Today is a day of transformation. My Mom died 10 months ago today. I woke up this morning with a new feeling from all the other mornings in the last year. Today was different. I woke up feeling like I need to purge. I want to sell everything I own. I want to live with less and be grateful for everything I have. I want to start a new life and truly transform the ugliness of death into a beautiful life for myself and those around me. I’m tired of all the anger, loneliness, sadness and fear that I’ve felt. There have been times over the last year that I wanted to die. But something shifted in me and it’s happened quickly. I’m over-the-moon happy to feel as if this life, my life, is just that, it’s my life and I can create it however I want. Like the proverbial butterfly, I created a nest for myself and I’ve stayed inside my cocoon for far too long, It’s become too warm and quite stinky, it’s time to open it up and leave it for good. It’s time to purge. It’s time to find what makes me happy and do more of that. It’s time to purge myself of whatever does not bring me joy and that includes “things” and people. I think it’s time to make a bucket list. Transformation is here. I finally feel free to pursue my life with a new purpose, a new beginning, a new passion.
As I sit here pondering the title of this post I can’t help but wonder if I am all alone in this vast world. I mean, does anyone understand me? Am I a freak of nature? If this were an earlier time in history I might be described as having a man’s brain inside a woman’s head or I might have been hanged for a witch, either way would not have turned out well for me. But here in modern times I feel disconnected and utterly alone at times. I have delved deep into self-analysis over the last year trying to pick up the brokenness that used to be a vivacious, happy-go-lucky woman. I have endured more than I ever thought I could handle. The new growth of white hair since my last haircut is proof that I’ve survived. Maybe I’ve not thrived, but I am making it day by day. I’ve decided to channel my anger, frustration and overall distaste for the uglier sides of humanity through three things: music, exercise and writing. Music is my passion. Exercise is my therapy. And, writing…..oh….writing is something entirely different. It’s like rain in a desert, shelter in a storm and sweetness on my tongue.
Yesterday, I had a moment of clarity while driving home. I have heard the sentiment of how I can create my life however I want it for so many years from self-help books, videos, tv shows, you name it. It’s kind of redundant to even mention it, but for some reason, the actual meaning of the words slammed into the forefront of my mind and I finally understood the sincerity of the words. I truly can create the life that I want. In fact, I’ve been creating it all along. So, are we truly, always never alone?
I’ve begun to suspect that things are about to get even harder. My Mom is declining in health more and more everyday. It’s incredibly hard to face her impending death, wondering if it will happen today or tomorrow or the next day, never knowing how long she has left. I feel angry that others have not taken any interest in actually helping out in the care of Mom. It breaks my heart to see her get upset when they don’t visit or even call her on the phone. Yet, I am reminded of all the times in the past that I didn’t answer her when she called. I feel guilty for not being a better daughter to her. Mom has always had a youthful energy about her and I didn’t really know how to accept her until I became an adult and mother to my own children. Once I understood the circumstances surrounding her birth and childhood, I began to have great compassion towards her and my attitude changed. I accepted her “as is.” I guess I should feel grateful that I have been able to reconcile all of those feelings from way back in my own childhood. I wish I could do more. I feel like I am doing too much, but not enough at the same time. Why is this happening?
I feel so alone. I want to pick up the phone and call my Mom, talking about nothing in particular. I want to tell her about my day. I want to hear her tell me to worry for nothing and live one day at a time. I want her to reassure me that I will be okay. I want to hear her animated voice on the phone and imagine her facial expressions that I have memorized forever in my head. I want her to tell me that I worry too much and that things are not as bad as they seem. I want to hear the fieriness of her very practical advice in her matter-of-fact manner, her incensed indignation for all the wrongs going on in the world. I want her to remind me of what is most important in my life – being the best Mom to my boys. I want to laugh with her over all the silly little things that we’ve seen other people do or say, not in a mean, maniacal way, but a lighthearted and inoffensive way. People do and say some crazy stuff. I want to reminisce about times in the past, the funny moments, and the sad ones, too. I want her to encourage me to keep doing what is most important in life and that is helping people in need. It’s the small things, the seemingly insignificant things that matter the most in life.
