Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Living In Reverse II

First time here? Visit my New Visitors page to caught up.

After months of observing more improvements to my physical health, I am ready to share. For continuity from the previous post, the title is Living In Reverse II. This means that the improvements are such that my health state has been restored to where it was several years ago. The theme for this post is looking back while moving forward.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, I lived with a limited range of motion. This limitation came about so gradually that I cannot pinpoint the moment it started. For instance, when standing on one leg, I struggled to keep my balance. 

While walking, I took short steps because the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in my pelvis did not have much flexibility to allow a longer stride. I knew these were changes, but I could not say when they first happened.

Bending down to plug in an electrical appliance was a chore because my stomach and back muscles were weak. In addition, I became so accustomed to living with tension that my entire body was stiff. I had a stiff neck, stiff joints, stiff back. I constantly held my shoulders stiff and pointing up toward my ears. 

While driving, looking to my left or right had to be done with more effort because the muscles in my back and neck were so rigid. Living this way was the norm for me until I started following the Living PowerLife approach to health and wellness.

Today, I am happy to share that I no longer live with the rigidity, inflexibility, and weakness that I took for granted as part of living before. One example that led me to look for and observe these improvements happened just this past summer. 

During a camping trip, I had the chance to kayak for the first time. I canoed over the years and still do, but never kayaked and was excited that a family friend had an extra boat to share. While helping her take the kayaks off the top rack of her SUV, it became evident that I had more upper body strength. Since she was at least 30 years my junior and lived an active lifestyle, I was pleasantly surprised.

Once back home from camping, I decided to look for other signs that my physical health had improved. First, I checked my balance because this is what bothered me the most. As a child and young adult, I was very active and enjoyed athletics. 

Diminishing balance meant that I could not compete or even participate in sports like basketball, softball, tag football, or even boxing as well. After checking my balance, though, I found a great deal of improvement; I was back to when I was much younger.

Second, I checked my flexibility and found that I was much more able to do things that were a struggle before. Keep in mind that I have not really made a conscious effort to stretch or increase my flexibility. This improvement came about solely with me stretching before, during, and after my weightlifting workouts, bike riding, and running.

Third, bending down and doing things such as plugging in an electrical appliance was no problem. I did not even need to think about what to do. In fact, getting up and down from the floor is much easier again. 

By looking back over how much living and eating well has restored my health, I realize that part of claiming my power in my own life means that I take the time to consistently look back as I move forward. Look back to what was a struggle or difficult before, so that I can see how I am moving forward. Recognizing how I am moving forward helps to keep me motivated into the future.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Living In Reverse I

First time here? Visit my New Visitors page to catch up.

Since around 2001, I have lived with what my doctor told me was the life-long effect of surviving a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in my left leg. I had accepted this life-long effect and lived with it. Today, however I am totally surprised that this is no longer the case. The theme for this post is nothing is written in stone. 

I first noticed that my leg was no longer showing post DVT signs several months ago, but was hesitant to describe this in a post. My leg swelled often and my doctor, at the time, said this was something I would need to get used to. The swelling was not going to go away, and it had not gone away, until now. After observing this for months, I am ready to share and comfortable with attributing this good outcome to following the Living PowerLife approach to health and happiness. 

Back in 2000 or so, I had a major health catastrophe. I was being treated for lung congestion, which my doctor diagnosed as pneumonia. I was on antibiotics, really did not feel well, but was able to go about my daily obligations. Then one day I noticed that my left leg was much larger than my right from my groin down to my toes. Not long after that, my entire leg became shinny and had a reddish tint. I called my doctor and the message was to come to her office ASAP. 

I had a DVT and was admitted to the hospital. I was checked into the cardiac floor and not many people thought I would make it through the night. I did. I also became a novelty for the interns there because people seldom survive the condition that I had. My DVT was so large that part of it had broken off and traveled to my lung. Interns, nurses, doctors, came by my room to see the woman who beat the odds.

Once I was back on my feet (I was bedridden for 3 days. Hospitalized for 5) I saw that my left leg was still much larger than my right. In fact, I almost could not get my left leg into pants that fit otherwise. I asked my doctor during a check-up if my leg would go back to normal and she told me that I was just going to have to live with the swelling. She told me matter of fact with no room for maybe. 

