“As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.”-Calvin.
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” –Albert Einstein.
Welcome to Podsnacks, the weekly edition of my daily blog, www.artofthediet.com and this week I'm asking you to consider the single most valuable tool you have in you Life Skills Toolbox: creativity. And, along with those considerations some announcements regarding my summer publishing schedule.
‘Creativity is the best health plan' is the phrase I've coded into to Art of the Diet website from the beginning, as well as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and my other social channels, so no surprise I believe in it. Writing every day about weight management since February 17, 2015 has only revealed how important it is to my success in keeping 60 lost pounds from making a return trip to my scale.
I also know that creativity, your creativity, is the single most underrated tool in your toolbox of life skills. Yet, I continually hear..”Oh, that's good for you, you are a photographer, I don't have a skill like that.”
Well, let me quote Picasso on that “artist” label:
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
And, PS. I wasn't born with a camera in my hand.
For many of us, we grow up thinking creativity is the sole territory of fine artists and that it is restricted to an artist's smock and studio.
But, I think Dr. Seuss has it right for the rest of us:
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss
Creativity is first an foremost a decision to be open to what is going on within you. And, to look at chronic problems in new ways as often as you can.
In February of 2015, the 5th year anniversary of maintaining my 60 pound weight loss I committed to writing a daily blog, art of the diet. com, to explore what I do every day that has ensured or endangered that success and to explain to myself a question I genuinely had, ” Why am I successful this time while on other occasions in my life, the regain train returned to the station with me on it. Even in my WW meeting, folks who came in at the same time as I did and lost weight are now back trying to re-lose the weight they had lost. I used to be one of those people. My roundtrip ticket had been punched at least 4 times.
So, I honestly couldn't answer the question that I was asking myself in February, 2015, “Why, now?”
So, I set out to think a little left, a little right, a bit high and a bit low, and answer it by recording my thoughts, actions for a year.
I now have the answer to the question but here's what I realized this week: I've got to edit out these posts so I can use them more effectively for myself as well as my readers in the future.
Here's what happened.
This week was one of those humility weeks. The number was creeping up on the scale and I was scrambling to devise a strategy. Oh, by now, I know ALL the strategies. But. I lose enthusiasm for implementing them and often I can find myself looking for enchantment in the cupboards–all the while knowing that wasn't part of the day's strategy. The right hand gives and the left hand taketh away. That's about as biblical as I get.
It comes down to, as it always does with me, a question of whether I'll actually do the strategy and not negotiate it into oblivion. My Life as a Saboteur is an example of an old post (April 2015) that reminds me of what I am up against. And, I need these reminders because the brain eraser is on steroids in my house.
So, that was the reason I went to my blog and tried to re-read some of my posts about “habits” as I knew over the course of 17 months that I've been writing almost daily, this subject has been looked at from many different directions and has brought me back from the brink many times. I simply wanted a quick fix of re-reading some of my own posts in order to set the course for the coming week.
That's when I realized that I had so many posts on habits that were all throughout the 17 months of daily posts, that I could rebuild the Panama Canal in the time it would take to get a quick fix for my week's plan. So, in the short term, I simply reverted to two habits: cut out sugar all together and combine fruit with protein as a snack. Period. That's all I did and the directional signals began to change.
But, for the long term, I want to have easy access to the blog material that helps me, and hopefully, you as well–helping us keep from falling off the cliff.
So, that's why I am going to on July 1st begin to repost my blog starting from the beginning and use my time now, on a daily basis, to edit the archive of posts (486) into an easily accessible format. This summer I'm going to spend time putting together the answer to that original question so I can at least point you (and myself) to a series of posts that can be accessed with a few keystrokes.
I am, however, going to continue podcasting weekly during the summer. My summer project “Up and Down” art work shall be posted in my weekly podcast, but will not the subject of the podcast. That's still reserved for content that inspires me, experiences, readings that help me get through each week, as well as related weight health issues that are in the news, interviews I can schedule, books I read that help illuminate this whole world of losing and maintaining weight.
It is still a daily challenge for me and no matter what other goals I might have, each day has to begin with that note of humility.
PS. I'm still hoping to receive some swatches of material from my podcast listeners! The address is Pat Coakley POBox 653 Bellingham, Ma 02019.
Just as reminder: I'd love you to send me a 12in x 12in swatch from an article of clothing you would have worn in your “before” photo. I don't want a swatch of clothing that you like or will feel sad you'll no longer wear in your thinner “after” photo. I want the swatches from clothes that you wore as you made yourself into this “before” person. Why? Because I think the “before” person is the one who deserves a little more respect and celebration. My summer goal is to rework those swatches into some art pieces that shall transform them from the dreaded to the celebrated and have some fun along the way.
The first one I've done is posted with this podcast and contains several strips of dark and light jeans along with strips from a yellow top. I cut the strips to each have a point on each end indicating a direction that I see every time I get on the scale, which my listeners know, I call my scale the GPS system. The direction of going up or going down was, at first, when I was only weighing in weekly at WW, total a tyranny that I dreaded or anticipated. when I was losing weight. Now, the locus of control has moved to my daily scale (although I weigh in at WW as well) and over the years of weight maintenance, has become more of a daily directional signal that affirms I'm going in the right direction or alerts me that I'm not. To me, I use this directional as one would the advice to “turn right” or “turn left” from your car GPS system. The number is not as emotionally charged as it once was and I'm the better for it. It is a number. A number I have proven in past seven years that I can use effectively.
My goal for the summer art project is to do a daily small collage for a month and then decide which ones might translate to a much larger form. We'll see whether I can sabotage this goal as well as I do other areas.
To end today, I do want to try my Einsteinian best to pass on the contagion of creativity by sharing with you an artist who sometimes sculpts food out of wood. I have no idea whether he's ever had a weight issue but this I know for sure, if I had his talent with a knife, I'd be cutting out potato chips, too. You'll have to go the show notes page, www.artofthediet.com/47 to see the video and the link to the artist's website. It's worth it!
Sometimes, another's creativity can be make you slack jawed with wonder as well as make you laugh out loud.
See you next week.