.

As Dr. Dennett says, “…unauthored thoughts are the causes, shapers and controllers (not the determinants per se)…In fact we know very well that I can influence your choices, and you can influence my choices, and even your own choices, and that this “bringing into being” of different choices is what makes them morally important. That’s why we exhort and chastise and instruct and praise and encourage and inform others and ourselves.”

As he also says (to which I say “A-WOMAN!), “…our free will is not just a given; it is something we are obliged to protect and nurture, with help from our families and friends and the societies in which we live…Freedom involves the ability to have one’s choices influenced by changes in the world that matter under the circumstances. Not a perfect ability, but a reliable ability.”

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Waxing philosophical: The heart is slow to learn

“Pity me that the heart is slow to learn, What the swift mind beholds at every turn.” Emily Dickenson seems to state profound truths in a few short words. I wish I could do the same!

On days when I get out of my own way (what a lovely concept!), the world seems to permit serendipitous insights and I see truths that exist around me all the time. Today is just such a day.

Paying attention to the role of the unconscious in personal motivations, is a current interest, particularly how it applies to the corset waist-training students whom I coach from time to time. As much as I try to flesh out a solid picture of the personality, personal motivations and disposition, history, and genetic background of someone who wants to enter my waist-training program, I cannot predict with certainly how the student will fare. Sometimes I can’t predict accurately if they will complete the program. More surprising to me, some pay their registration fee then choose not to even begin the program! Often I suspect those actions have to do with unresolved childhood experiences including fear and anger, but not much with anything that can be rationally identified or understood on my part or theirs. Because of that understanding and before any student begins a program, I advise that sometime during training they may want to quit, and suggest they be ready to overcome that natural tendency, even if it is irrational. I advise that both corset construction and waist training are not matters of perfect predictability, much less “perfection.” See also this page.

I’ve learned a lot about the unconscious in Dr. John Sarno’s excellent book, The Divided Mind. Last weekend I learned even more in an SF Chronicle’s Sunday book review of Prof. Martha Nussbaum’s new book, The Monarchy of Fear.

Dr. Sarno says that patients can develop new health-related symptoms and experience chronic pain due to the unconscious, and suppressed anger (to which I would add, fear). Prof. Nussbaum says that infantile helplessness and vulnerability can predispose us to various ways of coping. She says that childhood is an inherently terrifying time with a steep ascent toward maturity and its glimmer of social hope. Frightened citizens can become “indifferent to truth” she says.

I note that students who fail to pursue waist training, seem indifferent to truth. Some even stop communicating entirely, preventing their further learning, and heading off their potential success. In that case, failure in waist training becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thus, I have had to recognize that when I respond to perceived student hesitancy with facts, I may be only partially successful. Even when I present many facts and figures, actual student, corsetiere, and my experiences and statistics, the student must first conquer his or her fears both conscious and unconscious, in order to proceed. They need to accept advice, and understand that corseting and waist training are not sciences. They must accept that generally (but not always) waist training has the best results with three prongs of effort: long hours of snug corset wear (not short periods of extreme tightness), plus corset-friendly specific nutrition practices, and waist-targeted exercising.

Sometimes corset wear is not even the key element. Some students have an excellent nutrition program in place but need to focus on specific exercises.  Some need nutrition help.

In the end, those students who have been able to embrace flexibility, anxiety, and ambiguity, plus not demand certainty and perfection in corset fit, construction, or tightness, have demonstrated the most waist training success.

But in today’s anxious world of striving and suffering (see prior blogs), certitude is often demanded to reduce internal conflict. Nussbaum says many today prefer “the comfort of a leader who gives them a womb-like feeling of safety,” and they may “become aggressive against others, blaming them for the pain of fear.” I wonder if she has put her finger on a key reason for the widespread snarkiness on social media today? Anger seems pervasive.

We live in a world of so-called experts who thrive on giving us pat answers so that we don’t have to do the hard work of tolerating anxiety and not knowing. Some don’t want to learn along the way from experience and they don’t respect fact-based experience.

For anyone considering waist training, it behooves them to consider the possibility that their unconscious might try to defeat the pursuit. It might throw up hidden resistance to proceeding, even if they have thoroughly researched the topic and chosen a highly experienced guide or partner, one who generally can be trusted.

Moving forward despite one’s imagined disappointments, fears, and doubts, can help not only achieve successful waist training, but also be successful in future pursuits in many arenas where ambiguity inheres, and where individual endeavor dictates uncertainty in the process and the results.

