A Year of Words

Read any good books lately? I love this question. It’s more interesting than “What are you binge watching lately?” It’s through these lovely creatures I call books that I learn new words, new methods, and even bring old methods back to life. Each day for this year I want to focus on these new words as they pertain to our health journey. A year of words…one word a day.

The first word is Ikigai. It’s an Okinawan word pronounced “icky guy.” And it means “the reason you get up in the morning.” The first time I saw this word it was while I was reading the book The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha. Ikigai is the word used by Okinawan people in place of the word retirement, which does not exist in their language.

It’s common knowledge now that people in Okinawa live longer than any other people on earth. It’s because they don’t retire. They keep working. They keep moving. They keep doing what they do. They have a purpose. They don’t save up their earnings to sit and wait for death. They keep doing. Okinawans have a reason to wake up in the morning. They have a purpose. It’s that thing they do that drives them!

Some reasons to get up in the morning could be because you have little ones and they depend on you. Taking care of others is a high purpose. Throughout every stage of life our Ikigai will change. It might also change if we have a big goal we want to achieve.

Pasricha’s book gives the instructions on how to make an Ikigai card. I’ve made this card but I’ve put 12 lines for each month to coincide with my goals for that month.

Ikigai relates to health.

Having a purpose or reason you get up in the morning is the best way to start your day. It helps your mind to engage and helps you focus on being healthy because you have a purpose in life. You know that opposite feeling if you’ve ever lost a job or gone through a difficult time in your life. You just want to wallow under the covers and not even peak your head out…this is the start of a deep depression.

Ikigai helps you from falling into a depression, it gives you a cause or reason to be engaged in your life.

Words are precious in life. Some words don’t mean what you think they do. Some words when translated from other languages have an entirely different meaning. Words can make us or break us. It’s up to us to choose our words wisely so we uplift each other and motivate each other to do better and be better. I hope this year of words uplifts, motivates, and change your life as they are changing mine.

Do you have Ikigai?

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DETOX DAY 7: Sleep

What is the most important aspect of going through a detox or cleanse? You might think it’s eliminating the toxins, or replenishing your body with good, nutritious food and clean, distilled water. While those two things are equally important I feel the most important aspect of cleansing the body is sleep. When we sleep our cells get a chance to rejuvenate and we are better able to handle the stresses of life. That is another aspect of cleansing that I will discuss tomorrow: Stress. But for right now sleep and rest is the best way to get through a detox with my mind intact.

Our bodies need sleep just as much as they need water. But the right amount of sleep is different for each person based on their nutritional needs. For me the right amount is a good 7 hours. 7 hours helps my body remain in the holding pattern of homeostasis or balance, and while I’m detoxing these 7 hours are more important than ever before. One reason is that my body is dumping many toxins out and while I’m eliminating the toxins my body needs every chance it can to get back to a holding pattern where it can regroup and be stronger than it was yesterday.

Interesting facts about our health when we sleep.

Interesting facts about our health when we sleep.

Here’s what sleep can do for you even when you’re not detoxing.

  1. It keeps your heart healthy by lowering your blood pressure.
  2. It may prevent cancer. (detect, repair & replace, this is how our cells prevent disease)
  3. It reduces stress. (Yes I know that sometimes it’s the stress that prevents you from sleeping).
  4. Sleep reduces inflammation, but only if you sleep in the prone position. (sleeping in a chair does the exact opposite.)
  5. Sleep makes you more alert. (You’ll do better on tests if you have a good night’s rest instead of cramming all night.)
  6. Sleep makes your memory better. (You’ll remember the facts for that test and you’ll also remember where you put your car keys at.)
  7. Sleep also helps with weight loss  (Because when you sleep you don’t crave carbs as much.)
  8. Sleep is also associated with reduced risk of depression.
  9. Every cell in your body repairs when you sleep.
  10. Sleep helps you look youthful longer.

References

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/22/cancer-sleep.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleep-deprivation/AN01344

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/tips-reduce-stress

http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/health-nutrition/620-sleep-the-secret-weapon-for-school-success.gs

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-while-sleeping

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm

http://www.oasisadvancedwellness.com/learning/sleep-skin-care.html

DAY 16: JOURNEY OF MY HEART

A bit longer than my normal posts, but one that I think you’ll enjoy.

Journey of My Heart

Journey of My Heart

There are many pathways in life. The ones we choose to take and those we do not. There are paths that are well worn, with trampled grass and those without even a single footprint. Which path to take and which to abandon, we ask ourselves this every day with every decision we make. My heart feels the need to make this journey to find the real treasures of life

One such journey has taken me down the Acquisition Avenue. I thought that whoever had the most at the end of this life won a prize. I shopped with wild abandon. There is no prize worth acquiring things you “might someday use,” or clothes you bought in a size you want to wear, but don’t. I bought pictures that were never hung and art that sat in a closet. I was getting such a “good deal” I thought. I spent money I did not have. Acquisition Avenue was not where my treasure was kept, and all the things I acquired that were not needed I gave away.

