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Who Do I Want To Be Today?


Good Morning My Confidants!



Today, I want to be “better” than I was. Not I am not ashamed of who I was when I wrote about this last. On that day, I was the best that I could be on that day. And that was so much better than I was six months before that, or a year before that, or three before that.


In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals through the Fourth Agreement that I should "Always Do My Best," however—and this important!—"...keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time...it will depend on whether you are feeling wonderful and happy, or angry and upset. In your everyday moods, your best can change from one moment to another, from one hour to the next, from one day to another. ...but keep doing your best — no more and no less than your best. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough. When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. ... If you just do your best, there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer." *


Today I am going to be “better.”


I am choosing this now.


The assignment I am giving myself today is to do the very best I can do today.


It is time for me to take better care of myself.


And one of those has to do with my weight. I have reached a point where I have trouble climbing the stairs to my second floor. The weight on my knees. The weight on my heart. I get upstairs and sometimes if feels like it is going to pound right out of my chest.


It is more than time for me to begin taking care of myself again. So, I began to pay much more attention to what I was eating. And in the last three weeks I have managed to shed 6.8 pounds. Wow! Now in the past week, I didn't shed even one. Not sure exactly what that is about, but I have a good idea.


It is easy for me to eat mindlessly. Not thinking about it. Popping things into my mouth and not even remembering ten minutes later that I did so. More and more and more I began to think of my days with Weight Watchers and how successful I was with getting rid of unhealthy pounds on that program. Unfortunately, the centers that I went to for my monthly meetings have closed down and the closest one is a half-hour or more away. That takes a lot of time out of my day, especially considering the times that the meetings were held. It could mean I "lost" a half day, and I used that as an excuse to not go anymore. And somewhere along the line, I am not sure why, my membership apparently ended. And therein lay the biggest problem.


The biggest thing that Weight Watchers did for me is help me account for every bite I put in my mouth through a Points system. In the old days it was all paper and memory and booklets and little cardboard sliders that helped you determine the Points of what you were eating. It worked for me...but not really well. I am not a person who does well when I have to have all these different tools to do it, supplies, books, remembering to write stuff down, forgetting to write stuff down. Subtraction!


Well, now there's an app! And why not? There's an app for everything these days.


But for me, this app worked, and it worked well!


With Weight Watchers, I type in my age, weight, gender, etc, and it tells me how many "Points" I can have per day. I get 35.


And then all I have to do is scan the barcode of any packaged food I buy, and it instantly tells me how many Points that product per serving. I subtract that to my total "allowed" Points.


If it is a food without a barcode, it is easy to look the food up in my app. I type in "steak" and, and bing! I know that if the steak is lean, it's about a Point for each oz. An eight oz steak therefor is 8 Points. I type it in and track it, and the app subtracts it from my total. If I am at a restaurant, I just look up the restaurant, and it tells me what the Points are for each item. I track it.


The ONLY tricky part of Weight Watchers for me is If the restaurant isn't in the app, I can compare it to other items at other restaurants, and then pick the one that I think is the best match. And if there is a great range of possible Points, I always pick one of the highest. Because "cheating" by choosing the lowest only "cheats" myself. Nobody else. It that taco can be anything from 5 to 9 Points, I choose 5, but it turns out it was 9, and I had three tacos, then I am saying I ate 15 Points of food when it was 27 Points. I have 35 Points per day. So, if I go over my 35 Points all week, then of course I will gain weight! So I am not cheating anyone except myself when it comes to weigh-in day!


And it is way past time for me to stop cheating myself.


What I love most about Weight Watchers is that I can have anything to eat that I want. None of that "I can't have carbs," or, I can have salmon, but only once a week, or, I can't have anything with sugar, or, I can't....


Ben doesn't do well when he is told he "can't." It has amazed me, but since as far back as I can remember, how many people seem to like being told that they "can't." They seem to find some kind of comfort in being allowed or not allowed to do something.


"But Ben! We can't do that!" And they are perfectly fine with it. Fine with being told what they can and cannot do. Ben wants to know why I can't do it. And then Ben is going to decide himself what I can and cannot do.



With Weight Watchers, I decide what I put in my mouth. But if I pick something that has a Point value of 33 Points, that leaves me only 2 Points for the rest of the day. Do I really want to eat that? Or should I pick something that is 5 Points and then I can have more to eat? I love the fact that I am taught to make good choices.


And you know what? Sometimes I want that 33 Points! Because denying myself food that I really want does nothing but make me want it all the more.


Saturday night I rejoined Weight Watchers.


