Thursday, January 12, 2012
I didn't realize there were so many of us. I thought I was the only one. Actually, that made it worse. Imagine that you're standing all alone on an island in the middle of nothing. It causes you to stay awake at night. A few weeks ago, however, a Spark friend who had been missing in action reached out to me in an effort to get back on track. It seems they were suffering from the same malady that I was. Call it being down and out, call it the blues, call it depression, call it whatever you want, I found out there are more of us who have it, then don't.
In May of 2011 on a warm, rainy day, Joan and I went to the grand opening of a new health food store. On our way to the car, I slipped on some wet pavement and fell. As I fell I twisted my lower back. We had to drive about 45 miles to get home and every mile was full of pain and agony. I just couldn't get comfortable. That night I tossed and turned as I tried to get to sleep. I had pulled muscles before. During the course of working out and running but I had never had a pain like this. I even tried sleeping in my recliner in our living room. So I did what you do when you pull a muscle. You rest, apply heat and stretch. In a few days the pain went away and other than being slightly tender, you wouldn't have known I was hurt. A few weeks later my hamstring muscles started to tighten up. It didn't matter if I exercised or didn't my legs started to feel real tight. I started walking like Frankenstein's monster. Everyone close to me kept telling me to "walk right." The problem was I couldn't. As a chiropractor explained to me a little later on my hamstring muscles were actually shortening up.
I went to the doctor. The doctor told me to stretch more and that would take care of the problem. She did order some back x-rays and told me when they returned that I was "getting old." Two weeks later I was back in her office. Now I was in pain. My calf muscles were cramping, my feet were cramping and it was really difficult to move around. She ordered an MRI. Three days later she suggested I see a neurosurgeon. Talk about being scared. I went from stretching to potentially having back surgery. I was fortunate enough to be able to see the neurosurgeon a week later. He poked and prodded at me told me to push my feet against his hands, reviewed my MRI looked up at me and said, "Why are you here?" He told me there was nothing wrong with me, that I was obese and that I needed to walk. Back to my family doctor I went.
While all this is going on my mobility is diminishing. It hurt to get out of the chair. I couldn't walk without fear of falling. I realize a lot of this was mental and that I really wasn't going to fall but it only made me tenser. I didn't want to go anywhere; I didn't want to do anything. I just want to be left alone. It got harder and harder to walk. Each step was full of pain and agony. I went to physical therapy for three weeks and that only made it worse. I finally saw a chiropractor who was able to give me some relief. But is all this was going on. I got deeper and deeper into a state of depression. I want from my bedroom to my office to the living room to the kitchen and back to my bedroom. If I could deal with you on the phone, everything was fine. I got so tired of people coming up to me saying "What's wrong with you?"
During the past two years I have become very active. I had run and three 5Kís, had started spinning, and was seriously looking at beginning triathlon training. I had lost 79 pounds and felt great. Then my world came crashing down. I actually had dreams at night where I was running. There was no pain and I was just running and running and oh gosh it felt good. I would wake up in the morning, get out of bed, and the pain would return and I would sink deeper and deeper.
Since every healthcare provider I had visited told me there was nothing wrong with me I decided to stop spending money and to treat myself. I was starting to get scared because I didn't want to leave the house. I thought the whole world was laughing at me. The people from my gym, who were my friends, suddenly stopped calling. Right after Thanksgiving I started visiting the therapy pool at my gym. I walk back and forth for 30 min. each day. At first, those 30 min. were filled with agony. I couldn't keep my balance, I couldn't walk without pain and I felt like everyone was watching me. Slowly I have started to regain my balance, and three days out of seven I am walking in the water without pain. I noticed when I am on land, LOL, which my legs are not as tight and along with it, my attitude and demeanor have improved to. It's a long journey. I'm not sure I'm even halfway there, but the one thing I do know is that I made the decision that if this was going to beat me I wasn't going to take a called third strike. I was going to go down swinging. Falling down in the water provides you with a sense of security and a unique ability to laugh at yourself.
I'm sharing this with you because I'm sure there are many of you out there who are like me. Many of you who feel like you want to give up. I checked out mentally and emotionally for about six months and now I'm back and by the way, I have your back to. So if you'll excuse me, it's almost time to go walk in water. Ever great day.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
We say that a lot to ourselves don't we? Especially this time of year. Even though the skies are gray the trees are bare and the weather often very gloomy and cold January seems to be the time of year that we allow ourselves the opportunity to "start over." When May or June rolls around, we've often forgotten what it was like to "start over." Most of our goals have fallen by the wayside, or we've come up with a convenient excuse to move onto something bigger, better or different. I'm no different. Each year I sit down and tell myself I'm going to be healthier, more active and earn more money. Iíll pay off all of my bills, increase my business and grow some new hair to boot. Usually by mid-February I have gotten so confused and so lost in trying to keep track of all these goals and objectives that I throw my hands up in the air. You may experience the same thing. It's maddening isn't it? Every year we start over with the best of intentions and every year we seem to get derailed. I didn't realize it until I read something the other day that said 97% of people who set goals do not reach them and the number one reason people gave for not reaching their goals is procrastination. It's the old "Oh I'll have time to get that later." I'm one of the world's worst offenders. There is always something more important more timely or more bright and shiny to attract my attention and divert me from my goals.
