Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Three Tiers of Sanity

First off, my apologees to anyone who may have been offended that the highlight of my day could have been something so unmentionable as previously posted blog. However, for someone who's life follows such parallel tangents with excrement (I change between 25 and 35 diapers a day, people), it only follows that a good deal of what makes me laugh everyday, still carries a lingering aroma. If I didn't laugh, believe me, I would--and have--cried.

So, with that brief apologetic out of the way, let us proceed with the three tiers of sanity. Weight loss, it is said, is greatly hindered by the presence of stress in the life. I'm sure there are numerous chemical reasons why this is true, but forgive me all you wonderful scientists out there, but I don't really care WHAT those reasons are, unless understanding the reasons will help me along my path enLIGHTENment.

What my common sense tells me, is that stress induces stress-related eating, and though you can bolster through for a while on the wings of determination and rice cakes, sooner or later, it's all going to come crashing down. Unless, you replace it with something else, that is.

And that's where the Three Tiers of Sanity come in. Honestly, this terrific trio sneaked up on me (the English teacher in me, must here insist off-topic, that there is no such word as "snuck"). I did not create it, merely to have a jazzy blog title. These three tiers speak to the spiritual, emotional, and physical person in each one of us. This person needs to be adddressed constructively, or--you guessed it--she's going for the Spunkmeyer muffin.

So how did this accidental discovery find me so unwhittingly? Well, a few nights ago, when something WORKED, I asked WHY? WHY did it work? You see, some of my days can be pretty horrendous. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids--my own and everybody elses; however, on the days when everybody is cranky, disobedient, off their schedule, and absolutely out of their minds, I'm as human as the next gal. At the end of the day I am stressed out! I mean, I am at the edge of my personal cliff and daring somebody to push me off. Hand over the muffin and nobody will get hurt!

Well, earlier this week, I'd had one of those days. My son had been put to bed thirty minutes early because he had pushed my buttons just one too many times. At 7:30 my daughter followed her brother off to the land of Nod, and I found myself alone in the quiet. The sun was in the process of setting outside and the birds were all serenading the twilight in calmed tones. I grabbed my Bible, pulled a chair onto the porch, and read until the light was gone.

Then I closed my eyes and had a long conversation with God. I thanked Him for all the good things in my life, and then I thanked Him for the hard things too. I asked Him to forgive the mess I had made out of certain points in the day by forgetting to be thankful. Then I talked to Him about all the friends and family I knew that were hurt or struggling, and suddenly I didn't feel so put-upon by the day anymore. By 8:30, I was much unwound.

From there, I grabbed my pocketbook, the bills, and a calculator and began the weekly task of updating the budget and books. I look forward to it with mixed emotions; I enjoy the job but somehow mostly manage to put it off, so usually I head into the task with a hesitancy brought on by procrastination. By 10:00, the work was done (until next week) and I was feeling a good sense of accomplishment by the time my husband walked in the door.

With the bills neatly prepared and laid out on the oven-top to be mailed in the morning, I enjoyed a bowl of zero point, high fiber soup which left me feeling warmed and filled and ready for bed. By 10:45, I was tucked in and on my way to a full night's sleep. I had gone from sixty to zero in a matter of hours; I had done it without muffins or moosetracks or McDonalds . . . and I had to ask myself WHY.

And that's when the Three Tiers of Sanity, actually started to form in my mind. Eating does NOT minimize the things that stress us. In fact, if we're over eaters, eating just gives us one more thing to stress about. We can't respond to the stress with stress; we'll only offset our emotional balance by one more notch.

Picture a three tiered tea cake stand (WITHOUT tea cakes!). The bottom level--the level with the broadest circumference, is each one of us spiritually. There's really not a problem we have that doesn't hark back to that level and the relationship we have there with God. Stabalize the spiritual level, and much of our equilibrium--if not all--is regained. Tier one: Spiritual Sanity.

But back to the world we live in. Just because you discussed you stresses with God and asked Him to help you see those stresses in His Light, doesn't mean you're going to open your eyes as find the Holy Spirit has done all your housework for you, handed you a train ticket, and given you the week off. There are still a million jobs to tackle and problems yet unsolved. So here it is--tier two: Mental Sanity. Pick one job--just one job that's really nagging you--and feel good that there is one less chaotic element in the universe, and then call it quits.

Tier three: Physical Sanity. If you are stressed to the gills, there is more to be said for one good night of sleep than ten things scratched off your to-do list. When you've quieted the spiritual and the mental, take advantage of all that quiet, and GO TO BED. Chances are you will drift off quickly, rest deeply, and wake up revived.

And speaking of tier three, I think it's about time to head off to bed, except--OH DAD'S PAJAMAS!--I left all the groceries in the trunk of the car. And it's raining.
Well, it was a great theory . . .


  1. I find that when I neglect my Bible time that my day is never good. Its ironic that the thing we often don't have time for is the thing that we so badly need through our day!

  2. Commenting on my own blog. Yeah. So it's been a week since I wrote this one, and tonight--provided I can successfully rent a bulldozer to right the toppled tiers of sanity, I shall be attempting to take my own advice as soon as the children are in bed.