If we have too much or too little of something we are discontent. Can you recognize that within yourself? Our stress encompasses a discrepancy between what we have and what we want. Alternatively, what we are doing and what we want to be doing. "Balance" is cliche as of late, so I prefer "Sweet Spot" as the goal of creating a thriving life experience.
Work, pleasure, children, exercise, food, sleep, etc. — these things all require living within your personal sweet spot to feel content. To consider more depth, knowing your values and living according to them creates the sweet spot that leads to happiness. For if you value honesty and yet lie or withhold the truth from others, how do you suppose you will feel about yourself?
I asked myself years ago "what good is exercise if I have no social life because everything revolves around working out and eating the right foods?" I may be healthy (may be...) and in shape but with no one to share my life with, what difference does it make? What am I really after with my rigid exercise and eating schedule? Where is the sweet spot of honoring the people in my life and filling my health bucket?
How does someone who works ('work' has multiple meanings) incessantly and feels stressed when they are not "producing" find their sweet spot?
For those that struggle with eating and weight, has their satiety sweet spot been lost? How might it be found?
What about time spent alone and with others? Some people isolate, and some people crave company. Moreover, yet both are uncomfortable with the opposite. A sweet spot is necessary to become comfortable being with others and being with one's self.
Sleep may be the simplest example of finding a sweet spot — for few of us are content with the hours we get per night - whether it is too few or too many. What's your sweet spot?
What do you find when you consider the ways you may not be paying attention to your sweet spots?
I believe we humans spend a lot of energy avoiding sorrow. We often associate grief with death, in truth, it's experiencing a loss, which is something we encounter quite often. Loss is moving out of a home, not getting the job offer we hoped for, the end of a relationship, and losing a pet. Loss is when we spend less time with someone, something, or someplace than we used to.
What do we usually do when faced with grief? We avoid and deny it by trying to replace the thing we lost; we jump into another relationship and get a new pet. Or perhaps we drink, eat or use drugs to numb and ignore our sorrow. And what stories do we tell ourselves to justify our avoidance strategies?
One of my sons recently went to live with his father. It was a choice neither he nor I wanted, yet was an inevitable outcome of circumstances. It was a decision I made despite the tremendous pain I would endure without him living in my home. Joey bet on me avoiding the pain of losing him when he continued to make choices that hurt us both. Even at his young age, he knows that not many will endure pain in hopes of a greater good.
Not long after sending Joey to his father's home I was faced with the decision to put one of our family pets down. I bargained and guilted myself in hopes of postponing or eluding grief altogether. But to what end?
In both cases, it would have been easy to ignore the truth and continue status quo to escape my sorrow. I wonder how much energy we spend delaying or fleeing the pain of grief with distraction, simply for our personal benefit? How many lives do we extend when the fair and humane thing to do is to say goodbye? How often do we stay in relationships that are neither compassionate or reciprocal and perhaps even painful because we're afraid to say farewell for good? How often do we stay in jobs that bring out the worst in us because it's too scary to leave?
What is the worst thing that might happen if you feel your sorrow rather than masking, avoiding, dulling, or denying it? [Painful feelings] Then what?
What is the best thing that might happen if you acknowledge and allow your sorrow? [Resiliency]
What does it take to have the insight to know when you're avoiding grief? And what do you get on the other side of it? I believe courage, perseverance, and confidence are a solid foundation for insight and withstanding grief; and what you manifest twofold at the other end. Courage involves taking action in the face of risk or vulnerability. Perseverance is voluntarily continuing a course of action in spite of obstacles and difficulty. And confidence is believing that the desired outcome is achievable as well as believing in one's capabilities.
Are these strengths not worth more than what you earn while evading reality?
What might you gain if you step into sorrow with receptive willingness?
Have you ever felt like you can't take one more thing? Times when you wish your life would run smoothly for just a little while? How did you feel when your challenge ended? Were you aware of effort you exerted to overcome it or was it resolved with the passage of time?
How do some people come through adversity stronger than before?
I have clients facing serious health challenges. These are some of the strongest, bravest people I know. They are determined not to give up and give in. They feel pain and face fears while endlessly searching for answers and relief. They are faces and voices that often go unheard.
