I've had lot's of downtime lately with being sick, and being eager along with the rest of the Spark community to get into Chris Downie's new phenomenal book, The Spark, I opened my copy and thought I'd breeze through it in a few days. After reading Chris' personal story, I thought, what more could I learn that I haven't already uncovered on the website?
Well let me tell you, friends. I am STILL reading the book. I read and I reread. I'm taking notes like it is a textbook! To say that it's motivating and inspiring is simply inadequate and after all, motivation and inspiration abounds on these very pages of the Spark community. Rather he sets up the formula for life transforming success based on sound mind-body principals.
Even though I have already achieved a modicum of success in taking off my weight, I have discovered that I always thought that once my weight came off and I was at goal, my life would be perfect. I was so focused for a solid year on everything that went into my mouth, it's like I had NO other goals or aspirations. All I could "see" is the number on a scale.
The trouble is once I got there, I found that I was asking myself "Now what"? Well for starters keeping the weight off, which as I've blogged about before isn't simply a matter of "I've adopted a new lifestyle now this is a piece of cake". My husband said "Yeah but don't you feel so much better now physically and feel so much better about your appearance that you'll never go back"? How could I explain to this man who has NEVER had a weight issue in his entire life, that it doesn't work that way? I didn't "see" myself as a thin person. I will forever take my shoes off, if not more, before I step on a scale. I will always look in a dressing room mirror and ask myself "Does this make me look fat- er"?
It isn't really even a self-esteem issue. I've always felt like I'm a worthy individual regardless of my weight. My sister put it so succinctly when she said, "Fat isn't a personality disorder"!
So it was, when I started reading The Spark, that it began to dawn on me that I don't truly "see" myself as a thin person. I always kind of feel like an imposter. A fat person hiding in a thin person's body. Like a costume that can be yanked off and returned to the theatrical rental store when the party is over.
I've always been a firm believer in the mind-body connection. As a nurse, I've seen many instances where people who give up, lose their will to live, and surrender to their disease often have a much poorer outcome than those who fight back. It goes back to the power of positive thinking. Negative thinking can end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
BUT, how many of us, myself included, just give lip-service to positive thinking without REALLY believing?
Every time I look in that dressing room mirror and "see" a fat woman, I'm leaving room for negotiation with my fat cells. After reading Chris (don't you just kind of feel like you are on a first name basis with "The Spark Guy"?), I feel for perhaps the first time ever that there will be NO negotiations because I'm beginning to BELIEVE that I'm a thin, healthy, person. Period. End of story. Right?
Wait a minute!! Like all things - whether it's a new found religious conversion or a new found belief in yourself, it often begins with a precise moment of revelation that starts gung-ho only to eventually dilute until your belief is drowning under old self-talk.
Thus enters THE VISION COLLAGE!
Just what is a vision collage and what does it mean to us? The book covers visualizing your goals in chapter 1. Chapter 6 goes a little more in depth as to the power of imagery in shaping our beliefs. I thought of all the many religious symbols and icons that reaffirm people's faith and I felt motivated to permanently change the stuck record that had been playing in my head for years.
Maybe even more so last week when I was so sick and weak feeling. My mind started to expand the possibilities. I don't just want to be at a healthy weight. I want to be healthy.
When you have a chronic disease like asthma, especially as an adult, despair is sneaky. There are proactive measures you can do to help control the symptoms, but you realize that a cure is probably not forthcoming. My attacks generally strike in earnest about 4 times a year, resulting in pneumonia and a hospital stay several times in the last three years. Luckily, I seem to have no difficulty with exercise induced asthma like some people do. My physicians encouraged me to stay as fit as possible and thought there would be no problems with running.
There was a problem with running though -- I didn't "see" myself as a runner. I asked the Ironman dr. at work when can you call yourself "a runner". He laughed and said "When you step outside your door and start to run"! But I still get that old imposter feeling.
So with all these thoughts in mind I got out magazines, scissors, glue, and a sheet of heavy bond paper I happened to have lying around being saved for the great someday. For a brief moment I felt a little like a middle schooler about to embark on an art class project! But I also felt a passion for wanting to effect positive change in my life --
I wanted it to reflect my desire for positive health, goal weight, physical fitness, strength, self love, as well as a difficult goal of mine -- more sleep.
I brewed a steaming hot cup of green tea, put in the Yanni Tribute CD and set out to make a vision collage!
I found a picture of me when I first hit goal weight and joined my daughter in Grand Rapids, MI to participate in a 5K. It was the first one she ran. I walked. We wore team shirts in a tribute to her husband's uncle who was struck down at an early age from an aneurysm, leaving a wife and young children behind. That race was a very positive moment in my life. The race atmosphere was thrilling and the seeds of desire to run a 5k were planted that day. I felt truly healthy and happy!
The picture was a must on the page. Next I googled a picture of a healthy respiratory system. Simple not graphic. That picture was next. A little article on the benefits of yoga in lessening the symptoms of asthma to help see myself doing yoga. A sleeping woman. Affirmations of love as well as a promise to me. The words jumped out of the magazine pages as the energy flowed that afternoon. Cutting, placing, gluing, BELIEVING.
The result actually brought tears to my eyes. I must have stared at it for an hour.
The words & phrases - all positive affirmation for me and my life:
The Promise . . . . . . . Success story . . . . . . . . . . Feel the Love
Slim is Simple . . . . . Oh, Yes I can! . . . . . . . . . . Make this your fitness year!
Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . Instant Energy Surge . . . . Feel good firming
Get Strong . . . . . . . . Be Confident . . . . . . . . . . Nutrition
Get good health . . . Yoga's surefire benefits . Stay healthy for the next 25 years
Self-healing . . . . . . . Picture of health . . . . . . . Sleep! It's non-negotiable
Fix your health . . . . Calm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sleep Better
In the center of the page it says: YOU...Can do anything -- this is YOUR page!
Oh yeah -- one more for me AND the mister -- Great Sex :)
I would encourage everyone to take a little time and make YOUR page!
For more information go to: http://www.sparkpeople.com/res
Mine hangs on my bathroom mirror. A picture of it is on my Spark page as well as a backdrop on my blackberry.
--- Because SEEING IS BELIEVING!