Strong Roots

Yesterday, like most Thursdays just before 7 pm, I was waiting in Griffith Park for the regular hiking crowd to arrive for an awesome midweek break from the desk in friendly company. Yesterday, I had extra time and stretched out on the little park bench under a California Live Oak tree where we always gather before the hike. Yesterday though for what felt like the first time, I looked up into this beautiful tree and really noticed the tree. The impressive trunk reaching for the sky with branches covered in graceful leaves. The tree must have grown here for eighty or more years, earthquakes, fires, droughts, rain and storms. As I was watching the branches gently sway in the breeze, I realized that the secret to the tree’s long and healthy life were strong roots and great flexibility.

The tree is a lovely metaphor for our lives, as we struggle for balance and seek to secure our own place. Be open and flexible to move with the flow of life and stand firm in the storms. Does this still have anything to do with losing weight? In a way it does. I’ve made good on my pledge from last week. No alcohol, pretty easy though I had to let Jeff drink alone. No chocolates at the office: Harder, but calling people reaching for the jar names seems to help. Of course I do it quietly, only thinking the words. Shouting in a meeting: “Put down that chocolate. Do you have any idea how many calories that is and how much trans fat you are gobbling up?” Might be a bit distracting. Packing my lunch for the day, not a big problem with some planning. Not snapping at my husband (sorry, fiancé) because he doesn’t hand me food the moment I come through the door: Really hard. I had to remind myself that reaching the perfect wedding weight while losing the groom due to irreconcilable dietary differences is not the plan.

So I make sure I keep an eye on my hunger-driven crankiness and have an emergency snack handy. It might also be dawning on Jeff that sometimes it is best to throw me a carton of yoghurt from a safe distance and wait a few minutes before trying to tell me about his day. Especially, if I just spent an hour in LA traffic. I consider that a fair trade, as he has the privilege of biking to work and comes home sweaty but relaxed. I make up for it on the days I come home after my yoga class, showered and serenely floating on cloud nine.

Sorry, if anyone one of you expected me to talk about the earthquake. Well, Tuesday is so long ago and we seasoned Southern Californians have all but forgotten about it. So the news crews had to look really hard to find a store with stuff all over the floor. In the office, I had to calm the nerves of three new arrivals who had just gone through their first earthquake. “I’m from Boston, I don’t know what to do,” was a pretty typical statement. Other than the momentary phone outage because everyone had to tell their friends, we were all OK. In this LA, where it is so easy to feel lonely and isolated despite, or because of our apparent business, earthquakes are the one reminder that we are in this together. Not just in the office building, or on the bus, but in life. Let that thought sink in a little and suddenly it isn’t half as scary anymore.

Rolf’s progress.
May 30, 2008 June 6, 2008 July 25, 2008 August 1, 2008
Weight 183.0 lb 180.5 lb 185.0 lb 183.0 lb
Waist to Hip Ratio
Quality of Life 50% 105% 80% 80%
Thoughts Fallen off. I can fly! Let’s start again. Step away from the chocolate.
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