Be Light and Healthy

Seeds of Opportunity

Posted on: April 24, 2011

“Every single problem that you have in your life is the seed of an opportunity for some greater benefit.”  Deepak Chopra

Spring is the season of renewal and hopefulness.  Nature’s seeds lie deep below the dark soil waiting to burst upon the land and share their unique purpose with the world.  Unlike people, they are not influenced by chastising voices in their heads and are not afraid to show the world their beauty.  They simply are and do not have the ability to resist their intrinsic nature.  They don’t have problems and are not embarrassed by their appearance. They simply exist as the splendid creations that they are and take the risk of leaving behind the darkness to reach their maximum potential.  When we resist evolving and are afraid to take a risk, we slowly wither and die like a seed that didn’t have the courage to push through the dirt to expose itself and reveal its magnificence. 

As humans, we tend to see problems as negative aspects of our lives.  When we encounter a problem, we often get mired in it and resist evolving.  Sometimes it is difficult to see our way out of a problem.  When presented with a dilemma, our minds have been conditioned to immediately jump to the worst possible outcome.  We use our powerful imaginations to fuel the negativity of our thinking.   If we allow the pessimistic thoughts in our heads to fester, they envelop us in desperation.  Conversely, if we see a problem as a seed of opportunity, it gives us the courage to embrace it for our own self-growth and some greater benefit in our lives.    

When I was overweight, I saw it as a huge problem – a problem that affected me every day of my life.  The weight was a burden to me physically, mentally, and spiritually.  By focusing on what I perceived as the negativity of my situation, I felt swallowed up by it.  I allowed fear to consume me and lived with chronic anxiety about my dilemma.  I essentially put my life on hold.  There was always an undercurrent of thinking that I would be happy, satisfied, and content when I lost the excess weight.  I avoided many experiences because of my physical bulkiness.  Sometimes the weight prevented me from partaking in certain activities but other times it was my thinking.  I unconsciously used my weight as an excuse to forego living.  I could not imagine myself doing certain activities and was embarrassed by the thought that someone might see me.  I’m talking about activities as simple as taking a walk.  Ironically, I longed to be invisible despite my heaviness.  I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and allowed my mind to convince me to forego walking to protect me from embarrassment.  Of course, these were thoughts I created in my head that were not necessarily true.  I was insecure and believed others’ opinions were important.  The truth is people are typically distracted by their own issues and wouldn’t have given a second thought to seeing me walking down the street.  Becoming attached to the idea of putting my life on hold actually prevented the flow of energy in my life and increased the stagnation.  My anxiety caused me to repeatedly grasp for unhealthy “get thin quick” solutions that inevitably failed.  Embarking on these schemes never quieted my angst because mentally I had already jumped to the worst possible outcome – gaining the weight back – and was worrying about it.  I was jeopardizing my health by overeating unhealthy foods, not exercising, and living in a state of constant stress. 

Choosing to lose weight may feel like taking a risk.  Though you may feel physically uncomfortable with the extra weight, your mind may feel secure in the current situation.  You may fear failure, but you may also fear success.  What if you lose the weight and life doesn’t live up to your expectations?  Rest assured that all of the problems in your life cannot be attributed to excess weight.  Anxiety about making big life changes can easily be intensified by the critical judgments you inflict upon yourself.  Prior to my weight loss success, my attempts were typically undertaken for superficial reasons.  Wanting to look better for an upcoming event was probably the most common one.  I sought a quick solution to a long-term problem and was never willing to invest the time or effort in myself to make sustainable changes.  Ultimately, I never thought I was worth the effort.  Believing that I should be capable of eating and exercising “perfectly” motivated the voices in my head to drone on and on about every indiscretion that I made.  My mind was always on the sidelines ready with a cruel comment meant to crush my confidence or threatening to punish me by withholding the foods I had categorized as untouchable.  Eventually, I would succumb to my mind’s anticipated failures and embark on a binge cultivating my endless weight problem.    

It wasn’t until I started treating myself with kindness that I got off my well-worn path of failure.  Learning to value and respect myself and accepting my imperfections were an integral part of my accomplishment.  I had to change the voices in my head and treat myself with compassion.  I learned to speak to myself in the same manner I would speak to a child learning a new skill and having trouble mastering it.  I would support a child by cheering her on and helping her manifest her dreams by gently and repeatedly telling her that she could do it.  She might need help or she might need to practice, but ultimately she is capable of doing anything she can imagine.  I would encourage her to use the power of her imagination to envision her success and would consistently focus on every improvement she made to re-enforce her confidence.  I would be patient with her and allow her the time she needed to succeed and become comfortable with her new behavior.    

Making a change in your behavior in response to a problem is like learning a new skill.  After a lifetime of unhealthy habits, it took time to modify my behavior and feel comfortable with the changes.  Treating myself with compassion by changing my thinking was the pivotal behavior change that put me on the path to success.  Harnessing the power of my imagination and accepting that I needed to make the changes slowly to build my confidence further facilitated my success.    

What I have learned from my experience is that being overweight for most of my life presented me with the seed of an opportunity.  It has been one of my greatest learning experiences and provided the impetus for my mental, physical, and spiritual growth.  Because of my experiences as a child and an adult with a weight problem, I believe I am more grateful for my health than I ever would have been without a weight issue.  I appreciate my ability to walk every day.  I treasure every moment I spend running around and actively playing with my toddler nephews knowing that if I had not taken a risk to change my life, I would be sitting on the sidelines watching them from afar.  Losing 100 Pounds did not solve all my problems, but it has helped to heal many aspects of my life and presented me with numerous experiences and opportunities to feel alive.  I am extremely happy and grateful that I invested the time and patience necessary to fundamentally change myself.  I’ve learned to take a risk and embrace the lifelong process of change as I endeavor to continue evolving.  Through kindness and love, I believe it is possible to change ourselves and influence others thus changing the world. 

I invite you to reflect on the problems in your life.  During this season of renewal consider choosing to view every problem as the seed of an opportunity.  Quiet the voices in your head and reflect deeply to uncover the hidden opportunity buried among your troubles.  Accept that taking a risk may be necessary and feel uncomfortable.  Nurturing your inner child by treating yourself with kindness and using your powerful imagination will lead you in the direction of your dreams.   In addition, I invite you to forward this blog to your friends and sign up for weekly e-mail updates at www.belightandhealthy.com to get informed and inspired to Be Light and Healthy.  When you sign up, you will receive an e-mail requesting you confirm your subscription.  After you confirm, you will begin receiving weekly updates.

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