This morning I have been thinking about how it is impossible to receive something with a clenched fist. The image that keeps coming to mind is that from “The Monkey and The Juggler.” The monkey was unable to receive one or retrieve all the peanuts he held after reaching his hand into a jar because he refused to unclench his fist. He wouldn’t open his hand to let go of one peanut, therefore his hand remained stuck. Ever feel like that? May be you aren’t even aware this is where you are at. I’m reminded this morning to share with you: open your hand. Whatever has been holding you back from the healthy lifestyle and goals you are not meeting, unclench your fist. In order to receive something new we must open our hands and let something go.
For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to complete my schooling to obtain my degree. In order to do this, I had to give some things up to allow for more time for homework and studying. Yes, it was a stretch. Sometimes a painful one. However, I had to choose to unclench my fist, open my hand to let some things go in order to receive more time.
Do you struggle with eating the right foods? Is temptation too great? Unclench your fist and pick differently. There is such a variety to choose from, beautiful and delicious healthy, clean foods. Does eating clean get boring? Try some new recipes. There are hundreds of creative recipes free for the choosing on the Internet, free cookbooks can be downloaded for your Kindle or Nook, and recipe books are a dime to a dozen at thrift stores or garage sales. Load up half your dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. The more healthy foods you give your body, the more your body will crave those foods. Consider trying Shakeology®, which eliminates unhealthy cravings and increases your cravings for healthy foods.
Is exercise nearly impossible because you smoke? Do you want to quit smoking, and continually fail? Don’t stop trying, try again! Unclench your fist and replace your cigarettes with patches, the electronic cigarette or even medication. Talk to your doctor. Join a support group. Start walking. Drink a lot of water. Rebuild your lungs one day at a time. You can do this! How do I know? Because I HAVE DONE IT! I smoked for years and never thought I could live my life without cigarettes being part of it. I unclenched my fist and let cigarettes go and replaced them with health. I am free, and free to exercise with the full capacity of my lungs. Nothing is impossible with faith and persistent efforts.
Don’t have time for exercise? This can be coined with our kids saying they don’t have time to get their homework done. No more excuses! Set your alarm 30 minutes early, break up your exercise in increments, do whatever it takes and manipulate your schedule to allow for this “me” time for your overall health and well-being. As much as exercise may feel or seem like a chore, IT IS NOT! Exercise and movement are as important as eating, sleeping and praying.
Most of us know exactly what we are holding in our clenched fist, and it is usually more than one thing. Take some time to quietly reflect on what you are holding on to that is preventing you from opening your hand to receive something else, something better, which is blessed good health.
I thought I would share the story with you also. Think about these things, will you?
The Monkey and The Juggler
In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.
One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.
Days went by and the monkey was looked upon by the town people with terror. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.
One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”
When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.
The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.
But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.
The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him in a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo. That was the end of the greedy monkey.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” – James Howell, Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659)
Over the past few weeks (or longer) I have slowly (and rapidly) been burning out. Long work days (usually 10 hours and sometimes longer) and online classes with homework leave little time for pleasure or relaxation. On average, I am in front of the computer approximately 14+ hours each and every single day. Everything has become chore-like for me lately, even walking, which I love to do. Same schedule, different day. Same work out routine, different day. My time off work is spent working! I don’t know about you, but this equals severe burn out and feels like a mild depression-induced routine. In all honesty: I hate it.
Truly, we all have different crosses we bear. What do we do when we have a routine like this? Of course, we all know we must make changes, but what if you cannot make a dent of a change in a full schedule in your life? I am still experimenting myself. It is imperative that we MUST make changes eventually. I know I cannot continue on this type of routine day in and day out without feeling awful mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. There is just not enough “me” to go around. A vicious cycle isn’t it? But, the fact of the matter is: life still happens. We still have our responsibilities and obligations, our families need us, chores cry out to be finished, our pets are hungry and in need of attention, extra school work on top of an occupation if you are finishing your degree later in life, on and on and on…and there are only so many hours in each day.
Yesterday I had a half day off and I knew I had to do something different to nourish “me” and get back to feeling like my old self. And I did it! Spring is here, and the weather has been teasingly beautiful lately (today it is 77 degrees where I live). I was thinking of naming this blog something like, “how to have “me” time for under $10″ or “can you have fun for less than $10” or even “is it possible to have a great day for little or no cost?” But, that was not the point in how I spent my day yesterday or what I want to share with you all in this blog now. Most importantly, I want to share how utterly important it is to have therapeutic time for yourself regardless of an insane daily and weekly schedule. Is it possible? I believe it is. It will take planning and thought and action. When we become desperate enough, we will look for ways to do this.
I decided to change my work out yesterday morning (because my goal was NOT to have a same thing, different day kind of day!). I started Tony Horton’s 10-Minute Trainer, ABS. It felt SO good to do something different and really it did kick my butt! I would so recommend this plan for ANYONE with limited time (like me) and the desire for just doing something different with their work outs.
**Note: You can get the FREE DVD BONUS Workout—Tony’s Fountain of Youth yoga (a $19.95 value)—when you buy 10-Minute Trainer here: http://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/10MinTrainer?referringRepId=208213
(All of this for $79.90, but 10% off this price if you become a club member! Pretty good deal if you ask me!)
I was now ready for a few hour adventure out of the house. I am so blessed to live so close to the beach and the mountains. I decided to take my little dog to a beautiful park at one of our local beaches for a long walk, Marina Beach Park, and have time for playing ball, just letting the sun shine on my face and enjoy the sounds of the pelicans and scents of the ocean air. Little did I know we would have a delightful surprise: lots of seals! My dog has never before seen a seal and this was actually pretty comical. Was it a dog? A cat? A monster? (We call rats and rodents “monsters”). Instead, it was a baby seal that was coming closer and closer to us, crying out to his/her mother, and my little dog, Buddy, quivered and growled and stayed put on my lap not sure what to do but protect me!
Here is part of the pathway we walked:
Children LOVE this ship:
My favorite view of the bay side:
Our next stop was for lunch! Just me and my dog! He truly is the PERFECT DATE! (My husband was at work)
I splurged and had a glass of cold white wine and we shared grilled fish tacos outside on the patio at Duke’s Grill:
Our delicious & healthy lunch:
Here is Buddy, lounging on a cushion, runny eyes from the sand, lip sticking to his tooth looking much like a Chupakabra!
To conclude, I feel so refreshed today because I took some “me” time to relax, play, enjoy, savor very special moments and I also found a pretty rock on the beach that will remind me of this day. I also ate healthy and had a new work out. My total bill for this delightful time was $7.08. Yes, under $10!
Even though it was only a couple hours, it felt like a full day off. I am a happy girl today and wish you a refreshing moment every day in YOUR life routine!
~The joy of living comes from a heart of thanksgiving.~