It was the Universe telling me to do so. For the last two weeks, everywhere I turn I have seen another ad for Weight Watchers. Television, YouTube, my feed on Facebook, emails.... I finally got the Cosmic Two-by-Four message!


And this morning I am already excited.


Cup of coffee with almond milk.... ZERO Points! And there are a lot of Zero Point foods! And most of them are healthy. Thereby encouraging me to eat healthy.


But, Weight Watchers endorsement aside, my real assignment today is to move into the day and through it with the knowledge that I AM better! I align myself with Something Bigger than me. And yes, and this excites me, because I that Bigger Part is a part of me. And I am a part of It.


Please note that whenever I refer to “God” as “It,” I am doing so because our language—at least English—has no neutral word for gender.


And while many people today are very comfortable thinking of God as a male, and can’t think of God in any other way, and it shocks and appalls them to think of anyone not feeling the same way...I am here to tell you that God does not have a penis.


I have many friends who feel quite loving with the idea of a God that is female, and they will tell you that the idea is far more “logical” as far as they are concerned, if logic can even be applied to someThing that we can’t prove exists.


Today I am going to be the Best Me that I can be. Today I want to be that best that the Universe intended me to be when It made me the unique creature that I am—there is no one else quite like me, I am something that has never happened before—and as Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”


Today I seek what the Universe is seeking to express in, as, and through me.


Growing up I was force fed, with much guilt, that my relationship with God was supposed to be, “Your will, Lord, not mine. Do with me what thou wilt.”


The answer I was given as a child is that by doing what the Bible tells me to do (actually, what the Pastor told me the Bible said), that it proves my love and devotion to God. What I am willing to give up. But today, that doesn’t sit well with me. If for no other reason than the fact that it was the religion telling me what God’s will for me was. It wasn't “God” Itself telling me. 


And for me, what is the point of having free will, why was I given free will in the first place, if I am supposed give my will over to "God" (or what the preacer says is God). Why would I be required to give up what is me? What brings me joy?


Me being joyful brings joy to those around me. As long as I am not harming others, or myself, that is where I find "God."


I like the Weight Watchers idea.


I choose what is best for me. With tools for guidance and hints are what usually works best, I try them all and I decide.


And what I have discovered, and this is really exciting for me, is that then the Universe—God so to speak—is my personal app! Through my actions in my life, I see if what I am choosing to do is doing me any good! I am not waiting until I die for some possible Judgement Day to find out if I made the right choices. I can see if I am making the right choices. Now different religions and philosophies and can give me "tools for guidance and hints are what usually works best," and then I can try the ones that sound good or right to me, and I decide.


I get to see myself what is happening to my life through the choices I make.


I chose to stop watching what I ate. And I gained back almost every single pound I lost. I was feeling better. I was walking better. I could climb the steps. I was sleeping better. And now? I literally fear for my life.


But now, through my choices, I can already feel the difference with just 6.8 pounds. And when I treat people differently than I used to, I already see that they are treating me differently. As I learn more and more how to respect others, I directly see the result!


The Baptists would say God’s will is thus-and-such, and Methodist would say something else, and Catholics something else. Please note that I am not saying that there is any wrong intent there, only that I came more and more to wonder what their agenda was. Was it truly God’s agenda? Or was it a way to keep anarchy from striking their congregations? Because, after all, how can you lead a congregation and bring them together if they all feel differently about God? I understand that.


But I have come to see that for myself, that being told what God wants for me just doesn’t work. I have to figure it out myself for myself. And I have no agenda to change anyone else’s belief in what "God" is or wants.


You know, I have asked some people that I really love how they know that God even exists, when almost evidence leads to the contrary. And I have been so disappointed that their answer is almost always, “Because that is what the Bible says.”


Do they think that the Torah says, or the Dharma says, or the Bhagavad Gita says, “By the way, none of what you are reading here is true, we made it all up, and if you want the truth, then stop reading this, and go read the Christian Bible instead"?


Why am I disappointed with that answer? Because I want to know what it is that has happened in their life that has made their skin ripple with wonderful goosebumps, made the hair leap up on their arms, brought tears of wonder (not shame!) to their eyes! I want to know if they have ever FELT God around them. That they knew that they knew that they knew that they knew. Not because someone told them. But because they are having existential moment that cannot be denied.


I have felt that several times. I could all but hear a Voice say, "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5 KJV)


You know, even in the church I do love, and attended yesterday—The Center for Spiritual Living—they have a song that has been like grit between my teeth….


“Use me, oh God

I stand for you, and here I’ll abide

As you show me all that I must do

Command my hands, what must they do

Command my life, it’s here for you….”


