Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable. It may be the cause of catastrophe or crisis in which one is asked to change their lifestyle, habits, relationships. Change can happen while mindfully addressing an issue. In the latter of the two situations one may ask themself, ‘What pain do I feel? Anger, resentment, frustration, tightness, hate, jealousy? What is the cause of this pain? Is this pain necessary? What can I do to change this?’.
There are many times in my life which I have changed from both crisis and choice. One specific life altering change, which I believe has led me down my current path (which I am grateful to have found), was brought on by crisis. For 15 years of my life I suffered from bleeding stomach ulcers. Whether brought on by diet, drinking/ eating habits, stress, running or a combination of all these factors, as I got older my ulcers lasted longer and seemed more debilitating. They would leave me bed bound, in the fetal position, for up to four days at a time.
Following my final upper GI scope my doctor told me to, ‘Stop drinking alcohol, coffee, and try to stay away from lettuce, and tomato. You may also need to stop running so much,’ ending the conversation with, ‘You need to relax. Try meditating’. My internal dialogue not exactly matching my head nods and ‘Uh-huhs’. ‘WHAT?’, I thought, ‘Those are all my favorite things! I am an ultrarunner. I am a drinker. I love gin, whiskey, beer, and most of all, coffee. And what the f**k is meditating?’
Now I see the false refuges, my many identities, with which I was attached. ‘Who would I be without these labels? What would I do instead?’ And as cliche as it sounds, I was left with one question, ‘Who am I?’.
Instead of seeing this as the end of my fun journey through life, I imagined the opening to a new chapter in a long book. I could now walk through the world without the label of ‘runner’ or ‘drinker’ which I found liberating. I had lived in a drunken/ hungover haze for a decade. The simple act of going to a hockey game, the movies, dancing, or a Super Bowl party sober was a new experience, which made it fun and exciting. And meditating daily, although I found it difficult in the beginning, allowed me to come back again and again to my foundation which has supported my ongoing success with these changes.
Asking oneself these difficult questions, ‘What pain do I feel? Anger, resentment, frustration, tightness, hate, jealousy? What is the cause of this pain? Is this pain necessary? What can I do to change this?’, is challenging. It is difficult to look at oneself, one’s life, one’s patterns and discover which were moving toward your goals and which were hindrances. But as Bhavani Maki states, it is a hero’s path. And in this story called life, all those who take steps to better themselves and others are heros.
You are a hero.
May we move at our own pace toward one common goal, happiness.
Good Vibes Idaho. Her life goal is to inspire others to take risks, believe in, and ultimately become their best selves. It is her desire to encourage and support your journey to living well.