Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week Twelve Update - I'm Back!!!

Well, after almost 4 weeks I'm back!! I still have more healing to do, but am able to type and use my hands again so I am blessed!! Thank you so much for all of the notes and emails of encouragement. They helped more than you'll ever know (:

This past month has been another time set apart and an interesting journey, one that has brought health as the only focus.

I'm a stress/emotional eater. Always have been. Being the caregiver of an adult family member can take a toll if you don't have a support system. Going from caring for Grandmother for 10 years, then Dad and next Mom after Dad's passing...let's just say emotional eating kicked in big time! Over the years I put on a huge amount of weight!!

After Dad died I knew it was time to make a change, but wasn't ready to totally commit to a clean diet. I have wheat and dairy sensitivities so eating gluten free and raw/organic milk and cheeses is the only way to go.

Even though many changes have been made on this simplifying journey, a clean diet has been one of the areas I was putting off. I was eating lots of sugar, wheat, cheese, milk - most of it conventional and by March 7th my body had had enough!!
Both of my hands became swollen three times their normal size, my eyes were almost swollen shut and my lips looked like a collagen injection gone wrong (: Slight movements would cause the skin to crack and bleed...not a fun experience. The pain was almost unbearable at times, but God had a plan...

As I posted, the first week of March most of my time was spent going through paper clutter that had been sitting in bins and boxes for years. This was am emotional process. My system was already out of balance due to the foods consumed and the emotional stress of finally dealing with the clutter sent my body over the edge. I know the mind, body, spirit connection is very powerful, but this experience has shown me how toxic negative thoughts and memories can be if we don't deal with them and learn new ways of processing.

I quickly made a change in diet, eating only vegetables and meat for the first three weeks and took the appropriate cocktail of herbal supplements to help the healing process. After three weeks I added in low sugar fruits. For the first two weeks I could do nothing but take vinegar baths, recite healing scripture over and over and pray. You begin to appreciate the simple things...taking a bath without it causing pain...the simple act of washing your hair...being able to use a fork to eat...going for a walk outside to get fresh air...petting the pups...these things become precious when they disappear.
Most of the journey was about keeping positive and knowing that God was working to heal me. I had to quit looking at the painful cracked and bleeding skin and focused on the internal healing that was taking place. By the end of the second week I was able to use my hands to hold a book and immediately began reading "Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions" by Dr. Caroline Leaf. AMAZING book!! A MUST read. She helps you...
  • Learn how toxic thoughts are like poison and how to identify “The Dirty Dozen,” twelve areas of toxic thinking in our lives.
  • Sweep away “The Dirty Dozen” by breaking the cycle of toxic thinking.
  • Uncover how your thoughts can actually start to improve every area of your life – your relationships, your health and even your success.
87% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. Through an uncontrolled thought life, we create the conditions for illness and we make ourselves sick!
Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. There are INTELLECTUAL and MEDICAL reasons to FORGIVE! Toxic waste generated by toxic thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies to name just a few.

Medical research increasingly points to the fact that thinking and consciously controlling your thought life is one of the best ways, if not the best way of detoxing your brain. It allows you to get rid of those toxic thoughts and emotions that can consume and control your mind.

So God got my attention and FAST!! Isn't that usually how it happens? We put off the things we know we should do until they become so horrible that they DEMAND our attention. Because of this clean way of eating I've lost 21 pounds in three weeks, removed all sugar and wheat from my diet and only fresh veggies, low sugar fruits, a few nuts, healthy oils (coconut, olive and flaxseed) and meats free of antibiotics and hormones remain.

After a few months I'll add pure maple syrup and honey, the rest of the fruits and raw milk and cheese back into the plan as well. And I have to say, I don't miss the junk! Having your body slap you upside and down again quickly gives perspective! There is no desire to eat in the old way (: Thank you Father!!!!!

So not only is God simplifying my environment, wardrobe, play time and work life, but I had no idea He would make such a dramatic and quick impact on simplifying my health by decluttering my thought life and kitchen pantry (: It's so good to be back!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Quite Sick

So sorry this post is short, but I've fallen quite ill and am in the middle of recovering. I'll be back shortly with an interesting story to tell.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week Nine Update

The majority of the work this week was dealing with paper. Piles and boxes of it. Things that should have been dealt with long ago, but were put in boxes, labeled and stored away to be organized and filed at a later date. While working through these papers an odd thing happened. I regressed emotionally. Has this ever happened to you?

It started with the items I found from 2007. That was the year my father passed away. I found cards and notes he had written me. I read through the planner used to keep track of all the things the doctor was saying, notes on questions to ask the nurses, info on the medicines he would need, the rehab instructions for when he returned home.

Then I came across cards from my grandmother (dad's mom). My father did not have a close relationship with his family and as a result neither did we. Whenever we were around them there was this "outsider" feeling that was very strong. My uncle, aunt and cousins were treated in much higher regard and the difference was very apparent. I didn't notice these differences until adulthood. It can throw you for a loop when you realize your childhood experiences were a little different than you imagined.

Next I found a journal from 14 years ago. At the time I was contemplating a career change and desperately wanting to connect with the creative side of myself. The writings described a young woman struggling with the hollow feelings of not knowing what to do next and the sadness of not being in her calling. This was interesting...because I'm exactly where that woman of 14 years ago was so craving to be.

