So the reason I became a health coach is because I got a really bad illness – one that could have had me lying 6 feet under by now. Or sitting in a china urn on a mantel somewhere.
Following that I learnt a lot of things that are really important and useful to help prevent said illness reappearing and thought ‘shoot I better share this info, kinda important!’
Scary but interesting fact alert! Did you know that chronic illnesses (like the ones we are all statistically most likely to, ahem, die from) like heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers are largely influenced by the way we live our life? As in, lifestyle and diet can help prevent that beast being born? As in, what you do on a day-to-day basis has a massive impact on your health? I bet right now you are nodding your head thinking ‘Yes I know that’, but also totally thinking ‘but that doesn’t matter because I won't get one of those though’.
I know you are thinking that because I did too, until I got one of course.
But there is another side to all this. Its one thing to try and keep yourself alive for as long as possible, but what’s the point if you aren’t living a good life? By your definition. I mean deep down in your pants how you really want to be.
Not in a job you hate, surrounded by people you don’t like, numbing yourself with food, drugs and digital screens whilst ignoring all those things you truly love doing.
I mean what’s the point of living longer if you aren’t actually enjoying it?
I know from experience that there is freedom in realising that you aren’t actually going to live forever. Certainly puts things in perspective. Certainly focuses your attention.
So today instead of telling you the secret to living to a ripe old age, I want you to answer this question:
What would you do differently if you found out you only had 18 months to live?
How would that knowledge change the way you live? What would you stop worrying about? What would you start doing?
Would you care how you look? Would you care if you did x well enough? What y thinks of you? How annoying z is?
What have you always dreamed of doing that you would plan to do before you departed? A trip to Italy? A sky dive? Spend more time with your mum? Go fishing? Tell someone how you really feel about them?
What is it you wish someone would give you a permission slip to do?
Why not do those things now? Really, what is stopping you? Are you waiting until everything - including you - is miraculously perfect? Babes, it’s never going to happen.
No need to wait until you realise you are about to drop dead. Give yourself that permission now. Or ask me and I’ll handwrite you one.
We only have so much time and energy to use in this world – where are you directing yours?
It’s never too late to make a change...as one of my favourite sayings advises: Just Do It (even if you suck).
I'd love to know what you would change, so please tell me in the comments below - go on I dare you!
So I spent 5 months planning a 3-day city break to Sydney with the girls. Child and husband free, there was to be lots of shopping, eating, and general carefree living like you see in one of those tampon commercials. My friends travelled over the day before, and as I skipped into the airport at 6.30am on a Friday morning I was full of excitement and the occasional giggle. Nothing could get me down! But as it turned out, due to a series of comedy-film-esque errors by the airline – nothing could get me up! After 13 hours at the airport I found myself back home exhausted very annoyed and wondering what happened to Day 1 of my 3-day tampon commercial. And that begs the question, how can something so well planned and looked forward to, go so horribly wrong?
Cue part one of Post-Apocalyptic Life Lesson 2: the truth is we don’t control s***.
Yes, we tell ourselves that if we account for every variable, make lists, analyze and develop contingencies that everything will be tickety-boo. And sometimes it is, and it is important to plan – just as long as we remember that even after all the planning and the effort, we don’t control the outcome.
When we don’t remember this, we start to rely on these plans and feel that we are totally in control of our lives. The problem being that as things start falling apart, so can we! We find ourselves somewhat shell-shocked asking ‘How did that happen?’ - well I believe that’s what they call life just happening!
The idea that we aren’t controlling it all can be pretty scary but there is good news. Whilst we can’t control all elements of the world, there is one thing that we are the sole keepers of. In fact the only real thing we have a say in - ourselves.
Cue part two of Post-Apocalyptic Life Lesson 2: we don't control s***, except our own s***.
I’ll give you another example from my life. Getting a serious illness. I do a lot of things in an effort to prevent a recurrence of my very aggressive cancer. I have read all the research. I know the stats of the benefits of exercise, the ideal health promoting diet, how handling stress and emotions and environmental toxins can all have an impact. And I have made changes and taken necessary precautions in accordance with the research. And it’s sensible to do this. And sometimes I can convince myself that it guarantees I’ll live to be 110. But really, that is just my mind making itself feel better. Because the truth is, I can’t control all the variables, I can do what I can do, I can ask myself honestly every day if I am living the best way I can to give myself the best chance. But then I just have to surrender and let go. I can’t control everything. And shoot that is pretty scary to acknowledge. It’s so much easier to pretend that I can.
But the only real thing I can control is my response to what happens in life. And the only way to really do that is to work on being present and awake. Yes, it’s as cheesy as a Valentine’s Day greetings card. You hear it everywhere, but that’s because it’s so damn true!
Only when we are here, noticing what we are thinking, feeling, experiencing can we be aware enough to decide how we want to act, what our response will be to what happens in life (and of course, to be aware enough to actually enjoy ourselves when things are happening).
That’s where our real power lies. Not in trying to control every thing/person/event that occurs in our life (or in the lives of others!), but in creating ourselves using our experience as the putty. Yes, think of your everyday life as a big pile of putty or playdough. The question then becomes, what aspect of myself can I build out of this event? Who do I want to be in relation to this? That is what you control. That is what makes life pretty exciting.
Who shall I mould myself to be in relation to that rude obnoxious airhostess who couldn’t give a monkeys about my child-free 5-months in the planning 3-day weekend away that she is about to crap all over? Do I want to be rude, assertive, compliant, angry, patient, resolute?
There is no right or wrong answer, there is only reacting (because that is how I did last time), or responding (by experimenting, and using my senses and mind for good use). The first makes me feel like a crazy person, the second makes me feel powerful and creative. I know which I prefer!
In the end Sydney was all I hoped it would be, but with a big reminder along the way. That I don’t control s***, except my own s***
Lesson 2: You don’t control s***, except your own s***!
Click here to check out Post-Apocalyptic Life Lesson One!
As always I would love to hear what you think, so please comment below on your freaky control issues or if you think I am nuts?!
When I had cancer it was like being slapped in the face with a wet fish. AKA a ginormous, unattractive, clammy wake up call. Nothing like a life-threatening illness and facing your own mortality to put things in perspective and focus your attention.
So I thought it would be useful for me to occasionally share with you what I like to call my Post-Apocalyptic Life Lessons (not too dramatic I hope!).
Lesson 1: Death avoidance is not the point, making sure you are living when you are actually alive is!
You feel me? It is waaaaay to easy to operate from a position of risk avoidance and seek those seemingly easy secure options. Like when you try not to do anything that could cause you to feel uncomfortable, scared, embarrassed, or worst of all could make you look stupid! But living this way has some serious collateral damage.
The worst of which is making life feel kinda dull, stuck and boring – instead of rich, diverse and exhilarating. The truth is there is no such thing as living risk-free and with security. That’s just something your brain made up to stop you freaking out all the time. Those concepts aren’t real, they are just pretend like watching The Muppets, being alive is risky! What is real is getting off your arse and doing something with it. Whether that be shaking it, getting someone to pat it or taking it somewhere it has never been before.
I don’t mean to be a downer on a sunny afternoon but there is something I really want you to know, and that is that someday you are going to die! How long until that will be is like the proverbial piece of string. The point isn’t to get morose, morbid or depressed about that, the point is to go "okay what the hell am I going to do then when I am still alive?" And only you can answer that.
It’s different for everyone, because we are all different! You are in charge of finding something that expresses you! Some people want to climb a mountain, some people want to have long loving lunches with family on a Saturday. Some people want to learn to salsa, and others want to get through the entire series of The Wire without requiring subtitles to understand what the hell everyone is talking about.
The possibilities are endless, but you have to put some intention into it. I bet almost no one wants to run through life on automatic-pilot, stressed with an endless to-do list of crap that deep down you question the importance of, following another’s idea of an ‘ideal’ life and feeling kinda hollow inside. And yet, that weirdly seems to be what a lot of us do! Crazy no?
Damn TV and the movies for making it so easy to live life vicariously! Life is short! Best to wake up now and start living it. The alternative is not security, its waking up on our deathbeds, surprised at how we got there, wondering what the hell just happened and why we ended up in a version of our life that wasn't anything to do with what we really wanted. And when there, I suspect it’s the things we always wished we did but never even attempted that we will regret.
It’s the life that we didn't live, that we will mourn. This is what having cancer taught me. I'm not saying its easy, and the point certainly isn't to be perfect, but wherever you are, you can start. So what is one small thing you could do today, to start living your life - your way? That expresses who you are? Now, take a risk - and do it!
Here endeth lesson 1 in the Post-Apocalyptic Life Lessons series!
Lesson 1: Death avoidance is not the point, making sure you are living when you are actually alive is!
NB: Taking a chance, or making a change can sometimes be scary. It can help to have someone beside us, giving us a little prod here and there, supporting us move toward where we want to go. If you feel like you are waking up wondering who's life you are in and know you are ready for a change, but it seems too much to do on your own, then schedule a free initial consultation with me to get things moving! Remember a thousand mile journey begins with one small step (and clicking your mouse doesn't even mean moving your foot!).
Want help to move forward after cancer treatment? Then sign up to Life 2.0 and get back to living life!
Ready for change, but don't know how:
Health coach, Mindfulness teacher, Mother, Bee Pollen consumer. "You want health? Well, health costs, and right here is where you start paying in sweat" (tee hee - actually its really rather pleasurable and fun!)