Three Words for 2018

Every year at this time I choose three words to live by. They may be qualities I want to cultivate in myself or reminders of what I want to focus on in general.

For 2017 I explored Groundedness; Lightness; and Freedom. I am pleased to say that I definitely feel all of those things more within myself. I put these words on my computer as a screensaver and they are scattered around the house on 3x5 cards. I think I’m laughing more, less focused on “mistakes,” and every now and again, I get that soaring feeling of freedom.

I’ve been playing for about a month now with what words to choose for 2018. At first I thought I would have an “R” theme: rejoice, rejuvenate, relax. Thinking a little more about it though, rejoicing seems like a bit too much work. I remember in my 20’s rejoicing at the Catholic Church I went to in Washington, DC with a mostly African-American gospel choir. I got a few lessons there in how to rejoice. I loved it and I realize I’m not that outwardly focused these days. Having gone “full steam ahead” for the past two years continuing to build my coaching business and making my way through what Wings Seminars have to offer, I’m ready for a bit of stability and peace.  The growth has been good and I’m taking time to integrate all I’ve learned.

In the end, for 2018, I’ve chosen Health, Relax, and Enjoy.

Health because I experienced last year what it is like to have my hands and knees hurt. I feel slightly ashamed and embarrassed to confess that as a life coach and facilitator who encourages others how to notice and accept, I waited for over a year to go to the doctor about my hands. I was definitely in denial!

I was afraid that the doctor would say that I had rheumatoid arthritis and that it was all downhill from there. In the end, I do have slight erosion of the bones in my joints by my thumbs. And I learned a ton of exercises to strengthen the muscles around my thumbs so they no longer hurt. I do other exercises too called “nerve glides,” and the PT has helped me to loosen my neck as well. Whew! What a relief.

My knees also were not advanced arthritis but more about the tightness of my quad muscles. That’s where the relax comes in. How to move my body consistently every day so that my bones and muscles relax? So that my whole Self relaxes?

I’m stretching more now and working out six out of seven days. This really helps.  Here too I was afraid that maybe my knees hurt because of inflammation and that I would need to radically change my eating habits. Though I’ve given up sugar for six weeks, I still ideally want to have a spoonful of honey in my coffee each morning, and I love dairy and eating a varied diet. To put it simply: I love eating good food! This is where “Enjoy” fits in—big time! I want to enjoy my food and not using it to distract myself in times of discomfort.

Making my way through the Diet/Nutrition Jungle that currently exists has been fascinating because there are so many contradictory opinions out there. I found myself a bit confused and bewildered at first.

At this time in my life, the Blue Zones diet fits me best. Blue Zones are places where more people live to be 100 years old or more. A guy from National Geographic, Dan Buettner, interviewed centenarians and then was curious about what they do to live that long.

The most important suggestions I take from this book is to eat mostly plant-based foods, less sugar, and to eat until I am “80% full.” To me, this is all doable and reasonable. When I consider cutting out things altogether---like grains, or dairy, or sugar, I feel somehow like I’m punishing myself. I don’t mean to judge others who choose elimination or other diets that are different than Blue Zone. I know for me that it is important to pick a path and stick to it, also to choose something that I can sustain. There are so many paths to Health and it is individual for each and every person.

For now, I’ve passed my Health Plan for 2018 by my doctor and posted it on my refrigerator. I’ll also share it with a fitness trainer I’m working with at the YMCA. I am ready to go move into what I am affectionately calling: My Year of Health!

My husband and I are also trying a food preparation company: Green Chef. Yesterday, I received everything in a box to make three vegetarian meals. I am looking forward to taking an hour each day to prepare and savor great food with my husband.

In 2018, I hope to really practice what I preach: balance and moderation. Enjoyment and delight. Relaxation and exhaling, accepting all of who I am. I want to be forgiving towards myself and others and remember to be kind.

Health. Relax. Enjoy!

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