Last March I came across an interview with Arianna Huffington where she talks with Marie Forleo (love this gal) about her life and her latest book. If you have never heard of the wildly successful Miss Huffington, she is an author of 13 books, columnist, she founded the Huffington post, and she is a mother to two daughters. In this interview she talks about her book Thrive and her current mission: to help people live more authentic and fulfilling lives by learning to live life on their own terms. She shares the "breaking point" in her own life (which includes blood and stitches!) and how it forced her to redefine her own success and how she manages her stress levels and energy output. I went out the next day and bought the book and let me tell you, as I read it I found myself highlighting and underlining; this book resonated with me so much. In Thrive Arianna Huffington makes her lifestyle suggestions digestible and personal, so that many people can relate. At one point in the interview she mentions how vital it is for younger people in their 20s and 30s to incorporate mindful practices as it will literally effect the course of their whole lives.
The more I work and talk with women, the more I realize that the key to a more joyful and healthy life, is truly defining what the heck that means to you as an individual. We get caught up in comparisons, chronic unmanageable stress, craving more out of life, our bodies, our relationships etc, but we don't know how to find more because we already give as much as we can. I believe that gaining clarity, finding more meaning, feeling better in your body and mind, all of these things are possible, and with out having to add more hours in the day! It's intimidating when you feel a slave to your current habits, to your lifestyle, to what people expect of you. My biggest hope for my clients, family and friends is for them to start NOW by taking teeny steps towards prioritizing what matters to them the most. I look ahead to my own mother and my friend's mothers and I see the importance of this. I see that some of our mothers literally don't even know how to listen to their bodies at all. They are hit a lot harder as an older person by the effects of a life time of ignoring their own needs. They push through sleep deprivation, chronic pain, and high levels of stress only to arrive in their later years where they are FORCED to slow down because their bodies simply start to break down or disease sets in.
It doesn't have to be like this. You have an option to live a lighter, happier, healthier life. I'd love to hear if you have experienced this book already and how it effected you, and I urge you to share this book (it makes a great gift) with those you love.
There are so many quotes from this book that I wanted to include in this post, as I said half of my copy is marked up and dog eared... but I will choose from my favorite chapter called Wisdom. It's about breaking habits- a topic that always intrigues me. I remember when I worked with a life coach before my daughter was born, and she told me (this is simple but was so HUGE for me) that my habits didn't define me. I remember suddenly feeling as if I could make changes, even to the habits I have struggled with my whole life. So when I came upon this section in Thrive it really effected me. She writes:
Some of the habits are useful and some are not. Some start out being useful and become destructive later on or in different contexts. But the internal machinery we've developed to create them doesn't discriminate. And whether good or bad, once established, habits rapidly grow roots and entrench themselves in our lives. And that's the problem- habits are a lot easier to learn then to unlearn, easier to bury then to exhume. The puzzle of habits---of learning and unlearning them---has been a focus of humanity since the down of civilization. Of the Ten Commandments, several are about resisting bad habits, such as coveting, and some are about cultivating good habits, such as honoring your parents.
She includes this quote to bring the point home: An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil---and he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good---he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside of you--- and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed." Cherokee Legend
The book is a memoir at times, a collection of her most prized and thoughtful findings about the toxic stuff that holds us down, and the courageous stuff that can bring us to new places within ourselves. As a Health Coach I try to really hear what my clients are looking for, what they REALLY want out of their lives. I have noticed that it's almost always bigger than the size/shape of their bodies and even bigger than what kind of foods they put in their mouths.
What they do with their minds and their hearts will define how they treat their bodies, their families, the world within them and around them.
As for an update on where I'm at, this belly is big. My body is shifting, and preparing for birth and I feel it- and everyone can see it. I am enjoying the remaining weeks with my family the way it is, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next. I have surrounded myself with people who are supportive and loving so I have some help after baby boy arrives. I have looked back on my own history with my daughter and I aim to have this experience be a little lighter and less stressful. More joy through more support and kindness to myself. Here is the little list I have made for myself for the other side of this baby bump.
1. Don't let thoughts become toxic, find help.
2. When your heart starts to beat out of your chest, stop. Breathe. Recalculate and be kind.
3. Stretch, and move in gentle ways to promote healing and in a time line that makes sense.
4. Enjoy the moments.
These are MY new years resolutions. I wish the very best for you as you read this and as you think ahead to your own plans for YOUR new year. I believe you are in a good place, even if it feels scary or over whelming. We all have things that feel freaky and scattered in our lives and should take those things simply as information. It will be the information you need to move to perhaps another place that is more fulfilling. Lighter. More courageous.
Happy Holidays to you! This is a time when so much is expected of us. We are pulled in so many different directions and our schedules are stretched to the limits. Please know that you are only capable of so much! Breathe. Pour yourself a Bailey's or Egg nog and enjoy the moments.