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Archive for January, 2011

I am blessed.  That feeling is in my coursing through my veins.  Nearly every aspect of my life today is filled with blessings, even the challenges.

Twenty days ago, I started a Journey towards Better Health https://lightwavejourney.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/my-journey-towards-better-health.  So much has happened since then and the bottom-line is that I am learning to love what is while loving the gentle support of many different friends and my family too.  Two profound things have touched my life and have inspired me to move forward.  My teacher and one of my favorite Jewish Folk singers, Debbie Friedman died far too young and I read the book Hope Will Find You by Naomi Levy.  (Over the coming weeks I will write about how both events helped propel me forward.) So much can happen in just a moment’s time.  The bottom-line is that new opportunities emerged and developed because of the influences that surrounded me.

I have rarely asked for friends to support my journeys; I have often asked that my friends and family celebrate when I have succeeded in reaching a goal, but today I am feeling differently.  I am openly utilizing Facebook to share my journey.  And with each step I have both new and old friends giving me both insight and support.  I am feeling both centered and buoyed as I make the trek.

One special bi-product of taking this journey so openly is that I have some friends that have made the decision to create their own journey towards health.  I love that (perhaps) I am inspiring others to care for themselves even better.  Yayyyyy!!!

The most profound reality of this journey is that I feel good.  I don’t feel like I am missing anything.  This reality reminds me of a story.  When I changed my name, one of my board members was talking to his son (who worked for me at the time) and he was saying “Chava this and Chava that”; my employee turned to his father and reminded him that he NEVER remembers anyone’s name.  With that, my board member responded that that was because Chava was the name she (meaning me) was always supposed to have.  Perhaps that story illustrates where I am today.  Perhaps these transitions were always supposed to become my norms.

A few friends have emailed me offline to ask what I am really doing.  Here is the simple list of what I am still doing as of Day 20. I am doing the following:

1.      taken out all soda and caffeine out of my diet.

2.     Eating NO sweets, sugar, fake sweeteners, etc.  I do allow myself to have honey on occasion and looking for some alternatives to mayonnaise that has sugar.

3.     Doing yoga once a week and hoping to add another class in the coming weeks.

4.     Taking extra long walks (1 hour plus) three to five times a week.

5.     Journaling

6.     Writing an affirmation 18 times a day to symbolize life.

7.     Chanting daily

8.     Trying to pray regularly

9.     Planning my next steps as a way of being healthier.

10.  Reading books that are motivational in some small way.

11.    Drinking lots and lots of water and herbal (non-caffeinated) tea.

The truth is that I am not really that hungry; I am feeling so full.  I am eating half of what I normally eat.  I am creating new norms.  When I snack I eat as much fruit or nuts as I want.  I might need to limit this at some point, but not now.  I have lost nearly 20 lbs in two months and 8 of that in the last 13 days.  I am not trying to lose which is helping my morale.  I am also finding that my energy is good; I don’t need sugar and caffeine to sustain my energy.  And yes I have had moments when I wanted to eat something just because I wanted it, but I have not given in to the urge.

I have no expectations for this journey, but I do have hopes. I am working towards being the best me that I can be and I trust my intuition with each and every step.  Some of the things I hope will evolve are that I will:

1.      Breathe easier.

2.     Move fluidly.

3.     Become more physically balanced.

4.     Use my knees without pain

5.     Be able to run again.

6.     Grow my flexibility.

7.     Stop creating trash due eating excesses.

8.     By-pass the genetic realities that I live with.

9.     Look beautiful with a toner body and clearer skin and hair.

This health journey is blowing me away.  I used to pray that I would one day run again and be healthier.  I was trying to get in the mindset before Aryeh was sick, but then he got really sick and the journey/hope was forgotten.  Today I am remembering each of my dreams and embracing them to become my reality; I am doing everything I need to live consciously and healthy.  I am working toward honoring my core values so that I am truly living the life I have chosen.

I realize that I may never run again, but I know that if I want to try that my I won’t have to take the journey alone.  Friends have offered to run with me and/or given me tools so that I can try to do it on my own.  The bottom-line is that I want to be the healthiest me that I can be! So I will do whatever I need to do so that I get there.  If I can’t run again, I will find something else to do.

