My First Acupuncture Session

In my quest for a stronger state of wellness, today I had my first acupuncture session. After a suggestion from a trusted counselor, I knew I needed to give it a shot. I didn’t know what to expect at all but I went into it open-minded.

Most of the initial appointment was just discussing with the acupuncturist my past and current state of health. Although I am new at this (obviously), I can already tell that one of the real keys of the entire acupuncture process is the relationship building process between the client and the acupuncturist. And I was so relieved to have an almost instant connection with my acupuncturist. I could tell she was very knowledgeable not only about the practice but about how to meet her clients where they are in life.

As far as the actual needles going into the body part, there is nothing to write home about. For me, it didn’t hurt and I barely knew they were there. Once they were all situated and I was laying in silence, I must admit that I did feel an energy flowing through my body. Nothing painful at all, but rather more like a heightened awareness of my body during the treatment. Could the energy I felt all have been in my head? Sure. It was just the first time so I’ll have to see how I feel post treatment and in the days to come.

Now if someone would have asked me even a year ago if I could imagine doing acupuncture, I would have said no. Not that I was too scared of the needles, but rather I just wasn’t in control of my health and wellness. And it wouldn’t have made sense to incorporate acupuncture into my life if I wasn’t eating right, drinking right or exercising. Honestly I wouldn’t have even found the energy to schedule my day to incorporate getting to the office.

But here I am after completing my first session. Another example of how this is a new and welcomed season in my life. I look forward to continuing on this acupuncture journey. I expect nothing but am open to whatever may come my way.

~ C ~

There is light at the end of the tunnel…

Eight months ago I couldn’t even imagine the light at the end of the tunnel.

Life really has been (and will continue to be) step by step.

With time and faith as my teachers, I can say with 100 percent certainty that I previously was not prepared to get to that light.

I am a completely different person than who I was standing at that dark end many months ago.

I stand confidently today knowing that I am now ready for whenever I make it through this tunnel.

It won’t be the end. It will be the beginning.

~ C ~

Wellness Check-In

One of the things I have really embraced since my wellness journey began this year is going with the ebbs and flows of the process. Instead of getting frustrated that I fail to meet unrealistic expectations of doing everything and living perfectly healthy, I try to focus on doing a few things each day that I feel are important to me and giving myself grace on the rest.

In any given day I try to do a mix of the following:

  • Spending quality time with my husband in between our busy work and life schedules.
  • Eating vegetable and fruit based clean meals.
  • Drinking a kombucha, kefir drink or vegetable based juice daily.
  • Drinking lots of water to flush out toxins and chemicals that enter my body each day.
  • Cooking and eating meals I prepare (vs eating out).
  • Doing a workout (strength training for at least 45 min or cardio for at least 30 min).
  • Praying for at least a few minutes.
  • Reading or listening to podcasts for about an hour focused on personal and professional development.
  • Cleaning, picking-up or reorganizing an area of our home that is in need (because life happens and things can get messy).
  • Participating in an activity to support my mental and emotional health (such as going to a grief group).
  • Checking in with family and friends.
  • Writing a gratitude note to summarize all the things I am thankful for that occurred during the day.
  • Getting quality sleep (at least 7 hours each night).

I have really found this new system to be working well for me. I’ve been able to stay on track making positive decisions each day, while not worrying too much when I don’t get all the things done.

But I realized over this weekend, it’s so easy to get in an automatic routine in life doing the same things. I determined that I needed to regularly stop and look at the big picture with how I am doing in each area. Maybe I have not been eating as many vegetables as I would like or drinking enough water. Maybe I only did two workouts this week and my preferred is a minimum of 4 workout sessions each week. So I’ve instituted an end-of-week check in to review how I’ve done over the past week holistically. This allows me to review choices I’ve made, reflect on the total successes of the week and reset for the week ahead.

While over the past week I have done a great job taking in new information by listening to tons of podcasts and reorganizing some problem spots in my house, I have slacked in the areas of getting quality sleep and drinking lots of water each day. Those are just two of the areas that I will make a focus this upcoming week. In addition, I am anxious but very much looking forward to trying acupuncture for the first time this upcoming week.

