What to take away from Yearly Meeting

I have been really thinking about what I take away from the YMG.  I wanted to state nice and clearly what I found useful, what I didn’t  and what I need to do with it.

Firstly, let’s get the negatives out of the way. 

  • I didn’t do all I wanted to do, partly due to tiredness, partly because of health issues.  I felt that I was letting my Meeting down by not being able to report on everything.
  • I found being so far out of the campus a problem, and there were problems with the accommodation itself.
  • I felt lonely – or more properly I was expecting to feel more lonely as the week went on.  I was aware that most people would be as busy as I was and I did not see that they would have time or the inclinations to spend time with me.
  • I was very worried about what I would do about money.
  • I did not have the internet access that I expected.
  • At the start of the week the home group sessions were not very good (though they improved with time).

What I found useful or fun

  • I reaffirmed my faith
  • I reaffirmed my belief in Quaker business methods
  • I saw Quakers take a brave and right decision, and saw how lovingly we treated those who were not with us
  • I felt the Spirit move us several times
  • I spent some very enjoyable time on a narrow-boat with new friends
  • I enjoyed the company of Friends old and new
  • I found about about Friends from all over the World
  • I found out what Friends House does in our name

  • I learnt some very interesting facts, heard about new ideas and found a couple of techniques.
  • I saw a brilliant film (The age of stupid)
  • I enjoyed a concert produced by Friends
  • I learnt a few new songs
  • If I go with the flow (as we eventually did in our Home group) things usually work out 

What I will take from the Gathering

  • Firstly I think that I must be more disciplined about my silent times.
  • I think I should have more confidence in my ‘belonging’.  I am no longer a ‘newbie’ in Friends.  I have sufficient knowledge and experience to start seeing myself as a ‘proper’ Quaker.  I should be more open, perhaps, about my leadings, as it says in one of the A&Qs that has never held much significance to me:

Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.

  • I need to fill in my yellow form and stop waiting for someone to suggest what I might be good at.  I have something to offer, and I know what I am interested in.
  • I need to ask for help when I need it.
  • I need to get over my negativity around the Bible – I heard some things at YMG which inspired me.  I don’t need to accept all of it, but to take what inspires.
  • I need to get back on my diet – I am not sure if some of the joint pain might be because I changed my diet to an unhealthy one.  I certainly feel more awake and better physically since I got some fruit, vegetables and fish inside me!  I haven’t dared to weigh myself since I got home, but I need to do so.
  • I was blessed to be part of YMG and I now need to share that blessing with my Local and Area Meeting.  I need to be inspiring!

News from the diet front

I have lost three pounds since I registered with ‘eatright’ and four since my first weigh in last Monday.

I have settled into a routine, which seems to work – the key things, I find, are  to eat breakfast and to prepare lunch the night before.

A couple of rhetorical questions:

Firstly, what is the point of bagels?  They are hard and heavy and have a hole in the centre that things fall through, so I don’t understand their recent popularity for sandwiches.

Secondly, how much fruit can a body take?  I seem to be wading my way through mountains of fruit.  I have a pear-shaped body, apparently, but this diet will make me look like an apple or a banana.

Today we diet

I am dieting.  I know that on all measures of obesity I am way over what I should be. So I have joined an on-line healthy eating plan and am now on day four.  The first three days were easy enough but now it starts to bite.

I am fairly knowledgeable about food: I am a pretty reasonable cook and know a calorie when I meet it.   I know what sort of proportion of fat is in most food.  It is not lack of understanding about food that makes me overweight; those who suggest that we fatties just need a bit of education are patronising in the extreme.

Food is not like cigarettes, something that you can just avoid, and so I do tend to think about it for a fair amount of the day.  Yesterday I was congratulating myself on not being obsessed by food and more importantly my new diet and the reason was clear – I was too busy thinking about other things.  Tonight is different.

Boredom or lack of action lead me to consider what I want to eat, and I have to admit that fruit does not figure highly on the list of desirables.

This on-line diet is really interesting.  It has a wide range of food and can be customised easily, substitutions are available, it allows shopping lists to be printed out and there are recipes and a recognition of the need to use convenience foods at times.  All in all it seems very good.

The first days food was an eyeopener as it supplied so much breakfast and so little ‘main meal’!  When it came to it though, the main meal was perfectly adequate and I did not feel hungry.  I enjoyed the sandwich but was a little put off by having to stop every five minutes to  check the allowances for everything as it all had to be weighed.  I felt as if I was going back to the bad old days when I couldn’t cook.

I am finding the discipline of having to have breakfast very useful.  I have discovered that bran-flakes do not need sugar on.  I have also discovered that ‘granola’ weighs much more than it should, but that a small portions served with yogurt (which sounded horrible!) is not only really satisfying but very tasty,  Breakfast is good!

One of the problems I see about this diet is that at the moment I am unclear about how much substitution is allowed and if any ‘carry over’ is allowed.

Another bigger one is the lack of certain staples in my diet shich I don’t see as unhealthy.  I am a lover of seedy bread which, whilst higher in calories, has much to offer.  I had assumed that it would be in the list of substitutions but it did not appear.  So far I have seen no mention of it, which worries me.  I like home -made soup –  which I make with a minimum of fat and liquidise.  I am unsure about whether I can add garlic in menus that so not include it or increase the quantities in those that do.

However   I have a mentor who I can ask these questions.

I suppose my biggest worry is whether I can continue on such a diet for a significant amount of time.  Assuming that I do lose an average of  two pounds each week (and the reality is that I might not) then I am looking at 49 weeks to lose the seven stone which would take me to the target weight.  Looking at it that way, can I seriously commit to not having chocolate at all for that long?  I am aware that I am raising objections, and perhaps that is inevitable.  My unconscious is saying drop this darned diet, but I am not giving in.  I am having second thoughts, perhaps becoming more realistic but am determined to find a way, to learn strategies to enable me to cope with the problems that life will throw at me.

I want to find it easier that it is at the moment though, I feel unsure about what happens on the first big test – when I go shopping and for lunch with my sister.  We do it very rarely, perhaps twice a year and we have invested the day with a special status: it is our day.  I am concerned that ‘special occasions’ will be less of a celebration if I can only have salad.  Am I never allowed a steak?  Are buttered hot rolls with soup no longer allowed?  Is chocolate cake to be a distant memory?  Or do I just have a little and thoroughly enjoy it and then get back to the sensible, healthy option at the next meal?  I imagine if I have already eaten breakfast it will help me eat less that I normally would.