My GPS unit took me to a bridge that I had not seen before, so I followed the voice and made my way to the Balanced Beam Bridge. This bridge was like no other, there was no traffic waiting to cross it. The beams were shiny and sparkling. Everything looked brand new. I wondered as I slowed down to take in this awesome structure, “What did this bridge connect to?”  “Where did it lead to?”  “Why hadn’t I seen this bridge before?” “Why is it void of traffic?” Then I saw the two red flashing stop signs on both sides of the bridge. I slowed down to a complete stop, and read the small words under the flashing lights, they read, “To get across bridge, middle of the road driving is recommended.” How did this pertain to my life? Is it like this when I go too far to the right I become fanatical about issues? Could it be when I swerve too far to the left I lose my equilibrium? Life is like this Balance Beam Bridge. I need to live in balance, in every situation. I now understand how to get to the other side of the bridge and cannot wait till I can see all the splendor the other side has to offer.

The next road is windy and dark; I have veered around its bends many times before. Depression Drive seems to call my name when trouble rears its ugly head.  It abounds in despair. The bones of faith, hope and love are scattered along its shoulders. This is such a discouraging place. It’s a selfish place. Caring for others on Depression Drive is not allowed because you would feel better when you aren’t  thinking the worst about yourself. I have deleted Depression Drive off the map of my heart journey, since having faith, hope and love leads you out of the darkness.

This brings us to the Faith Freeway. It is paved with prayers. Stepping out on this part of my journey is all about my faith. I ask myself, “Is this faith in myself, or someone or something else?” Some days I ask, “How much faith do I need?” I have to admit that there are those days that I need more faith, in myself, maybe, but most of all in my awesome Creator. Along of the Faith Freeway there are potholes of life that creates a slow down. These are the times I get down, and spend more time on my knees. The only way to make the pavement smooth again is to have that most important conversation of my day, in prayer.

On the left is an off ramp called Liars Lane. How many lies can a person tell? Most people including myself say they don’t lie. Does telling myself something that isn’t true count? Where does the lying stop? Liars Lane is an off ramp that leads to Chaos Circle, Depression Drive, and to anxiety and stress. The phrase “Fake it till you make it.” Should that be part of my repertoire on this heart journey to find my treasure? Is faking something the same as lying? The line has to be drawn and the words that I talk to myself need to be uplifting as they are when I talk to a friend. I need to speak the words of truth to myself. “I am beautiful.” “I can do anything I set my mind to.”  “I am a person of worth.” “My life means something.” “I am good for many things.” “I am a good person.”

The orange caution signs along this path tell me that there is construction up ahead. I must slow down and take a detour now. Come with me as I get on the Moodiness Mile. Some days that this mile goes on for hundreds, sometimes thousands more miles than it should. Do I change my mood when I change my shoes? Do I go from being in my favorite pair of tennis shoes and being outgoing and fun loving; to wearing my stilettos which make me be witchy and mean? Is there a way to get rid of all this moodiness? How often have I made people around me uncomfortable because of my mood? I have fought with this Moodiness Mile for quite some time now, and frankly I am tired of it. It has not brought me any closer to my treasure nor has it made my journey any easier. Not to mention all the people I truly need to apologize to for making them so uncomfortable.

“Oh good, this detour is over. But look what is coming next!”  This ongoing journey gets to take a break and breathe a little; I am in the Patience Parking Lot. Sometimes my vehicle needs to be parked and I need to get out and walk. My GPS tells me that the Patience Parking Lot runs parallel with the Faith Freeway. I must have faith in order to have patience. Patience gives me reasons to stop and smell the fragrant flowers growing along the paths that I did not see before because I was in such a hurry to get to my destination. I now have time to enjoy and take in the beauty of the spectacular sunrise that greets me every morning. I find myself living in the Patience Parking Lot more now than ever before. I am not alone here as many of my friends are here to keep me company. The Patience Parking Lot will never be empty.  Patience is one part of my life that I have not mastered yet, I know I will park here again as there will be times on this journey of mine where I will need to have more patience.

I decided to get out and walk a bit. I made a wrong turn onto the Stressed Out Sidewalk. It is seemed like a popular place to be as there were so many people on it.  I thought this was a party. I was wrong. Now I am getting stressed out with each step I take, and these people seem to be walking in circles instead of actually getting anywhere. There are people here that look somewhat familiar to me, but I am really not sure. The anxiety has caused their bodies to hunch over, they are nervously twitching. They seem to look right through me, yet their eyes never make contact with mine. I don’t like this sidewalk. I have been related to these people, and I have been these people, more times than I care to speak about.  Hastily I got back into my vehicle, drove one block to my destination.

My destination is right here in front me. I found my treasure. Its name is Relationship Road. It has been here all along.  It is the relationships in my life that are my true treasures. My most important one is the relationship I choose to have with God. I never miss to call on him every morning, noon and night. I cherish the time I get to spend with God and His Word. This relationship makes all the others possible. Relationship Road is paved with the memories of my bonds to my parents, my siblings, my husband, my sons, my family and my friends. Travel down this road under the posted speed limit: of one moment at a time.

Throughout my journey my heart has learned how acquiring things is not the same as having a treasure. Living in balance is the only way to get through life. Helping others gets us out of being depressed. Faith and patience work hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other.  Being moody and stressed out makes the journey so much harder.  The true treasures of life are the people whose hearts we touch.