A few weeks ago I quit eating sweets and refined flour. I did it because I had gained a few pounds since quitting my full-time job, and my clothes were uncomfortable. Don’t you hate that feeling? I was also having some aches and joint stiffness. Well, I lost 3 pounds in about a week or so and was feeling better in general, but still achy. I noticed that my addiction to salty chips went away, which was wonderful because I have eaten TONS of chips in my lifetime. Then I went to Philadelphia to the National Speakers Association convention. I ate dinner with a great family who described themselves as “almost vegan.” They all agreed that they felt better and had lost weight. Then I read an article about how Bill Clinton has gone vegan and feels great. And then to top it off, I met a man at our local National Speakers Association Mountain West Chapter meeting who told me he quit eating refined foods and lost 24 pounds in 1 month and feels great. He is in his 50’s and said his “aches and pains” have disappeared. He also said his physician told him to lose weight or die. That’s motivating! He told me he did it all by reading Joel Furhman’s book Eat to Live. One of my life policies is that if something comes to my awareness three times, I need to pay close attention. So last night I started reading Eat to Live and I just could not put it down. I was reading into the wee hours and it all made perfect sense. I am only halfway through but can’t wait to get to the actual diet style and recipes. I am going to go for it, and my husband will join me. Not sure if we can talk our grandson into it. We’ll see. I am 60 years old now and I want my upcoming retirement to be filled with not only financial health, but with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and energy. Wish me luck!
Taking care of myself has the added benefit of taking care of others. As I change me I change others. Here’s an example: If I take time every day to take care of myself, such as meditate, laugh, read a book for fun, etc., it makes me more relaxed and just plain easier to get along with. That makes the people around me feel better to be around me. Let’s think of this in terms of caregiving. If I do something simple like see my client or loved one as a vulnerable, lovable child of God, and I think only positive thoughts about that person, then I feel better. And guess what? That person can feel the positive vibes and he/she fells better too. So when you think you are overwhelmed with serving others – it’s called caregiver burden – one way to fix that is to take better care of yourself! So the next time you take a break, exercise, meditate or do something just for the fun of it, just remind yourself that you are taking care of those around you by taking care of yourself first. You are making a difference in the world when you respect your own needs.
Last Saturday my husband and I went shopping in the morning and planned to do some housework in the afternoon. When we got home from shopping, I decided to meditate before housework and my husband decided to take a nap. Well my 30-minute meditation turned into a 2 and a half hour nap! Wow! But my husband topped it by sleeping for 5 hours! And what was interesting is that when we woke up our first reaction was feeling “guilty” for “wasting” our Saturday. We are so very conditioned to think and feel that we have to do something productive all the time. Obviously, we needed some rest and self-care time. Why the guilt? Well, that was our first knee-jerk reaction, but then we changed our viewpoint and decided it was a great way to spend a Saturday. And it was certainly better then housework. So if you’re tired, release the guilt, don’t talk about what you “should” do, just … take a nap!!
I just started reading Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson and discovered a wonderful quote by Erica Jong: “Love is everything it’s cracked up to be… It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, your risk is even greater.” This reminded me of the quote by Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Like the picture on this post, love often asks us to go “out on a limb” to truly blossom.
Stress is created by fear. We are often afraid to share our true feelings, speak our truth or make radical changes because we don’t want to be hurt. This avoidance of risk is natural, and the way we protect ourselves emotionally, spiritually and physically. But I guess there just has to come a day when it’s worth the risk to confront our fear. For many years I focused on making sure everyone was happy, not making waves, and protecting myself and loved ones from harm. I was afraid to speak my truth and definitely hated confrontation. I finally learned that the fear of confrontation was more stressful than the actual confrontation. And I felt great after the confrontation. As Susan Jeffers says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Words to live by. It seems to me that love waits on the other side of fear. Walk (or run) through the fear and love is discovered. And love is sweet medicine for stress and pain.