Heal

I’m out of the boot – hooray!Β πŸŽ‰

Last week, I watched HEAL on Netflix. It reminded me that I have the power to fix myself, especially in a situation where my leg muscles should have healed months ago.

The tightness and burning and throbbing – like my leg is vibrating on a different frequency than the rest of my body – indicated that maybe this, like so many other afflictions, could be a spiritual issue.

From the documentary, I took the following nine key tactics of healing and took a look at how I can put them to use in my own life.

  1. Radically changing your diet
  2. Taking control of your health
  3. Following your intuition
  4. Using herbs and supplements
  5. Releasing suppressed emotions
  6. Increasing positive emotions
  7. Embracing social support
  8. Deepening your spiritual connection
  9. Have a strong reason for living

The good news is I can’t help but to do number two, that’s the benefit of being a little bit of a control freak. I try to do number three – that’s where most of my harebrained ideas come from.

And, if you’ve followed my journey, you know I started number one five weeks ago by going completely plant-based.

In fact, the whole foods, plant-based diet has been instrumental in changing my life.Β After five weeks, I have more energy. My thoughts are more focused. Scratches and cuts heal incredibly quickly. My skin has finally cleared up.

I haven’t looked into herbs and supplements but will. I just need to figure out a good place to start. πŸ€”

This past week, I did an exercise for number five – releasing suppressed emotions – and that was fabulous. Hard, but so good.

I’m working on number six and seven. I’ve stopped watching the news and try to surround myself with positive people.

My friends and family are the best when it comes to sending me love and healing energy. I am blessed.

I’ve meditated and prayed every day since seeing the documentary. I love connecting with God. Oddly,Β I seem to find reasons not to do it often, same with my yoga practice. It’s like my brain wants to keep my hands (and itself) busy with idle tasks, which I unknowingly comply with.

But when I do sit down and meditate or invest the time in a yoga class, it’s heavenly. Right now, I don’t think about whether or not I have the choice to do it. It’s simple. If I want to heal, I just do it.

Number nine. This one I struggled with, which is saying something. I love life, it’s not that I don’t. I just can’t say I have a strong reason for living.

I love my family, friends, and partner immensely. I love the earth, nature, animals, and life’s wonderful conveniences like clean hot and cold water, lights that turn on with the flip a switch, and the espresso machine.

A strong reason for living feels like something a lot bigger than animals or the espresso machine; like a purpose.

When I was a child, my purpose was to grow up and move out of the house. After I moved out of the house, my purpose was to get a degree. After I did that, it was to land a good job. After I did that, it was to land a better job that paid more money. Then, a better one, and so on. Maybe these were just goals. (I love goals.)

The truth is I can’t say I’ve ever had a bigger purpose in mind other than to survive my childhood, not become a complete basket case as I process the trauma in adulthood, contribute to the better good of society, and give of myself at both work and in relationships.

All considered, I’ve been mildly successful. I probably have something deep down, I just need to find a way to bring it to the surface so I look to that as I begin to heal.

So, while I finish up the last scheduled week of eating a plant-based diet, I’m going to find and implement a few different exercises in helping me find my purpose.

A long, long, long time ago, I read The Purpose-Driven Life. Maybe I’ll check that out again.

One more week to go.Β πŸ₯’πŸ₯•πŸ‡πŸ πŸ†πŸ₯¦πŸ“πŸ‰Β πŸ™πŸΌ


Plant-based week two

The second week of plant-based eating has been better than the first. I’ve been less clumsy, had slightly more energy, dealt with a different kind of breakout, and experienced completely guilt-free eating, which I never thought about going into to this little experiment.

First, less clumsiness – thank God! I didn’t think I could take another week like last. I consider no bloodshed a win. Nevertheless, I still suffered a nasty scrape and bruise from the corner of our hallway table along with a retailer’s door slamming into me, which resulted in a not-so-pretty blue and yellow splotch on my arm.

In general, I try to not to hold on to events like these for too long and chalk them up to me burning negative karma. I’ll take a cut or bruise over something more serious any day.

The scratches, cuts, and scrapes that I mentioned last week have all healed incredibly fast. This is surprising. The stubborn blisters on the back of my heels obtained in early May, which had been lingering for weeks, also healed completely last week.

I’ve had about the same energy level, maybe a little more during the afternoon when I usually felt like taking a nap under my desk at work (George Costanza-style), but instead would get an americano from the espresso bar. I didn’t really need either as of late.

As far as my skin, I still have had little breakouts, but different from before. These little white bastards pop up on my neck too, and they’re painful. My sister told me she breaks out from tofu, so that’s something for me to keep an eye on.

Vegan meals from restaurants usually have tofu in them so it’s hard to avoid it if I want a hot meal. I could ask to hold the tofu Β but then the meal would be a few measly veggies in some sauce.

Overall, I’m enjoying the food more and more. I’ve found I’m not hungry between meals like I was on the Whole30 or when counting calories. Oddly enough, I also seem to be gravitating toward healthier options when given the choice.

Part of this is simply because the healthier option sounds tastier, but the other part is I’m also making sure I’m getting enough iron and protein in my meals.

As an example, I had the choice of eating vegetarian refried beans on a tortilla with all the fixings of a taco or making a southwestern salad instead, skipping the tortillas and replacing the refried beans with whole black beans, and I chose the latter.

Not only did I feel the salad would taste better, but the black beans had a little more iron than the refried. No brainer. And the salad was delicious and incredibly satisfying all for 460 calories.

One of the side effects of plant-based eating is the lack of guilt when praying over food. I used to have to thank God and the poor animal that gave its life or gave of itself resulting in milk, butter, yogurt, etc. so I might be nourished. There were feelings of guilt in those prayers. Not any longer! It’s a different type of prayer and feeling nowadays. What a completely unexpected, but welcomed, side effect.

My mood is lighter too. I’ve been a little happier in general even though these have been some of the toughest and trying months at work. Hooray for good mental health powered by plants.

Unfortunately, my achilles is only a little better, but not close to healed. I was hoping for better results by week two. I’ve heard of people coming off of all their diabetes, asthma, anxiety, etc. meds in two weeks on a plant-based diet so maybe I was expecting a similar result with my leg and achilles fully healing. Not even close.

Granted, over the past week, the tendons in my ankle on up along the knee and into the back of the hip all hurt quite a bit less. Yesterday, I took a couple 2-mile walks. One after lunch and the other after dinner. They took their toll in the way of stiffness this morning, but after a calf stretch, it felt a little bit better.

I continue to roll out both legs at night and the injured side continues to be lumpy and painful. I’m trying to stay optimistic.

Four more weeks to go.Β πŸ₯¬πŸ₯•πŸ“πŸπŸ’πŸŒ½πŸπŸ‘πŸ₯”πŸ™πŸΌ


An Ode to Montana

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Montana is an incredibly beautiful, not to mention enormous, state. From east to west it’s about the equivalent of driving from Chicago to New Jersey. Crazy big.

About a decade ago, I had the opportunity to do some backpacking inside Glacier National Park. It was one of the most memorable backpacking trips, from seeing a massive and somehow majestic moose standing only a few meters away to crossing a waist-high, ice-cold mountain river hoisting my camera and the rest of my pack above my head in an attempt to keep it dry. We also came across a mama bear with her two nine-month-old cubs. Luckily, no mauling ensued.

When I arrived in Bozeman earlier this month, the little airport felt welcoming and cozy. It was built like a mountain lodge with raised wooden beams supporting a roof that takes on an average of seventy-two inches of snow each year. Outside, the Montana that I recalled entering many years ago, with it’s clean air, grand mountains nestled on an eternal horizon, and impossibly large clouds somehow not blocking the warm sun that fell on my face, greeted me kindly. Although many years ago, I had landed in Kalispell almost three hundred miles away, this was the same big sky country. It felt like an embrace from an old friend.

We stayed at a newly built dwelling called the Sage Lodge in Pray, MT. They were still putting the finishing touches on the rooms. When we checked in, we were missing oddities like lightbulbs and the sliding screen door handle. Strange, but the staff were mostly friendly and you couldn’t beat the location, which was almost on top of the Yellowstone River and a thirty-five minute drive straight across the Wyoming boarder into Yellowstone National Park.

Since taking on the minimalist way of life, there wasn’t much packed in my suitcase. It was light as a feather. Two t-shirts, an athletic long sleeve pullover, a SmartWool shirt, hiking pants, jeans, socks, hiking shoes, sandals, pjs, undergarments, a hat, sunglasses, and a toiletry bag. (Minimalism aside, I was glad the lodge we stayed in had laundry because by the third day, I needed them all cleaned.)

I’ve heard fishing is good for the mind, body, and soul, and we were in the best fly fishing spot in the world, so I figured why not. And it did not disappoint. On the Yellowstone River, there are rules about which fish you can keep, which you must release, and others you must keep or kill. According to the law, we released all our catches.

Every time I’d get a bite, I’d “set” my pole, which basically means pull it up as hard and fast as you can, and hope there’s a fish on the other end of it. I missed most times, but managed to net two beautiful rainbow trout. The experience of pulling them in, feeling their weight on the other side of the pole, and then guiding them gently into the net was invigorating. I’d wet my hands, hold them for a quick picture, and then they went back into the water hopefully a little wiser for the wear.

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We also spent a day in Yellowstone. Did a six-mile hike out and back to the Imperial Geyser, saw a few bison, a bighorn sheep, and watched good ole Ole Faithful do its thing too. Impressive.

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When the four days were over, I was sad to leave Montana. There is a rugged wildness, a real wilderness, about the state. And yet, I felt safe and supported by the mountains, the rivers and streams, the vast earth. Maybe it was just nice to get out of the city and see the stars. Whatever it was, I want to go back.

People say Montana winters are a “dry cold,” which I guess is supposed to be less cold somehow. I don’t know about that, but I might go back this winter just to test out the theory. I’m thinking snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Anything to get outside, even in the freezing temperatures, to be with those mountains and rivers, and under that big sky again.