As I was sitting with a client today, we were speaking about the transformations she wanted to take place in her life. Since this was our initial session, she outlined many of them that would enhance her day to day experiences. Then we approached the action steps that could take place in order to see them through. Most of who desire to have happier, healthier lives, get all excited about the prospect, but sometimes halt at the doorway into this new world. Why?

Because it calls for change. And change is strange. New. Uncharted waters. Unexplored territory. No matter how you slice it, even if it feels exhilarating, it can still be frightening. I asked her to do something I will ask you to stop and do now. Fold your hands together. Which thumb is on top? My left thumb naturally rests on the right. Now switch it up. How does it feel?  For me, it feels weird and a bit anxiety provoking. I’m sure I could get used to it if I needed to and if I sat with it for a bit. I wonder if it is a neurological/wiring function. I will ask medical field friends and get back to you on it.

In the past year, I have made many changes of necessity. Since a string of health issues …shingles, heart attack, kidney stones and adrenal fatigue, they have become my M.O. Were they easy? Some. The dietary and exercise regimen were the simplest. Label reading, cooking, rather than throwing meals together to eat on the run, forgoing prepackaged veggie burgers and eating mostly organic, low sodium and low cholesterol everything have become my ‘new normal’. Going to cardiac rehab several times a week and taking brisk walks in between, doing yoga and dancing have become my regular fitness routine.

The biggest challenge has been the attitude adjustment that is required. Too often, I would exercise savior behavior, helium hand and wanting to feel essential. The first involves fixing, saving, healing, curing and kissing the book boos to make them all better. Not my job anymore. I can still love and nurture people, but it is by choice and not obligation. The second occurred when my hand would, seemingly of its own accord, loft up in the air like a helium balloon whenever someone would ask for a volunteer. The third felt like an insurance policy against rejection. Who wouldn’t love someone they needed and could rely on?  All of them were draining and not sustaining.

I have also been sleeping 7-8 hours a night and taking naps as needed during the day, without feeling like a slacker or couch spud. Everything about me is more leisurely and as a result, I am enjoying life more fully.

One thing that I am still working on, and I imagine it is not unusual, is refraining from identifying as a ‘cardiac patient,’ even while being mindful of the choices I make that contribute to a heart healthy life. It’s not simply about preventing another one from occurring, but rather, about continuing to offer myself bodacious self care. That looks like asking myself if I am living as I did BHA-Before Heart Attack, or AHA-After Heart Attack. The first was like a never ending spinning class and the second is a more leisurely bicycle ride through the countryside. I much prefer the view from the second seat.

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