There are an increasing number of people whose health keeps them from doing the things they love. At the moment that occurs, each of them has a choice. They can focus on their inability to do what they love. Or they can cultivate a love for life. Which do you choose?
Wait! Before you answer that, I should note that this choice doesn’t apply solely to those with physical limitations. It applies to everyone.
Let me give you an example. Before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I wasn’t grabbing life by the horns and I certainly didn’t love life. I felt more like I was tied to the bumper and getting dragged along. Sure I had my pottery, but that was the only place I found passion. I feared living bigger or taking risks. The result was a life out of balance, an expanding waistline and shrinking self-esteem.
The key word in that last paragraph is fear. I lived in fear. Did fear lead to MS? Louise Hay would say yes. What do I believe? Yes, I realize fear was a contributing factor. Does fear always lead to MS? No. But it does lead to dis-ease, whether in the form of a diagnosis, fatigue or simple disengagement from life.
So how do you move from “life is passing me by” to devouring life? Put another way, how do you go from fatigued and fearful to energetic, expansive and happy?
Let me illustrate. I was leading a Stress Buster’s Mini-Retreat for a federal agency in Washington, D.C. During a stretch break, a young woman approached me and said, “I’m so thrilled to see you’re wearing heels.” I smiled and asked, “when were you diagnosed?”
You see there is a little secret that not many people know – when multiple sclerosis robs you of feeling in your feet or balance or weakness, heels become a thing of the past. So when I wear heels, it’s something of a surprise, and as in the case of this young woman, a cause for inspiration and celebration.
The funny thing is I was never much into wearing heels. I was a tomboy. Give me boots and I’m happy. Sure I’ve worn my share of heels, but heels were never my favorite shoe. I even wore flip-flops with my wedding dress. Even so, I stopped wearing heels all together when I couldn’t feel my big toe because of MS.
A few months after being diagnosed, I joined a support group. I vividly remember a member who spoke passionately of a closet full of beautiful shoes she couldn’t wear. She so wanted to wear them again. She loved beautiful heels.
I didn’t know it at the time, but somewhere deep within my soul I committed to wear heels because she couldn’t. So now, with my numbness gone, I wear heels. I wear them any chance I get. And I wear tall heels. The one’s I was wearing last week were a good 4 inches.
But I wear heels for another reason. They represent my dream coming true. Sure I love the fact I spend most days in my sweats, pjs or yoga clothes (another dream of mine). Those are my work clothes. But there are days, like last Thursday, where I am stepping into the bigger version of myself. Where I am onstage inspiring and teaching others. Heels have come to represent the fact that I am alive, vibrant and living my purpose.
Stepping into heels is also my paradigm shift. You see, 2 years ago I couldn’t fathom people would want me to lead retreats or that I would speak in front of hundreds. Now it’s happening. But first I had to shift my paradigm. I had to shift from fear-based living to action-based living.
When we live in fear, we stop taking action. We let life and our circumstances lead the way.
Action-based living however is taking action every day to create a fabulous, happy life. Action-based living is thinking beyond the bills, the what-ifs and should haves.
So whether you’re fatigued, ill or feeling stuck, try these tips to shift your paradigm so you can devour life.
Others often think more of us than we do. Sometimes we push that away with the statement “you don’t know my life.” To shift your paradigm, be open to the fact that you are as big as others see you. Try putting on their perspective and walking around in it. You might just grow into it.
From the food we eat to the thoughts we think, we clutter our mind. Sugar changes our brainwaves. Excessive meat makes us aggressive and angry. Self-defeating talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Clean up your food and clean up your thoughts. Eat green. Meditate. Pray. Visualize.
Speaking of visualization, getting clear on the happiness you want in your life helps bring it about. Some of the happiest people I know face some of the biggest life challenges. Yet they have made the choice and seen it through. Take Nick Vuijicic - the inspirational speaker with no arms and no legs.
Happiness is not something that just happens. It’s something you work at. I’ve worked. I had to shift my paradigm to drink green juice, get healthy, speak in front of hundreds and wear heels with ease. It is the actions and the daily choices we make that make me happy.
What choices will you make to create a happy life?
With love and happiness,
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