Lately I've had this discussion with a few different clients/friends.
So, I'm a healthy person. I eat clean foods and limit processed foods. I actively work at reducing the toxic load in our home by not using chemicals. I make our own cleaners and body products. I don't wear perfume or makeup. I put a lot of care in the quality of products I put both on and in my body. I do the same for my children. I move my body in a way that feels good every single day. That may include weight lifting, hill running, volleyball, golf, hiking or yoga. There are certain things I refuse to consume or buy for my children, such as pastries, white bread, pop, frozen dinners, most cookies and crackers, and most granola bars. I'm very selective about the things that go into my grocery cart and into my home.
And you know the sad truth about all this?
I'm seen as someone outside the norm.
I'm the abnormal one.
And I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.
I teach workshops at a local cancer support center every month. I am highly passionate about my time there and the energy that circles all these people who have faced their own mortality in a way I cannot fathom. It's inspiring. And you know what I say every time I am there?
Be an advocate for your health.
And you know their response? A resounding "hell yes!" (or something along those lines). It is something they have learned through facing the possibility of death sooner than they had hoped or expected. It is something they wish they could go back and understand before their diagnosis.
See...in this fast paced society we have completely forgotten about the fact that our bodies are our vehicles in this life to carry us through the world. We treat them like shit and get angry when they don't work properly. And we find the quickest, easy fix to patch it up and continue abusing the heck out of it - through drugs, alcohol, a shit ton of food, sugar, processed chemicals...and so on. We loathe who we are because we are embarrassed of the reflection we see in the mirror. Yet our behaviour and choices are what lead us to that reflection in the first place. It's not our body's fault. It's ours. So what do we do out of frustration and resentment? We abuse our body some more. Through crash dieting. Through self loathing. Through starvation. Through working out excessively. Through diet pills. Through extreme detoxes. Through overeating illness-promoting foods. Through(insert your own current or past abusive behaviours here).
It's so sad to me. And infuriating.
There's a child in this world whose legs were just amputated because of disease. Or war. He or she would give anything for one more opportunity to run down the road freely. Yet we sit on the couch for hours, or take the elevator, or park as close as we can to a building. Just so we don't have to walk.
There is a Mother in this world who was just given the news that she has 3 months left to live. She holds her child closely, wishing with every fiber of her being that she could live just 5 more years to watch her precious baby grow. Yet we smoke, do drugs, use chemicals or stuff our faces with crap, knowing the effects on our health, knowing the carcinogenic effects of such habits. We play Russian roulette with our lives through the destructive choices we make.
For the love of God, it needs to end.
Our bodies are incredible and we need to make time every single day to find gratitude for all it does for us.
How lucky am I to hop out of bed, go for a run, lift heavy things and feel good?
How awesome is it that my body carries me on field trips with my kids, and to the park to play freely with my children?
I can climb, hike, play volleyball, wrestle my kids, practice handstands, kick a ball, and jump around.
I use my body to teach yoga and fitness classes to amazing women who fill my life.
Holy fuck I am blessed. I remind myself of these things daily. I am humbled even more so when I pass by a wheelchair, or someone who clearly struggles to move unrestricted. I have freedom in my body. And I'll be damn sure to both appreciate and honour that as long as possible.
This is why I am an advocate for my health. I have seen the effects caring for my body has on my every day life - energy, lighter moods, clear skin, a vibrant aura, strength, stamina, resistance to illness, quicker recovery, regulated thyroid levels, better ability to manage stress....(shall I continue?)
In working with so many women, I also see the effects of not being a conscious health advocate: low energy, mood swings, depression, anxiety, frequent illness, disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, infertility, and the list goes on. I have mentioned this lots in the past but my Mom died in 2004 of lung cancer. She didn't take care of her health. And the consequences of that have been more impactful than I could ever put into words.
Our health is (mostly) in our control. We seem to have this belief that fate, or genetics are what determines the course of our well-being and that simply is not the case. There are so many actionable steps you can take to ensure your days are not only extended, but full of vibrancy, joy, energy and vitality. It isn't normal to feel sluggish or irritated on a regular basis. If you only knew the possibilities and power your body holds...you would never again disrespect it or take it for granted.
It all begins with gratitude, awareness and a vow.
To be kind.
To be loving.
To be patient.
To make choices from love.
To be the best version of you that you are capable of being.
Repeat and rinse every single day, and feel the abundance of energy and joy that floods into your life.