 

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“The Anxiety to Do Well”

I was recently intrigued by the title of a book by Patricia Hampl, The Art of the Wasted Day. I’ve spent an hour or so each morning for the past week or so, reading it. For two years I’ve been loving focusing on waist-training coaching, and being semi-retired, now able to spend a day or two of every week, as I choose, to do random tasks or non-tasks such as reading, gardening, photographing/documenting corsets I’m ready to pass on and sell, portraiture, or practicing watercolors (see the unfinished kitty I’m working on after attending my first watercolor class last Saturday). Today I read the title of today’s blog in her book. “The anxiety to do well” struck me as relevant to my entire life — until a back spasm laid me low over two  years ago, and stopped me in my tracks. If one can no longer “do well” and must lie down for a while, what comes next? I surely wasn’t wearing corsets. But I did start all of those marvelous new projects mentioned above, things I always considered to be sort of, well, wasting time.

My blog before this one talked about our national obsessions with striving and suffering, which I’ve concluded does no one much good, even if it results in better accumulation of things and titles during one’s mid-life. Since I’m into the phase of home remodeling and down-sizing, I certainly suffered a lot, judged by all the things I realize I now own and of which I now want to rid myself.

Once I was proud of owning over 70 corsets, most of them custom fit to my body –things of beauty and function of which I was, and can still be, proud. Some I treasure as true works of antique craftspersonship, art-for-wear as I like to call corsets, but that does not credit them with the inherent and potential psychological, physical and spiritual elements of well-being that some of us corset enthusiasts experience when we wear them, or corset waist train and experience the added demands of ultimate restriction or physical endurance.

Reading Hampl’s book, I finally realized that one reason I don’t like reading fiction, is that it always seemed irrelevant to me, self-indulgent, not “striving” and “not accomplishing anything useful.” Bingo! The concept of being useful, doing the right thing, being good, being diligent–all the things my Calvinist upbringing and my mom and dad taught me to be.  Today I only read non-fiction. And now, Hample’s book. I guess I’m lightening up.

I chuckle remembering my dad–at the time me in high school in the late 50s with the existential threat of Communism taking over the world and Communists blowing everyone to smitherines with their bomb–concluding that my theater teacher had fallen victim to politics and was putting egalitarian, Communistic ideas into her student’s heads while she coached us in acting. Where dad picked up that belief–a rumor is most that I can make of it–remains a mystery to this day, but regarding a Communism threat, he and many others were fervent believers. I refused to withdraw from acting class or holding the lead of Julie in “Carousel,”  our senior play. Besides, my first teenage crush and One True Love at the time, won the role of the carnival barker, so how could I give it (him) up? So dad told me one night at dinner, in total exasperation with my independent nature, that “if you are going to be a Communist, then be the very best one you can be!”

Quaint. It was his dad-ly message to an errant daughter, reflecting his core values of striving (and suffering) when I would not cow-tow to his political beliefs. We would go on to see the eventual fall of the Russian empire and its real or imagined world power. I often wondered what dad thought when his absolute conviction of possible destruction by the Communist evil simply disappeared some decades later and he was left with—what? Striving? Suffering?

One of the reasons I adore corsets has to do with nostalgia. Hample, in writing about Lady Eleanor and Sarah, says that “the pacific slowness of ages past” is a nostalgic notion. (Those two were Irish ladies of great fame in Victorian times who retired to Wales to live out their long lives in quasi-seclusion yet with some notoriety for their suspected amorous relationship.) Besides the point and who cares anyway? There are a hundred reasons to enjoy corsets and another hundred ways to benefit from wearing them. One of them is appreciating history and nostalgia, and also appreciating the best of past lifestyles and the re-birth during the past five years or so of true craftspersonship in custom corset crafting.

The curious concept of forest bathing from Japan, and earthing (walking bare foot on soil) as nouveau ways of enhancing well-being and reliving modern stress, somehow go along with corsets. Two new health strategies I must investigate more, as I’ve turned away from corsets as restrictive garments, more toward them as emancipative instruments of boundless creativity.

As Hampl says, perhaps the best way to attain balance in one’s life today is to withdraw, just stop. Re-train the brain, re-wire the brain are concepts I’ve heard in my Alexander Technique classes, and also today on CBS news where Professor Laurie Santos discussed her most popular class ever at Yale, on how to be happy. Turns out we all know the answer and it has mainly to do with our brain, and how we conceive of a thing. I’ve often said that the biggest challenge in corset waist training, and key to reaching our goals in figure shaping, is how we think about it, not the actual discipline of it.

But I found it curious that her message was contradicted by one question in a “happiness inventory” she gives her students, one that I just took.  Question 20 asked if I spend most of my day doing “things that are important”?

Who knows? What is “important” today is not the same as what was important yesterday. As I mature (I hope), nothing much of what I do seems “important” in the sense of being earth-shaking, trend-setting, or money-making. And anyway, what’s the value of being earth-shaking, trend-setting, or money-making?

For sure I no longer want to strive or suffer if I can help it. I do however, want to learn and adventure, sometimes even experience the discomfort of having to grow and change. Often I want to just sit outside and listen to the birds and soak in the warm sunshine. I guess that’s part of “The Art of the Wasted Day.”