But all of these things that I want are selfish. What I really want for her is to not suffer. I want to her breathe deeply and evenly. I want her to be able to enjoy drinking coffee, her “half cream half coffee” coffee. I want her to be able to taste the richness of butter and the sweetness of cake icing. I want to see her happy, with a smile on her face, as she decorates a freshly baked cake or the look of anticipation as I taste her latest dish after trying a new recipe. I want to see her fair Irish skin ruddy with the vitality of health. I want to see her mischievous smile as she is plotting a prank on someone. I want to see the excitement on her face as she shops for and finds the next bargain at her favorite thrift stores. I want to see the pride in her eyes after finishing another quilt. I want her to maintain her fierce independence and relish in taking care of everyone else. I want her heart to beat in a regular rate and rhythm. I want her walk circles around me with her infinite energy she has had all of her life. I want her to enjoy again all the years that she had without being sick, not so much as a cold. I want to hear her excitement about planning a get-together with all the family. I want to hear her ruminate about what food to fix. I want her to NOT suffer. When the day or night comes for her passing, I want her to go the way that she has always hoped for – peacefully in her sleep. I want to keep her with me always, but I know that she has to move on just like I will one day, too. I will have to remind myself that it’s not “goodbye forever,” it is simply “goodbye for now, I’ll see you soon.” Each day afterwards, the pain of losing her and missing her will never fade, but it will lessen a little until it is bearable to get through the days and nights to come. I will miss her terribly. I already do.
However you feel, own it. Whatever you feel like saying, own it. Own up to your flaws, your imperfections, the things that you think make you less-than-perfect. Own it. Have flabby thighs, jiggly belly, double chin? Own it. Be who you are and accept yourself, flaws and all. You are more than your body. You are worthy of love. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself for the stupid things you did in the past. Today is a new day. Enjoy it. Own it. Be honest, be truthful. Be transparent in your actions towards others. Don’t allow others to abuse you or put you down. You are beautiful. Own that beautiful body. It is yours. Take care of it and treat it with respect. You only get this one body, create the body you want for yourself. If you want to feel good, give your body healthy foods and drinks. Own it.
I don’t know even where to start. This blog was originally created for writing about health and wellness, specifically recording moments of my own journey. It was intended to inspire others who were pondering the question of whether to have weight loss surgery. I have had many ups and downs, stalls and progress. I am not done with my journey. In some ways, it feels like it has only just begun. This coming May will be 3 years since I underwent a gastric sleeve procedure that forever changed my behavior and actions towards diet and exercise. I told someone the other day that I am on a permanent diet. It’s true. There are still many different foods that I don’t eat. There are some that I can eat in small amounts, but it’s not even worth the trouble of worrying about how my body will react so I just stay away from them.
I have gone through so much in the last 6 months. I know I’ve said that before, but this time around the changes are so much so that I can’t hardly keep up. My mind is in slow motion while everything around me is moving at the speed of light. I’m not sure how long it’s been since I’ve written a blog post. It could have been a few weeks or it could have been over a year. I am barely holding the pieces of my brokenness together.
This time last year I was living in a large metro area in the South, in the biggest house I’ve ever lived in right on the lake. We were struggling to stay together as a family and feeling as if we were holding our breath for fear of what new crisis would present itself. My husband’s job had relocated and we were faced with either following his job or face financial ruin. We chose to follow the money. We pulled the kids out of school, away from their friends and family, and told them that everything was going to be better. I painted a very convincing picture to them and they became excited about moving to a place that had never even seen before. We were so unprepared . We hurriedly picked a place to live and didn’t spend more than a cursory glance at the school system before we embarked on a train wreck of a hasty decision. If I could give one very important piece of advice – don’t ever make an important decision during duress. Without going into all the details, the school system that had moved into was a disaster. I ended up homeschooling my kids for the rest of the time that we lived there. Everyone was miserable. We were living in a house that was actually too big with an even bigger rent payment. My best friend lived only 5 minutes away and looking back, it was either a huge mistake living that close to each other or it was a blessing in disguise. I have since learned things that I wish I didn’t know. About this time last year, I begin to feel quite restless and downright miserable living there. I began to plan a trip to visit family, only instead of packing a few days’ worth of clothes I packed them all. I stuffed my car as much as possible, drove home and never looked back.
