Monday, December 23, 2013

Conquering The Beast


The holidays can be tough for those of us who like to indulge in more than the odd morsel of tantalizing tastiness.  Cookies are my personal weakness and they seem to be everywhere at this time of year.  Cookies are more dangerous than let's say a nice piece of prime rib or a perfectly cooked filet mignon because cookies are just sitting there on a plate on the counter within arms reach as you walk by.  You won't find a baked potato with butter and sour cream just sitting there but the cookies will be there.  If you listen hard enough you can hear them call your name.  Then your mind starts making sense of things in a weird way.  You rationalize eating those cookies by telling yourself that "It's just one" or "It's just a bite, how bad can it be?" or my go-to rationalization "I'll do a little more at the gym".     

Dont Stop Picture QuoteIt's time to pay up.  For me, the shortest distance between fat and skinny--oops, politically incorrect, what I meant to say is unhealthy and healthy-- is cardio and a lot of it.  Did I mention that I hate cardio?  I can deal with the bike but I do find it boring.  I like the rowing machine but only my kind of workout will do and my kind of workout is rather time consuming.  The StairMaster is a beast that I've conquered time and time again but it can get boring too.  That leaves running.  I hate running and running is the beast that's always the toughest beast for me to conquer.  Running is something that needs to be conquered mentally and physically.  If I don't get my mental on then the physical is just not happening.  I need my mental, my physical and my breath.  I need the three part harmony to win the battle and winning is the only option.

I don't run outside.  Uneven pavement is not my friend so why take the risk?  It's a treadmill battle.  I choose interval training for the metabolism boost.  At my age my metabolism needs all the help it can get.  With ear buds in place and musical choices that can only mean a surefire win I shake it all out during those first few brisk steps.  A few minutes at a quick walking pace then I hit the sprint button.  The lungs start to expand and I search for the breath... got it.  Now for the zone.  I have to be in the zone or it just won't work.  The zone is where I'll find that three part harmony.  I search for and find that spot on the wall that I can focus on.  That spot that will open up for me like a tunnel that separates me from the chaos around me.  That spot that will help me tune out the rest of the world so that all I see is that spot.  All I hear is the power of the music.  All I feel is my heart pumping and the rhythm of the breath.  Once I feel that harmony the battle is as good as won.

Several minutes in the zone and I hit the button again.  Back to reality, back to that brisk walking pace--breathe, breathe-- and then I hit that sprint button again.  I've already been in the zone so it's easier to find it again the second time.  It's like a comfortable shoe, and off I go.  Heart pumping and pounding, rhythm of the breath and that spot on the wall.  This time I go a little longer and then I hit that button.  Bring it all down to a walk, shake it out--breathe, breathe--and hit that button again. Heart pounding, rhythm of the breath and that spot on the wall.  With each visit to the zone I stay longer and longer.  With each visit to the zone I remind myself that I'm winning the battle, I'm conquering the beast.  I win.

Never give up. It's not an option.


+My Baked Stuffed Life
+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro

Friday, December 6, 2013


It's been a while my friends and for that I offer up my sincere apologies.  Many of my Facebook followers have seen my wailing posts of dismay over my having fallen victim to a horrible case of writer's block.  It's been a bad one.  I just couldn't shake it so I had to do a little research and a bit of soul searching to figure it all out and I did.  That was the first hurdle, the second was actually coming to terms with the problem and conquering it and that's what I'm going to do right here and right now.

I toyed with the idea of keeping the issue to myself but decided against it because the underlying purpose of this blog journey I'm on has always been full disclosure in the hope that I'll help just one other person who might be going thru the same thing.  It's never mattered what the issue has been-- what to make for dinner, self care, physical fitness, eating issues or missing home-- at the end of the day we really are all the same.  We all struggle with this stuff from time to time and sometimes it takes just one person to say something, share a struggle or offer a suggestion, and it makes the light bulb go on, you have that "aha moment" and it sets you straight again.  So here we go.....

I was going nuts with the blog posts, I was on one hell of a roll. There was no shortage of blog material because I was finding EVERYTHING interesting and the words just flowed and flowed and flowed.  Better still was the fact that I was getting feedback from my AWESOME readers (you!!) which meant that I was reaching you!!  How cool is that?  The mission was being accomplished. 

Then one day I came across a comment that really struck a chord with me.  I had shared my blog on one particular site and an individual made a comment.  This person had the opinion that the blog should not have been shared.  Mind you, the comment was rather innocent and this person was not attacking me or the blog content, just the location of where I shared it.  Seems simple enough-- innocent enough-- right?  Well, I guess so except for one thing..... artists are inherently sensitive to anything remotely resembling criticism of their art form.  Writing is my art form and that itty bitty comment (and the virtual shit storm of comments from other readers in defense of my blog that came thereafter) sent my confidence into the toilet and blocked my stream of consciousness and creative vein so full of cement that I didn't think I'd ever be able to write so much as a grocery list without wondering if it was good enough.

Great, I figured out why I had the problem, now what?  I tried everything to pull myself out of it and nothing worked, until today.  A friend of mine posted the following video on Facebook and it changed everything.............

I had to Believe.  I had to remind myself that this is my passion.  I love words and emoting and sharing and this is the stuff that comes naturally.  God gives you gifts and its up to you to figure out what they are and make the best of them.  I had to Believe in myself and trust in my abilities.  It starts with me.  I know what my intentions are, I know that I only want good things to come of this journey and I know that the words I share can and will touch someone out there and that just maybe it will help in some small way.

I sure hope the person I helped today was you...........

Here's some sugar for ya, how can you not love this kid?



+My Baked Stuffed Life
+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro