Just Write: Happy Birthday. No Cake.
Just Write is written on a post-it taped to the inside of my computer. As I continue down the road of my own journey of self-development and discovery, I have challenged myself to wake-up each morning and JUST WRITE. These two words inspire me, even when I am feeling empty, to Just Write. I aim for twenty minutes each morning sometimes less, sometimes more, but I always walk away feeling better than I started. These blog entries are the product of following through on this commitment to myself. There is no rhyme or reason other than to Just Write. I am glad you are here. Perhaps I can inspire you to go more in the direction of vulnerability and curiosity of how this simple act can play a part in your overall well-being when YOU JUST WRITE .
Who says you cannot break old patterns. For forty years I celebrated my birthday with a cake as family gathered and sang Happy Birthday. For as long as I can remember my birthday cake represented happiness, temporary taste bud euphoria, and connection as my family and friends would gather and celebrate me. Even as I write this I can feel the buttercream frosting hitting my tongue from so many birthdays past and instantly feel as if nothing else mattered in that moment, even though I haven't had buttercream in over a year! Even the anticipation of an approaching birthday would put me in a better mood because I knew that I would I could eat all the cake, guilt free, because after all it's my birthday and I deserve to consume all the food, eat all the fast food, junk food I wanted because it was my day. Sometimes, my birthday celebration would last for days as I would go on a birthday bender and eat all the food and all the sweets to my hearts content. So many emotions are associated with food and our relationship to it. I mean, we can not avoid this association as it has been ingrained in our brains for as long as we have been alive through celebration, graduations, funerals, weddings, commercials, billboards, peer influence, etc. If there is an emotion involved there is a one hundred percent chance there is a Sugar Fix for that! Whatever emotion we are experiencing sugar has to top the list of go-to to self-soothe techniques to either take our mind off the emotion we are experiencing in that moment or hang onto it by eating cake and other sugar confections.
This month I turned forty-one and for the first time in all my life I celebrated my birthday, no cake. I no longer depend on sugar to enhance my good mood or it's ability to numb me from whatever uncomfortable emotion I experience. Instead, over these last nine months and the biggest contributor to my success of living a sugar-free lifestyle I have sought out and experimented with alternatives or diversions as I like to call them. Things such as meditation, intentional breathing, reading, grounding, journaling, being in nature, bike riding, hiking, strengthening my relationship with myself or should I say CONNECTION. Connection has been a POWER word for me, especially since the introduction to life living with Covid. The more connected I feel to myself, my family and my community the happier I am, period. Exercise and movement has been a non-negotiable for me for last twelve years so these diversions I listed above are in addition to my daily workout regime.
REFLECTION is a tool that I use to continue to encourage my sugar-free lifestyle. As I sit here and reflect on birthdays past I think about what is different this year than all the birthdays before me. The most stand out observation is how I no longer depend on food to define my mood and how I feel. I no longer associate or define happiness by what I put into my mouth. I am learning to detach those emotions from food and attach them to other experiences that matter, like really matter. Experiences such as being a more present wife, parent, friend and contributor to my community. Gratitude toward my everyday ordinary life moments, which when I reflect on yesterdays it is those ordinary moments that I give most gratitude for. A shared laugh, learning something new together as a family and experiencing how my body has transformed from the inside out through these daily practices. I refer to my sugar-free lifestyle as a practice because it really is. Each new day is another opportunity to put into practice the art of living without sugar. I started this journey over the last nine months with no expectation other than waking up and committing to make simple changes in my day-to-day when it came to food, my connection to it, and how it makes me feel when I eat this vs. that. The results and A-HA moments that I continue to experience on the daily are so positive and often mind blowing that I continue to wake-up each morning and put into Practice the sugar-free lifestyle. I use the term practice intentionally because that is what this lifestyle is all about. Practice makes perfect? Well no, not exactly, but practice makes progress and the more I can put into practice consistently seeking new ways to better my physical, mental, and emotional health the better Being I am becoming. I like who I was, but I am in LOVE with who I am becoming and that is a PRACTICE I can live with. I stand corrected. That is a PRACTICE I can LIVE my BEST LIFE with.