After I moved back home, I began renovating my house. My Mom helped me with painting and picking out new furniture. We spent several weeks trying to decide how i wanted everything to look. She suggested I decorate my home with bright Spring colors. So I ended up surrounding myself with turquoise and coral red. I painted over the drabby walls with a fresh coat of ivory paint and everything seemed to be back on track. My initial goal was to come home, fix the house up and live in it until it sold. Then we would move on to another location where my husband could work. He went ahead to the new location and rented an apartment while we stayed behind and worked on the house. The kids re-enrolled in their old schools and everything was going along smoothly. It just felt right. It wasn’t long after getting things in order that my Mom’s health began to deteriorate quickly. I finally convinced her to let me take her to the hospital. That night we learned that she had stage 4 Lung cancer and didn’t have much time left to live. Ironically, I had just started working for an Oncology doctor a few weeks before. Mom had several hospital stays, underwent many tests, and finally was given 6 months or less to live. I had quit my job upon first learning of her cancer diagnosis. She entered into hospice care and I became her caregiver. Three months after her cancer diagnosis she passed away. I gave the hospice nurse permission to remove her oxygen mask and I turned off the oxygen tank. Mom took four more rattled breaths and then no more. As she lay dying I reminded her to visit me in my dreams. I told her to come and wait for me when it is my time to die. I will see her again one day.
Although I knew that she was terminal, I still wonder even to this day if I did enough for her. Did I give her too much medication at the end? Is there anything else that I could have done for her? I’ll never know. It’s been about 3 1/2 months since her death and I feel like I am just now coming out of shock. Even as I write this, it still feels like she has just gone somewhere and will be back sometime. When that feeling takes over I go visit her grave and that’s when it hits me. It’s devastating. I relive her death all over again. The grief is overwhelming. I can’t even write about it. It’s too painful. I can skim the surface of the retelling of her sickness and death, but maybe one day I will be able to write it all out. Maybe one day I will grieve a little less, but I will forever be changed.
Everything in my life has changed. I have a new job. My husband has a new job. I have begun to question my entire life. The one thing that I have learned about this entire experience is that life is too short and too precious to go around being miserable and putting off things that need to be taken care of today. Why does it always seem that you have to walk through hell to get to Paradise?
And all along this entire process, I have stayed on my post-weight loss-surgery diet, eating 5 times a day and counting how much fluids I have taken in throughout the day. I have just starting working out at the gym and it seems to help alot with stress and with getting my body back into shape. it is a painful process, but it is one that I must go through. I have questioned every part of my life over the last 3 1/2 months. I know one thing to be true: the result of your life is by the effort you have put into creating it. If you want to be happy, you create happiness. If you want to be successful, you create success. If you want peace, you create peace. You find the thing that makes your soul sing and you chase after it until you catch it. You don’t let anything or anyone deter you from what brings you joy. You keep yourself busy when you feel like giving up. You forgive yourself when you feel overwhelmed. Others treat you the way that you allow them to treat you. You don’t have the life of your dreams by just sitting around and daydreaming about it. You create your destiny. You get love by creating love and spreading it around. Our ability to love is not bound by size or amount. Love expands into infinity. It does not have a maximum capacity. No one ever said life would be easy or fair, but life can be the best it can be by our attitudes and actions. We can have the life we’ve always imagined, but how bad do you want it?
I have gained 10 pounds over the last 6 months. It has crept up quietly and stealthily like a thief in the night. I have indulged too many times, promising myself that I will do better tomorrow or when things calm down. I have no one to blame, not even myself. To blame myself would be to further propagate the negative feelings that led to my morbid obesity in the first place. The difference now is that I will not continue to play the victim or the blame game. Both of which are negative. My goal in life is to eradicate the negative and welcome in the blessings to come. And they ARE coming. I have to want them more than I want to hold on to martyrdom.
