Weekly Musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…
I think there’s a theme this week, and it’s self-care. What I’ve been reading and what I’ve been doing seem to be focused on just that. I’ve been nourishing my mind and my body, and it feels great. It’s not totally habit yet, and it doesn’t permeate all aspects of my life, but I’m working on it.
What I’m Reading Right Now:
The Art of Flourishing– A New East-West Approach to Staying Sane and Finding Love in an Insane World by Jeffrey Rubin, PhD (2011)
I first heard Rubin, a clinical psychologist, speak as a guest on The One You Feed podcast. I like that he utilizes both Eastern and Western philosophies in his own life and in his psychotherapy practice and that he subscribes to the advice to use what works for you, ignore what doesn’t, and do your best. That’s a good rule of thumb.
Rubin’s book is divided into 2 sections, Planting the Seeds of Self-Care and Cultivating the Garden of Love. The chapters are practical world scenarios for how we sabotage ourselves and how we can realistically increase our ability to flourish, which Rubin defines as focusing “on internal emotional awareness, insight, and transformation” and “just doing the best we can given imperfect and even undesirable circumstances.”
Living with Intent– My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy by Mallika Chopra (2015). I mean the title says it all, doesn’t it? Chopra is the daughter of, yes, that other Chopra. She created intent.com as a way for people to share their aspirations and support one another in manifesting them (love this!) and despite being heir to the Enlightenment Throne, she comes across in the book like a regular person – a professional, a mom, a wife, and someone eats too many cupcakes and doesn’t exercise enough. Even though she knows intellectually what she needs to do to “feed herself,” she’s struggling to find time to do it. Just like me and you.
Both books offer practical strategies and exercises to try to achieve emotional awareness, purpose, and joy. For example, in the chapter titled Nurture in the Chopra book, Chopra suggests trying these things: reconnect with an old friend or family member, think of a task you’ve been avoiding and enlist someone’s help to get it done, make a list of what you would do if you could focus totally on your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. These are activities that will help you nurture yourself. Self-Care is important!
What I Just Finished Doing:
Another detox. This was a 10 day detox outlined by Dr. Mark Hyman in The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. I first heard Hyman, Director of Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, speak on On Being about the transformation in medicine from treating disease to promoting health and what he said really resonated with me. As someone who works in the scientific metabolism research field, a lot of what he writes about makes sense (on a general level) in terms of our Western diet of processed food with high sugar content and the role it plays in inflammation and diseases so rampant in our culture (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer).
What I like most about this detox (like the last one I did) is that it addresses the whole person – mind and body – and focuses on promoting health above all. In addition to changing diet (no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no processed food, no added sugars, no alcohol, no caffeine), you focus on mental and physical health. For 10 days, you eat really clean foods that don’t spike blood sugar or trigger inflammation (which is the basis for so many diseases we suffer from). For 10 days, you exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. For 10 days, you practice relaxation. For 10 days, you meditate and journal. I absolutely believe diet and health and spirit and health are inextricably linked, and this detox is a great starting point to get yourself on track (or reset yourself if you’ve fallen off the wagon).
Even though I didn’t follow everything to the letter of the law (I introduced caffeine back after Day 3 and I didn’t take nightly baths with essential oils because I am not a bath person), I felt 100% better by Day 4 (I’m not going to lie, the first few days were rough). I lost weight. My tummy pooch went away. I slept great. I woke up feeling refreshed. I felt so good by the end of the 10 days that I’ve decided to eat according to the guidelines in general.
What’s Not Working:
(Honestly, I’ve deleted this section already in writing this post, because it’s so hard for me to talk about, but I’m taking Brené Brown’s words to heart about shame resistance. I will stay ashamed of my drinking until I name it, talk about it, own my story, and tell my story. So here it goes…again.)
While this week has been all about self-care, I continue to struggle in one area…my relationship with alcohol. So far this year, the frequency has improved but the volume has not. What I mean is, I am drinking pretty infrequently these days (maybe once or twice a week max, and some weeks not at all), but when I do drink, I still drink a lot. A LOT. So, I’m putting this out into the Universe and hope you all will help keep me accountable. I know it’s not healthy. It’s not physically healthy for me and it’s not healthy for my personal relationships. So, here’s my self-care intention with respect to drinking. May I be aware that drinking is an area for self-sabotage, so that I do what’s best for me, that which does not cause me to suffer.
Thanks for listening.
Those are my musings. What about you?
- What did you listen to or experience this week that inspired you, motivated you, or helped you on your path?
- What brings you happiness and purpose?
- What isn’t working? What made you mad or sad or say, “Life sucks!!”?