Saturday, 26 January 2013

My Journey - Wisdom Sign Post #1

It is hard to believe that it has been over 365 days since I started my blog.  More importantly, it is even more startling that I have been on a journey to a healthier me for one whole year (plus 3 weeks).  I have learned so much about what it takes, what made this attempt so different from the many others over my lifetime, and how I know in my heart that this is it - this is my new life.

As so many others around the world start to look at the New Year and often a deep desire for a body with fewer pounds or one that can move easily and accomplish more or live longer and healthier, I wanted to share some of what has become more and more apparent to me each step of the way.  Having the patience to figure out what would work and, more importantly, what would not work, was one of the keys to success.  It all started when my mind connected to my heart!

Step #1    Prepare your mind.
I began by preparing my mind.  I often stalled in this step years ago - reading about healthier living, watching Dr. Oz, thinking about what would be the ideal.  I would listen to my friends talk about Dr. Bernstein, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and I would see the results they got with slimmer bodies.  I also agonized with them along the way when the weight crept back on.  I had been there many times - and nothing but the weight stuck!

This time, I set an attainable goal - not based on weight or even eating although that was a motivation and the ultimate results I desired. For some people that might be enough.  For me, I knew I had to change something integral within my being - it was follow-through.  According to author and life coach, Gene Hayden, I lacked the follow through factor – and she has written a book about that very thing.

From one of my first blogs, I wrote:

January 2013
Up to January 2012
"Now, here is a new way of looking at New Year’s resolutions. These courageous decisions are not only about “the goal”- they are about the journey. I love this thought – the goal is not necessarily the biggest, most amazing thing, and, may even turn out to be a little disappointing- it is about the steps along the way, the story you get to write about your life, the story that is your life and how it changes when there is follow through.

This year I plan on hitting re-wind and then re-writing a different chapter for this story of a cautious life. I will have new things to talk about or write about, new energy to tap into as I plan and dream, new things to do as I move toward my goal – a new energized, healthy life one step at a time.

I realize I can expect to run into hurdles along the way - the follow through factor challenge! I can either problem solve or retreat but digging deep and contracting with myself that I will not give up and then honoring that deal will guarantee something will change over the next 365 days - at the very least, I will have an exciting, interesting story to share with those around me!"

That did not change throughout the year - through food sensitivities, knee injuries, fatigue and brain fog - I practiced that one thing - I DID NOT QUIT!  It takes a change in how you think about your life.  If you are hesitating about heading down this path because of previous failed attempts, maybe this one new goal, this one different outlook, might spur you on past all of the barriers and pot holes that appear along a journey to health.  Dig deep, have a look at your past, and decide in your own mind, that you are prepared to keep on going no matter what, that you will not give up on the journey and then, be prepared for an amazing experience, a new story you will write each day and each step, and an experience you will be bound to share!

This step is actually the hardest one to initiate and complete - because it is never finished.  It is a total shift in how you view your weight and your health and your ability to make a change. This was the ONE step I had never acknowledged before - not to the depth I accepted now.  Perhaps it had something to do with my age - knowing I had fewer years ahead of me than I did behind me - but, I think it had much much more to do with being able to open my eyes and acknowledge where I was heading if I didn't change.  Not just by reading an article and saying "Yes, I should probably do something about my health" but by finding the switch in my brain to support that decision.

My turning point was an internal shift of direction - instead of gazing at my ample navel, I lifted my head, squared my chin, and dared myself to look to my future.  What was it out there, on the horizon, or hidden behind the mountain or obscured by a sudden curve - that I wanted so badly I did not think I could accept the disapointment if I could not have it.  What was I giving up specifically if I did not make a change now.  What kind of picture could I paint if I changed my choices from instant gratification to a plan that would take a lifetime to complete!

I powered up the projector hidden in my logical self and focused in on my future if I made no changes.  I come from a long line of strong women so I knew genetically I had pulled off a life of indulging my inner child with treats and sedentary reading and "screenplay" sitting on the couch - doing the things that were important to secure a living, raise a family, and navigate the twists and turns of my 20`s on into my 50`s.  However, I also knew that longevity was dialed into my DNA and my final years might be spent using a walker or a wheelchair if I did not take care of myself now. This glimpse of my future was not coloured with spring hikes in the Rocky Mountains or loud ``let`s pretend`` games with my grandchildren.  The calming green walls of a hospital could never match the mountain vistas on even a day hike to Grassi Lakes or simple sharing of a story with a grandchild on my ample lap, although lovely, could never match the giggles of taking them for a pretend helicopter ride with my arm whirling in circles on lift off.  The air I breathed would never be filled with the scent of ginger and charcoal smoke from China or humid heat reflecting from the beaches of Bali.  I would not be able to enjoy cool wet sand squishing between my toes in PEI or climb wet, cold rocks to get that amazing picture of the heron gazing out to sea.  It was a picture with many limitations to mobility and experience - still happy and filled with love - but not what I had dreamt about all my life. Had I waited too long in a self-built  room, writing a story of safety and limited horizons.

Shifting my gaze to the screen as I insert the ``possibility`` slide tray, the colours ran rampant. My dreams flickered on and off, the smells and sights of foreign lands from the books of my childhood, the silly games of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren danced across my inner eye.  The choices I made today opened up the possibilities of tomorrow.  Both screens held love and warmth and sunsets, but the spice and excitement of a life lived fully no matter what curves may change the direction was much more appealing than passively accepting my past as my future.  Yes, there could be wheelchairs and walkers in my future no matter what, but I still will have the fulfillment of knowing I did all I could to follow my dreams and write the last sentence to my story with a trace of the gratitude and peace filling my heart.
The first step, the biggest step, was finding something to fuel my fire and get me to a place so filled with desire my mind would never quit!  My body might still fail me, my emotions may even run rampant at times as I face future losses and trials, but my mind will keep me from quitting as I seek health because the choice to quit will never dictate the outcome.

So, this journey to a healthier me is about enjoying my grandchildren to the fullest, travelling along the less-beaten path in countries around the world and, someday, rocking beside a cozy fire with a smile on my face knowing I made the world a better place by actively connecting with it every day.

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