Here are some ways to help get yourself back up when you feel like you’re plummeting towards the abyss:
- Create and adhere to a schedule. If you are feeling low or depressed and are finding it difficult to get out of bed, make an appointment with yourself to complete the three most important tasks for the day, whatever they may be. They can be as small or as elaborate as you wish, but make yourself get up and complete each task within a 24-hour period. When you have completed each task, mark it off and hold onto the paper. (Create a notebook with all your completed tasks and from time to time, go through the book to remind yourself just what you have accomplished.)
- Go outside everyday for at least 20 minutes without sunscreen. That’s all the time you need to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Your immune system will suffer without it and you will further complicate your depression by getting sick. Twenty minutes of sunlight everyday will keep the doctor away…..eating an apple helps too!
- Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Try to drink at least 4-6 ounces of water every hour that you are awake.
- After you have done the following tasks for a few days, dig out your most comfortable shoes and go for an easy, languorous walk, preferably in nature. Don’t worry about how far or how long, just walk and feel the breeze upon your face. Bask in the glow of the sunlight or if need be, the moonlight. Go during the time of day when you will feel the most comfortable.
- Stay away from negative places, people and things. This one might prove to be a challenge, but it can be done. Be very selective about what you allow into your mind. Find some relaxing videos on YouTube instead of the evening news. Limit the amount of time you are around negative people. Negative things? That’s easy, just stop doing, watching or hearing whatever causes stress or chaos in your life. Tell yourself that it must stop and stop it.
- Stop feeling guilty……for every little thing. Some guilt is healthy for your conscience otherwise there would be mass chaos all over the world. Forget about the past. It’s over and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t fret over the future, it’s not here yet. Practice living in the moment everyday. If that means meditation, do it. If it is prayer, do that. Find something that is relaxing to do and do it religiously everyday. It could be as simple as taking a bubble bath, painting your fingernails, listening to music, coloring, grooming your dog or cat, taking a nap.
- Slow down and smell the roses. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon. Your life is meant to be enjoyed everyday. It’s the little things that often bring us the most joy. Start out small…..buy yourself a potted plant. Nurture that plant. Take care of it. Give it the time and attention that it needs in order to thrive. Once you have mastered that task, consider getting a pet. After that, volunteer at a homeless shelter or a nursing home. Visit with those who have it worse off than you.
Whatever it is that you are going through, know that there is always someone out there who is worse off. You are learning a lesson. It’s up to you what you do with the knowledge and wisdom that you have gained. Don’t be a victim to your emotions. Learn to control them. Find a way to be productive with the excess energy. Don’t allow your emotions to rule you and create drama for yourself. Above all, be gentle with yourself. There is a reason that you are feeling the way that you do. Specifically, your mind and your body have disconnected. Maybe things have progressed too fast for you to process. Take your time and take one day at a time. If you can’t take a day at a time, take an hour at a time.
And last, stop blaming your circumstances for everything that has gone wrong in your life. Stop making excuses. Man up or woman up, whichever you may be, and do something with your life. You are only one heartbeat away from death. Live your life to the fullest. There is no time in life for regrets, shame or guilt.
In my quest of acquiring knowledge about myself, how I relate to others and how others may perceive me, I have discovered the five elements in traditional Chinese medicine. It is uncanny how much I relate to the Water element. It’s as if someone looked inside the deep recesses of my mind and body and wrote it down for all to see, but more importantly, I have found myself. As I am learning about this, I look around and see that I have been innately drawn towards the colors, textures, and other sensory attributes of water. For those of you who don’t relate or understand, please allow me to briefly explain.
