Then and Now

Whenever there is a big change in your life, you have a chance to take a step back and reflect.  If you choose to take that opportunity, that is.  I am used to being constantly in motion, living and working in environments that make it hard to take time for reflection, meditation… um, thinking for that matter.

So, I finally slowed down, or was forced to, and started to do those things.  I will be the first to admit that I could get better and be more consistent, but you have to start somewhere, right?  Here are some things I learned from being in this constant state of motion, excitement, busy-ness:

  • I realize that when I am in the moment of the craziness of a product launch, sales meeting, creative deadline, etc., I am so laser focused on that “thing” that I tend to neglect the other “things” in my life.  I will no longer do that.  Why?  Because it’s never worth the trade-off.  Yes, it’s so fulfilling to accomplish something that “only you can do” and get accolades (or not) for it.

But, it’s important to realize that without balance, there is only strife and stress in life.  

  • I will look ahead to the ramifications of my choices now.  How will my family feel?  How will it affect the dynamic at home and am I comfortable with that?  I want to be in control of this and make wise decisions about the BIG PICTURE.
  • Remember, women can “have it all” as a famous feminist said to empower women, and I agree.  But, do we “want it all” and what does that mean?  Well, it is different for each individual.  I have to make the choice for me and my family and not feel any pressure from society, my industry, peers and associates otherwise.  It’s just about being strong and standing up for your own peace of mind isn’t it?
  • I will take time to be a student of what I am interested in and motivated by.  I won’t rush in willy nilly to anything.  I will actually insist on doing my due diligence for once.  I was always used to banking on my expertise and I will still do that, but now, I want to add even more to it in a  way that is fulfilling to me under my definition.  I know that is vague- but it’s mine!  Isn’t that what is important?  Take ownership of the decisions you make and make them work for you under your terms.
  • Be there for as many of the important moments in life as you can- school events and volunteering opportunities, family gatherings, birthdays, beach days with friends, etc. We can’t be there for them all, but our presence means something to others as well as to ourselves.  For me, it means that I have freedom to choose where I want to be, what I want to support and who I want to share my time with.  I decide and make arrangements to make this happen.
  • Take care of yourself as a priority.  Constantly feeling exhausted and burned out is no state to live in.  I still feel exhausted and burned out occasionally, but that is the key word- not all of the time, every day.  I used to travel a lot and would burn the midnight oil as they say.  Working constantly so I wouldn’t have to give up my precious and rare family time on the weekend, lifting and doing too much beyond what my body could take, drinking and eating unhealthy food non-stop to be social, putting myself in stressful situations in general & taking too much medicine to try to make up for all of this neglect. None of this was good for my body or my mind.

For me, it is hard to give anyone anything- love, support, kindness, advice- when I am not feeling great myself.  I owe it to those people who need those things from me to get myself in order.  Some days, this is a big task, but it’s worth it.

  • Here is what I started to do after A) My job was eliminated after 20 years, and B) I had major neck surgery all within 3 months of each other.  If that doesn’t spur change, what does?
    • Lost 16 lbs (still going!) of toxins and god knows what from all of the injections, medications, stress and poor on the road eating.  Being lighter and more in line with what my body type and heart could handle, was a great first decision. I am talking about being “skinny” as that is not what healthy is to me.  I am talking about being healthy inside and out.
    • I started eating smarter, smaller meals, better choices.  I have always tried to eat vegetarian (pescetarian to be exact) and some of you will be surprised that I didn’t always eat healthy.  Maybe in comparison to some, it seemed that way, but for me, I needed to put the brakes on PM eating and big meals.  This made a big difference in how I felt when I woke up and how I felt during the day.
    • I started to really pay attention to the supplements I was taking and you know, I LOVE nutritional supplements.  Turmeric for inflammation, Omega-3, Hemp hearts, aloe, antioxidants, Hemp oil (in detox capsules and gel form), probiotics with essentials oils in them, Frankincense + Oregano w/coconut oil in veggie caps for pain relief… and this has all helped tremendously.  I still take the usual multi-vitamin (although I drink it now for better absorption) and joint formula with Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate (never HCI or hydrochloride)+ MSM too.
    • Slow down and be quiet!  This is hard for those around me that have not embraced this yet… and they will remain nameless… especially in the morning.  I try to get outside in the AM to water my garden and pet my dogs and to try to start the day calmly instead of in a state of craziness and panic.  Yes, admittedly, sometimes this can’t start until my son is off to school, but we take turns at our house with AM kid responsibilities. This way, if someone needs more sleep to feel good that day, someone else steps in.  This isn’t always flawless and we are human after all- we have arguments,  we run around the house looking for water bottles or homework or whatever else is needed, we marvel at the chaos around us, but didn’t we create it?  Hmmm… food for thought.

Part of this means being mindful and taking time to meditate… probably the hardest thing for me to do.  A healing touch nurse at my Dr’s office introduced me to Health Journeys Meditations that you can download to your phone or laptop.  There are topics to relieve pain, have a successful surgery, de-stress, deal with PTSD, etc.

  • Sleep is its own topic- I need more of it!  Sometimes, I have to sacrifice social time with my husband to get my nightly quota.  I am still in healing mode so sleep is essential for recovery and renewal, but I think I will always need more of it than the average person.  Sleep- it does the body good- forget milk! 🙂
  • Last but certainly not least, try to be more patient and understanding of others around you and the world.  It’s easy to just react to everything whether it really affects you or not. It’s much harder to wait and think before reacting.  This is the ultimate challenge & goal that I have.  I really want to have a more peaceful existence and without this element of patience, that cannot be possible.  I am trying to help others work on this attribute with me as well  but that is another blog topic all by itself!

Realization is the first step towards improving anything so here I go!  Wish me luck!

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