“Happiness is a journey not a destination” This is a quote that I had found for my vision board at the beginning of the year, which really came to light yesterday. I was reading a blog about self-image perceptions passed along to us by our mothers (a really great read actually: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/8760102/When-your-mother-says-shes-fat) and specifically one quote struck me, “Despite being what could only be described as famine-victim chic, she dieted every day of her life until the day she died at 79 years of age. She used to put on make-up to walk to the letterbox for fear that somebody might see her unpainted face”.
How could this lady have spent even a minute in peace or satisfaction when she was so consumed by her weight, her looks and her worry of how other people perceived her? Imagining spending the REST OF MY LIFE worrying mortified me. How mean HOW EXHAUSTING!!! I want to enjoy the process, this journey.
I have a lot of friends, like me, who wait for opportune times. Opportune times to lose weight, find a new job, get pregnant, start a business….I’ll get pregnant when I quit smoking….I’ll get back on track diet wise after this month of weddings….I’ll find a new job when I pay down my debt….I’ll eventually get back into Church. Sometimes though, these opportune moments don’t come and we spend so much of our time stagnant and stuck in our habitual patterns of behaviour that, when you think about it, could never present “opportune moments” because we default into life on autopilot. I mean come on, it’s easy, so much of our day is like the last, how could we not, BUT default into autopilot? Autopilot though, gets us nowhere but here, where we’ve always been. Instead of waiting for that so called right time, we need to intentionally jump. We need to choose these moments and create them. The other pitfall is we spend too much time planning, reading, researching and less time doing. Let’s stop intending and just do. Maybe Nike really was on to something…..
Back to that poor lady that spent 79 years of her life dieting….actually Alanis Morrisette has a song called “Incomplete” which also speaks to the realization that there is no eventual destination…the far off “one days” won’t come, despite the ways we’ve been programmed to expect and strive for. She sings in her chorus, “I have been running so sweaty my whole life, for the chance for a finish line. And I have been missing the rapture this whole time, of being forever incomplete”. Doesn’t that hit home?
What if that 79 year old woman used other measures instead of the weight scale or magazine covers for her own measure of beauty and self image? What if she would have tuned into herself and tuned out society’s painted face standards of what beautiful should look like? What if she would have just stripped down?
Do you know that to style my hair, I get out of the shower and first put in some leave in conditioner, then some mousse, then I towel dry, then I diffuse it, then I curl it, spray it, place it, shape it, set it….I’ve been doing this FOR YEARS. Aussie sprunch spray has literally been a staple in my beauty regimen for almost TWO DECADES. Styling my hair to a daily perfection…what if I just let my hair be the way it is? What would I look like if I brought it to more of a natural state….and lets be real here, I’m not ready to be completely “au natural” but I’m ready to explore being closer to natural.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to start burning my bras, trashing my make up or start growing out the hair in my armpits. Maybe I can be a fair weather au-naturel girl. I, of course, want to spend any time I need to, to get ready and look painted, but for the times I choose to. I want to paint my face or have wild hair when I want to. I want it to be based on what I feel, who I am and how I choose to express myself in any particular moment of time. I want the freedom to strip down and just be me.
I wish someone would come up with a new measure of success and progression outside of the weight scale! What if I created a magic contraption which calculated the following things as soon as you stepped on it:
WEIGHT light to heavy
SLEEP well rested to can’t keep my eyes open
SPIRITUALITY nourished to empty
FRIENDSHIP supported to isolated
STRESS manageable to I’m going to rip my face off
LOVE complete to fragmented
SEX satisfied to starved
ENERGY high to dragging
BAGGAGE light to burdensome
STOMACH normal to bloated
PHLEGM clear to congested
MIND sharp to distracted
TEMPERATURE normal to extreme hot or cold
SKIN clear to grody
CHEST open to tight
NAILS strong to brittle
FINANCE comfortable to spent
GRATITUDE humbled to oblivious
VITAMINS/MINERALS: complete to deficient
Imagine waking up in the morning, going through the list, check check check….and then being able to specifically tend to one’s own needs….where could I be a week from now, a month from now or even a year from now? Miles and miles away from where I am…
There are so many other ways of keeping a check and balance on ourselves without a weight scale. There are ways of tuning into ourselves, to see where we are really at in ways that are profoundly and deeply pertinent and relevant to only ourselves, how beautifully intimate! By tuning in, we can address the areas that need our attention. By tuning in, we can see what really works for ourselves and in our lives.
Through a wellness initiative at work yesterday I had the opportunity to see a Psychologist for the first time in my life to assess my current state of well being. Fortunately I feel on a good upswing of life right now. Since our wedding and honeymoon, I’ve felt refreshed, invigorated, lighter and content. One thing Dr. Shepticki had mentioned which was interesting food for thought is that our bodies all have a point of vulnerability that sensitively responds to our “insides”. It turns out that for years I thought my periodic tight shoulders and back were a response to the number of hours I was putting in front of my desk, but it turns out that I should tune in deeper. The tightness in my back and shoulders could be my body’s first response to any sort of stress/dis-ease I might be feeling at that time that perhaps I haven’t even mentally registered yet. There are just so many ways we can tune in.
My wise old owl Ginger (my thirtysome year old girlfriend who feels 150 years deep into insight and advice) said that committing to any health oriented program would be beneficial to a person. And true enough, I agree with her. A lot of things work as long as we just commit to them, but working for us isn’t necessarily the same thing as truly serving us or being good for us. I mean the 17 Day Diet did get me down 10lbs by my wedding day which that morning was reason to celebrate. But what I think most of us miss, or in the least, what I missed, was tuning into myself beyond just the weight scale for measure of my success and wellbeing. I am interested in exploring healthful ways of being, but not solely for the purpose of losing weight, but for avenues of better tuning into myself, knowing myself, optimizing myself and being good to myself.
I bought the “It’s All Good” recipe book by Gwyneth Paltrow and I was immediately attracted to her outlook and the balance she strives for in her own life. After an unpredictable health scare, she had gone on Dr. Junger’s Elimination Diet to reset her system and detoxify. I’ve never really tried a cleanse before, but I’m definitely interested in trying it out. I’ve vowed to myself to get rid of my weight scale so that I’ll be forced to tune in rather than tune out.
Exploring, trying, discovering, falling, learning….what better way to experience my journey, and how meaningfully intimate to be the captain, the judge, the creator, the lover, the receiver…..to be all things but most of all beautiful plain ol’ newly married, blissfully happy me….it certainly is, “all good”.