By Janet Neal ~
I have been on a mission this year, with the end goal to look good in the pictures at my son’s wedding in December. I had wanted to “release” a few pounds and get back into shape (again), and this was good incentive. I put myself on a very realistic and reasonable plan of losing 3 pounds a month, by increasing exercise and eating a healthy, predominantly Mediterranean based diet. January through March: right on target!
Then came April: travel, illness, birthdays, lots of meetings around meals. With a week to go in the month, I feel the panic seeping in. And I am already scheming which “lose weight quick!” plan I should launch. Must. Reach. Goal…
Today I had my annual mammogram, and everything just shifted.
So as not to worry you…NO, nothing is wrong and I am healthy! Thank goodness!!
No, what happened was more about observation. In the waiting room, I observed nervous women who were there with friends and loved ones. I sent up silent prayers for them, and ones of gratitude that I was there merely for the annual “smashing of the breast” routine. I waited in the “inner room” and watched a slide show on the importance of healthy eating (based in large part on the Mediterranean diet). I felt grateful that I had chosen to treat myself kindly with that type of eating, without fully knowing the health benefits of it.
And then my favorite technician called me into the exam room. I hadn’t seen her last year and was delighted to see she was still around. Her smiling eyes and gracious smile greeted me like an old friend. I took her in: she had aged since I had started going there (so had I…), and had settled into herself. She was sturdier, with more wrinkles. And yet it was not what she looked like that mattered to me in that moment: it was her spirit. It shown through and her warmth comforted me.
In that brief encounter I not only saw her, but I saw myself. I saw a woman who was allowing her fear of “what others would think” to start creeping back in. I saw someone who truly believes and teaches the importance of living from the inside out…who was allowing her outsides to dictate how she felt about her insides. I saw the ridiculousness of the fear of the number on a scale, and the real importance of being holistically healthy.
Sure, I’d love to look svelte in the wedding pictures! But I’d like even more to look happy and healthy. To do that I’ll need to shift my perspective, once again, and realize that it is all about making healthy choices, and not beating myself up if my body has its own timetable. I’ll remind myself that life is a journey, not a race. And I’ll find gratitude the fact that I am here, right now, in this place and time: healthy, happy, and looking forward to another joyous occasion.