I was an extremely rebellious teenager. I was one of those kids who would essentially do exactly the opposite of what I was asked to do. What is that phrase? I would cut off my nose to spite my face. That was me. I didn’t know why I was rebelling – I just did. In hindsight I guess it was just self-expression.
Along the way I turned things around and began to realize that I wasn’t doing myself any favors! Since then (2001) I’ve come a long way since my days of rock n roll (that’s a post for another time) and have striven everyday to live the best life I can. Through trial and error I found what optimized my performance (personal and professional) and created a recipe for my life– a go-to check list of things that bring me back to center. These include:
-unadulterated time with my family
-7-8 hours of sleep
-healthy and conscious eating
-reading 5-10 pages of a good book
…you get the picture!
I’ve lived this way for years- with varying degrees of focus on these ‘ingredients’ for my best life- never quite mastering the art and science of doing them all at a level I consider optimal! Life happens and something slips- but for the most part I’ve always done few/all these behaviors daily! These behaviors are so engrained in my DNA now that when I stray too far- I start to experience physical withdrawals! I start to ‘feel’ unlike myself, I might have trouble sleeping, or just feel a general sense of malaise and discomfort.
A short while ago I fell off every wagon imaginable in my life! I haven’t meditated, run, slept well, eaten my best (ok not too bad here but not what I’m capable of) nor read anything good in at least a few weeks. And I’m amazed at how it’s affected me. I put on a big fundraiser on May 10 and I know I get into ‘crazy mode’ the fortnight leading up to it– where my life is completely out of balance. Usually however I can take the couple days off after it to recover and get back up on my feet! It wasn’t that big a deal- just about 200 people…and my 4th year planning it- so it wasn’t new; so I can’t attribute it to that.
I thought a lot about this and realized that I was having a conscious rebellious moment/day/week/month. Where instead of rebelling against someone else’s authority I was rebelling against my own– again back to that teenage behavior of cutting off my nose to spite my face! This time though I was fully aware of the consequences – and did it willfully. I have to admit that it felt good to eat gluten (bread, orzo, rice, baguette) and dairy (Brie), to have a martini (pear/pomegranate), to have a soy decaf latté and garlic mashed potatoes (not all in the same meal!)…all things I’ve avoided in my mainly gluten, soy, dairy free lifestyle. I’ve been sleeping late but having to still wake up early which doesn’t work out that well, and I’ve probably increased my alcohol tolerance (2 drinks vs. my standard 1 drink and I’m inebriated)…I don’t drink regularly and so yes I’m a total light weight!
Once I figured out what I was doing, I felt a bit better – initially I thought I’d gone off my deep end! My inner sensor had been screaming for a while and it was getting exhausting ignoring it. When I stopped ignoring it and actually acknowledged, honored and accepted my rebellion it became a lot easier to work through/with.
Now that I’ve allowed my inner teenager to surface, it’s time to grow up again; but let me tell you– it’s not as easy to gain the momentum that you’ve had. I’ve been trying to sleep early and yet here it is 10:30pm and I’m still writing; I’m back to gluten free, but not yet dairy free, so I know I need to make baby steps so I don’t resent the ‘grown up voice’ telling me how to live. So I plan to meditate tonight after nearly a month of not! I’m reading Norman Vincent Peale’s Positive Imaging, and instead of going out with my colleagues from the day’s training – I came back to my hotel room to detox and wind down from the day. All baby steps toward ‘re-disciplining’ myself because I know how I feel when I’m at optimum! I know how amazing it is to be at my best and I want that mind/body/spirit back! I know my family and my friends and most of all myself all benefit from that version of me! The one I love most of all.
Now the tricky part is if you keep giving into the rebellion! Then this becomes the new normal and thus begins the downward spiral. So allow yourself a few days/weeks of going against your own grain but remember to listen to your inner guide…that nagging voice that tells you that you know you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing but you shut it out and so it anyway! Don’t shut it out too completely. Leave that door ajar so you can see a glimmer of that self that is so good at being your best self! Don’t ‘go over to the dark side completely!’ It’s really hard to return.
I would love go hear stories of how you’ve brought yourself back from whatever your brink was— please use the comments and share with others who’d benefit… I’m sure we can all learn from each other!
May the force be with you!