Sometime in the last year an amazing thing happened: I stopped hearing the voices in my head, you know those voices of strangers and acquaintances, loved ones and haters alike, those voices that doubt, criticize, judge, scrutinize, blame, guilt, the voices that make you scream and speechless all at once, those voices that make you question who it is that you are and what you’re doing with your life, if you look good enough, skinny enough, fashionable enough, smart enough (but not too nerdy), beautiful and sexy enough (yet not promiscuous), those voices that sometimes can make you curl up into a ball which you wish would burrow itself in a pit in the earth, away from the voices, those miserable doubting voices.
The first day I stopped hearing the voices, I also stopped seeing those looks, those hurtful, slashing, shattering, raping gazes. At first I felt free of this burden, but then I missed those voices and those looks, because for almost 3 decades they were the standard and definition by which I gauged, measured, sized up, designed, produced ad executed who I was. I felt lost without a compass to navigate, but it soon dawned upon me that this blessing was intended to teach me to develop my own internal map of how I wanted to be, look, feel, act and live my life.
I started meditating to clear my mind of all the competing ideas of how I ought to be and as I developed arguments in favor of who I was going to become, how I would rise from this life-altering experience to become the best version of myself yet, my own voice became stronger, firmer, more confident, optimistic, content, exuberant and uplifting.
I have only just commenced this identity-forming aspect of my journey and I am not sure how it will transform me or where it will take me but I have already learnt some crucial lessons which I want to share.
The first thought that I think of in the morning is the most important and formational thought of the day, so I salute my mornings with positivity and optimism. I force myself to continue positive thinking throughout the day and literally stop myself from pursuing harmful or unproductive chains of thought. I complete stretches while laying in my bed and meditate on the goals I need to achieve throughout the day.
I am also becoming more aware than ever that food truly is more than something to calm a roaring belly- it is medicine! I am nourishing my body with the most nutritious foods and doing so religiously and with conviction that I am and feel like what I eat. I feel more connected and whole when I eat natural raw foods, like I am truly a part of the cycle of life. I also have endless energy and have more than once skipped the opportunity to indulge in cheat meals, which I initially looked forward to. Although I have always been a very positive person, I also find that eating whole raw foods has affected my mood for the better and that my mind is more clear and focused. It’s also been so much fun growing my own food,
experimenting with new foods and learning to actually prepare and “cook” food that tastes amazing (by my own standards and others’!).
One of my close friends recently noticed that for the first time in my life I am motivated in a different way to pursue my training routine and healthy eating regimen. When she asked me what was different (after asking me who HE is) and why I was so borderline obsessed with working out and eating healthy, I thought about it for a minute and responded that “I’ve just decided that my body is no longer just a means to an end, it is my end!”. I elaborated to list the reasons:
- I want to be able to breathe better, deeper and more fully to my lung’s capacity. As I am aging, I find that my breathing is getting not only sluggish but that I am suffering from alot more severe respiratory infections which are compromising the quality of my life.
- Although I have already been on all the continents except for one, I have a lot more traveling that I want and need to do! When my family and I travel, we don’y only sit on beaches or in chalets and relax, or on buses while “sightseeing”. Nope, not us Karas! Karas get out in the raw elements and climb on top of mountains to get breathtaking views, crouch deep into caves, zipline across exotic forests and swim deep into the world in the sea! All of these activities require physical fitness and after witnessing my loved ones deteriorate in physical shape and then subsequently miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities whilst on vacation, I am determined to never miss out on such an experience (if I can help it), and especially not because of a lack of physical ability or competence.
- I want to be able to chase after my children (and grandchildren!) and play tag, and climb monkey bars and go skiing, among many other things. Just like my second reason, these aspirations require physical prowess 😉
I also decided that I do not want a quick fix or a $300 cleanse (although I do cleanse, believe it is great in any lifestyle and will publish definitely post on this topic later) that surely may help me lose 15 pounds in a month (of h20!) but does nothing to improve my skin, hair, nails or to clarify my mind and thoughts, assist me to perform as well as sleep better, diminish my cravings for unhealthy foods, etc…. So the only option that remains is to sweat out all the pain that resulted in me eating too much and not moving enough! I am trading in my comfort foods, parties and stilettos for whole RAW foods, the gym and studio, and some great shoes made to endure some serious workouts! Interestingly, although I gave myself time and leeway to transition into this lifestlye, for example, by allowing for cheat meals as necessary (up to once a week), I have no desire to utilize these days because I am entirely satisfied with the amazing foods I have learned to prepare and which I am actually excited to eat in the same exact way I was once excited to eat my favorite processed foods. This may seem like an exaggeration or too good to be true but the proof is in the pudding and I challenge anyone to give me thirty days to convince them of not only this possibility but to also prove that everything I am experiencing is possible for you, if you are willing to try something different and treat your body like the temple it truly is. And, when I do infrequently cheat, I bounce right back into my newly chosen lifestyle of healthy eating afterward because I know how good it feels to sweat and burn out my body, as well as to eat foods that I believe God truly designed to heal the diverse and unique stresses that each of our bodies endures.
I don’t miss those voices or those looks, and as far as I’m concerned they can disappear for good. At this point in my life, I see and hear what I want to see and hear, and that is laughter and smily happy faces. I am also more than confident in my capability to create an identity and lifestyle that is suitable and productive for me. I’m totally done with negativity in every shape and form– that includes people, places, activities, experiences, etc.. that do not contribute in some positive way to my life and well-being. I welcome others to join me in a journey towards not only physical wellness, but mental, emotional and spiritual wellness as well. After all, what do you have to lose?