I've had a very nice time the last few days. Despite life being pretty much as usual, I just feel better about myself, more in control, and that alone has made all the difference to how the days go. It really doesn't feel like such a huge thing, but obviously it is.
We can get so stuck in a rut that we don't really know how deep the rut even is anymore. It feels like the surface is just there, and it's not until we start hauling upwards that we realise how awful it had become. Like waking up suddenly well after a long illness, and realising just how sick you actually were. Maybe being stuck in a rut or not looking after ourselves is a kind of sickness, a sickness of spirit and mind. It has plenty of signs - lack of energy, plodding behaviour, emptiness, melancholy frame of mind, etc...
The trouble is, there is no magic cure. Nobody can tell you how to get better, you can't hear them - you'll listen in a minute after you have a piece of chocolate cake.... Anyway, you've heard it all before - you already know. My doctor even told me that my cholestorol level is so high I have a 5% chance of having a heart attack in the next few years. Now 5% might not sound very high, but it's a lot higher chance than winning a dollar on the lottery! Eeek!
Did I listen? You bet. I went straight home and looked up the Mediterranean Diet that he recommended online and downloaded a couple of hundred recipes, bought some olives and aubergine and had a ball - for a week or two. Then I just slipped back into the nearest rut... the day to day trials of living in a food intolerant family and just one more diet to add to the list being the biggest, widest rut on the path. Then I actively avoided olives for ages, even though I actually really like them. What's that all about? Self sabotage gone beserk or something? I don't know, but in the end, all that happened was it added to my guilt and self loathing instead of being a nice new direction to go in.
So why does it feel different this time? How will I make it work for me? I have thought long and hard about this one, because I want to avoid roadside ruts this time around. I want my life to change, I really do - but I have for a long time, so am I really going to manage it this time?
I think it's all about the inner self, not the diet. I think it's good to be doing the eating and walking thing, but that's onlya third of the story. The bulk of the story is about what's going on in your heart, your mind and your spirit. If you aren't looking after yourself there, it's just not going to work.
We need a diet from negativity and self loathing, and to stuff ourselves to overflowing with self regard, positivity, patience, kindness, the things that make us have those small happy moments and self love. The kind that says "I love you just for existing and living through it all - good on you girl!" Well, the negativity hasn't paid off, so why carry around the burden any longer? THAT is what is really weighing us down!
Can you remember what makes you happy? Here's a new thing I started today - to try to remember who I really am and what makes me happy, I'm going to write down 5 things at the end of the day that made me happy in some way. On my list today: looking at the different bark on the trees in the forest when I went for a walk; the taste of that tomato at lunch time; listening to my cat purr; my daughter's smile; finding just the right colour for my scrapbook page.
Nothing spectacular maybe, but all those things added to my happiness today and they're the sort of little things that get drowned out and lost in the rest of it all. I don't want that to happen anymore, so I'm going to remind myself out loud how to get back to a feeling of inner joy.