She said that the leg will go down some, but that I was always going to have the problem of it swelling. Until recently, I treated what she told me as though it were written in stone. If I sat for a time, my leg would swell. If I stood or walked for a time, my leg would swell. To compensate, I propped my leg up whenever possible. This helped some. As years went by, the swelling leveled out so that my leg only swelled from the knee down, and was not as much a problem. That was then. 

Now, after following the Living PowerLife approach to health and happiness I can happily report that my leg no longer swells. I sit and write at the computer, and my leg does not swell. I run, walk, work out, and my leg does not swell. While my left leg is larger than my right, just as my left side is larger than my right, the swelling is gone. The only difference is Living PowerLife. 

I share this with you to remind you that nothing is written in stone in this world because the one thing you can count on is change. The question is which direction will the change take. Affecting the direction of the changes that come in your life is where you have control. You can find your optimal health through healthy eating, exercise, and meditation.

Remember: I am not a doctor, nor do I encourage anyone to stop taking medication, stop following your doctor's orders, start self-medicating, or start self-diagnosing. What I describe in my posts are what I experience and notice after changing how I live and eat.

From my PowerLife to yours,

2012. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

PowerLife Living: Swimining Uncharted Waters

First time here? Visit my New Visitors page to catch up.

Recently, I have noticed several changes that I can share at this time. I cannot indicate whether these changes are negative or positive. They simply have occurred. Because I am following the Living PowerLife approach to better living exclusively and because I did not expect what has happened, the changes that I have noticed are important insight for anyone who is working to incorporate this approach into a healthier life. The overall theme of this post is continuing into the unknown.

For the majority of my adult life, I have engaged in consistent meditation. I first used meditation to recognize and try to understand some of the difficulties in the relationship that I had with my mother. At the time, I knew that she loved me, and there was no terrible abuse in my childhood. At the same time, though, I knew there was tension between us. 

Tension that I wanted to come to terms with so that I would not pass it on to my daughters. Meditation was how I succeeded. Meditation was key to learning that the relationship between my mother and me was, to use a Facebook description, complicated. This was also how I came to terms with the fact that parents often have difficulties in their relationships with their children.

Today, I have noticed that I cannot meditate the way that I have for most of my life. Every day, at my usual meditation time, I fall asleep at the beginning of my routine instead. The first few times, I thought that I was tired, but several weeks have gone by with the same result; I start my meditation routine only to awaken about 30 minutes later. Right now, I am not sure what to make of this.

In addition, I do not remember my dreams the way that I did. One consistency of sleep was that I remembered vivid dreams upon awakening. Maybe a few days would pass when I did not remember a dream, but that was not often. Constant dream recall was why I started keeping a dream log years ago. Not a person to believe in coincidence, I instinctively saw dream recall as a tool. 

Going back and reading my dream log was when I realized that there was useful insight into myself. This discipline helped me navigate very difficult emotional times in the past. However, today my dream recall consists of impressions or snapshot images at best. Most mornings I have no memory of dreaming at all.

Other than the fact that I miss being able to meditate, and I find sleep boring without remembering my dreams, I feel fine. Emotionally/mentally, I am the happiest and most focused than I have been for a long time. I do not have the feeling that someone, or something is missing in my life. I am not more invested in pleasing others than taking care of my needs. I feel good about my future.

Not remembering my dreams could mean that my subconscious is finished incorporating the new information that I was consciously accepting. If so, that is good and means an old chapter in my life is closed and a new one is beginning. I find not being able to meditate puzzling, though, and do not have any thoughts about why this is the case.

I do remember that when I first started meditating, letting my mind wander uncensored was difficult. I also remember that I would fall asleep when I meditated in bed, which is why I sit. In the past, I stopped meditating for short periods. In retrospect, each time that I decided to stop, I was drawn into to destructive waters. Since I did not decide to stop meditating, I am not sure what is coming next.