I started to notice as I got older, that most of my goals were "retreads." They were the same goals spoke differently for a different year. I guess I figured that if I called them something other than what they were I might be able to reach them. There's not much difference between losing weight and getting healthy, is there? If you strive to get healthy, losing weight is a natural byproduct. There isn't a lot of difference between becoming fit in running the 5K, is there? So with each New Year I set out to fool myself. It was a brand new goal. I have to laugh, because each year, roundabout March, I'd be stuck in the same quagmire. This year I decided to do something different. I decided that I was going to look at all the behavior from the past year, 2011, and see where I had gotten off track. No sense rewriting goals that I hadnít reached anyway, maybe it was time to examine my behavior. Last week, I spent the better part of the week, reflecting on 2011. That was pretty difficult I had to look at my behaviors as they related to the goals I set for myself and as I began to examine them I began to see that I was getting in my own way. That can often be a bitter pill to swallow. It involves standing naked before an emotional mirror and looking at all the blemishes, all the smudges and all the smears.
It asks us to do something we are not quite used to doing Ė avoiding blame. You know the routine, so do I. When faced with an insurmountable task we look for someone else or something else to use as a reason or excuse for not accomplishing the task. Oh, it doesn't get us any closer to our goal, but it makes life more livable. This year I decided to look at my behavior in 2011 or as Zig Zigler said, "You have to remove, your stinking thinking."
I received more than one e-mail, phone call, text message asking where I was last week and if everything was okay. I had to chuckle a little bit. Although I had a seminar to conduct on Friday, I spent the better part of the week reflecting on what behaviors could be adjusted from 2011 and most importantly what I learned from them those behaviors that'll help me in 2012.
The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. For our purposes let's hope the pudding is low-fat. By beginning to adjust my behaviors and taking a hard look at my thought process I was able to drop 4 pounds last week.
I will keep you posted.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Like so many others I spend more than a fair amount of time worrying about failure. I douse myself with positive affirmations and energized visualizations; but yet I canít seem to escape that nagging notion that this time is going to be like all the rest. This time, like every other time will end in failure. For someone who is so used to failing at things you would think Iíd be comfortable with the notion, eh? But I am not. I want to be like all of ďthose people.Ē I want to be healthy, happy and successful and I want to breeze through life without a care in the world. The universe will be my oyster and by the way, did I mention in this world I have a full head of hair?
Sans the full head of hair you canít tell me that at some time in your life you havenít felt like this, discouraged, run down, lost and wondering to that healthy life style you created a few months or a few years ago. Where did your motivation go? Where did the desire to get out there and run, jump or swim? It evaporated and you are at a loss. So you do whatís natural. You canít locate the source of the problem so you turn inward. You blame yourself. You nitpick every bad decision you ever made, scourge yourself for not having the will power and motivation to be like ďall the rest of those people,Ē and you sink into a vat of despair. You are ashamed and you are embarrassed and you really donít want to be around those friends of yours, virtual or otherwise who seem so darned successful, racking up awards and the like, running marathons, flying to the moonÖÖÖ.
In my mind, I have left Spark a million times. Iíve rationalized how easy it would be to hit the delete button on my browser and chalk this up to experience. But I donít. I donít quit because I know that my latest failure brings me that much closer to me reaching my goal. Itís not always fun, itís not always productive but simply being here and simply putting one foot in front of the other each morning sustains me through the dry spells, through the weeks and sometimes months where all I can seem to do is be a bit dazed and confused.
It took me fifty-six years to develop all these unhealthy habits, what makes me think they are all going to disappear in two years. I swallowed some bitter pills here but when I dried the tears and all the smoke cleared, ahhhhhhhhhhh, I was so much wiser and I am creating a foundation for tomorrow, for my success. The scale may have groaned a bit the other day but this to shall pass.
A very dear friend, who has been busy with life these past few months, sent me a Goodie yesterday. It made a request ďHi, may I come back?Ē It was heartfelt and sincere. My response? ďIn my heart you never left my dear friend.Ē
Starting over is never a sign of failure. Itís a sign of wisdom and most of all courage. I believe you are who you hang around with. I draw much of my motivation from the success stories here but an equal amount from those of us who keep falling and keep getting up.
Thank you for that my dear friends, thank you.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
I thought this was meaningful to many of us on lifes journey. I thought I'd share
"I stand between the years. The Light of My Presence is flung across the year to come - the radiance of the Sun of Righteousness. Backward, over the past year, is My Shadow thrown, hiding trouble and sorry and disappointment.
Dwell not on the past - only on the present. Only use the past as the trees use My Sunlight to absorb it, to make from it in after days the warming fire-rays. So store only the blessings from Me, the Light of the World. Encourage yourselves by the thought of these.
Bury every fear of the future, of poverty for those dear to you, of suffering, of loss. Bury all thought of unkindness and bitterness, all your dislikes, your resentments, your sense of failure, your disappointment in others and in yourselves, your gloom, your despondency, and let us leave them all, buried, and go forward to a new and risen life.
Remember that you must not see as the world sees. I hold the year in My Hands - in trust for you. But I shall guide you one day at a time.
Leave the rest with Me. You must not anticipate the gift by fears or thoughts of the days ahead.
And for each day I shall supply the wisdom and the strength." by Two Listeners
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