Wellllll. There goes Christmas and in a week we will be saying goodbye to 2014. I know we say it all the time…but, really…what happened to the year?!
The holiday season always makes us kind of take inventory of our lives, doesn’t it? This time of year brings joy and pain and struggle and closeness; creates memories as well as brings up hard ones. It’s a chaotic whirlwind that ends up in a pile of wrapping paper and ribbon in an unbelievable short amount of time. So much effort is put into creating this big show…this production that we hope impresses our loved ones, our neighbors, our coworkers. Some of us are really interested in it and some of us just go through the motions. The lights, the movies, the cookies and candy….so much. I really always love Christmas Eve and taking time out to go to church to quiet all of that and refocus on the reason for all the buzz. Today, we went on a hike and I felt like that was part 2 of that “refocusing”.
All of this is such a great metaphor for life. Constantly busy trying to GET more and BE more. We are professionals at being distracted. I mean…we’re good. This afternoon I went and watched the movie, “Wild” based off the book by Cheryl Strayed about her Pacific Crest Trail hike; but really, about her life. Have you seen it? More importantly…did you read it? We can sit here and debate the stupidness of some of her decisions regarding her hike; but I’m more interested in the “about her life” piece.
Here is a lady who physically removed herself from the “chaos of it all” and was able to, thankfully, set herself back on a good path after experiencing heartbreaking loss. She was able to get out there and be alone with her struggle to just stay alive and take care of her physical needs. It cut away all the excess struggles we often times create for ourselves. Granted, it’s sort of fairy-tale land for most of us to even consider “dropping” life for a few months to do something like that. Perhaps we can purpose to create lives that are just a little bit more mindful in the day-to-day stuff, though?
I don’t know. Sometimes I just don’t think I have “that” in me. Being more mindful. What does that look like? Have you ever seen the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”? Remember when she is…wherever she was, at a retreat perhaps…and she was trying to mediate in that room full of people. She was trying so hard and just so awkward about it. It seemed as though 20 minutes had passed with the way her mind raced from thing to thing. Then, she looks up just as the clock ticks over one minute. It had been one WHOLE minute that she had been sitting there “meditating”. Well, I’m that girl. I don’t like to force myself to be still. I don’t like it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing either. What I have discovered about myself is that I get centered and grounded through active things. Running and hiking and just being outside in general do that for me. Really working hard and sweating takes me to a different place physically and my mind and emotions follow suit. Writing is another form of that for me, but a good hard run is my absolute favorite.
So now that we’ve gone down that tangent…we’re going to go down the whole tangent of exercise and fitness in general. I mean, this is a health and fitness blog after all. 🙂 The bottom line when I am working with clients or participants in a class, is that I want to help them get to this “mindful space”. I truly believe that struggle with weight and health in general stems directly from our crazy relationship with distraction. It is a symptom of it. This is one HUGE reason it is so. darn. hard. to lose weight! It really is about changing mindset and lifestyle. FOOD IS OUR DRUG. It is. Watching “Wild” tonight made that realization surface for me once again as I watched her sabotage her life with drugs, sex, bad relationships. We use food and no one can say a darn thing about it…because “everybody’s doin’ it” AND we need food to survive. Dang that’s a hard one.
So to wrap it all up (excuse thebad pun), I challenge you each to think about this whole “mindfulness” thing. What works for you? How can you be more mindful in your life? Is there excess that needs trimming (I’m not taking about pant size…well, that too) that is unnecessary distraction? A worse crime than picking up another cookie, downing another soda and adding to your overflowing calorie allotment for the day, is the heart and mind numbing effect that takes place because of it. Think about that one for a few.
I truly hope you all had a lovely Christmas!