Water is said to be the beginning of all things. Nothing can grow or manifest without water. We, as humans, are mostly made up of water and we cannot sustain life without it. Water is receptive, cleansing, adaptable, healing and rejuvenating. Those who identify most with the water element are usually artistic and creative, seekers of truth, introspective, sensitive and highly intelligent. Their emotions run deep and when depleted by stress, they can become aloof. They will detach from others and go within, and if left in that state of mind for too long, they can become depressed or obsessive compulsive. When a Water person is balanced their gift is to bring calm energy to others around them. They are the nurturers and teachers in society. They have the patience to gently guide others to become the best versions of themselves. When unbalance occurs, they can become overly worrisome, absentminded, despondent and exhausted. Sleep can help rejuvenate the Water person as well as hydrotherapy. In other words, when feeling overwhelmed and overly emotional, take a warm, soothing bath right before going to bed. Make sure to get plenty of sleep. The water person needs time to rejuvenate. Also, make sure and drink plenty of water throughout the day. The Water person needs water to replenish the body, after all.
The bodily organs associated with the Water element are the kidneys and bladder. Also, the skin, hair, and bones. Fear is the emotion associated with the Water element. The kidneys regulate water metabolism, and stabilize the heart and blood pressure. It is interesting to note that the adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys. We know that if we are constantly stressing the adrenal glands, we will become exhausted and experience great fatigue. Traditional Chinese medicine is very old and seemingly out of date, on the surface, but when you begin to compare what we know as modern medicine to that of Chinese medicine, there is no doubt that there are some amazing similarities. The bladder is compared to a reservoir where the waters of the body are collected until they are eliminated. It is important that this organ functions properly and not become “leaky.” The entire body of systems are in danger of toxicity when that occurs.
The emotion associated with the Water element is fear. When the Water person is out of balance, their emotions can become inundated with fear and phobias. Obsessive compulsive behaviors and panic attacks can manifest. It is important to listen to your body. Rest when you need to. Don’t become overly exhausted, either mentally, physically or emotionally. When you do, make time to get yourself back in balance. Meditate everyday, especially to the sounds of water or if you can, meditate by a body of water, such as a lake, stream, ocean, a bubbling brook. Even looking at art depicting water can help. I have always been attracted to art that focuses on water and never knew why. Now I know. If your primary element is Water, surround yourself in the colors of water. I find this especially useful in my bedroom. When I want to contemplate life, meditate or reflect, I retreat to my bedroom. I am surrounded by the colors of water. The wall color is teal, my favorite color. The bedding is soft and flowing with shades of teal, aqua and white. Black is also a color of water. There are small doses of black in there as well in the lamps, headboard and curtain rods. The colors associated with Water are blue, black, white and gray. Personally, I have added the colors of the ocean, hence the teal.
The five elements are water, wood, fire, earth and metal. The Greeks only have four. I found my way to the five elements by first exploring what the Greek’s called the four humors. I realized very early on that only having four is quite limiting. I couldn’t quite fully accept it. I am still in the knowledge gathering phase and will most likely write about it in more depth in time. I am in awe of relating to the Water element. It explains so much about who I am. None of us are fully one predominant element. We have all elements within us in varying degrees. I am a blend, but I am predominantly Water.
Why the desire to learn about this? Why would any of us need to learn this? I became interested in alternative and integrative healing modalities several years ago. I wanted to act upon my interests back then, but felt that I needed to address my own health situation before I could counsel others. I am still on the journey, but I have made much progress and I am ready to begin upon the path of helping others. I currently work in healthcare, but I am not quite to the point of where I want to be. My goal is to become a holistic healthcare practitioner and I am at the very beginning of my life path. I have already met with many obstacles, but instead of looking at them with dread, I am seeing them as opportunities for growth. I sincerely believe that everyone who comes across our path is there for a reason. Maybe they have something to teach me or I have something to teach them. Or it could be that no action is required on my part, but maybe I simply need to observe and take note. Life is a journey. We can either look at it with dread and fear or face it head-on with anticipation and a willingness to learn, to become the best version of who we are. That is my gift – to help others become the best version of themselves. I am deeply emotional and sensitive. And when I am in my “element,” I have much to offer to others through insight and instruction. I fully accept my Water element. I am adaptable, yet I am strong. I have become that which tries to contain me. I am a nurturer, a teacher, an advocate, a healer. My personal challenge is to stay balanced so that fear and detachment does not overtake me.
