Category Archives: healing

Taking Care of YOU (#11 Wisdom along the Way)

take great physical care of you.jpg

Ethics in Biomedical Medicine was one of my favorite elective classes when I was a university student. I was a business major and needed a few electives. This class fit perfectly into my schedule. Almost 30 years later, it remains one of the classes that made the biggest impact on my life and my health. The premise of the class was that, ultimately, I knew my body best and was responsible for my own wellness.

Thus started my journey of becoming healthy and taking responsibility for myself. By the way, I am still on that journey.

I am a questioner, a seeker and an experimenter when it comes to my health.

I think I have tried every diet under the sun, included this supplement, excluded this food group, lifted weights, aerobic exercised, endurance – HIIT – yoga trained, walked, jogged, ran and fasted. Yet, sadly, was not satisfied with my body. Or my health.

In my late twenties I inexplicably started putting on weight and suffered two miscarriages while trying to get pregnant with our third child. The miscarriages were devastating; the weight gain and low energy disheartening. I went to an overweight female PA who told me it wasn’t like I was obese, and to get used to weight gain and lower energy as I got older. Remember, I wasn’t even 30!

That horrible medical appointment sent me on a quest.

I knew my body wasn’t behaving normally for me. I researched, tried different doctors and finally landed on some possible solutions. I was diagnosed as hypothyroid. The month I started medication was the month I became pregnant with our third son. After our last child was born, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and later with adrenal fatigue. It seemed one thing after another was hitting me. And it probably didn’t help that I was practicing bulimic.

I had lived a lifetime of being the chubby girl, love doled out as food, not getting dessert when other kids did because of my weight, weigh-ins in our family kitchen and abuse of diet pills beginning in my very early teens. I lived knowing life would be so much better if I could just lose ‘X’ amount of pounds.

On this journey to wellness I began to realize some key ingredients to health.

  • There is Not a One Size fits all Diet or Exercise Plan.
  • There is Not  a Magic Pill that will make you: thin, beautiful, popular, accepted, successful or loved.

I don’t have to tell you how many billions of dollars are spent annually on diet, health, fitness, prescription medicine, sick days, etc… the numbers are staggering.

I will tell you that Spiritual health is what ultimately guided me toward true physical health. I needed to feel like I was worthy of taking care of and lovable no matter what my size or physical appearance. For me, only a relationship with God could do that. Realizing the the Creator of the Universe loved Me and called Me, ‘Child’ changed everything! That same Creator loves YOU and thinks YOU are over the top incredible, wonderful, worthy and amazing!

What if we moved our amazing bodies? Whether this starts as a walk around the neighborhood you live in or it is training for a 5K – Our bodies were made for MOVEMENT. Doing this out of joy instead of punishment, out of ‘could’ instead of ‘should’ changed exercise for me. Adding physical play outdoors or indoors is something we have available to us (hopscotch, tag, jump rope, disc golf, bag toss, hiking, kayaking, bowling, biking, racquetball, tennis, skiing, swimming – really the list is endless)

What if we looked in the mirror each day and picked one feature or ability of ourself that we were grateful for? At the same time we quit negative self talk…Example: Barb – Your skin looks glowing today! Look at the muscles on your upper arms – way to go Sunshine! Wink, thumbs up and air kiss… Instead of: Barb, your butt and thighs are too big, look at that extra fat and skin around your belly… Do you see the POWER in this?

What if we enjoyed food and were thankful for it? Take a cooking class. Buy a new cookbook – a gorgeous book full of photos. Purchase wholesome locally sourced food. Discover new ways to prepare life giving vegetables and fruits. Quit eating when we are full. Ask ourselves if we are truly hungry before stuffing a feeling along with salty, crunchy or sweet. Could we stop using food for numbing? If we are anxious, sad, lonely, hurt, angry, fearful, uncomfortable how about taking a walk or journaling to consider our feelings. Our feelings matter and we deserve to delve deep into them, instead of eating them. Our enjoyment of food matters also.  We need it for fuel AND it can also be a fulfilling part of being loving to ourselves and joyful each day.