I now have great joy about taking ownership my wellness journey. I just wrapped up my wellness check-in for the past week and I am ready for the week ahead.

~ C ~

That Farm Feeling

One of the best things I have done for my well being this year has been to join a local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. Not only do we get organic, fresh vegetables to consume, but also we get access to spend some time at the beautiful farm. There is something about breathing the fresh air and being engulfed by nature that makes everything seem all right.

~ C ~

Preparing for a New Season…

The word “season” has come up in my life recently over and over again. How the past brutal season has fostered such growth in my life. How this current season has pushed me to be better. How there is such optimism for the season on the horizon.

Now obviously I believe deeply in how seasons, of all types, impact our lives. There is something so powerful about seasonal shifts that we go through. Even when they are bumpy or painful at times, it is all part of the new beginning.

As I begin preparations for this coming Autumn, I can’t help but wonder what is in store for me. I don’t know what’s around the corner but I am preparing and welcoming it with open arms.

~ C ~

Relearning Discipline

Not too long ago I lacked discipline in almost every aspect of my life. Prior to my life crumbling to pieces this past winter, if I’m being brutally honest, I was just a hot mess. I was eating terribly. I was working out basically never. I was late to everything. I woke up every morning exhausted due to a lack of quality sleep. Stressed out was a constant state of being. Somehow over the course of my mid twenties, I just allowed small poor decision after small poor decision to snowball and affect every aspect of my life. Then one day the rug was pulled out from under me and I was fatherless, motherless, childless and a shell of the woman I always hoped I would be.

I’ve always heard that when you are at life’s lowest point you find out who you are and what you are made of. I can now attest to this.

After hanging out in that dark place for a while, I knew I had to put a plan together to pull myself out of it. I knew for the first time in years I would have to be incredibly intentional about every choice I made because I was just too emotionally fragile to handle further failure and loss. Even though I had an incredible support system of my husband, countless family members and friends, I knew I needed to rely on myself to climb this mountain. And I knew I had to become disciplined again.

It started off slow. Eating bone broth and spinach for lunch. Reading a personal development book for an hour a day. Walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes twice a week. Recognizing when I became stuck in a cycle of negative self talk and taking steps to move out of it. I painstakingly analyzed every decision I made each day and if it didn’t support my physical, mental or spiritual healing, I didn’t do it. Although it was not easy at first, slowly but surely I was practicing self control, daily positive decision making and discipline. Here I stand 8 months out from that devastating period in my life and I honestly can say in every way I am completely a different person for the better.

But this brings me to last week. After weeks and weeks of healing and growth, I suffered my first relatively significant set back. I tweaked my back during one of my workouts at the gym. It wasn’t a terrible injury by no means but I was in some serious pain at the time and knew working out for several days was out of the question. Now no big deal right? Well to me, who had for the first time in years incorporated discipline in my life, I was terrified. Would this break in working out throw me completely off my positive track? Would I revert back to the weak person I once was and lose all those hard earned gains? Would this begin to negatively affect other decisions in my life? I know it may sound silly but this was so much bigger than a missed workout or two for me. I knew the extremely dark place I had crawled out of months ago and I just couldn’t afford to go back there.

But I decided to give myself grace and although waiting impatiently, give my back some time to heal up. After several days down and out, my pain subsided and I finally started feeling almost back to full speed. I decided it was time that I could try a light workout to get myself back in motion. And to my delight the workout went well and I felt amazing after it.

As I was walking out of the gym I realized something important. Discipline can’t be lost in a day or a few days. A lack of discipline is the conscious decision to make poor choice after poor choice (or poor excuse after poor excuse). Discipline is all about choices and when we have power over our choices, we have discipline. It was in that moment I knew I would never be in that dark place of a complete lack of discipline again. Life is too short and I want to live my best life for as long as possible. Although I will undoubtedly have setbacks in the future, I can always choose to reset and forge ahead.

