A coworker and friend used to share daily inspirational stories with me. Some caught my attention and others not so much. However when this one came across my inbox I was instantly hooked. There was just something about the wisdom of the ants that spoke to me.
With the summer solstice finally here, I keep this reminder top of mind. While the daylight is long, there is much work to do. The ants might be small, but the lessons they give are immeasurable.
~ C ~
(Many thanks to whoever out there wrote this much needed story. And to my wonderful coworker/friend who enlightened me with it.)
~ C ~
I was not well.
This fact became crystal clear to me after the loss of my father and son. But if I’m being really honest, this state of unwellness didn’t happen overnight. This enormous snowball was years in the making for a variety of reasons (excuses). My lack of wellness went far beyond the foods I was or wasn’t eating and the number of times a week I was or wasn’t going to the gym. Although there were many indicators, the biggest for me was that I was lacking healthy coping mechanisms to quickly bounce back from life’s daily curveballs. So when the big disasters came, I crumbled.
In my period of mourning and self isolation, I realized that although there were many things I could not control, the one thing that I could control and would have the biggest impact on my circumstances was to seek wellness. So I immediately went in search of wellness. And the very first book I found has become a game changer, and quite frankly a life changer, for me.
“How to Be Well” by Dr. Frank Lipman is the best “wellness 101” guide I have found by far. Dr. Lipman highlights basic health principles in the most straight-to-the-point yet profound ways. His Good Medicine Philosophy takes a look at each person’s state of mind and body to determine fundamental weaknesses and imbalances before even thinking about what medicine could be utilized. His Good Medicine Mandala identifies six pillars of health that can be optimized: How to Eat, How to Sleep, How to Move, How to Protect, How to Unwind and How to Connect.
Dr. Lipman encourages readers to focus on actions within each pillar, small and large, that positively impact our microbiomes, our inflammatory responses, our rhythms and our balance. These areas are often where our body’s dysfunction is exposed. These areas speak directly to why the practices he suggests can lead to overall improved wellness.
As a pioneer and leader in holistic medicine, Dr. Lipman educates readers on how to use spice as medicine, why its important to learn our food sources, why its important to play like a child, how clearing our spaces can impact our wellness and why counting our blessings should be a part of our wellness practices. This easy read is perfectly designed as a quick go-to guide, allowing readers to go straight to the topic they need exactly when they need it.
I can say with certainty that this book has significantly impacted my wellness for the better in a matter of four months. I reference this book almost daily in my life now. Although it is packed with countless easy to implement practices, the top 5 practices that had the most immediate impact on my own wellness are:
1. Know Your (Food) Sources – pg 66 – Inspired my husband and I to join a local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) Farm.
2. Microbiomes – pg 26 – This introduced me to my now favorite fermented drinks – kombucha and kefir. Keeping the microbiome functioning properly and balanced is critical to so many daily functions, such as stress response.
3. Boycott GMOs – pg 256 – A much needed reminder of why we must avoid genetically modified organisms in foods whenever possible.
4. Omg EMFS – pg 286 – Another reminder for me that the electromagnetic energy emitted by communication devices can and does impact our health.
5. Honor The Seasons – pg 417 – Obviously my love of the human connection to seasons shows, however Dr. Lipman wonderfully articulates this deep connection to the seasons and why we should pay more attention to this relationship.
Dr. Lipman encourages readers to start small with one practice and then add other practices in once ready. The interesting thing is when we start to make small positive changes in one area of our life, suddenly we realize that other areas of our life will experience positive changes as well. And this cycle leads to overall greater wellness.
I highly recommend “How to Be Well” to everyone and it will be my wellness reference guide for many years to come.
Today June 3rd was our sweet baby boys due date. Tragically we lost him several weeks ago. Although he is not here physically with us, today we celebrate his life and give thanks as he has forever changed our lives.
On January 15th I sat holding my father’s hand as he took his last breath after his courageous battle with cancer. Jesse and I were completely heartbroken, yet we still had a light inside us because of our unborn son and we knew we had to stay strong for him. The very next day January 16th, we pulled ourselves together to go to the twenty-week appointment for our baby boy. At that appointment the unthinkable happened. Our previously very active baby had no heartbeat to be found. In a 24-hour period we had lost my father and our son.
There are just no words to describe that dark day and the devastation we were suddenly engulfed in.
The next several days were a living nightmare. Many excruciating decisions. A 14-hour delivery and surgery. Leaving the hospital without our son. A painful recovery. Realizing we had to miss my father’s memorial as traveling post-delivery was too dangerous. And that was just the first week.
In those extremely dark hours I questioned life and everything about it. And despite the hell we were currently burning up in, I knew in that moment there was choice. I could choose to fight for life or not. I knew it was going to be the hardest decision of my life, but I chose the former. I chose to live.
To begin the healing process, I had to step away from the world as I knew it for a while. Every ounce of energy I had needed to be focused on the very next step in front of me and nothing else. And I have found that I spent every moment of the last 4 months fighting. Fighting to breathe through sadness. Fighting for answers. Fighting to smile through devastation. Fighting to navigate the awkwardness of child loss. Fighting to seek wellness. Fighting for hope.
Yet that is not the full story. Because even in the midst of such darkness and despair, we have been showered with such incredible light and love. Family and friends have rallied around us every single step of the way. Doctors and nurses went above and beyond the call to hold our hands through the entire journey. Our new church community loved us and treated us as if we had been lifelong members. Strangers who happened upon our story would stop us to let us know they were thinking and praying for us. Despite the physical, mental and spiritual pain I was feeling, I simply could no longer question God nor humanity, because we were witnessing the very best of both.
I know with every fiber in my being that there is purpose in our pain. Miscarriage and pregnancy loss happen. They create a terrible silent lifetime membership club that no one wants to be invited to. But once you are forced to join you suddenly realize its membership is large, loving and so supportive. And its allies are kind, understanding and present.
As I continue to grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually, I will share more of our story. Because if telling about our journey with the loss of our son can help one single person, then it will all be worth it. If letting them know that the loss will never go away but you can make it through dark times, then it will all be worth it. If sharing resources that I’ve found to be helpful in the grieving process can help one person, then it will all be worth it.
Today Jesse and I stand in a place stronger together than we ever have been before. Today we are able to experience joy in the little daily gifts while balancing the sadness from the what could have been. Today we focus on living in the moment without worrying about tomorrows.
While I move forward in my healing journey, I will continue to take the personal time necessary, as grieving is a process and unfortunately not a destination. In addition, we will continue to find ways to honor our sweet son David Jacob.
Lastly, we want to thank everyone who has walked with us in this journey. There are so many of you I still need to reach out to with deep thanks and love. Please know that every single prayer, text, call or act of support means more to us than we can ever put in words. Thank you. ❤
(Taken from Oprah’s “The Path Made Clear” and Marianne Williamson)
I have never had a devotion speak to me more than this. This reminded me that God meets you where you are, with what you need, always right on time.
This devotion is courtesy of 366 Devotions for Couples: Mr & Mrs by Rob & Joanna Teigen
Beautiful reminder courtesy of today’s kombucha…