Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Be Back After the Long Haul

I'm buckling down for the rest of the semester. It will all turn out well, I know it! With God, family, and friends to back me up, I know I can do it.

Good grades in all my classes.
123 lb. by the end of the semester, April 13.

My project shall resume thereupon!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

...He set his face to go to Jerusalem.

The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities.

And so must my determination be: used but never used up.

I've been finding it difficult to focus on my college classes this semester. I'm involved in so many extracurriculars that it's been difficult to do so - by the time I'm done with all the tasks associated with my positions on various executive boards, I'm often too tired to focus on all the reading and paper-writing I ought to be doing. I love my classes and have gotten a lot out of them, however. And it is my duty to do my best work in them. I have enjoyed vegging out over spring break, but starting tomorrow, it's back to work for me. I have a research paper I need to work on and a great deal of reading to do. I've been pretty burnt out since last semester, during which I was exhausted by a plethora of classes I didn't enjoy. I have to remind myself to keep the fire in my belly alive - I am not only ensuring my own intellectual enrichment, but also my ability to help others someday, via a college education. I cannot let a minute of it go to waste.

Like Jesus did in the Bible passage I read for my Lenten retreat today, I must "set [my] face" to accomplish my goals. I must not only be resolute, but tenacious. As Caroline Abbot says in E.M. Forster's Where Angels Fear to Tread, "We must intend to accomplish - not sit intending on a chair." Simple as that.

So tomorrow morning, the real work begins.

Mini-goal for tomorrow: write first five pages of my research paper.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

The Master leads
by emptying people's minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

This is what I need to learn how to do - weaken my ambition and toughen my resolve. Work hard and dream big without thinking about it...or something like that.

Great day with Mom today! Went running in the rain, shopped, watched TV, went to church. All lovely.

Have managed to stick with my goals so far. Have to keep it up. And also force myself to go to bed when I'm tired, rather than trying to stay up doing something mindless because I'm dreading all the work I have to do the next day and/or because I'm trying to continue working on something for college. That's another goal! A trivial-sounding, yet important one that I think could be key to ensuring the accomplishment of my other goals.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

What does this mean? I suppose that's what I'll be working towards over Lent to find out. Whatever wu wei is, I want to be able to do it. 

I'm making a promise to myself now to get a lot of reading and research done for my classes tomorrow, but also to enjoy the time I'll be spending with my mom. (It is spring break, after all!)

When I went for a run yesterday, I heard frogs peeping for the first time! Spring has sprung!

I love seeing crocuses everywhere. They're the harbingers of that "morning of pale spring," "so fair, yet so cold," "still clinging to Winter's chill" (to quote Wormtongue in The Two Towers).

The playground I used to visit as a kid has grown since I last visited. It is heartening to see my hometown moving forward in my absence, yet it also makes me feel transient. Somehow, that is both sad and beautiful.

Monday, March 7, 2011

So It Begins

"The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name."

I will start each entry with a line from the Tao Te Ching, regardless of whether I go on to parse it. It's meant to be a meditative exercise for me and whoever chances upon this blog.

I'm a political science major who hopes to go into international law someday. I became a vegetarian when I entered college for ethical reasons. I had always wanted to do so, ever since I had read Charlotte's Web and Babe: the Gallant Pig as a child. I would like to try being vegan, as milk, eggs, and other animal products that do not directly result in animal death do result in animal suffering. I will try being vegan next college semester, when I'm not under so much stress and can ease into it, making sure I get enough energy to keep up with all my work.

My Goals: I want to lose 16 pounds. And I want to eliminate the root cause of my overeating: I am not fully in tune with myself. I'm glad I'm emotional and passionate - it gives me a certain kind of strength - but I need to channel my emotions. I've gotten better at this over the years, but I need to improve even more, now, before I head into the professional world. 

This is really not a whole lot of weight to lose, and I'm quite confident I can lose it. My real issue is looking to eating when I am stressed or sad, and what this says about me - I am indulging in the fleeting pleasure of food instead of facing my problems head on. I want to sublimate my feelings positively - and I know it is within my power to do so - just as the power to do so is within all of the wonderful people on this website. I want to channel my frustration and anxiety (all of which are school-related) into hard work rather than mindless consumption. 

Once I do so, I can apply that mindset to every indulgence - not just food - and I will thus be able to get the most out of every moment I live on this miraculous planet. Healthy living requires constant vigilance, which I plan to keep up after attaining my goal. I want to take the best care of my body I can: it is a temple and should be treated as such. I want to learn how to maintain my goal weight and ensure that I am being as nutritional as possible. And finally, I'd like to start lifting once I've reached my goal weight. As an avid runner, I have great cardiovascular health, but upper body strength...not so much. I don't really care if lifting tones me up (though that's certainly an added bonus), I just want to be stronger and I know that lifting twice a week is essential to a healthy lifestyle.