Life’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
It can be easy to forget that life is a journey and not see the beauty in the process. Whether it’s health – overcoming chronic illness, career – identifying and achieving your dream job, fitness – getting that first pull-up or running that first race, relationship – meeting your dream guy or girl, personal – self-love and discovery, it is not a quick “fix”.
In today’s world of instant gratification, with deadlines and pressure to produce, that can be a hard thing to deal with. It often leads to unrealistic expectations, short-term focus, disappointment in lack of immediate change, thinking that success or happiness is only when we reach a desired end “result”, and potentially giving up from discouragement. But don’t lose heart, it’s called a journey for a reason 🙂
Perception or Reality
Our view of life is often skewed by social media, where challenges are rarely talked about in light of “perfect” pictures and experiences. I have certainly had my fair share of setbacks and don’t usually post about them because I don’t want to dwell on the negative, but I do want to share here so others may keep hope along their own journeys.
Despite making major changes with my health, I still have had many sleepless nights, days stuck in bed with stomach cramps, or been too fatigued to truly engage in life and with the people around me. The reality is that wish I had it all together, but I don’t.
I particularly struggle with the following:
- Patience (not a quick fix and not always forward progress)
If only our health was like a light switch. We could make the necessary changes in diet, lifestyle, supplements, etc and ta da, we instantly feel better and know what’s helping or not! But it doesn’t quite work like that, and I find that’s the hardest part. Not only to have the patience and discipline to maintain certain protocols, but to understand and believe that what I’m doing is right and making a difference. Because the real story behind healing is that it’s more of a bumpy and pot-holed street getting paved (and we know how long construction takes haha), rather than a shining, yellow-brick road.
Frolicking along the path 😉
This is where perspective and what I focus on really matters. I am learning that small changes can make a big difference in the long run and to take things one step at a time. Understanding that when I have setbacks, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed or screwed everything up. Believing that I am continuing to make progress even when I don’t always feel 100%. Honestly, who really does? And appreciating where I’m at and how healthy I am, compared to where I was previously.
- Trust (process, protocols and myself)
I get overwhelmed by the amount of health-related information out there, and so much conflicting too. How do I know what to believe and what will actually help me? A big part is working with health professionals I can trust. But another part, that I too often ignore, is listening to my own body and learning to trust MYSELF. I tend to get caught up in my thoughts and second guess things I am doing and my body’s ability to heal.
How many times do I need to eat raw, cruciferous vegetables to know they still hurt my stomach? Will an occasional treat ruin my progress and the sugar offset my gut bacteria? Will coffee spike my cortisol and prevent adrenal healing? Does my body need supplements to heal when I feel like they overload my system? What is the right balance? How can I incorporate all the good foods and herbs I “should”? etc…
These are things that nag my mind and clearly not the most productive use of my energy! So I’m trying to think less (as worry causes stress, which increases cortisol and sets off all sorts of digestive, weight, and hormonal issues – not ideal ha) and instead tap into my body and what FEELS right. The more I pay attention to how I uniquely respond to different types of health protocols, providers, delivery of information, foods and supplements, the easier it is to make decisions that support my recovery. This is turn supports my confidence that what I am doing is working, because I can FEEL the difference.
At a retreat where I started trusting more and had another turning point in my journey
- Imperfection (acceptance over judgment) + Self-love, compassion and forgiveness (what it means and how to cultivate it)
I still struggle with the perfectionist inside me. It’s so easy to get hung up on each little pain and over-analyze what I did “wrong” or beat myself up for not eating according to “protocol” and paying the price. But that’s not going to support me getting better in any way. How can I accept my imperfections and not judge myself for certain decisions or feelings? This is where self-love, compassion and forgiveness come into play.
I am not perfect. And I am doing my best. So I don’t need to fight myself and push me further down. Rather how can I lift myself UP after I fall? How can I NOURISH my body, mind and spirit?
Maybe it’s a nap, soothing tea, getting a massage, having a friend date or reading at the beach. I think that will turn around how I’m feeling both mentally and physically much better than solely focusing on the pain or “mistake” (which is never the case anyways – there are only lessons learned for a reason…we are exactly where we’re meant to be). I have to remind myself – how would I speak to a dear friend or my 5-year-old self in the same situation? Probably much softer and with a whole lot of love, understanding and encouragement. We can and need to be that person to ourselves. Our self-love will fill us up and set us free to love others that much and more <3
The Hard is What Makes it Great
Our journey is exactly that – a journey. Full of missteps, successes, tears and joy – experiences that we learn from and make it all worthwhile. In life, like in love, it’s better to feel something than nothing at all. That is what makes it real. It is the tribulations that lead to triumph. So journey on my friends, and don’t let the bumps stop you from believing in your ability to achieve whatever it is you wish for in life <3
Looking ahead to bigger and better things