Someone made a comment to me earlier that really started me thinking. I can’t remember the exact words but the point being made was that I have my health and can pay my bills so my life must be good. What exactly does it mean for life to be good? I imagine a good life looks quite different to each and everyone of us. I am struggling with a torn meniscus and experiencing some real anxiety over trying my best to parent a teenager who seems to be lost. Sure I look healthy and yes the bills are paid but my heart feels heavy and I feel it racing. I think what disturbs me most is people think they know but they really don’t. They don’t take the time to know. They don’t really want to know. Our relationships seem so superficial these days. It makes me sad that we live in a world where people tell us how we are instead of being interested enough to ask and then hear the story beneath the words. Let this be a reminder not to assume we know what’s going on with anyone else. Life may be very different for someone than it “appears” to be. The eyes don’t always get it right. Don’t assume anything because they appear healthy. Health involves the body, mind and the spirit. Don’t assume because someone can pay bills that they can pay a second of attention to anything else because they are consumed with anxiety, dread, depression, hopelessness. Maybe my life is good but I may not be as healthy as you believe. I can have a good life in spite of everything because I make the choice to do so. Let’s just stop assuming anything and ask. Listen. Encourage. Support. Reach out. You don’t know but maybe you should.
How many times do you tear down the lies and just get real with yourself? Sometimes it’s easier to avoid the truth because denying it feels better than facing the work that lies ahead necessary to set yourself straight again. What I don’t know can’t hurt me. Sound familiar?
For quite a while now, I have been extremely uncomfortable in my clothes. My ego generated lie after lie as I avoided the scale. The truth would have been revealed in one three digit number. I pushed that scale with my foot underneath my vanity purposely avoiding a truth I was unwilling to see.
Today I got real. I felt sick as I bent down and slid that scale out. I begged and bargained with God but He must have been busy. Now I know for sure what I had known all along. It’s not loose skin or aging. I have gained weight. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge but today I gave myself the gift of hope. I’ve done this before and I know what works. Now that I am honest with myself, the real work can now begin.
What have you been avoiding? What truth have you been hiding from?
I have found that what it is I need the most, I dread doing the most. I discovered that in yoga class when I realized there were a handful of poses that made me extremely uncomfortable. After spending a few years working through them, it was obvious to me why it was so important for me to practice them anyway and not allow myself to bow out and make excuses not to do them. For awhile now I’ve known that I have to get back to some form of exercise. When my blood pressure was so high, I was honestly afraid to do anything that would make my heart pound any harder than it already did. Today though, I finally went back to the gym. I took it easy and only hit the treadmill for 35 minutes but you know what? I did it. I got there and I am not going to force myself to commit to a number of workouts a week. One day at a time is my motto now and that’s okay. No pressure. No need to meet unrealistic goals. Simply just one day at a time. What is your motto for the new year?
I had a hunch that the cell phone was the source of my anxiety and today I can confirm. I have vowed to be calmer and less stressed as I dive into this glorious new year. I can honestly say that the source of my panic earlier months was messages from my son at school. I have switched his classes and put the responsibility on his shoulders to take care of things on his own at school and this first week back to school, I have decided to sleep in and take care of my own psyche. I’m never going back to last year. EVER! No more palpitations. No more panic attacks. No more feeling like I cannot breathe. No more shaking so violently that I cannot type a single word on my phone. No more feeling guilty for doing whatever it takes to make myself well even if that means doing nothing at all.
I admit, when I do turn on my phone, I have to take deep breaths while I wait to see how many messages I have waiting to read. Today was no exception. The first message I read was SOS. The second was I have chest pain. And the third, help! I think I’m dying. So, believe it or not I am sitting here in urgent care with my daughter still remarkably calm. I have found a way to wait for the right answers rather than formatting my own wrong, stress inducing false ones. I am healing and I am grateful. Now we wait and I pray it is a torn muscle. If not, I, we will deal with the facts as they come. It’s a new year. I am calm, I am confident and I am strong. Yep. It’s a new year.
Life is a balancing act. It has to be. It is up to each and everyone of us to know when to say when. Enough of this, time to move onto that. I grew up a perfectionist. I never believed I had an option to leave anything in my life unfinished or incomplete. There was never a choice for me, nothing to even think about. If there was something that needed to get done I was going to do it, period. I see now that people are pushed beyond their limits. School, work and responsibilities will demand and take until you are exhausted and have nothing left to give. I realize it’s time to reevaluate how to spend each moment of time. If there is more work in a day to finish than there is time to complete it then something has to give. You have a choice to kill yourself getting everything done or decide there is that critical point in the day where your time is yours to do as you choose. And really, is done ever completely done? Maybe it’s necessary to leave some things undone. As I write the words I cringe because it is against everything I’ve ever believed. I look at my husband and my kids who give all they have to get done what is expected of them to do. Like me, they are overwhelmed, stressed out and never afforded the time it takes to recover from one day to the next. Hard as it is, I believe it’s time to finish less and live more. If it means an assignment going unfinished or being handed in a day late than so be it. Health, especially mental health is more important than a crappy grade. So, I must spend the next few weeks undoing who I’ve become. It won’t be easy and I know the internal struggle it will bring but at the end of the day, my peace of mind and state of mind is more important than anything else. That goes for all of us living in this house. If demands are unreasonable, someone must have enough reason to know when to leave well enough alone. It’s a shame that the world has come to this. When something is pushed too hard, it breaks. I learned this lesson through my incessant need to vacuum all the time. We are not machines. We cannot trade out broken parts of who we are for brand new replacement parts. We must learn moderation and self preservation and never apologize for doing what is best for ourselves. Life will take so we must limit what we give. People will take, jobs will take, school will take as the daylight is ripped from underneath our feet. Give less. Rest more. Love more and be at peace.