~ C ~

Bonus: Below is a picture from my early twenties at my very peak of discipline. Although I don’t aspire to get back quite to the same place (that season has passed and I am okay with that), I use this as motivation that I can do anything I put my mind to, including winning my first figure show.

I can feel the tides changing…

It’s the strangest thing, but I can feel that the tides of my life are changing. For the past several days I have felt like I am currently growing through something. It’s as if I can physically feel the atoms of my body moving in some new direction.

In one respect this brings me great hope. Given all that has occurred in my life in 2019, I am beyond ready for a new direction. With all the positive changes and discipline I have incorporated in my life over the past year, I only pray it pays off in dividends.

However on the other hand I am anxious about what is to come. Although I have been cautiously running towards change these days, it doesn’t mean I’m not scared about what I’m blindly heading towards. This particular tidal change feels like a really big and possibly exciting one, yet am I just wishful thinking? And what is it? Could it be just another twist and turn in the painful path that started 8 months ago. I honestly just don’t know. But I feel something happening…

I will welcome change, growth and new tides in my life. But I am going to let my higher powers handle those details. I am just going to keep walking my journey, one foot in front of the other, preparing myself for what is coming.

~ C ~

Don’t Quit

On what seems like an hourly basis, life tries to shake me out of my equilibrium. Those like me who have been trudging through a lot of life recently, may find it can take an exorbitant amount of energy to keep our ships steady and moving forward.

Because of this, one of the coping mechanisms I incorporated into my life this year has been carrying with me little mementos to keep me centered, encouraged and in the moment. Although I have a small collection of special keepsakes, they all serve the same basic purpose in my life. When I find my spirit becomes unsteady throughout the course of the day for one reason or another, I take out whichever keepsake I have at the time and just focus on it. I focus on its message, its energy and its simplicity, which after a few minutes almost always does the trick. It helps me remember I am in the moment and I am okay. It brings me back to life’s basics and allows me to regain momentum.

One of these keepsakes I hold in my purse at all times is a small quote card titled “Don’t Quit” that I purchased from a local cathedral store. I don’t know who wrote it, but I do know its message speaks to me every single time. And I hope that everyone who reads it finds the same comfort that it brings me.

Don’t Quit
~ By Unknown

When things go wrong
as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re
trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low
and the debts are high
And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won
had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight
when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst
that you must not quit.

~ C ~

Rethinking “Home”

Home.

I get a little emotional even at the thought of the word these days.

What once was so easily defined and felt, is now not so much. And as I grew older this concept increasingly and quickly became quite complicated.

Home, or at least as I knew it, was the place where my parents and brothers were, the structure filled with childhood memories that I grew up in, the place where my lifelong friends could be found, the place where our family spent holidays together, the small mountain town that was so familiar to me and the place I always knew I could go when life got hard. Yet the older I grew, the more and more my “home” seemed to be slipping away. And this fact has simply been heartbreaking to me.

I was struggling with this more than I wanted to admit and I didn’t quite know how to move forward. But through a discussion I had with a trusted counselor, it was if I found instant clarity.

What creates “home”. What defines “home”? When do I feel like I’m at “home”? I realized suddenly that our “homes” evolve as we do. As we grow, change and age so does our concept of “home”. And it has too. To only think of home in the past tense, of what it once was when I was a child, denies me any chance of creating a home today and in the future.

I have found that much of what I consider home is about emotions and feelings I had in that place. Happiness, safety, comfort, love, familiarity of tradition and sense of community are all feelings I can create. I realized that I am capable of in a single moment declaring my current house, my “home”.

I can create a beautiful space that brings peace to my heart. I can set up barriers to ensure a safe place to rest each night. I can build a space that welcomes family and friends, bringing with them comfort and love. I can create new traditions to usher in new memories. I can build an open space that fosters a sense of community which I choose to design. I can do all of these things in my current space, to create a home that meets me where I am in my journey in life.

So although I will still reminisce about the home that was once so near and dear to me, I look forward to building upon the little home my husband and I have created. They say home is where the heart is and my heart is open and ready for its new home.

~ C ~