If I’m wearing my corset at the time, I guess I would call it: “The Art of the Waisted Day”!

 

 

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Not doing, and the national obsession with ambition, not to mention trashing

Recently I’ve thought a lot and blogged a wee bit about “un-doing.” I first came upon the concept when reading a book by a diet/nutrition and heart health guru, who said we grow up with so many bad messages about food and eating, that the process of becoming more healthy is a process of “un-doing.” I got it!

Learning to un-do for me today, comes out of my year-long lessons in the Alexander Technique. Today I was completing my book, The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford (2015 publication). I also “got it” about why un-doing is so tricky and difficult to learn.

He was talking about the coming robotization of most if not all, jobs. One way to address this difficult direction our society is taking, is a guaranteed income. Of course, some would drop out of the labor force completely and live on this government dole. In response, Ford says that “in other words, they will generally be among the least ambitious and industrious members of the population” (at page 269.)

Eureka! Anyone who does not do a “typical” or “normal” job to earn money, or chooses “not to work” for a while or permanently (like when a mom or pop decides not to be breadwinner and stay home to raise the children–certainly a job!), is considered to be “unambitious” and “not industrious.” That’s especially true of they want to sit and paint, or go bird watching or fishing, just travel, or  sit and meditate.

We are a society programed to strive, struggle, suffer—and work in government offices or with corporate bosses, or perhaps for the lucky or unlucky few, work for Silicon Valley-like tech start-ups and established IT firms. If we don’t elect to follow that typical career pattern, then we will be looked down upon in society, as unambitious.

How can we, then, ever stop a moment to learn to “un-do” bad physical, emotional, job or family habits that no longer serve our needs or changing priorities in life? How can just sitting and smelling the roses, or contemplating our navel (meditation) be tolerated, before there arises an unsettling, deep-seated anxiety that we are not being useful and productive like mom or dad taught us to be?

When I walked out of a 16-year litigation career to open ROMANTASY boutique, a sexy lingerie/toy shop for “romantic singles and loving couples” in 1990, most thought me to be strange at best, self-destructive at worst.  Maybe I was both. Hardly anyone could understand why I would give up a staid career, feeding at the public trough as I used to call it (having worked my entire legal professional life for the State of California and never in private practice). I was so worried about doing it that I never told my mom until months later, and then of course, never shared with her the intimate details of precisely what kind of lingerie shop I had opened!

I was definitely un-doing a whole helluva lot of programming, but also un-doing an enormous amount of job stress in a very toxic environment. Toxic to me and my spirit, if not to countless others who can tolerate or thrive working in a very difficult, angry profession, and working within the penultimate bureaucracy of government.

Today I continue to practice not doing every day. I ask myself the question my AT teacher Elyse asks me:  “How can I do less?” That’s a curious concept related to un-doing. First, you have to not do something you always do, in order for the question to arise. Second, you have to scan your body, mind and heart to identify what is not needed at the moment, and only then can you let it go.

I often say that Alexander Technique is like biofeedback for the body and soul. It is that and much more. It gives one techniques and a chance to stop, reflect, and then choose something potentially much more beneficial.

Our American value system rewards production, as Ford says, but it also rewards striving and struggle. “Work hard” said my mom and dad (implying that rewards will come)–but maybe not the rewards they were thinking of.

I wonder if we didn’t follow that advice, would there be fewer burn-outs and flare-outs? Would there be less conflict and hostility we see on the streets and certainly, in social media discussions these days. I was surprised/not surprised to learn on the news today that Congresswoman Maxine Waters of SoCal received many death threats after she recently urged folks to suit up and show up to protest/speak out about abhorrent behaviors by our so-called president and his elite Wall Street gang, even to any public servant found in public places or at home. She’s urging us to exercise our legal, First Amendment rights, and she gets death threats for doing the same?

Let’s stop for a moment and go back to basics. There is nothing in the First Amendment or any other document for that matter, that I know of that requires peaceful protest to be conducted outside of government buildings. There simply is no “right” time or place for protest, so long as it is a peaceful expression that does not interfere substantially or moderately with public or private passage or places by anyone. I don’t know about you, but it’s one of the basic reasons I live in America.

Let’s not do for a moment and let passions subside. Let’s wait a moment  longer before we rush off, so that our better selves can come to the forefront and guide our behavior. For my part, I’m going to set typing aside to get ready to go find The Most Awesome Cat in our local shelter today, where I volunteer to socialize kitties once a week. It’s my day of therapy and happiness. Most likely I’ll create nothing new in the world be it corset-related or not. No addition to the gross national product. No struggling. But I know I’ll bring a bit of cheer and/or comfort to a number of lonely cats and kittens who are also not doing anything while they wait for a fur-ever home. (Check out your local animal care and control, or SPCA, if you are in the mood to help out a furry friend! The unique little “old man” grey “Gus Gus” is still available at our San Francisco ACC!)

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