Do you ever wake up in a fabulous mood bursting with excitement? What if you woke up every morning feeling just that? How different do you think your day would be? Imagine how drastically your life would change. As someone who just finished a long stretch of feeling unmotivated and depressed, today I am so amazingly grateful for how good I feel. Sometimes it takes feeling really down to celebrate and appreciate feeling so good. It’s easy to take some things for granted like a pain free day or a simply a day you feel a little extra happy. So today, pay attention and feel gratitude for whatever it is that makes the difference. Gratitude really is an attitude and it sounds like a pretty good choice to me.
I remember a time long ago when I went to the gym several times a week. I was doing kick boxing, bench stepping. You name it, I did it. No matter how hard I worked, my body seemed to stay the same. Several years older now, I finally get it. Too much of anything is never good and eventually, if you are like me, you will get bored and start to resent it. Life is about balancing the mind, body and spirit. If you want to improve and you want to grow, you have to continuously work on all three simultaneously. I have the same body I did 15 years ago without killing myself at a gym. I am the same weight and to be honest I finally feel completely comfortable in my own skin. Why did I feel so unattractive then and so fantastic now? What could possibly be the difference? I guess what it all comes down to is you can change your body all you want, but if you’re trapped in the same mind, the same way of thinking, you will never notice a single difference. The mind, more than anything else, determines how you feel. Change your mind, and your body changes too. That is the order it worked for me. I have started to balance weights, fun cardio, yoga and at the same time, spend time doing what feels good to my soul. Everything in moderation, focus divided between all three parts. That is the real secret to looking and feeling your best. And if I feel like skipping a class, I simply skip it without guilt and absent of regret. Sometimes a day floating in the pool is the exercise I need for my soul. Look inside to see what you need, that should guide your exercise for the day. Today, it’s yoga for me, where the mind, body and spirit meet on the mat as one. What is it you need to exercise today?
What is YOUR favorite way to exercise? Do you bike, run, cardio, walk or do you not exercise at all? Of course my favorite way to spend time getting fit is yoga. It is challenging and I never know what to expect. From arm balances to binds to handstands, there is always something teaching me more about myself and especially my attitude. My gym just started a Zumba class and I am looking forward to tearing up the rug. Dancing With The Stars inspired me and I am ready to get my salsa on! How about you? What do you do to stay in shape?
As I stumble into day 7 of my son running a fever and being too sick to even sit up for an extended period of time, I can’t help but wonder how parents get through the experience of having terminally ill children. Sure, on the outside they are smiling and cherishing every second with their child but on the inside? I’m not at all comparing my situation but as a mom, I know the heartbreak that I feel when my son first opens his eyes and I ask that question. How are you feeling today? He just shakes his head no and my hopes are shattered. It’s hard to watch someone you love suffer. All you want to do is make them feel better and that is the one thing you will never be able to do.
I think we take health for granted. We walk around as a society putting complete garbage in our mouths, not exercising and not generally caring for ourselves. We have this silly notion that nothing will ever happen and we are above becoming ill. The truth though is very different from what we trick ourselves to believe.
We are faced with challenges throughout our lifetime. Some we cannot run away from. We just have to hop on that fateful horse, take a hold of the reigns and ride the ride. Sometimes the journey leads us to a wonderful place and other times not, but we just have to get up and keep muddling through. Chin up, sit up straight and keep on going.
The fact is our health is constantly changing. We must remember that and care for our bodies and our emotional state to give ourselves the best odds of living a healthy life. When you need to rest, rest. When you are overweight, change what you are putting into your body. De stress and exercise, even if it’s a short walk around the block. Listen to the little signs and adjust as necessary. Our bodies are amazing. What they do quietly behind the scenes is truly remarkable. You only have one so take care of it.
They say we don’t really know what we have until it’s gone. Well, I’d like to think I take time out each day to be grateful for all the blessings around me. However, I learned it is one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk.
If you regularly read my blog, you know I haven’t been feeling well lately. I am happy to report that today I am feeling so much better than the last several days. I was really down and out. I may have said I was grateful for my health in the past, but I can tell you, after feeling so awful and miserable, I am surely grateful for my health now.
Maybe there is some silly truth to that simple statement. Even the most grateful people can take the smallest and simplest things for granted. It is only when we lose something and then gain it back, do we truly understand it’s magnitude and importance.
Count your blessing today and in each moment. You just never know if tomorrow one of them may be gone. Appreciate your health and your body and all the people around you who share your journey in this life. Don’t waste time being angry or miserable or ungrateful. We really don’t have time for that. Remember everyday is a special gift, what will you do with yours?