The Wind Provides the Best Blowouts

Time flies when you fail to realize how precious each moment is.  

Whether you consider time to be money or an opportunity cost (for the economists out there), it is clear that time is the underlying measure of our lives.  Time is a finite resource that belongs to each and everyone of us.  Of all the resources available on this planet, time is the most socially equitable form of currency – no matter where we come from or what we look like, we each have time.  We spend it as we choose, often spent in the pursuit of various objectives.  At one point or another, our time will run out, baring any future technology that will extend our lives indefinitely.  In the interim, we are given opportunity to spend this precious and valuable resource in the manner we feel is best.  Do we waste our time?  What makes the use of our time productive?  Do we enjoy the time we spend on various activities – be it at work, on our smartphone, or waiting in line to board a train?

I have come to realize that time is the measure of our lives. Time is best memorialized in moments, whether positive or negative.  If this logic is correct, then moments are the best measure of our lives.  There are those who are said to ‘live in the moment’ and then there are the rest of us.

Prior to falling ill with lyme disease, I could not recall meeting someone who truly ‘lived in the moment,’ as I understood that phrase to mean.  To me, living in the moment meant taking actions for immediate enjoyment notwithstanding the consequences those actions will have tomorrow.  I was socialized to view those actions as irresponsible, reckless and downright stupid at times.

When faced with the prospect of not being able to do things that made me happy, I began to realize how important it was to spend my time in a way that pursued happiness for me and others.  Rather than working long hours to buy something bright and shiny (think, handbags), my time could be better spent exploring my neighbourhood, meeting new people, and taking up a hobby I never got around to starting.

What I once thought to be reckless before and is now one of the best ways to spend my time, is letting the wind provide my hair with a blowout.  It is better on my ears than having a series of hair straighteners and blow dryers bombard your hair for half an hour.  And it is likely better for my hair than heated products.  What I like the most is the way the wind feels as it brushes past my face and into my hair.  Depending on how windy it is, the wind provides both a soothing and enlightening feeling.

I may not be as graceful as Pocahontas in describing the colours of the wind, but I can tell you that a wind based blowout is one of the few moments that I enjoy living in.

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Survival-Mode

We often live our lives in survival mode – ensuring we can handle whatever life throws at us given our current strengths and abilities.  Very rarely do we move beyond survival to begin to thrive in order to attain a higher purpose in life.

I had an emotional release therapy session yesterday.  For those unfamiliar, emotional release is a form of massage therapy that attempts to relax your body while releasing emotions that are ‘trapped’ within your joints and tissues.  I was skeptical about this, but having heard multiple reviews from my colleagues I decided to perform one with an open mind.

My session started and ended with a single finding: I am trapped in survival mode.  For anyone who is, or knows someone who is, battling lyme disease, they will be familiar with the daily struggle to get your life back.  For almost 16 months, this has been my goal.  Yet in the process there has been considerable turnover and change in my life that I have been forced to accommodate, as opposed to direct.  Why? Because my focus has been on becoming physically healthy rather than to live my best life.

Granted, before falling ill I had reverted to auto-pilot mode.  I merely went with the flow of life and the pursuit for societal deemed appropriate career goals.  I was not the captain of my own life, as I was while growing up.

The therapist said that it is clear that I will change directions, but being in survival mode has prevented me from revealing what the next directions will be, both mentally, romantically and spiritually.  Being in survival mode has made me confused and enabled me to lose sight of what I want out of life and what it is like to listen to my heart.

Her only suggestion was to ground myself to release my lower chakra – that being the root chakra which represents our survival state.  Somewhat akin to Maslow’s Heir achy of Needs, the base of our needs pyramid relates to physical and emotional safety, be it food, shelter or health.  Once those needs are fulfilled, humans will begin to attain other forms for the fulfillment of their social and self – actualization needs.

Prior to falling sick and moving into auto-pilot I was in a mode to achieve self – actualization. I wanted to thrive and achieve my purpose in this life. Somewhere down the line I got lost in the rat race of the ‘Street and resorted to fulfilling social and financial needs to keep up with the expectations of my peers.  In short, I fell down this pyramid.

I have two choices.  Continue to focus on surviving and getting better in full isolation of the direction of my life.  Or, I could fight to survive but in a manner that keeps me aware of the direction I am going.  This is clearly the harder route as it requires me to expend more of my time, energy and focus to direct the influence that uncontrollable forces can have my life – on my own terms.

Maybe I do need to start climbing up this pyramid once more. Maybe I need to do more than survive.  Perhaps I need to thrive.

Sugar-less

Studies have shown that it takes 66 days to break a bad habit.  For me, it took a change in my outlook and the prospect of never getting better to get over my unquenchable cravings for sugar.

For many individuals battling lyme disease, it is not uncommon to be told to adopt a restrictive diet in order to reduce inflammation, yeast build up and improve alkaline levels.  For someone who once proclaimed herself to be a chocolate addict with an uncompromising sweet tooth, the thought of adopting a sugar-free, yeast-free, and gluten-free diet was daunting.

Yet I have been sugar-free for over 16 months and don’t miss it at all.  In fact, I find that I have more energy without sugar, and my complexion has dramatically cleared.

Don’t get me wrong- it is by no means an easy task to remove refined and added sugars from your diet.  Here are some tips that helped me wean myself off sugar:

  • Read your labels.  You will be surprised how many food products contain sugar or modified sugar products (i.e. anything that ends with ‘ose’ such as fructose or modified corn syrup).
  • Be cautious around condiments  Reaching for ketchup or thinking about ordering chicken wings?  Consider how condiments and sauces get their sweetness.
  • Avoid sugar substitutes.  There are countless studies that caution against the consumption of sugar substitutes.  Let’s face it- they rarely come close to the real thing.
  • Consider no sugar added frozen yogurt mixed with low glycemic fruits.  This can be a treat for those warm days.  There are also frozen fruit machines (Yonanas) that will blend frozen fruits into a whip comparable to frozen yogurt.
  • Try packing apples, berries and cherries as mid day snacks.  They can give you the pick-me-up you need with just the right amount of sweetness.
  • For those who need a hint of chocolate, try dipping low glycemic fruits in melted 100% Cocoa mass.  Cocoa mass is fairly bitter, but with fruit it can provide just enough sweetness to allow you to savour the cocoa aftertaste.

Other than being told that sugar will impede my treatment, be it through encouraging the buildup of yeast or causing a drug interaction, I began to look at food as a source of fuel, rather than an indulgence.  The best fuels are those that are pure and limit additives.  Refined sugar adds very little to our wellbeing in comparison to the time and effort our bodies have to expend in order to break it down.  In some ways, the moment of indulgence isn’t worth the trouble.

Do I miss being able to eat anything freely? Sometimes.  Would I trade my wellbeing for that luxury? Not at all.

Living life, one day at a time