What if we reinstated sitting at a beautifully set table (with friends, family or even alone) as a ritual of nourishment? We don’t have to be Martha Stewart here, but there is so much Soul Food that happens when we care about our surroundings! Light a candle, buy flowers for your table, use real plates and silverware, pour your water into a glass with ice and a slice of lemon, use a placemat. These rituals fill us up as much if not more than the wonderful food we serve. Be present and mind-FULL during eating.

What if we shed the negativity around our bodies, food, movement and lives? Can we suspend harsh judgements on ourselves? There are gazillions of dollars spent each year in marketing to make us feel ‘less than’… turn off your television, put an add blocker on your computer, listen to ad-free music, go on a media fast. Take a break from the nay-sayers and sabotaging people in your life. Send your self-critic on vacation. Acknowledge a negative feeling – but don’t partner with it or let it drive your actions. Be the boss of you. Dear guilt (fear, anxiety,etc..), you may not boss me anymore.

What if were relentless about our healthcare? Seriously, us looking out for us, is the best possible scenario. Find a health practitioner that partners with us, listens to us, hears us. I know healthcare is a hot topic these days. But even here – implementing the above five steps is such a huge movement toward wellness that this will seem easier. We can talk to our legislators. We can have an impact on health care. We can start at home, with ourselves, becoming more well and health conscious.

The simple act of believing we can make a difference in our wellness may be the biggest factor in our personal health.

I challenge us to one week of self kindness to ourselves! Let me know how it goes!

The True You ( #4 Wisdom Along the Way)

 

You have just come across the most enchanting child.

This child is innocent, playful, curious and filled with joy. You are invited to join this child for a wondrous journey of exploration.

You clasp hands, feeling honored that this pure and bright little person trusts you and wants your companionship.

As you walk through a tall and misty forest you notice sounds and smells that you have forgotten to appreciate. The breeze is gently rustling through branches, birds are cavorting overhead and the earth smells fresh and musky at the same time. You breathe deeply. You are completely present and in the moment. Calm washes over you.

The child bends down and grabs a fallen feather, bright blue, glossy black and white. A small hand pulls you down to share this new found treasure. Your eyes meet.

Your gaze locks with this precious little one and you see your own eyes staring back at you.

This. Can’t. Be. You.

But it is.

Hot tears gather in your eyes. Your throat gets tight making it hard to swallow past the lump. Your chest painfully constricts. A tear escapes.

When did everything change? When did this innocence leave? When did you decide to put on masks to fit in? When did you squelch your dreams to meet other’s expectations? When did you adopt hard coping mechanisms to self protect?

When did you lose the Joyous Freedom of being the True You?

Do you know?

Somewhere along the path of life it seems we decide that there is a better way to be ourselves. Or circumstances dictate we retreat. We decide the True Me needs to hide, be protected, change, disappear, be quiet/louder/better… etc. But what if this is a Lie?

What if it is the True You that is the answer you have been longing for?

God only made one You.

One in 7.5 billion people.

This expression of YOU is unique and glorious because it is YOU!

So much of what we are called to do in our life time comes out of knowing our True self. Everyone seems to want to know their purpose. Everyone deeply wants to know they are okay.

“When you get your, ‘Who am I?’, question right, all of your, ‘What should I do?’ questions tend to take care of themselves.” -Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

When you ask the question, “Who am I?”, what is your answer?

Do you hear the voices of others, describing what you do in their lives? Do you hear tapes from your past, labeling you? Does your inner critic trump the loving voice of your spirit or of God?

Do you know what you truly like? Do you know what your love languages are? Do you know what you are good at? Do you know what your life’s purpose is? Do you know why your relationships work or don’t work? Do you know how others perceive you? Are you comfortable with yourself? Do you know what your strengths are? Do you know what your personality types are? Do you know if you are introverted or extroverted? Do you know your coping mechanisms? Do you know your conflict resolution style? Do you know how incredibly amazing YOU are?

If no one has ever encouraged you to go on this adventure, let me!

That cherished child we visited has gifts and talents and desires that are crying out to be set free and shared.

What if we take this on as an assignment?

