A new focus on health
Mindfulness Monday, 19 September 2017
I’m going to see how this goes and I’ll review as I wish or need to, but my plan is to take one value each week, something that has resonance for me as a core value or is showing up currently as being important for me, and write about that from a mindfulness perspective. My focus for this Monday is health and during the retreat on Friday / Saturday last week, I found myself focusing a lot on the link between mind and body, emotions and physiology. In the blog last Monday, I referred to nutrition being an important topic for me right now, so this week I’m going to write a little more about this.
My realisation for myself over the weekend, and thanks to the newly-released unicorns for supporting conversations around this, is that I’m revisiting Health, which is a Level 1 value in the 7 Levels of Consciousness model, from a more evolved perspective than I have done previously.
I had some formative experiences with exercise at school that I think really shaped my views around this as an adult. I went to both a highly academic and highly sporty school and I was definitely in the camp of those who were better with books! I was rarely picked for teams, I didn’t enjoy most sports we did. I was actually terrified of rounders having seen Lucy Meeks get her eye smashed in by a rounders ball aged about 12. Hockey to me was just a way to incur ankle injuries. Hurdles were impossible. The long jump wasn’t long when I did it. I had my gran’s old solid wood and cat gut tennis racquet which was far too big heavy for an 11 year old girl to manage to even hold properly, let alone wield effectively.
And netball . . . my school was good at netball. I once got picked for the A team (desperate times, I’m thinking there must have been a bout of flu or something going around to have had this happen in the first place). We went to play Bridlington Girls School, who were renowned for being tough and aggressive. I was, quite frankly, frightened. And at 5’2”, which I have been since the age of 14, I knew that pretty much every other girl on that netball court had at least 4 inches in height advantage. This matters in netball. Before half time I was taken off the court and told that my standard of play was suitable for D team reserves. My netball career was over. Let’s be honest, it never started. I felt humiliated.
This formed a very strong view about sport and team sports in particular. I still hate playing sports in a team environment! Well the idea of it. I don’t do it at all, never had. Even chucking a Frisbee around in the park with my friends when I was a student was something I would avoid.
When I got fit, I mean properly fit, the first time at 36, yes, it took that long for me to engage AT ALL with any form of exercise other than yoga, swimming (badly) or the odd aerobics class, I did it very thoroughly. I can see now that I did it at Level 3, which is self-esteem. It did it to the best level of excellence I could. I needed to do it for my own self esteem as my mum was getting married and I realised that wedding photos would be up in their house from now until the end of eternity and no way was I going to look the way I did at the time, fat, frumpy and lumpy, in those photos. So in 9 months, I went from quite literally a sitting (on the sofa, at my desk, in the car) start to running a half marathon in less than 2 hours (13 seconds less to be precise. I worked so, so, so hard in the gym, I ran miles and miles and miles every week. I radically altered to my diet to a very low calorie intake and stuck with it, month after month, no deviation at all. And I look great on my mum’s wedding photos. I was also exhausted.
I went out to Thailand the following year and trained in a muay thai camp for a month and got even fitter. Hardest and most bonkers thing I have ever done (other than going and doing it again a few years later!) but I loved it, it was extremely challenging mentally and physically and I did it to the best of my ability. I was all about the numbers, measurements, competing against myself.
Of course life happened and fitness at that level wasn’t sustainable without giving up work and finding a way to exist on oxygen and water alone. The inevitable happened and the fitness dropped off, the weight creeps on. Two years later, back to the gym, a year later a back injury, blah blah blah. So the story goes on.
So here I am again, now aged 45, not 35. I can’t run anywhere near the distance I used to. The weight has definitely reached a number I am not comfortable with again although I am choosing not to weigh myself this time. I’ve had in the last two years alone problems with my neck, shoulders, mid back, lower back, hips and knees. I have at times felt exhausted and worn out and wondered whether my body is going to make it!
In the last few months, I have done some powerful work around this through constellations and family dynamics which has healed some deep emotional stuff and confusion that I realise now meant I had swung from a pattern of loyalty to my mum (working very hard at being fit, eating very little) to my dad (giving up on being fit and eating what I wanted). I don’t wish to do either pattern any more.
Now I am finding my own way, which brings together and integrates the best of the patterns from each of my parents and creates a sustainable lifestyle for me in which I eat nourishing, healthy and delicious food to nurture my body rather than drain it with sugar and rubbish. This is creating a much better base from which I can then start to up the ante with exercise again and focus in on building balance and enjoying getting fitter. I’m not totally out of shape, I’m in the gym these days at least one a week with my personal trainer and running in the park or working out by myself a couple of times too. I’m strong but not as cardio fit as I want to be.
So Health as a value is up there at number one right now. I don’t think I have ever chosen it in a personal values assessment before. I can sense that my perspective on it is from a Level 5 awareness, which is to create sustainable health, free from old patterns that had run me for years. I don’t want to beat myself up in the gym every day irrespective of how I feel. I don’t want to starve myself. I don’t want to crave sweet things any more so I binge eat. I don’t want to wake up thinking about food and go to bed doing the same.
What I want and what I’m doing is going back to basics, eating a great variety of organic meat, fish, fruit and veg. No gluten as that doesn’t suit me. No sugar for now. I am loving cooking from scratch and relishing creating delicious meals for myself. Who knew rice cakes and almond butter is a totally fantastic snack?!
<img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-257" src="http://findyourinnerunicorn impuissance viagra.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Screen-Shot-2016-09-19-at-09.29.45.png” alt=”healthy heart” width=”1″ height=”1″ />I don't want a quick fix either. I’m happy that this takes some time, that I can be gentle with myself. I’m writing this on Sunday and I’ve been on my feet with the retreat for the last 2 days. Today I want to rest. A walk in the park is as much as I wish to do today and that’s enough. Eating like this, caring for my health and finding a new, profound love for the body that carries me around is truly transformational. I recognise that in itself can be both exhilarating and tiring. Today is for rest. Tomorrow I have a session booked with my personal trainer and I’ll look forward to whatever he has in store for me!