11 September 2011

Healing from the Inside Out

Yesterday, in training for next week's walk, Ani and I mapped our course and set out to "Walk to Lunch" at our favorite coffee shop in Glendale  - Foxy's.  We live in Sunland.  The route consisted of walking uphill about 3 miles (next week's walk touts 13 miles of hills), into La Cresenta, through Montrose and down into Glendale.  One of the things about training for a walk is the hours of time it takes to prepare.  Considering we're walking about 3.2 miles per hour, a 15 mile walk like this one consumes 5 hours of time.  And Foxy's is 15.5 miles from our home.  This to me is viewed as the downside.  My Saturdays are my only "catch up" day...housework, shopping, cooking, cleaning. 

We started our journey around 8:00 a.m.  Thankful for the overcast weather -- a nice change from the triple digits of last week.  Walking with one's best friend is always pleasurable.  When that best friend also happens to be your daughter, it's a double blessing.  And while we walked, we talked about her new job, what's going on at my work, what I need to get done on an illustration job I'm working on, health issues, family issues.  All of it.  This is the beauty of walking.  It allows you to talk.  To have more than a 140 character conversation....it takes time. 

And while we were walking, I started thinking about how far I had come.  I mentioned to Ani, "My surgery was only 4 months ago."  Her response:  "Yes.  And you need to remember that!"  So true.  It seems like it's been a long time, yet, only 4 months ago, I underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction with a tram flap procedure.  Not easy.  And here I am, walking.  I also thought about years past.  I have always done the Avon Walks  no matter what size I have been.  I am doing it this year 72 pounds lighter than 2 years ago...about 15 pounds lighter than last year.  And the difference in great.  Less stress on my knees, less blisters while walking, less aches and pains, and the hills are not as difficult as they once were.  I remember when I started on this weight loss journey almost two years ago.  I had gone to see a nutritionist...and I had also gone to see a cardiologist who did some echo studies of my heart.  I only lasted 9 minutes on the treadmill that day, and then I got to see my heart as it recovered from the stress.  Seeing my heart there on the screen was an epiphany to me.  And thinking about it today, I still get teary eyed.  I was looking at this amazing organ in my body....beating, like it had beat for the past 50 years, every day, day in and day out, never stopping.  And what had I done for it?  Abused it.  Neglected it.  Ignored it.  And yet it kept up.  Beating.  Giving me life.  That was the beginning of the journey.  After seeing my heart, I couldn't go back to my old ways and so huge lifestyle changes were made.  Less food, more exercise, changing up the proteins vs. carbs.

And I am healing inside as well.  We were talking about that yesterday.  People are nicer to you when you're thinner.  But I think that I am a nicer person as well.  I am not as judgmental.  Which I think was a defense mechanism for my judgment on myself...and others' judgment of me.  I have walked in the shoes of the obese and entered the medical category of "overweight" now.  (Believe me..this was a big milestone for me.)  I think what happens is that when we are down on ourselves the guilt and shame that we feel for the lack of discipline in our lives, turns outward and turns into criticism toward others who seem to have it under control. 

Today is 9/11.  Everyday is a day of forgiveness in the life of a Christian.  Today marks the 10th anniversary of a day that changed all our lives.  I remember the months after that terrible day.  We saw a more united America.  There were flags flying, and the country banded together - an unstoppable force.  As we "healed", those patriotic feelings dwindled, and now it feels as if the country is more divided than ever.  In order to heal, we need to work from the inside out.  We need to heal ourselves first -- abusing the system, neglecting our responsibilities, judging others.  We heal from the inside out -- removing the log from our own eyes before seeing the speck in others.  I have a lot of hope for this world and for our beautiful country.  The lives that were lost on that tragic day will always be remembered.  But in order to move on, we need to forgive.  Forgive ourselves and others.  Pray for our enemies.  Pray not only for our country, but for the World which we are all a part of.

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