I’m on many journeys.
I have it systematically structured out to remind myself to tune in. Assess where I’m at with each one.
Bring it to the forefront of my consciousness for the day.
With no agenda of pushing it along, or asking what I need. The simple act of choosing to be conscious of it is enough.
Today: My commitment to health.
I wanted to bring this long-standing priority into my head that was already bustling full of ambitious plans for the ‘NEW YEAR, NEW DAY!’
It was just 2 years ago that I started the new year with a specific intention to start this very journey: The Year of Health.
Of course health had been important to me before.
But not valued enough in my personal sphere I would ever call it a ‘journey’. It was just… a facet to this vessel. Sometimes I was healthy and energized, feeling good. Other times I was so ill I was knocked off my feet, outta my colon, into aching bones that somehow were still restless.
By the end of 2018 I was coming off a 2 month long flare from Crohn’s disease that had me not even wanting to live at times. A myriad of complications, the panic from eating any food, and yet always starving for more. The throwing up on sidewalks and not even being able to make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I had had enough.
The intention may have started officially on the 1st of year of 2019. But the seed of it started about a month before. Our family had all gathered for Thanksgiving, a holiday I had usually dreaded, not only for its problematic hauntings of colonialism on the larger scale. But on the more self-centered scope: I had always seemed to find myself sick in some capacity during this Winter time event. Eating Disorder, Mysterious but debilitating aches, harsh flus, and this particular year, a pain grating flare from my intestines.
As others ate their turkey and cranberry sauce and tried to bring some form of joy and normalcy to the table, I tried to hide my ailing presence as best I could. But with every small bite of smooth mashed potatoes it was shortly followed by a fatigued run to the bathroom. Later as my family circled around and tried to discuss Christmas plans and gift exchange ideas, I only participated with heavy weighted eyes and even heavier toned jokes, “I don’t even know if I’m gonna be alive by then”. My mom did not appreciate that one. Humor is my best asset though. Not the funniest of people, but I can always make myself laugh.
When the festivities were finally over, and the rest of the clan had departed back to their home cities to return to day to day life…I stayed behind.
And I completely broke down. If my colon had been having its tantrum and releases for the last months, it was now my heart’s turn.
I sobbed to my parents on their recliner chair. “I cannot go on like this. I want quality of life”
The next couple days we all discussed what the options were. Quitting work was mentioned. Slowing down was mentioned. Their loving support in offering these well informed and strategized ideas were only met with my exhausted and resistant mind. One that was stubborn in believing that simply, they were absolutely not options. And something else would have to find its way to release me from my suffering. Meaning, no I don’t want to feel this anymore…but also, I don’t want to make any changes.
By the time I had made it home, threw up, and later woke in the middle of the night with the pain and urgency to run to the toilet….I relived my words over and over again:
“I cannot go on like this. I want quality of life”
This rough time had crawled these intuitive words to the surface. And their hot breathed exhalation had burned an intention into my heart. Stronger than my mind could deny any longer. In its own way, my body had been trying to tell me all along. But it took a paradigm shift and a total surrender to finally listen.
‘My commitment to health’ journey began there. And took off with wings of its own.
The prioritization of ‘Health comes first’ did not stop at the end of 2019, but has carried its way through my continued days in this vessel.
The valuable lessons and tools I gained from that conscious health-specific trek I took continue to fill my life richly. Some were experiments that I have eased up on in terms of structure. Others I continue to develop and build upon. The biggest take-away was this:
Whether I like it or not, I am in constant relationship to this body. And moment to moment, I have the choice to engage in this dialogue with compassionate listening, and then do my best to honor it’s messages. The body will continue to converse in its natural healing role.
It does so much for me in all of its intricate interconnectedness miracles. The least I can do is thank it, hold space for its calls, and do my best to answer back.
So today, with the reminder prompt of bringing this lovely journey I commit to forever expanding upon….
I slept in.
I sat in stillness.
I put coconut cool whip on my coffee.
I took a walk with dogs.
I had a big lunch. Past my belly’s needs.
And yet I continued to eat past my limits.
Instead of spiraling out, making a plan for the future, or worse drowning myself in guilt for what I had just done. I simply took note:
‘Oh right. My period is coming up.’
‘Oh right I put a lot of pressure on myself today. FIRST DAY OF THE YEAR!’
‘Oh right I had a LOT of things on the list I was supposed to cross off.’
‘Oh right I’m in that confusing crossroads of so badly wanting a purpose, and also so badly wanting to live a simple mindful existence.’
‘Oh right, this is a pattern of mine.’
‘Oh right, eating behavior has been a life raft for me in the hardest of times, in the times deeper issues need a safe distraction, or the times I want to just feel good but don’t have the patience to hear how.’
I later had some tea.
I watched the latter half of a stupid movie.
I also judged my body and image.
And then I remembered:
‘Oh right. My period is coming up.’
‘Oh right, I put a lot of pressure on myself for how I should look.’
‘Oh right I’m in that confusing crossroads of so badly wanting to look my ultimate best, and also so badly wanting to be free of any ideal cage’
‘Oh right this is a pattern of mine.’
‘Oh right, body image behavior has been a life raft for me in the hardest of times, in the times deeper issues need a safe distraction, or the times I just want to experience my best self but don’t have the clarity to see how.’
I later read segments from my Intuitive Eating book.
I did 20 minutes of yoga.
I cuddled with dogs.
And then I wrote this.