Last week I promised my “lessons” - from my crazy health journey of having been forced to unplug, slow down and eat clean. I often think of it as forced change. Until I recall online postings I have read of people with the same condition who just can’t not eat chocolate, for instance, and then suffer symptoms of the resulting allergic reaction. I do have a choice. One I make every day. And that choice, ultimately, is to tune into myself and truly pay attention to what I want for my life. As the dis-ease from avoiding that path affects my body. It feels like detour signs go up when I choose a path that causes me stress – even though I may not feel stressed. Somehow my body knows. The mind-body connection I see is SIGNIFICANT.
How I have tapped into this, unbeknownst to me at the onset, is through something called Higher Brain Living (HBL.) Once a week for the past year and a half, I have seen an HBL practitioner located about 30 minutes from my house. Each session is 45 minutes. I lay on a massage table (fully clothed), and through specific touch points on my spine, shoulder area, back of my knees, etc. she helps my body – and ultimately my brain - move from that “fight or flight” survival thinking into a more evolved “higher brain” intuitive thinking. This technique has been scientifically proven to mimic the relaxed and in tune type of thinking that results from years of meditation. During the session I also repeat some “resolutions” I have written regarding what I want for my life, in four different areas. (This is my layperson description of it all, as I understand it.)
Now, if I were you hearing this for the first time – I would probably think I were off my rocker too. So just set aside that thought for a bit and keep on reading... I became interested in this modality after I heard the practitioner present at a business networking group on how the approach calms and heals stress at a cellular level. And since my main histamine trigger, is stress at a cellular level – my open-minded, skeptic self was willing to give it a try. At the first two introductory, trial sessions, my body responded in a way that I couldn’t explain otherwise. Without any conscious effort on my part, my breathing dramatically slowed and moved down to my “belly” – and my body was so heavy it felt like it was pushing right through the bottom of the table. And I felt this crazy calm. It was weird. And wonderful. And I was all in.
I share this, not as an infomercial for Higher Brain Living, but to set up the rest of my story. What happened from there, which I believe with every fiber of my being, is that this higher brain engagement caused me to tap into my own “gut” about what I need, to feel centered, and to be well. The forward momentum felt like a train I couldn’t stop. Over time I was able to dislodge myself in all the areas I was stuck. It started with the clutter in my house. You may recall my big house de-cluttering project the previous spring, based on “the life-changing magic of tidying up” book. I did not choose that project. It chose me. I know no other way to describe it. I then moved on to our finances – and for the first time in my adult life, truly – I have really healthy day-to-day, month-to-month financial habits - and the right tools to suit my personality, to make keeping up with it, realistic. And finally, I created greater ease and efficiency with our meal planning (which saves money too!) You would not believe the calm created in my life after fixing just these three areas. But again, as I continued with the Higher Brain Living, my resolutions and energy evolved. I peeled back the next layer and really took a hard, honest look at myself, my work and some significant relationships – with the help of my therapist. For the record, clutter, finances and meal planning are easier – yet I believe in this case, the harder the work the greater the reward. I now have much greater peace and joy, and at times sadness. Yet I get to experience them all – rather than hide behind a lot of other self-induced life chaos. It’s like I have pushed myself, from the inside – out, to have the courage to really know myself - and create a life more in line with what I really, really want. Which has led me to learn the following three, fore-promised lessons.
#1 The way I see it, in the face of medical adversity, I have two choices… I can choose to be angry and miserable and fight what is, to the grave – OR I can choose to “lean in.” To accept this is my life (different from give up), that these are my physical circumstances at the moment, and so how do I move on, not in spite of it, but with it. Does that make sense? I do have to make accommodations, but how do I find joy in these new things added to my life rather than be forever pissed off and lament what is no longer in the cards at this time.
#2 How do I really listen to myself, and TRUST myself? Rather than try to control the world and everything in it – how do I know that I am going to be okay - that I have in me what I need? And that if I just slow down and LISTEN, my energy will spark where I need to focus. As I said, I didn’t choose to tackle my clutter, it chose me. I was trying to focus on finances, but was so stressed and distracted by the mess I couldn’t concentrate. So I let go of what I thought I needed to do, and went with what kept pulling me - and I cleaned up the clutter. And wouldn't you know - I then had the energy and focus to look at the money. It’s kind of like how if a tree has a dead branch it grows better once you cut it off, because until you do all the energy is focused on trying to revive the dead branch, rather than grow the healthy ones.
Two things here: A) I thought the pull to clean out the clutter rather than finances was a lack of discipline, an avoidance tactic, when really I knew what I needed to do. I just needed to trust it. B) Do you see the connection to my physical health? With my energy consumed by stress over clutter, money, meal planning, work, relationships – how can I heal my body? I can tell the more I am able to heal my stress triggers, the better I feel, as stress contributes to inflammation. Mind-body. Get it?
#3 Plain and simple – life is too short to live half a life. I choose to live this one, in its entirety, to the best of my ability. Period. Exclamation point. Amen.
So, in summary… lean in, listen and live the life you want. Be done playing small. Choose you.
P.S. If you want contact information for my Higher Brain Living facilitator, please send me an email. I would love to share her info.