Only time will tell what all these changes mean. Only time will tell if I will start back remembering dreams and be able to meditate again. Right now, I am in uncharted waters. I do know that nothing is coincidental, and my assessments tell me that I am still moving in a good direction.

From my PowerLife to yours,

2012. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

End of Summer Thoughts: 2012

First time here? Visit my New Visitors page to catch up.

Now that summer is officially over and a new season is on the horizon, I did what I usually do at this time of year--make assessments in my life. Following are some of my thoughts on how the Living PowerLife approach to happiness and health has changed me for the better. The overall theme for this post is finding Power by breaking through life-long barriers.

Before I could begin to think about the full effect of the Living PowerLife approach, I had to revisit two areas of my past. First, I had to examine where I was about 3 years ago when I first came to Boston, MA. Second, I had to acknowledge the actions and decisions that brought me to such a negative point. I will not spend a great deal of energy today describing where I was and how I got there. That has been shared in previous posts. These two links are where you can read about that time: Your Living PowerLife Springboard--Spiritual and Welcome! Bienvenue!.

That established, what I have to share today falls under three categories: physical, mental, and spiritual.

Physical: I will start with the obvious. I have lost weight. How much? I do not know. Enough to need an entire new wardrobe starting with my underwear. Part of deciding to change how I feel and live includes not focusing on how much I weigh. Been there and done that. 

Been there when I trotted to the doctor's office every month to stand on a scale while anxiously awaiting the pronouncement that would either label me a success--I had lost weight, or a failure--I had not. Gone are those days. Done that agonizing before deciding to eat every morsel of food. Done the psychological self-flagellation because I was not the size someone else had claimed for me. Gone are those days.

Instead, I stay in constant contact with how I feel in my body. I consider how my body functions every day when determining whether I am moving in the direction that I want. The results have been fantastic. I am stronger, have more endurance, and I am far more flexible than before.

My body has more definition because my muscle tone is better than at least 10 years ago. In a sense, I have turned back the clock through exercise, better eating/sleeping habits, removing stressful people and situations when possible, redirecting my thoughts and energy when necessary, and meditation. 

Mental: Again, I will start with the obvious. My mental attitude is better than it has been for at least 20 years. I can give you an example. Recently, my computer got a virus, AGAIN, that completely wiped out my hard drive. Even my tech guy who fixes computers for a living said what happened to my computer was ''weired''.

Now, I could very easily have gone down a self-defeating path of blame, anger, and pity. In fact, I am almost sure that I would have done so in the past. This time though, I made the conscious choice to focus only on what I could do. The results are I know even more about computers. Now, instead of having one, I will soon have access to three computers when everything is complete.

My mental attitude is crucial to being able to get and maintain focus while working out. I am an extrovert to the core. I love being around people, and get energized by engaging with people. This has often been my downfall in the past because I became distracted by what other people were thinking or doing too easily. I became engaged with other people too quickly. 

While I am still the ultimate extrovert, I have learned how to manage my inclination better. I am no longer distracted as much by the presence of others, and this frees more time and energy to focus on myself and what I need to do. The results are that I break new weightlifting barriers every month or so and I currently lift more weight than I did in my 30's.

Spiritually: This aspect is less easy to describe. My spirituality is the most private part of my life. My spirituality is also what grounds me and is how I get and maintain a positive outlook. For decades my spiritual life has been enriched through focused meditation (to be covered this fall), dream interpretation, and prayer. The difference now is that, through following the Living PowerLife approach to health, I no longer have the need to be accepted by a religious group.

My spiritual connection is not determined by others. My spiritual connection is determined by how I develop my relationship with God and the Universe. Coming to this realization is nothing short of a miracle in my life. You see, as far back as I can remember, I have struggled with being accepted by some religious group or another.

As far back as I can remember, I have been told that I was not good enough by religion. Not searching for inclusion has allowed me to redirect the energy that I was wasting on trying to be where I did not need to be, and use it to fully explore my spiritual life, code of ethics, and relationship to the rest of creation. 

In summary, while there are particulars in my life that I would like to improve (a larger bank account, for instance), I feel very good about the direction my life is heading, and look forward to my favorite time of year--fall.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012. All rights reserved.