Tending.

A few weeks ago, I woke up with a kink in my neck. I figured I just slept funny and hoped it would just go away. After a day or so, I didn’t really notice it.

Two Saturdays ago, after my power class at the gym, I felt like I had strained my right pectoral muscle. I figured I just added too much weight for our chest routine. It really hurt and I hoped the pain would just go away after a day or so; which it did.

On Tuesday of last week, I woke up with significant pain in my upper back; more pain than I was going to be able to ignore or wish away. When it wasn’t much better on Wednesday, I booked myself in for a massage.

When I arrived, the massage therapist asked where the pain was and I said my upper back. He asked when it started and I told him the day before. He asked how long it had been since my last massage…..ummmm….”a while”. He asked how long a while was. I had to really think and realized it had been almost a year.

“Oh wow!”, he said. “Just like a car, our bodies need regular maintenance…”

I knew he was right. I knew I had let this part of my health regimen slide.

Ignoring The Whispers

He got to work and after an hour, I headed home, feeling much looser and certainly better than when I had arrived.

But as I drove home, I started to remember all of those little signals in the weeks leading up. The kink in my neck, the chest pain–those messages my body had been sending me before things got really bad–and I realized that he was right. My body had been sending me signals to take care of it.

Signals I was ignoring. Signs that could have saved me from a lot of pain later on.

I know I’m not alone. We can all be guilty of ignoring signs, in any area of our lives. When it comes to pain, I know a lot of us do what I did…ignore it and hope it just goes away.

In our relationships, we can find ourselves struggling to connect with our partners and instead of talking about our frustrations, we avoid the issues, hoping they will just go away.

When it comes to our diets, many of us find ourselves “going on” and “going off” them; where we hope that after a few weeks of restricting our calories, our problem will just…go away.

But nothing just “goes away”. Like Oprah says, if you don’t hear the whisper, then you get a brick on the head. And if you don’t feel the brick on the head, then the whole wall comes crashing down.

We must remember to tend to our lives, in all areas, if we want to live fully and vibrantly. We must face our issues, rather than wishing them away if we want to live a life we love.

I understand this issue well. For years, I would just avoid the pain of my life by drinking; never wanting to admit that the drinking itself was causing so much of the pain.

But what I’ve learned through the experience of getting sober and embarking on this new path is that I get to enjoy my best health when I remember to tend to the garden before all the weeds take over! I don’t want to have to manage more serious issues if there are things I can do to manage them in the first place; through maintenance.

In my personal relationship, I prioritize communication with Roger, working through issues as they come up instead of letting things fester. I know our problems won’t just go away by ignoring them, and so we communicate. A lot.

And I don’t want to “go on” or “go off” diets, because doing so ignores the bigger picture. The picture where I choose to use food to nourish my body and not as a way to avoid my life or soothe my emotions. I don’t want to use food the way I used alcohol…as a way to make things just go away…until they come back…

Instead, I want to listen to my body; heeding the signals it is sharing with me to keep me aware of what’s going on inside.

I want the same for you. To realize that you alone get to create the life you want to be living; no one else gets that power.

Your Life Is Art

Our lifestyles aren’t fixed, but rather a dynamic, evolving process. they are the result of all of our tiny little decisions and big, huge decisions and it’s most certainly not a perfect science but instead, a creative one.

Your life is a work of art.

Art that only you get to create.

And that’s huge.

Because it reminds us that we alone have the power to create the life we want to live.

And we can either ignore the signs that things are off track or we can use that information to help us course-correct.

I’m glad for this reminder. I needed it. While my back is still in pain, I know it will get better with more therapy and some time. Because I am tending to it. And I will continue to prioritize this part of my health as I go forward.

Things don’t go away simply because we ignore them. Our problems follow us around…until we tend to them. And we learn with experience that it’s often much less painful to deal with our problems as they come up rather than waiting until they grow so big that there is no more denying them…or until the brick wall comes crashing down.

As Mark Manson shares in his eye-opening book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck, “We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It is nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change. We have evolved to always live with a certain degree of dissatisfaction and insecurity. Because it’s the mildly dissatisfied and insecure creature that’s always going to do the most work to innovate and survive….no, our pain and our misery are not a bug of human evolution; they are a feature. Pain, in all of its forms, is our body’s most effective way of spurring action.

Pain spurs us into action because we are physically, emotionally or mentally motivated to DO SOMETHING in order to get away from it. But what I’ve learned from this experience is that we don’t have to wait for serious pain to arrive in our lives before taking steps to resolve our issues.

But it requires listening to the whispers and feeling the gentle nudges.

So, let’s stay attuned to what’s going on inside and outside of us in order to truly thrive in our lives.

Because I want you to use your pain as a way to enhance your well-being.

Because I want you to tend to your problems as a way to improve your life.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Every day, we tend to our issues in The 6 Week Sugar Freedom eCourse. If you would like to uncomplicate your relationship with food, and do so with a group of like-minded people who will support you, then I encourage you to join us here

P.P.S. Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my personal meal plan, shopping list, and a week’s worth of easy, tasty recipes. http://sarahtalksfood.com/

 

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