Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Four years ago (almost to the day) I completed my holistic health coaching certification.
Three years ago I realized I didn’t want to be a health coach.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro being healthy, but I was not the person to be espousing advice. It was a lesson in not-everything-you-want-to-learn-about-needs-to-become-a-job.
And for a few years I had some really healthy habits. I ate a plant-based diet, did yoga, and had few emotional stressors in my life.
Flash forward, and let’s just say that I was no longer operating at prime. The problem with good habits is they can snowball out of control if we start breaking them.
And before we know it, those snowballs can transform into an avalanche.
Over the past few months I noticed my energy levels decreasing. I chalked it up to the world’s worst winter (ok, well, in NYC at least), getting older, life changes, etcetera.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, after a bout with loneliness, a move, crazy weather, life stuff, yada yada, my body started shutting down. I was exhausted by noon, and could only accomplish one or two small tasks on my to-do list before I felt worn out. This led to more stress since I was behind on important work deadlines, and I was completely unmotivated to create anything. The next step was a fever that lasted for almost a week. And then last Thursday night, my vision became blurry. Within a few hows, my motor skills decreased, I got a migraine more painful than I’ve ever experienced, I was nauseous, and my entire body ached. Fortunately, it turned out to be a strange 24-hour virus (unrelated to the previous fever) so I just had to wait it out.
It was a rough end to the week.
But by Saturday, I was feeling starting to feel normal again. The Brooklyn flea market opened for the season, and I was thrilled to find the perfect desk that made me want to sit and write and write. On Sunday the weather was beautiful and I went for a run along the Brooklyn waterfront. And it was during that run, I knew I had to make some changes in my life. Beginning immediately.
The obvious starting mark was by reclaiming my health, whatever the cost.
The first step was to build strength so I bit the bullet and signed up for a month of classes at Pure Barre. I had my first class yesterday and I was on cloud nine from the endorphins all day until I fell into my first deep sleep in weeks. If our bodies are our temple, a strong foundation is a good place to start.
The second step was to refuel. Grocery shopping isn’t easy or cheap in Brooklyn, so I ordered “clean” foods from Fresh Direct. I have a juicer again for the first time in a year, and made my old go-to (kale, romaine, celery, carrots, apple, and cucumber) this morning. Annie’s Mac & Cheese or frozen pizzas, no matter how tasty, are no longer acceptable nightly meals.
The third step was to replace some of the toxic products I’ve been using on my skin. Sure, they’re cheaper, but I felt like I was watching my face age before my very eyes. That’s because most commercial skin products actually strip your skin of essential oils. Fortunately, my friend Hannah (who has gorgeous skin) insisted I invest in higher quality, natural products. Even after one use, I swear my face feels and looks happier.
None of those three things (exercise, diet, products) are breaking news, and you don’t need a health certificate to improve your health.
The real challenge was making the decision to change and to trust that by investing in my health, abundance in other areas would flow.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life. ~ Mumford And Sons
Not your life tomorrow or six months from now or five years from now, but now. Right now.
The same goes for your time, your money, and your energy.
And I don’t mean that every moment need be #carpediem//#YOLO//#epic.
But every moment is still a gift. And I want to cultivate more awareness around how I take ownership (as much as humanely possible) of those gifts.
This, of course, is a never-ending journey.
There is no there there. ~ Gertrude Stein
That’s fine, because we have plenty we can do here .
Along with working on building a stronger physical foundation, I’ve realized I need to change up some other habits as well. Again, these are basic in principal, but, for me at least, had gone off course.
First, I have to stop using social media for anything other than building and maintaining community. I said once a few years I ago I needed to learn to keep my eyes on my own paper. In many ways, comparison is not only the “thief of joy” but my own achilles heel. There is no reason to worry about what so-and-so is doing. Life is abundant. I had no idea how massive a habit I’d formed looking at other people’s social media feeds. Often specifically seeking out those I knew would hurt my feelings! It was like a drug! The actual looking didn’t take much time but the residual affects lingered long after. This is going to be a tough one for me to break, but I do notice a change simply by being aware when I do it (and how it makes me feel).
Second, I have to seek peace if I want more adventures. I miss traveling. But if I only feel at peace when I’m away, then something is wrong. Travel is not a catch-all. Fortunately, I’m loving my new environment. I love my reading chair. I love my desk. I love the glow of the twinkle lights above my bed. I love the neighborhood. I love running into people I know on the street. I’m not done traveling (not even close!) but equally important, I want to feel there is no place like home, even an impermanent one.
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. ~ Henry Miller
Last but not least, I need to be a better editor. Not in the cinematic or pictorial or literary sense of the term (though based on the length of this post, that would be helpful as well!), but of my life. This is a topic I’ve been mulling over a lot lately. It’s ok to want everything. But not all at once. We have to “kill our darlings” if we want to create something worthwhile. In any given chapter of life, this can mean projects, relationships, goals, hopes, fears, anything that doesn’t move the story forward. If it doesn’t further the plot, it doesn’t belong in the story. There is no middle ground.
If you’re brave enough to say ‘goodbye’, life will reward you with a new ‘hello’. ~Paulo Coelho
Phew! That was a lot to express.
And I have a lot to work on! But progress begets progress.
Even in this short time, I can sense things are shifting.
When in doubt, I return my thoughts to this sign I came upon at the start of Sunday’s run:
Focus on what matters.
Let the rest go.
And be well.
Do you have any tips for forming healthy habits (or breaking unhealthy ones) you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Sharing is caring;)
P.S. One of the things I’m excited to invest in is helping people stand up and be heard. I’ve opened my doors for one-on-one sessions for people who want to make an IMPACT. Read all about it here.