It seems like forever since we’ve hung out together and I’m so sorry for the lack of posts this past week. It was quite an eventful week for me and a very stressful one as well, which is why I wasn’t able to write. However, as usual with the journeys life takes us on, there are no coincidences. It was precisely the stress, decision making, and the constant worry that flooded my brain last week that completely made me open my eyes and see things I had not seen before. It’s also the inspiration for the post I’m writing for you today before we continue with our vegan social 101 posts and our yummy recipes.
As it turns out, people are right when they say that stressful moments or difficult situations only help us grow and get to know ourselves better. As I was immersed in piles and piles of papers, was getting emails by the truckload, had to have some conference calls with lawyers at weird times, had two very important appointments in town, and my regular work load, guess what happened? You got it, sky high stress, worrying about even the smallest details and eventually a funny looking meltdown. Good news is, for the first time I managed to somehow look at myself from far away and take a look at what was actually happening and why. This is why for the first time, my funny looking meltdown switched gears immediately and turned into an absolute Aha! moment. Then came a beautiful wave gratitude of course, as there is nothing more empowering than seeing a pattern in how you deal with tough times and realizing that you can change it right then and there. So for the rest of the week I made it my mission to keep my cool, and as I was talking to one of my closest friends about that nasty little critter called ‘worry’, she said something that was completely amazing. She talked about how she sometimes pictures herself as a really old woman sitting down with herself as a very young girl, and she gives her young self only one piece of advice. We of course shared what ours would be and it turned out to be the same one. Here it goes…
If old me sat with little me she would tell her:
Worry less, things always have a way of working out.
It’s funny how when you look at things in black and white like this, you can suddenly see the root of everything else, the center of what troubles you in between those gorgeous smiles of yours. For me, due to my history, it’s worrying in the face of possible problems. As a kid I had to be a powerful problem solving superhero and it seems to have stuck with me. For you it might be treating yourself with more kindness, treating others with more respect, standing up for yourself or for others, respecting yourself more, not paying attention to external opinions, being more assertive, being more careful about your health and choices, being more grateful. There is so much relief when you picture yourself as a young girl and go back and tell her what the cure to many of your hardships is. We forget that that fragile yet brave little one is still inside us every day, and that we can change and live happier.
The day after my friend and I ‘talked’ to our little ones, I read this beautiful paragraph in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet (a rockstar of a woman and book we’ll be talking about soon). Talk about meant to be…
Picture yourself when you were five. In fact, dig out a photo of little you at that time and tape it to your mirror. How would you treat her, love her, feed her? How would you nurture her if you were the mother of little you? I bet you would protect her fiercely while giving her space to spread her itty bitty wings. She’d get naps, healthy food, imagination time, and adventures into the wild.
What if we did picture her and treated her with kindness and gave her some advice? What would you tell little you?
Stress, over worrying, over working and lack of peace of mind are horrible little aspects of almost everyone’s life at some point or another, but as it turns out, it isn’t only our calm state of mind that suffers the consequences. Numerous studies have now shown that stress and over worrying create all sorts of changes in our physiology. They raise our blood pressure, they help us make really bad choices when it comes to what we eat and they cause acidity and inflammation in the body which is a straight highway into chronic illness town (this includes the dreaded C, diabetes, arthritis, alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and countless others). It seems to me like taking care of ourselves also has to mean taking a look at our patterns from the outside and starting to make changes. If for me it’s riding the waves of trouble and letting things come to term without over worrying, what is it for you? Try this little exercise and see what comes up, take a look at what is upsetting you next time stress comes knocking on your door. We tend to fixate on the source of all evil being the problem itself and from personal experience it very rarely is. I’m sure if you look closely, you’ll realize that over half of these inflammation building situations were all about how you faced the problem, the attitude you had when you looked it in the eye. I’ve had the best teacher in this with my awesome hubby Carlos, who can keep his cool in the craziest situations. Finding your rock will help too. See how that person would face the situation and take some notes!
No matter how silly it might seem, go to your bathroom mirror and look at yourself in the eye, imagine little you (or find that picture!) and tell her what you need her to know. Leave it at only one thing. Then look at yourself again and remember that that little girl is always looking back. Whenever you say something not so nice about the way you look, or the way you handled something, or the countless problems you might have at any given moment, or how you can’t handle this or that, leave those nasty thoughts in the hamper to be washed and remember that little you is staring right back. She (or he!) is listening to what you’re saying.
I leave you with some more Kris Carr awesomeness and my wish that you find the source of what turns stress on for you, not the outside cause, but the one inside that makes the little stress critters go on a shopping spree.
… at the end of your life will you be bummed that you didn’t plow through your master to-do list? Will you wish you had worked longer hours and spent more time on Twitter? No way! You’ll wish you climbed that mountain and took your kids to the moon… Kris Carr