I woke up this morning with a song from “Mame” running through my head:
“ Open a New Window,
Open a new door,
Travel a new highway
That’s never been tried before”
Do you ever feel that way – as though your life is so changed that you don’t know who you are anymore? It happens during puberty, when you get married, start a family, go through menopause, or lose a loved one; or maybe there just comes a time when you feel a burning desire to open a new window. You might not even know that you’re headed that way, but you feel constricted, stagnant or generally unfulfilled, like something isn’t working in your life. You have a yearning for joy, lightheartedness, something to be excited about. There just MUST be potential for a better life, right?
In the last year, I was faced with a health crisis – I was diagnosed with a serious illness that necessitated my being hospitalized for three weeks, including three harrowing days in ICU. I went through months of recovery, feeling weak and dizzy and unable to walk, receiving chemotherapy and taking many prescriptions drugs, physical therapy and now, a new life. I have no idea who I am. My body has been filled with new plasma and chemicals, and I have nowhere near the stamina and strength that I used to. At times, I felt I wasn’t even inhabiting my body. I was floating outside, watching myself and my life totally disappear. So, how do I embody the new, authentic me, and how do I go about creating a new life?
These times of transition can be challenging, as well as exciting. We’re leaning into a new definition of who we are, growing past our edges, easing forward bit by bit into the new reality that we’re creating. This requires new habits, and building those habits to a point where they’re automated. Habits are the launching pad for this new life. Read the “What the Hell effect” https://www.developgoodhabits.com/what-the-hell-effect/
Things you can do right now:
- Ground yourself: take some deep breaths, all the way down into your belly. Breathing into your belly will engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which will serve to calm you and make you feel stronger. Shallow breathing into the chest delivers a minimal amount of breath to the blood stream, and removes fewer toxins from the system. You obviously won’t feel as robust and healthy with chest/shallow breathing.
- Get in touch with the rhythm of your body. Listen to when your body really wants to eat, and notice that feeling. Embrace that sense of emptiness. Stop when your stomach feels full and your body is satisfied. Ask your body what it wants to eat. It’s easy to confuse emotional hunger with true hunger, which you’ll sense in your stomach. When you get tired in the evening, go to bed. If you start yawning and feeling relaxed at 9:00 p.m., experiment with going to bed at that time. Chances are, if you stay up a bit later, you’ll get a second wind, but then your rest will be less deep and rejuvenating. Maybe your body wants more movement. If you’ve been sedentary for a few hours, check in and see what it might be fun to do. Get up and move around, go for a walk, stretch and take a few deep breaths. Honor the rhythm that your body and soul are yearning for.
- Respect the rhythms of nature. Some of the healthiest, most stress-free populations on the earth live according to the flow of nature. They honor the sunset and the sunrise, witnessing them when possible. They eat foods that are natural and unprocessed, and they participate in the preparation of these foods. They’re rewarded with longer lives and fewer health issues.
- Love your body. Take time to give yourself a massage, even if only a light brushing motion over your body. Stroke your arms and legs, your scalp and face, your stomach, breasts and ribs. Once a week or more, use oil and commit to a more focused massage. Get to know your body, receive love from yourself, to yourself.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell