Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Approach & Attitude

In the past I've looked at the world with critical eyes and a hardened heart. I saw the pain and the hurt instead of seeing the joy and the laughter. I internalized my thoughts and devalued my worth and voice. I loathed my body, my appetite and my distaste for traditional exercise. I became a shell of a person because I started to listen to the critics and naysayers instead of listening to myself. This is no way to live. You fear everything and everyone. You feel stuck in your bland existence and find it hard to shine. When you're not yourself, you don't believe you deserve to shine. 

I have always struggled with my weight and my image. A great lover of Hollywood and all that it entails, I have always compared myself to those airbrushed beauties. This has given me a false sense of what it means to be beautiful. Recently, I've thrown those unrealistic ideals out the window. For about a month now I've stopped the crazy dieting and workouts. I'm mindful of my portions and what I eat, but no longer deprive myself. I also have changed what "working out" means. It doesn't have to be extreme or so repetitive that I get bored. Now I hike, walk/run, or just walk for an hour a day. Everyday my activity is something different which keeps it exciting and effective. Since February, when I became a vegetarian, I've felt lighter and more nourished. 70% of my diet is now made up of vegetables which are full of nutrients and vitamins. I have more energy and wake up ready to take on the day. I have also added vitamins to my daily regimen. I take a multi-vitamin along with one calcium and fish oil pill two times a day. After about 2 weeks of taking vitamins, I saw a huge difference in how I felt. Worth a try - for sure! 

When it comes to the pain and sadness out in the world - it's hard for me to be unaffected. I am the most sensitive person I know. I feel everything and even though emotions are inspiring, my emotions can hold me back or drag me down. I'm highly aware these days of what affects me. I choose to only watch the news one day a week. I want to be aware of current events, but I don't need to know every injustice happening throughout the world. I also try to avoid websites on the Internet that are constantly streaming news. It's all about being aware of what makes you tick. As the amazing Feist sings, "I feel it all..." I really do feel so many things fully that aren't mine to take on. It's all about acknowledging your reactions and either avoiding what makes you react or learning how to control the way you react. I also have found that the more you engage in the world around you, the more you do and experience - the less time you have to think. Though speculation and reflection are important, you can think too much and I'm guilty of that. More living, less thinking. 

Another form of thinking is stewing. When you block yourself off from the world and think about all the negatives in your life, you will never find a positive path. You have to open yourself up to life and what it has to offer. If you don't like a relationship you're in - change it or fix it. If you feel you don't have the tools to move on with your life to learn and grow, go out and acquire those tools. It is never too late to change. I think that is the best gift I have given myself. I no longer put up "dead end" or "detour" signs on my path. I realize that if I need to feel more secure - I can do so. If I want to go back to school - it's never too late. If I want to start a new career path - I can now. If I want to learn how to be a more loving, open person - I can now! If I don't feel I can communicate to my full potential - I can learn now! It's all about starting here. I have today to change my life and I'm taking it. 

Recently, I was listening to my Uncle speak of my Grandmother who had just passed away. She had lived a long, beautiful life and her life can be the model for many. My Uncle was explaining who she was: 
  • She never complained, she JUST DID IT 
  • She never blamed anyone else for anything 
  • She was reserved with her opinions until it really mattered 
  • She loved sports and music 
  • She had deep faith
  • She walked everywhere 
  • She loved her family and friends so dearly 
Listening in church, I realized that my Grandmother's life holds such a legacy and can be used as a guide of how to live. Those words in church changed my life. I was already feeling a shift in how I live and how I feel, but this experience changed me forever. I still cannot believe that my Grandmother is gone, but I know that all her children and grandchildren will keep her alive. The best tribute we can give to her is to live as brilliantly as she did.