At the end of my initial 45 days, I am hoping to be an even healthier me.  I am hoping to be stronger and about making healthy choices.  My journey is a lifetime journey, but I needed time to build my foundation to health.  Wow, I love when things are basheret (meant to be).  When I started counting the 45 days, I didn’t realize it was 45 days till my 45th birthday.

So I have 25 more days to strengthen my foundation!!! Yippee!!! I can do it.

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Today, I am on Day 4 of eating better.  I have sworn off sodas and caffeine; I am actively trying to take sugar and sweeteners out of my diet completely.  The funniest part of this is that I just realized that I had given myself 45 days to transform my eating completely.  I have also given myself 45 days to create a yoga and fitness practice.  What I didn’t realize until yesterday that I will be celebrating my 45th birthday 45 days from when I began the countdown.  I had realized I was counting down to my birthday, but not the coincidence. I love this universe; I love how you can find messages and insights by noticing the small stuff.

Being healthier is a spiritual journey for me.  Those that know me know that I actively engage in life.  I strive to live consciously.  And I am constantly working on ways in which I can evolve.  A year or two ago, I slightly altered an affirmation that was originally created by Mersh Lubel Kanis, “I give my body what it needs to be physically and emotionally healthy.” Those words seem to guide my in every aspect of my life.  I am now writing those words in my new Journal towards Better Health by writing the affirmation 18 times a day.  Eighteen is the gematria of life, there is no coincidence in how many times I am writing my affirmation.

Over the years, I have worked on my spiritual practice, I have worked towards better physical health, and I have worked on making myself emotionally sounder.  I have taken on meditation, chanting, and davening (prayer) practices for my spirit.  I have given up gluten and had a hysterectomy for my health; I also see doctors when I need to. (I used to stay away from doctors at all costs.)  And I have begun to address my past so that I can move towards a healthier future.

Since mid-September, I have been feeling sick; I know I have a few things going on, so I have tried to address those issues.  And I have determined that I can help myself without medical interventions.  The beauty is that I can always use medicine and in the extreme case surgery if need be, but why would I go there if I can make small dietary changes and exercise more.   And for those that think I might be listening to one of my many alternative practitioners (voodoo doctors as one friend calls them), I haven’t gone there yet.  I am listening to my doctor who actually didn’t tell me much; his nurse told me that soda and caffeine are problematic, so I decided to think a little more broadly as a way to help myself.

I have one life; I don’t take that for granted.  My life is too precious and there are so many things that I would like to accomplish as long as life allows me that option.  To be clear, I have nothing seriously wrong.  I have an active bladder (which has proven problematic); arthritic knees which are sore much of the time; and excess weight which is too high for comfort.  And each and every one of those issues can be managed through diet and exercise.  Wow. . .that is such a gift.  If I actively take care of myself; I can heal myself.  Perhaps I will need some outside intervention or insight to better care for myself, but that is OK too.

Growing up, I was surrounded my illness and death.  Most of it was preventable; some not so much.  In reality, what I saw has impacted me greatly.  I can’t imagine suicide as an option and yet I believe that many people choose not to take care of themselves and therefore choose slow death.  My time will come; we will all die at some point.  The goal is to live life fully and to celebrate life by honoring who you are.  My parents died young; many of my other relatives and family members also died and others suffered because of addiction and poor self-care.  With that in mind, I have role models; I learned from others what I don’t want for myself.  We don’t always have a choice about our genetics, but we can often improve our chances by making healthy choices.

As I have openly moved forward by sharing via Facebook that I am trying to move on a healthier path within my life, I have felt totally supported in my journey.  I am certain that I will make mistakes (I already have), but it feels good to have my friends giving me hope and giving me tools to move forward.  Knowing that people believe in me and that I am not alone is helping me stay on this derekh (path).

The journey is far from easy.  Friends aren’t always comfortable when you tell them, you are celiac (no gluten) or that you have broader dietary needs, so I imagine life will be even more complicated now that I am saying no to more foods.  Of course there is also addiction that I am working with and rebound headaches from caffeine withdrawal.  But a very wise director of education used to say to me, “Begin with the end in mind.” So I have work to do and I will continue the process; there is no choice.  This journey is all about me :).

I can do what I need to do so that I can be an even better and healthier me!!

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