Thursday, May 23, 2013

5/24/13—Reflecting On Your Health

Today's Draw: Seven of Fossils/Deer from the Animal Wisdom Tarot in the Health Outcome position from the Deck of 1000 Spreads. What is swirling in the back of your mind causing stress? What do you think it's doing to your physical and emotional health? And what are you prepared to do about it?

I've been thinking a lot about health lately. For one thing, I'm in the midst of menopause and the jury is still out on how that will impact the next decades of my life as far as my health is concerned. I always had a level of respect for my period and my natural cycle. I never took a pill or anything like that to regulate it. Instead, I dealt with it naturally and approached birth control by other means. For me, that time of my month, as annoying, painful or messy as it could be, was also a time of release and detoxification...perhaps not in the literal sense, but in the way it felt for me. It was a healthy, necessary cycle. 

Then there's my diabetes and weight issues. I've struggled with weight—and sugar—all my life. A couple of years ago, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I took it seriously and went super low carb, bringing my numbers down into the healthy range. Then I gave up, as usually happens when I feel restricted. And my blood sugar shot back up. Like many women, I find it easier to care for others than for myself. So I would observe myself in wonder as I carefully measured my dogs' grain-free, Omega-3-rich, healthy kibble into their bowls each day. Not just that, but if they so much as yelp, they go off to the doctor to see what's wrong. "Why didn't I care for myself the same way?", I wondered. 

I finally realized "restriction" was never a good diet alternative for me. So I changed the relationship I had with my nutritionist, Alana Sugar. She's a woman of many skills (and I recommend her highly.) And we began to work on my energy body and emotional body in regard to my diet, rather than my physical one. Very slowly, over time, my head is changing around this matter. Things I swore you'd never see me doing, like juicing vegetables, are now things I'm choosing to do because I'm curious and want to. Over the past couple of months, I have seen me make increasingly smarter choices, not because of a diet and not because I feel I have to, but because I want to. Because I'm finally ready to surrender to the notion of good health a way that makes it entirely my choice. It's spelling a bigger difference in my blood sugar fluctuations than in my weight right now, but momentum is building and this feels right and natural. 

But what took place yesterday is probably the reason why the cards came as they did today. Yesterday I went in for one of those new 3-D mammograms. Because my mother died from breast cancer at 56, I've been getting mammograms yearly since the age of 30. But a couple of years ago when I called to make my appointment, they said it was too soon...a year hadn't passed yet...and to call back. They wouldn't schedule me a couple of months ahead. So the ball dropped and I didn't get one that year or last year, either. 

So for two years worry has been swirling in the back of my head. What if? What if this is the year I truly need one and didn't get one? Both going and not going bring up fears for me. I've had a couple of biopsies before. One required breast surgery and the removal of tissue and that one left me with a large scar which traumatized me for a while. So all of it—going and not going—brings up anxiety until I actually do go and am declared "clear". Angelina Jolie's recent decision to have a double-mastectomy while she's still healthy is indicative of what many feel who have watched their mother die entirely too soon. 

After the mammogram, I sat in my car  wanting desperately to cry, but having a hard time doing so. I've really been feeling the stress of life the last few years, as I'm sure many do. Worry about money, concerns about career, the ever-present deadlines of my job, a busy schedule, keeping my house clean, getting my yard and garden in shape, concerns about my dogs, loss in my life...the stress of all of it produces unhealthy chemistry. I do meditate, which helps. And I've eliminated some of my extra "jobs" so I can have my weekends back. But yesterday after rushing around all day, doing errands and going to meetings, worrying about the dogs, pushing the clock...well, I just wanted to cry. And that's my body's way of saying "something's gotta give because the stress is taking a toll." I feel that way far too often lately. 

When I added all of this stuff up—the menopause and loss of that naturally healthy cycle, the weight issues, diabetes, increased worry of illness while aging and overall life stress—it became apparent to me that I really needed to take stock of my health and make some changes. And while I am currently making better choices, I realize I need to be even more proactive. Because the stress and worry of putting off positive health choices could be making me sick, you know?

I think most people have something that, overtly or not, swirls around in the back of the head causing stress. Maybe it's your job. Or your home situation. Or unfinished projects. Or some sort of insecurity. The stress of these things eats away at us. It may not be top of mind. But that doesn't mean it can't bore a hole in your spirit. And on some level it detrimentally affects our health. 

The Seven of Fossils comes to us today to tell us it's time to reflect on these things—including things we insist don't really bother us but, under the surface do—and see where we can make adjustments in our lives, specifically in the areas of health. The fact that it comes to us in the form of a deer also says to be gentle with yourself. As the cards indicate, I think this all came to ME to let me know this reflection is the outcome of the health issues I've been having lately. And, once reflected upon, the question for all of us is, "what are you going to do about it?"

For me, the answer is that I need to drink more liquids. Get more exercise. Do something that draws a line in my day, between the time I'm at work and the time I'm not (working at home and being on the computer through the night make for bad work boundaries.) Eat when I'm hungry, instead of when I can carve out some time to make something. Be more present, especially during those times I have R&R time. And meditate longer and more consistently. 

There are some things we can't change. I can't change that my workday plans can shift at a moment's notice as fires blow through, putting more pressure on already pressurized deadlines. That is the nature of my business. But I can change the way I respond to it and I can change other things in my life to counterbalance that stress. Not everybody can look forward to be healthier at 60 than they are at 50, but if I continue on the path I'm on, certainly that will be the case. That's the upside of being obese, diabetic, stressed out, sedentary and menopausal at the age of 50...haha. So...what do you get when you reflect on your own health forecast?

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