Really? Here too? Where God as taught as BEING Love? Even in New Thought, I am supposed to turn over control as if I am nothing but a marionette? A ventriloquist’s dummy?


But then recently—and I refer to yesterday when I said that bit about traveling “in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination”—I’ve started to see a different way of looking at this, and a way that doesn’t make me want to slam the door and start attaching all the chain locks of my front door.


I believe that we are as akin to God as a drop of water is to the ocean. That when “God” said, “Let there be light,” and created the entire Universe, that It did so with the only thing It could, with Itself. Because the Universe makes sense, it has Laws (which God would have created), and one of the first you learn in school is the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form of energy to another. This means that the Universe always has the same amount of energy.


So, if that is true, that there is only a finite amount of energy in existence, and that there will never be any more or any less, then I must be made out of Carl Sagan’s “star stuff,” and all of that stuff would be made out of “God." We would all be made of "God Stuff.”


And if that is true, then—and this was big for me!—turning my Will over to God might truly mean that I am turning that Will over to the “God” that I myself am made of. That it means turning myself over to the Truth within me. Turning myself over to that “still small voice” that I speak about all the time. That turning myself over doesn’t mean turning myself into a ventriloquist dummy! It means turning myself over to the part of me that knows just what to do.


But for me, the only way to do that is to silence myself, close off the cacophony, turn off the “shoulds” and the “supposed tos.” Because if I truly am a part of God and God is a part of me, then as Michael Beckwith says, this would be allowing God to express in and through me, to be me, the real me. Just like a cardinal singing in the morning, a rabbit jumping along through your lawn looking for fresh clover, your dog greeting you with joy when you get home, a whale leaping with joy from the ocean, sea turtles hatching and rushing to the ocean, would ALL be God expressing Itself in and through the cardinal, the rabbit, the dog, the whale, the sea turtles, and every real living being, and all that is non-living, on this planet.


That gives me wonderful goosebumps, it makes the hair leap up on my arms, it brings tears of wonder to my eyes.


Turning myself over doesn’t mean giving up control! It doesn’t mean submitting to slavery. It means expressing myself, through me, to be me, being the real ME.

I means I can stop resisting. Stop being afraid of this.


It means doing what I say all the time, that I must, "Leap and the net will appear."


I discovered something that I am embarrassed (a little bit) to say that I didn’t already know, especially considering who said it. That quote I gave earlier? The one about how we should be ourselves because everyone else is taken? WELL! That is only part of what he said. What Oscar Wilde said was….


Be yourself, everyone else is taken. In order to be oneself, one has to take risks, to accept that one is not perfect and to be courageous enough to say what one really thinks.”


WOW! Talk about bringing tears to my eyes!


SO!


Today, I finally, finally, FINALLY—again—turn myself over to that part of God that is within me, part of me, as me. That whole Third Step in Twelve Step programs—“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”—is a whole lot less scary. Because my personal understanding of God—my personal Higher Power—has no This-is-what-I-COMMAND-you-to-do-agenda for me. My understanding of God is one that wants only what is best for ME, Ben.


And one final thought…. Allowing God to “use” me can mean something else entirely as well....


The way I understand God to work is that if we want to see change in the world, then we have to be the change. God doesn’t wave some cosmic magic wand to make things happen. God asks us to step up to the plate and make the changes happen. God doesn’t stop or allow war. We do. God doesn’t stop or allow crime, hatred, abuse, harm. We do.


THAT is what it means if I say, “Use me, oh God, I stand for you and here I’ll abide, as you show me all that I must do!!”


When I hear that inner voice telling me to do anything from “turn left here” or “throw those bags of pasta in the Harvesters bin” or “hold that door open for that person” or “call that friend and she if s/he needs help,” and I listen and do what that voice is "asking" me to do, then I am letting God “use" me to perform love in this world.


THAT is something I am so willing to do that I can’t wait to stop typing this and to get out there and be the best ME that I can BE!


Namasté,

BG “Gentle Ben” Thomas

January 29, 2024, Entry #028


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* The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best: https://www.thefouragreements.com/the-fourth-agreement/

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댓글 6개


Anne Regan
Anne Regan
1월 29일

You’re off to a great start, Ben!

좋아요
B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
1월 29일
답글 상대:

Bless you

좋아요

God can be whatever shape It wants to be.

좋아요
B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
1월 29일
답글 상대:

Agreed 100%!

좋아요

Will Jones
Will Jones
1월 29일

You've got this!

좋아요
B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
1월 29일
답글 상대:

Thank you, my friend.

좋아요
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