choices

Open Your Hand

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

What is your passion?

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My oldest son stopped by to see me over the weekend.  Of course, I had let him know that I had some homemade vegetable soup, for which he was so ready for after having the flu this past week. I do not get to see my kids as much as I would like now that they are grown, living on their own and doing their own “stuff.”  It means the world to me to have time with my handsome sons, especially to see their smiles, hear their laughs, feel their hugs and smell their smells.  Today I fell in love with his underarm deodorant when we hugged!  (Smelled divine!)

My youngest son recently shared an adventurous time he had at Lake Nacimiento with some friends and a  random question he was asked that he initially had a hard time answering because he just did not know the answer.  “Dude…what is your passion in life?”  It took him three days pondering over the depth of such a simple question to find the answer.

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How many of us know our passion in life?  Have YOU tapped into your passion in life?

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I think the best way to know the passions we have in life, the things that make us feel alive, are those we can remember from childhood that we engaged in.  If you take the time to remember those years, what did you most love, do and were drawn to?  As a child we were more fearless and without reservations in what we loved to do and be about.  This is a source. Compared with other people I know, I feel I do live this way more often than not, but certainly now would like to be more involved with those passions that are all mine for me.  Work and school certainly consume my life more now than ever before and I really notice feeling a bit off when I am not taking time to enjoy the passions in my life that allow me to just be me.

Whether we can make our passion our occupation or not, I feel it is important to tap into passions as hobbies, not just dreams without legs, and to experience a flavor or color of our passions each and every day for a full and happy life.  Passions do not necessarily equal money.  (But if so, save for those passions!)  For example, when I was a child I loved living on the edge, dangerously, adventurously and without limit or worry.  This past summer I experienced the excitement of simply riding on a “really gynormous” bus for free to and from our local street fair on the 4th of July.  I always wondered what riding a bus that size would be like.  The sway around corners, the vast windows and length of this traveling Twinkie just left me in awe.  I was both afraid (what if we crashed on the freeway without wearing seat belts?) and excited (no one could see in the windows from the outside) and enjoyed this passion just for me.  But, what made the experience even better was sharing it with someone I loved and it literally cost me nothing but a choice.  Simple decisions or pricey choices.  What is worth our passions?

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Some things that truly make me feel alive and touch my soul, much like literature does, include: making someone smile or easing the discomfort of an animal; playing ball with my dog, reading, writing, classical music and swimming, especially swimming in warm water at night; playing Scrabble and dressing/creating paper dolls; finding neat rocks and shells during a hike or walk on the beach; growing an organic garden and cooking; preparing a delicious meal and watching faces savor what I have cooked; laughing, and laughing hard, from the gut, with tears pouring down my face.  I could just go on and on.  I also love coloring with crayons and playing hopscotch, things I really also loved as a young girl.

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(My brothers all loved comic books as kids!  One brother has made HIS PASSION HIS OCCUPATION as a comic colorist!)

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Taking a few minutes to tap into your passions and to explore the reasons behind those passions is well worth a spot on the calendar!

So this week, in addition to eating healthy, drinking water and engaging in exercise, I hope we all can tap into a new habit: exploring those things we were most passionate about during our childhood.  Let’s nourish our spirits in addition to our physical bodies.

Have fun,

Wendy

Dust off!

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If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
~Frederick Douglass

In looking back, I can see so many struggles within my struggle to finally make a firm choice to change my lifestyle habits. I personally do not believe radical changes make for lasting progress. Usually it is the baby steps which do get us there. Really absorb each healthy choice you make and journal your progress. Journaling will help remind you on the difficult days. And, there will be difficult days. I believe each person’s journey holds a different time frame of struggle until we finally break through the obstacles holding us back.

There will be days when we fall back into old habits. Do not let these define you or cause you to feel defeated in your goals. Most importantly, give yourself grace! Be especially kind to yourself. New lifestyle changes are replacing unhealthy past habits. Instead, let these fall-backs be motivators to dust yourself off and begin again. Every positive choice you make for your overall health does not go wasted. Never. It truly is amazing how neglecting ourselves becomes easier and quicker to identify once we have stepped into healthy living.

Did you have a binge meal or a few too many glasses of wine? Journal how you felt the next day. Then re-hydrate yourself with water and green tea. Get back on tract with eating those foods which are good for you.

How did you feel going a day without some exercise? May be take a nice 30 minute walk the following day to step back into your regime and journal how you felt afterwards.

Lastly, has your schedule been so insane (like mine can be!) that you have neglected to take some time to relax with your favorite book, enjoy your hobby or really share quality time with family and friends? What about some quiet time with God?

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Pencil in some time today for some relaxation and Keep Choosing Consistency,

Wendy

Different Day, Different Choices, Different Results!

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Well, yesterday was an overall epic failure for me!  But, I can look back and pinpoint every single factor that contributed to just feeling awful.

First of all, I missed my morning workout.  I had too much work and also school homework to catch up on.  My desire to walk in the evening (because I had missed my morning workout) was also unsuccessful. There is a complete difference in how I feel overall when working out in the morning that lasts for the entire day.  Additionally, moving is a must for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (me!).

Secondly, I had a glass too many of white wine…with Mexican food for dinner!  I just binged and right after dinner I felt bloated, too full and just miserable.

Needless to say, the rest of the night until morning I had an upset stomach (too much food) and felt utterly run down.  I pushed myself to the gym this morning feeling physically terrible.  But, maintaining consistency is what my journey is all about, and it certainly is a journey.

What I learned once again: I should have worked out yesterday.  I should not have had that extra glass of wine with dinner. And, I definitely should have cut my burrito in half rather than consuming the entire thing!

Today is a new day!  I started the day with my 40 minute cardio workout followed by a Shakeology with a mixture of fresh berries added.  Morning snack was a pear and a slice of roasted chicken breast.  Lots and lots of water all day long.  Lunch was a spinach salad mixed with 1/2 an avocado and a small Persian cucumber, topped with a bit of Balsamic dressing and a hot cup of green tea.  Dinner will be a small roasted chicken breast in olive oil/Soyaki and a small portion of quinoa mixed with some sauteed squash.  I will have another cup of green tea before bed.

I must say I feel stronger today, I am not aching like yesterday, I have more energy and just overall feel fabulous.

Splurges are not always worth the pain and suffering afterwards.  We can all take a flex meal (splurge) each week to keep us motivated in our healthy lifestyles or if you are braver than I, take an entire day to flex.  That is an individual choice.  I would urge you to journal how you feel if you choose to have a flex day or flex meal implemented in your weekly nutrition.

The journey is part of our lives to Keep Choosing Consistency,

Wendy