For those of us who are predominantly Water, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Coffee, sodas, milk and juices need water to completely break down. We need to drink plenty of water. We might need to drink a little extra as Water people. We need to eat blue, black and purple foods for the anthocyanins that concentrate in the kidneys and brain. Choose foods such as blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, cherries, black currants, cranberries, radishes, purple grapes, and red, (purple) onions. Avoid added sugars. Get plenty of rest and get used to slowing down as the sun sets. Avoid excessive exposure to artificial light at nighttime. Learn to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Are you hungry or are you tired? Are you hungry or are you thirsty? Are you hungry or are you stressed out? I recognize patterns in myself. My go-to comfort is food. I literally have to ask myself these questions. Am I truly hungry or do I need something else? Most of the time I am not hungry, but something else. As I realize that I am working in an environment that is not helpful to my body. It is too chaotic. It drains my energy. I am going to seek ways to reduce stress while I search for a better working environment. And last but not least, practice Tai Chi or Qi Gong, get regular massages and acupuncture treatments, meditate everyday, take regular soothing, warm therapeutic baths, learn to observe others and myself without judgment, in other words – learn the lessons along the journey. I will also continue to create my personal haven in my bedroom by hanging some artwork depicting water across from my bed so that first thing in the morning, I am reminded of who I am and that’s okay to be myself, just as I am.
I have intensely studied human behavior over the last couple of years. The funny thing is, I’m not taking classes in Psychology or any other Sociology class for that matter. I happen to enjoy reading about people. Sounds weird, huh? Yeah, well that’s me. Anyway, during the course of absorbing any and all information available to me, I have discovered that my temperament most closely matches that of a Sanguine. Sanguines are happy, cheerful, optimistic, and are usually juggling a bucket-load of ideas between missing important appointments and the ever-elusive car keys. My house is always “in progress,” meaning that it’s messy. I have lots of projects going on at the same time and most of them are unfinished. But……I have amazing ideas. I AM the IDEA person. Give me a problem and I will come up with three dozen creative solutions. Some are crazy, most are plausible and one or two are downright outrageous, but I guarantee you that I will make it fun. I guess you could say that I really enjoy the journey/process.
I love getting a good deal. I am a bit stingy with my money, but once I find exactly what I am looking for I will splurge. I embrace change. In fact, I will change the layout of each room in my house several times a year. I am constantly purging my closets because I have learned that there has to be some sort of organization for the chaos. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to walk through the front door for the mess. My house is truly a reflection of what is going on inside my mind. If I could paint a visual of what goes on inside of my mind, it would look something like this: imagine a tornado that has touched ground, whirling around inside the funnel is a merry-go-round, a colorful carousel, crackling fireworks and a cacophony of sounds from a symphony orchestra where each musician is playing a different piece of music. That is what the inside of my brain looks and feels like. The only times that my mind settles down is when I am vigorously exercising or walking/hiking out in nature. Sitting completely still in the lotus position on a yoga mat for a dozen minutes does not work for me. I have to be able to freely move around. My body and my mind craves freedom.
Because I am always thinking ahead into the future, it’s hard for me to live in the “here and now.” I can do it, but I have to prepare ahead which does not come easy for me. Planning anything is hard for me. I don’t think that I have ever followed a recipe, word by word, before. I always ending changing something about it. I don’t put my makeup on the same way everyday. I have to change something about it, even it is only slightly different. Matching socks together while doing laundry? It doesn’t happen. I used to let the clean laundry pile up baskets for days just because I hated putting MATCHING socks together. I have since learned that all socks get thrown together. I do, however, separate them by person. I almost never write grocery lists because they feel so restrictive. I don’t like eating the same meals week after week anyway. I always want to eat something different.