There are SO many places to start. Taking the time for self exploration may be one of the most important things we ever do, whether alone; reading, praying, journaling or in in groups; intensives, retreats, counseling.

There are a load of free on line assessments to get you started. Some of my favorites are:

  • StrengthsFinder
  • DISC
  • Myers-Briggs
  • Enneagram
  • Love Languages
  • The 4 Tendencies

Look at the results. Buy the books. Sit with them. Journal about them. Do the assessments with a trusted friend. Pray about them. Ask your safe loved ones how they experience you. Be open to the answers you hear and the answers y0u discover.

Some clues for me that something is important for my soul include: physical responses like deeper breathing, shoulders relaxing or heart beating faster, sweaty palms. Sometimes, colors or words or smells stand out in a unique way. Other times a theme will start recurring in my life (I will see it everywhere!), like a certain phrase or Bible verse. 

Pay attention Dear Heart, God is always talking to us – through our bodies, through nature, through our experiences and through others.

This getting to the True You is a lifetime process. There are seasons and situations that cause us to dig deeper and others where we are more reflective or engaged in different areas of our life. They are both to be expected and embraced.

Just don’t ever quit becoming the TRUE YOU.

 

Photo Credit: danielle-cohen.com

YOU ARE A FREAKING MIRACLE! (#2 Wisdom Along the Way)

Dear Precious YOU,

Sometimes we forget who really are.

Or, maybe we never really knew.

Too much has happened.

We don’t have what it takes.

We’ve done too much harm.

We aren’t good enough.

We will never measure up.

We haven’t done enough.

In our mind we are broken, bad or beat down by the circumstances or choices of our lives.

I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is never too late to search for and accept a hand up, to dust off your knees, wipe the tears from your cheeks and discover the incredible creation that is YOU.

I am not talking false platitudes here.

You are a living, breathing, supernatural phenomenon!

Look at what YOU have been through.

Look at what YOU have survived!

You are still here.

That is NO accident.

Cloaking the hurt or shame with silence, anger, sarcasm or numbing may feel like the only safe option.

That is simply not true.

There is not a soul walking this planet who doesn’t have a tragedy in their story that would crack our hearts wide open. If we listened.

No one gets a free pass. No one has this thing called life all figured out. It may look that way from the outside, but trust me, beneath the surface we are all more alike than different.

This life walk were are on;

YOU can do it.

This knee buckling, heart breaking catastrophe;

YOU will get through it.

This dead end – brick wall – glass ceiling – mountain in front of you,

there is a WAY around or through it.

This thing called LIFE, we were never meant to do it alone.

Take this journey to YOU. Don’t stop. Get help. Don’t stop. Find a friend, a group, a church, a counselor. RELENTLESSLY search for those who lift you up, NOT those who commiserate with You.

The WORLD only gets ONE YOU.

I see the spark still burning in your eye, in your heart. Fan that flame!

I know it’s scary. Because I did it and I do it.

The BRAVEST thing I ever did was find a good counselor (it was my third attempt by the way), share my truth, share the shame and the hurts and the story that had been my life. This was not a one week or a one month process. This took YEARS of work and tears and digging to resurrect HOPE in my life. AND every single day of the painful journey, I would do again, to get to this Peace-full, Hope-full and Joy-full place I now live.

The WISEST thing I ever did was ask Jesus to help me. I still do this everyday.

These steps began a 16 year healing journey, that I am still on.

Do whatever it takes!

YOU are worth WHATEVER IT TAKES! You are worth the sacrifice, pushing through the fear, taking the time, showing up, spending the money and making the effort!

YOU are More than OKAY!

YOU are More than ENOUGH!

YOU ARE A FREAKING MIRACLE!

I PROMISE!

 

 RESOURCES:

  • Celebrate Recovery (for hurts, habits and hang-ups/ not only addiction)
  • 12 Step Programs
  • New Life Ministries  newlife.com (counselor network and intensives)
  • Your Local Church
  • Your School’s Counseling Office
  • braveliving.com Soul Restoration
  • Your friend with the kind eyes and a big heart
  • Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
  • You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
  • Captivating or Wild at Heart, by Stasi and John Eldredge

Photo Credit: danielle-cohen.com