Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Your Highest Integrity

I  had an interesting conversation today with an friend of mine who is an attorney, and we were discussing legal issues and how they can affect people health, and he said something that prompted me to write today's blog.

We were talking about the state of the world, of people's finances and their health, and he asked me what my point of highest integrity was.  And I talked about honor and respect and doing what was right...and he countered and said "Your highest integrity is taking care of you, your health, your finances....because if you don't take care of you and your health and your finances, you can't be there for your husband, your family, your job, your community, the world."
Take time to play with animals. They live completely in the "Now"

He went on to talk about Bono and Bill Gates and how they have gone past financial concerns and health concerns and even community concerns, and how they are now having conversations about hunger, clean water, saving the planet, etc.  And he said you can't get to those points if you don't have your health, if your financial house isn't in order, if you are not facing your personal concerns.

And that reminded me of things I have read and things I learned while going through the various healing programs through Positive Choice in San Diego.  In the end, what do we really, truly have that is ours and that is intrinsically important?  Is it the big house? The fancy car?  The 401k balance? Where we have or are going to vacation?  In the end, it's our health and our happiness and our relationships.

I think about what is going on in Japan right now, with the aftermath of the earthquake and the Tsunami, and I know that right now, in this moment, whatever prestige a car, a home, a retirement account, possessions etc brought, are absolutely inconsequential and meaningless.  When the Tsunami waters receded, were people searching through the rubble and the debris for their TVs and Ipods?  No.  They were searching for one thing, and one thing only....their loved ones.

Were they wondering what was going to happen to their possessions?  Nope.  They were wondering "Where am I going to get shelter, clean water, a bathroom?" "Did my loved ones make it?"

Make Gingerbread Houses with children
Life in crisis really does boil down to the essentials, because when we are in a crisis we realize what is really and truly important.  I have talked to people after losing their homes to fire, and do you know what they regret?  Photos.  They can replace the 'stuff', but they can't replace the photos that will remind them of loving times spent with family and friends.

So if all we have really in the end is our health and our loved ones, wouldn't it make the most sense to structure our lives around that?  Is our job, even though it pays the bills, really the top priority? Is getting more 'stuff' really necessary, or would your time and money and energy and effort be better served by spending time with loved ones, or with taking care of yourself?

The main reason I decided to do the bariatric Rouen-Y gastric bypass surgery was health.  I knew the side benefits would be I would be more attractive, which is sadly what people see first, but it isn't what motivated me.  What motivated me was the first sentence in my health appraisal from Kaiser, which stated "You are so morbidly obese that we cannot determine your life expectancy."

Talk about a wake up call. 

I had been spending my life taking care of everyone else but me.  Accumulating wealth and losing health.  Eating poorly and destroying my heart.  Not exercising because I didn't have 'enough time' even though I seemed to have plenty of time to work late in the evening and the weekends.  I was focused on the truly wrong things.  I was focused on material goods, prestige, taking care of others....and my health was deteriorating every day.  My relationship with my husband was strong, but I realized after my health appraisal that there was a very strong possibility that, even though he is 22 years older than me, he might end up being the one taking care of me, changing my diapers, feeding me etc, while I was still a young woman.

I was financially and professionally solvent and physically and emotionally bankrupt.

Do you find yourself in this situation?  Do you spend little time with family because of work pressures?  Do you opt not to take vacation days?  Go to work when you are sick? (BTW, the rest of us hate you when you do that, because then you make US sick)  Do you buy things and spend no time? When are you going to take a good look at your situation and say "Enough!" and learn to refocus on yourself, your health, your well being, your priorities.

The bottom line is no one is going to care about you more than you can ever care for yourself.  No one will ever understand you and your needs, goals and dreams better than yourself.  So no one can make the decision to start taking care of your health and well being.

Start making decisions today to take care of you, to do things for you, not others.  Let others do for themselves.  Now, I'm not saying don't help people.  What I am saying is, help people as you can, but not beyond what you can.  learn to say "no" kindly.  Learn to develop boundaries and let other people handle their share of the load.  There's a great book called "Boundaries" by Whitecloud that really helps with this issue.

So are you professionally prosperous but emotionally bankrupt?
Do you give more to your job than you give to yourself?

What can you do about it, right now?  What small step can you take, RIGHT NOW, to change?  Can you turn off the TV and talk to your kids?  Can you  hire someone to come in and clean the house so you can spend the weekends with your family?  Can you stop listening to talk radio if it makes you angry?  Can you stop and smell the roses?  Walk in the grass barefoot?  Blow bubbles and watch the sunset?  What do YOU want to do?  What will make YOU happy?  Not your spouse, not your kids, not your boss, not your neighbors, not your friends....YOU. 

Find your happiness.  Find it everyday.  Find something to smile about.  Start focusing on what really matters ---- health and love.  In the end, in a crisis, that's what we are all searching for first. Your highest integrity is to you, your health, your wellness, you. Take care of you first, and the rest of the puzzle will rearrange itself into something beautiful for you.

I hope my words help you.  Please pass this forward to others you love who are working too hard, smoking too much, eating too much, gambling too much....you get the idea.  Spread love, Pollyanna sounding as it might seem. 
Enjoy Flowers.  Remember, God laughs in flowers.

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