I think I have painted my front door a different color 4 or 5 times over the last couple of years. Part of why I keep changing the color is because once I decide on a color palette and begin painting and decorating, before I even get finished, I find another color palette that I like better. Recently, it took me at least three weeks to pick out a new couch. I kept picking out one and placing in the “shopping cart” online only to go back a few hours later and second-guess my decision. Finally, I just bit the bullet, so to speak, and ordered one in the first color that I picked. It turned out great, but it has taken me years to even halfway trust my judgement. I have made many mistakes over the years, hence the reason that I am quite stingy with my money. I made so many money mistakes early on in my life. It’s quite dreadful to think about it.
Even though I have many flaws related to my temperament and personality, there are many positives, too. First and foremost, I am highly creative. I suppose that’s why everyone comes to me to help them figure out their problems. I am usually very upbeat and positive. I can laugh at myself. I can make the most mundane chores fun. I am not afraid to make a total fool of myself to get someone to cheer up and laugh. I am bold, quirky and a bit odd, at times. I chase after the proverbial pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I have lots of ideas and most of the time they work out. If not, then I try to learn the lesson and move on. Onwards and upwards is my motto. I am very expressive and it’s hard to hide my true feelings. I show on my face what I am feeling inside. That being said, I am learning day by day to embrace my sanguinity. There is genius in the chaos, if only one is willing to sort through the trail of mess.
To all my fellow Sanguines – I’m so glad you’re here. Feel free to respond to this post and share your experiences.
Today, I am reading a book called, “A Course in Weight Loss, 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever,” by Marianne Williamson. I bought this book about 3 years ago. Like many other weight-loss books, fad diets and weight-loss recipes, I bought it with the intention of applying it to my life, but never actually took the time to do so. I was always in such a hurry to do the next thing in life. It’s like I went around acting as if I was getting ready to die and I needed to hurry and experience everything that I could. The problem was that I wasn’t actually living my life. I was storing up knowledge, but never taking the time to go through the motions required for real change. I would endeavor to say that my experience is like many of you, too. Somewhere along the way, each of us get caught up in the collective pace of humanity, which I think is set to the highest speed possible. Wouldn’t it be great if each of us could move a switch and set our own pace of living? Actually, we can. There are some aspects of life that require us to adapt, sure, but in the privacy of our homes and in the times when we are not working, we can adapt our lives to reflect our own personal choices. But how many of us take the time to actually do that? For most of us, we use substances to keep our bodies going when we really should slow down. Caffeine has been the drug of choice for most of the world. I’m not going to bash it entirely. I just enjoyed a steaming cup of Chai tea. Drinking a cup of it in the mornings helps to wake up my brain. But how many of us can say that we enjoy every single cup? Or every single serving of caffeinated beverages or food? I can’t say that. However, my daily intention is to enjoy what I put into my body. Why would any of us do anything otherwise?
Anyway, I digress…..back to the book. I found this book at a time when I absolutely needed it the most, but I didn’t read it. I had already found myself at the highest weight imaginable for my 4’11” frame at 272 pounds. I struggled to get through each day. I was tired all day and exhausted at night. I was miserable living in such a large body. I craved sweets and carbs. I also craved physical and emotional connection. I ate the most when I was lonely. I had many fears. To be honest, I didn’t really even understand where the fears came from and why I had so many. It wasn’t from a lack of trying to understand. I went through three years of counseling trying to figure out what made me so unhappy. I began to blame everybody in my life that contributed to my unhappiness. I became bitter and full of anger and at the same time, I craved intimacy. I wanted someone to love me, but most of all, I wanted to love myself. I wanted to feel worthy. For whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to accept the words inside the book. I tried reading it, but couldn’t get past the first chapter. Maybe it was because I saw so much truth in what she wrote and I couldn’t accept it about myself. I wasn’t ready. It would take weight loss surgery and the subsequent weight loss before I could even begin to open the book up again. It’s like I had closed the book on myself. I couldn’t stand to look in the mirror. All that I saw was loathing and disgust. I didn’t love my body. I had to collapse into failing health before I was able to make any change. I saw my children growing up without their mom and that set me into motion to do something about my weight.