I spent months earlier this year functioning minimally. I saw numerous doctors and had dozens of tests — tests that were all "normal" and yet my health continued to decline. I could no longer count on feeling well; I anticipated and felt worse every day. The only hours each day that I could hope to feel okay were after 5 pm. I never felt "good", but I was functional in the evening. I began to dread waking up in the morning.
One doctor told me to plan my life around when I might feel well — in the evenings. Somehow I was to be a parent and run a business (among all the other responsibilities of life) only between the hours of 5 pm and bedtime. Really?! While I understand the recommendation to embrace what's working, this felt like advice to give up and accept that my life was over.
I did not give up. Instead, I stopped listening to the professionals and trusted my instincts. Though they all told me I was wrong about the origin of my health issues, I took matters into my own hands and tried an experiment. It turns out it was the one thing that helped me turn a corner.
Since then I have added more experiments that continue to help. And I have not given up trying to find the cause — perhaps there's a way to feel even better! So, I have another appointment at the end of the summer; with an endocrinologist.
In the meantime; I'm back! I count on feeling great every day and am indescribably grateful.
Through this experience, I have found a new way to connect with others facing similar challenges. The journey to health and wellbeing is an exploration, not a destination! I feel honored to be a voice eager to speak up, so others feel safe doing the same.
So, what separates those of us that have the drive to continue the search for wellness (emotional, mental and physical) from those that don't, especially in the face of adversity? What makes some people stronger when they overcome their challenges? The five key elements of resilience are gratitude, hope, courage, kindness, and a belief in something greater than yourself.
Just imagine what we could accomplish if we all employed these strengths all of the time. How might your world be if you looked at every person, and your life, through these five lenses?
How does one remain engaged and energized while facing unpredictable health challenges? This is my personal endeavor.
There are a lot of people facing chronic physical, emotional or mental roadblocks on a daily basis. Roadblocks that aren't neatly explained by medicine and have no concrete solution. These muddy conditions can cause one to feel isolated, misunderstood, and fearful. Our search for clarity mingles with hope. We visit experts to find relief. Without answers, some of us wind up frustrated. We eventually start each day with trepidation rather than enthusiasm; dread rather than hope.
Where is the silver lining? Does the fear of waking to uncertainty become a self-fulfilling prophecy? What can we call upon to maintain our optimism while experiencing a diminished sense of ourselves?
What if resisting reality is the cause of our languishing? Our desire for something to be other than it is that brings suffering? "If only I had ..." or "If if only I wouldn't have ..." or "If only I weren't..." We can go on forever longing for our circumstances to be different. Where does rumination get us?
Most of us exploring our human frailty on a daily basis walked into it slowly, and with confusion. We may have denied, rationalized, and minimized for as long as possible. We might have tried with all our might to fake it, but that becomes exhausting. Then, when our plight becomes too frequent to dismiss, we talk about it. How do we explain something intangible? Something has to give.
As a coach and trainer, I feel responsible for showing up with the vigor and clarity the people in my life anticipate. I have also become comfortably independent. Admitting my invincibility and interdependence has been humbling. And, I recognize that while feeling broken and vulnerable due to misunderstood symptoms, numerous tests, and speculations, those that support and care about me are also vulnerable. Connecting with another makes each of us vulnerable — with human beings, there are no guarantees. People and the genuine care inherent within each of us are my silver lining.
As I write this, I see broken bridges mended, rebuilt stronger than before. I see new opportunities to connect with others; an unforeseen empathy is evolving from my experiences. I have a chance to practice and master new tools — gifts to share with those whom my words resonate.
In embracing reality, I'm ready to accept my ever changing circumstances, forge ahead in search of answers, keep an open mind, take responsibility for and act on what I can do, practice patience, share what I learn with others, and cherish those that hold my hand along the way.
Love is delicate.
Love is ours to create; it is not a provision. Fear and tranquility may emerge with love. And, love can leave us feeling both vulnerable and enchanted.
If we appreciate the fragility of love can we abolish vulnerability and find serenity?
Acting on our fears, we destroy love. Trusting tranquility, we uncover hope.
Pause and feel the tension between fear and tranquility. Energy lies there. Tension builds between them.
The tension is verve.
Point your energy toward gratitude. Find tranquility.
Embrace vulnerability and employ your verve. Create love.
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian