Be Light and Healthy

Giving Up Your Swords

Posted on: January 9, 2011

” A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future.  You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”  Denis Waitley

As people transition to a healthy lifestyle, it is natural to encounter uneasiness.  Because old patterns are comfortable like a warm, cozy bed, it’s easy to get stuck in them.  Our attachment to these behaviors is often solidified by others’ expectations of us.  Sometimes trying to unwrench our death-defying grips on bad habits sends us hurtling back into the routine we so desperately wanted to give up.  Taking the time to build a solid foundation and acknowledging that the unfamiliar feels unpleasant will prevent us from being catapulted back to old behaviors.  Take solace in the fact that uneasiness accompanies all growth and is often a sign that we are moving in the right direction. 

In Soul to Soul:  Communications from the Heart Gary Zukav recounts the story of a European gentleman who was expected to wear a sword as part of his formal attire.  This gentleman was truly gentle and felt uncomfortable wearing the sword, but he also felt uncomfortable not wearing it.  Neither option felt suitable to him so he sought counsel from an old friend who advised him to wear the sword until he felt more uncomfortable wearing it than not wearing it. 

This parable beautifully recounts the gentleman’s inner conflict as he evolved towards his authentic self.  He is bowing to tradition and acknowledging his distress with both choices, and his trusted friend gently advises that he should continue in the manner that feels least uncomfortable and let the transition occur naturally.  This story resonates with me because inner conflict naturally accompanied my shift to a healthy lifestyle.  I was the ultimate junk food junkie and felt awkward when I started eating healthy food.  It seemed strange to eat fruits and vegetables; however, it had also begun to feel disconcerting to consume junk food.  This situation was confusing and stressful because of the inner struggle I was experiencing.  On the one hand, I wanted the comfort of my old, unhealthy choices; but I also had become aware of new, healthy options.  Gradually, I embraced the healthy options and abandoned my old habits.  Taking the time to tenderly nurture myself as I eased into new behaviors allowed me to create a strong foundation for a new, healthy lifestyle.  As I lovingly cultivated the delicate seeds I planted, they slowly became anchored in my spirit like the tiny seeds of a plant taking root in the earth.  Gradually, they grew stronger and became the basis of the life I had imagined.

I also felt self-conscious when I started walking.  This behavior was not typical of me, and I often worried about what people would think.  I even felt uncomfortable abandoning the tenty styles I had worn in my attempts to hide my excess weight.  Much like the gentleman’s least comfortable approach, I resorted to my own strategy of good, better, best choices to facilitate my transformation.  Eventually, I became comfortable with myself and stopped worrying about what people thought.  I learned to accept where I was on my path and allowed the transitions to gently take root and become integrated into my life.    

I suspect some people were uncomfortable with my new behaviors.  Eventually, most got used to the healthy person I became.  Don’t let others’ comments discourage you.  I’ve been subjected to people commenting that I’ll eventually gain the weight back.  Initially, I didn’t understand why people would make such disheartening comments.  I now realize these comments were more about them than me because they had repeatedly gained back weight.  As you break out of your comfort zone and into the vision of your future, you may begin to feel uncomfortable around some people.  It is not unusual for some relationships to wither and die as you evolve.  Accepting the demise of a relationship with grace and gratitude is often part of the growth process.  Conversely, you will also discover that there are wonderful people in your life who always saw your true essence and enthusiastically celebrate your successes.  These are the special people in your life who believed in you long before you believed in yourself.   

Be patient with others as they get used to the new you.  I’ve been a vegetarian for several years and am aware that I am the atypical one in most crowds.  Being a vegetarian is a personal decision, and I have no desire to thrust my opinion on others or have them feel uncomfortable around me.  I can always adapt to the situation and often bring a vegetarian dish to share with others.  I did, however, used to get exasperated with my husband when he’d sometimes forget that I was vegetarian.  Eventually, I realized that his forgetfulness was an indication that I was doing a great job not subjecting him to my beliefs.  Since I began congratulating myself for not imposing my views on others instead of being exasperated, my husband rarely forgets.    

Accepting the unfamiliar feelings and being gentle with myself allowed me to evolve and flow through the transitions associated with a whole new way of life.  Eventually, I was able to give up the many swords I wrestled with as I moved out of my comfort zone and relinquished bad habits in favor of good habits.  By sitting and acknowledging the awkwardness, I was eventually rewarded with the new lifestyle I had dreamed of.     

I invite you be gentle with yourself as you step out of your comfort zone and create the future you envision.  Take your time and nurture yourself.  As you grow, bridge the gap between old, unhealthy habits and new habits by being kind to yourself.  Trust that you will give up your swords when you are ready.  In addition, I invite you to sign up for weekly e-mail updates to get informed and inspired to Be Light and Healthy.    

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