The following words have hit home with me. We are not separate body parts to treat or diagnose. We are many parts of one body. If one aspect of our bodies, say, the spiritual side, is not begin fed, then we are going to suffer either in our physical or mental bodies. We have to learn to differentiate what part of us is hungry. If we are truly physically hungry, then we give our bodies actual food. If we are conscious of how different foods react in a biological way that can affect our mental or spiritual bodies, then we begin to choose better foods to fill up our physical bodies. The same philosophy applies to spiritual food and mental food. What do we do to feed our spiritual selves? Do we find inspiring books to read? Pray? Meditate? There are many forms of meditation. I have found that the best form of meditation for me is “walking” meditation. My mind will stop spinning off of its axis when I am walking out in nature. If God created the beauty of nature and it has no conscious thought to please God, what more will He do for us who seek to please Him? And, what about our “mental” bodies? Do we take time for ourselves everyday? Do we get enough sleep? Do we participate in a hobby that makes us truly happy? Do we engage with others in a meaningful and fulfilling way? How often do we get out with friends and enjoy the day?
Ms. Williamson wrote a passage about fear that really resonated with me. She wrote, “Fear is a psychic tyrant that has no intention of letting its slave go free.” How profound! I began to realize that Fear is like a separate entity for most of us. It can attach itself to us and make us miserable, if we let it in. We must treat it as an unwanted guest, but with a commanding demeanor not born out of hatred or anger, but out of authority and respect for ourselves. We must remove fear from our lives. We cannot enjoy our lives as long as fear follows us around like the life-sucker that it is. We must remove it from our thoughts and vocabulary. We must realize that we no longer bow down to fear. We are no longer enslaved by its tentacles of doom.
In order to fully move forward in life we have to forgive. We have to forgive ourselves for the unhealthy way in which we have treated our bodies. What is passed is in the past. We can’t go back and fix anything. We can only live in the moment and choose the outcome of tomorrow as best as we can by making healthy choices today. We have to be willing to let go of the hurt, anger, frustration, fear, and self-loathing. Today is a new day. Let yesterday be but a memory. Let it go. It has no power over you. You are not the same person as you were yesterday. Choose to evolve. Learn to adapt. Settle into the new patterns of what makes you truly happy. Accept nothing less than what you truly desire in life. If you don’t fully know what makes you happy, then begin experimenting today. Make a list of things that you might be interested in learning about and go through them, checking them off, one by one, as you would a shopping list. We have to allow healing to take place within ourselves, if we want true salvation from our addictive behaviors. Healing cannot take place without forgiveness. It is extremely important to forgive others, but have you forgiven yourself, too?
In my opinion, fear is the culprit for mass dysfunction. It is what breeds with hate and begets wrath. It is the creator of misery. It robs us of joy and contentment. It keeps us up late at night trying to predict the future, which we have no way of knowing the outcome. It is my belief that we create our lives through our thoughts. Obviously, there are some instances, probably even every-day instances, of events that are beyond our control. But, we still have control over how we react or choose to not react. Ultimately, it comes down to choice. Do you choose to live in fear and worry over every little thing that could go wrong? Or do you choose to live your life as an adventure? Your life is simply that, yours. You are the author of your story. You get to choose where you want to go and what you want to do. Do what makes you happy. Keep your eyes upon the path, your path. And whatever you do, banish the word “fear” from your vocabulary. Don’t allow yourself to even utter the words, “fear,” “afraid,” “worry,” “can’t.” That will be my goal for the day – each time that I think or begin to say any of the words above, I will replace them with “confident,” “hopeful,” “believe,” and “can.”
Let’s all make the day count. Complete your tasks for the day or not. Take a day off, lie around and be lazy or go for a walk in nature. Choose the outcome of today. What if today were your last day on Earth? What would you do to enjoy yourself? Whatever you do, embrace this day, this hour, this moment because it is the only one that you have. None of us are promised tomorrow. Let’s enjoy the day and be thankful for what we have, just for this day. Remember to continue collecting photos for your vision board. I’m calling this art therapy. I think all of us need to revisit our inner child every once in a while if only to remind us that we are still learning about life, no matter our age. Life is journey, let’s treat it like one.
Love & Peace,
May you find it, embrace it and spread it around. 🙂