The last thing that brought forth extreme emotion was the rough draft of a letter written to my Mother's mom. Grandmother was my heart and one of my best friends. Hearing her voice, holding her hand and sharing the desires of my heart with her is greatly missed. She had the beautiful ability to just be in a room and lighten the energy with her very presence. Grandmother was one of the few who saw the real me - she got me (: She was wise, gracious, fun, joyful...and I love her so.

It's interesting how God gives us the time we need to heal. Things that might have sent us over the edge years ago can later be looked at with an objective eye. Sometimes it's good to reflect on things that have long healed because we need to see how far we've come. We need to see how God has worked in our lives. That woven tapestry of many hurts, losses, joys, great expectations, they all make a complete work of art. If one thread was missing, the tapestry would not be the same.

So today, I am thankful for past hurts, dreams shattered only to be rebuilt, for new friends and old friends, and the new found inspirations that cause my spirit to soar. For all of these blessings have helped me to grow into the confident woman that I have become. If one thread was missing from this journey, I would not be the same...and the journey is getting more exciting by the day (:

So if there are papers and boxes and bins that are sitting in the dark corners of your home, bring them out in the light of day and go through them. You may be surprised at how far you've come on your own journey (:

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Studio Update

Well, much better! Instead of looking like a bomb went off, it just looks like a messy room (: This is the second phase of Project Studio - clearing the floor and purging.

The credenza (in the left of the upper photo) will be moved into the closet to free up wall space to hang magnetic calendars and white boards. I'm visual and having design boards, inspirations and time charts in clear view will keep me on task.

I can't believe the glass doors are actually closed and you can see the floor! Once the furniture is moved where it should be, white wainscoting will go up and the rest of the walls will be changed from that dark olive into a soft teal. I've heard this color stimulates creativity (:

The door was removed from the walk-in closet and replaced with a curtain. A desk will be set up in front of the window and a curtain will allow better closet access.

I didn't want this makeover to cost anything so supplies and paint left over from other projects is all that will be used. A desk will be created by separating the white stacked filing cabinets (in the right side of the upper photo) and attaching a large sheet of MDF on top for a worksurface. Voila! Instant desk (:

For added storage an extra bookcase that wouldn't fit in the hall will be placed where the filing cabinets used to be. This will hold all of my work manuals, supply catalogs and brochures, keeping them out of the hall library.

I'll post more photos as things progress and some how-to instructions for specific projects like making the desk and installing the exciting!!!

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Step on The Simplifying Journey

The boob tube, idiot box, attention grabber, telly...yes, the beloved TV. We grew up with one in our living room and the small black and white model that came with its own rolling cart stayed in my parent's room - the same kind seen on The Dick Van Dyke Show. At that time it was out of the ordinary to have more than one TV. Today it seems every room of the house must have one, including the rooms of small children! There are many benefits of television, but so many downfalls. Reality TV...need I say more!!

The key is to be mindful about this free-time activity. Really think about what you're bringing into your mind. How is it affecting your day? Does it change your mood? Does what you're watching move you forward or cause you to step back into old patterns?

I've used TV in the past to drown out thoughts. I'm one of those people who can be inspired by EVERYTHING and as a result have constant thoughts of ideas and possible projects floating around my head that can be a total distraction from getting anything accomplished. Not to mention the annoying factor of sharing possibility after possibility with those around me (:

I may see a statue and it inspires a new jewelry design, or a magazine article may motivate a new project in the living room...even a rough patch of road can somehow bring forth a solution to a recipe challenge in the kitchen! I kid you not!

In the past TV has been used to drown out these thoughts - keeping it on in the background seemed to help gain focus on what was at hand. I know this sounds absolutely nuts, but it worked for me. Since that time meditation has greatly changed how I process things and centering has lifted the mental clutter. I no longer watch as much TV and it's wonderful to just sit, work and hear the silence (: Now an entire day can pass by without the TV filling the airwaves. Ahh....silence. Such a blessing.

Altering this one practice has brought much change into other areas of life and increased the simple pleasure of truly listening to what is around me. I still enjoy television, but in its proper place...thank goodness quality programming is at an all time low so there really isn't much to watch (: I stick with the news, a few comedy/mystery shows and do-it-yourself programs. If I had to choose a favorite it would be Psych...LOVE the quick wit and 80's references (:

So here's a challenge - reduce the TV watching and let me know how it affects the simplicity in your life. Maybe you've already cut out television. How has it changed things in your home? I'd love hear (:

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Celebrating The Festival of Colors - Holi

I feel so blessed to live in a city of many cultures. It's so neat to walk down the street and within a span of a few minutes hear more than 6 different languages spoken. Today was a reminder of that blessing. While out and about in my apartment complex I saw several of my neighbors from India and their friends celebrating The Festival of Colors and they included me in the process! So fun!!

Holi is a carefree festival to welcome in Spring and to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, letting go of inhibitions and embracing the beauty around. So lovely...much like what my journey is about this year and so fitting to be included in such an occasion. A little God wink there (:

The day is spent smearing colorful powders all over each other's faces, throwing colored water at each other, having parties, and dancing under water sprinklers. I love to experience the traditions of others and am so glad I was asked to join in on the celebrating!

What started out as an ordinary day, quickly blended into a colorful and eye opening awareness that my journey is not simple or bland. This day God helped me to focus on the beauty of another tradition...the beauty in the differences...the beauty of color...the beauty of getting messy and letting go of inhibitions...the beauty of loving others...the beauty of being me.

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