Both Sides Matter

I’m grateful for my heart and mind…

I’ve always been the kind of person that likes to get the job finished completely.  When I had a big project to tackle, I would dig in with both heels and work really hard until the project was complete.  The bigger the project, the harder I would push.  I even did this at the expense of other things that were very important.  Often times that included taking care of myself the way that I needed to.  I would think to myself, “It will just be for a few days until I get this done, and then I will get back into a good routine.”  The problem was, that life seemed to always throw out another project at me.  Some of them weren’t so big, but nonetheless, there was always something that seemed to take priority over taking care of my body’s needs.  Sometimes I would justify this if it was a sort of project that was benefiting others, telling myself that I was giving service, and that others were more important than my health needs.  And when it was a big project around the house, I would justify by saying that this needed to get done, and as soon as it did, I would take care of what my body needed. What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was how pushing myself so hard time and time again was having such a big impact on my health, especially since my body already had a lot of weaknesses.  By continuing in this pattern, I was reaching a point where it would become increasingly difficult to have the energy and stamina to work on those projects that I thought were the most important things.

So as I continued to push harder and harder to complete projects and ignored my body, in order for me to start listening, my body started “screaming” at me more and more.  There began to be one new symptom after the other; a way that my body was trying to tell me that I needed to stop and take the time to care for it.  Even then, I kept pushing.  But not with everything.  I had to let some things go, out of necessity, and the easiest things to let go were the projects around my house that really didn’t need to get done.  And so the piles began to happen.  Not just your ordinary every-day piles that we all have, but big piles.  They started in one area, then led to another, then another, and another.  As this happened, I got more overwhelmed and was really being pulled down by the weight of all the clutter.  My house was basically clean most of the time, but the areas of piles began to just sit there.  The idea was that I would get to those places soon, but the more the piles added up, the less energy I had to tackle them.  As my husband’s job changed in recent years and he has been home to help, many of those piles have been taken care of or lessened.  Bless him for that!!

But there are still plenty of places that need some really good attention.  There are still projects that need to be completed, and new ones that keep coming up.  Part of my problem is that I have this idea in my mind that in order to tackle a project, I need to do it all or not do any of it at all.  For example, my office has piles and boxes of things to go through, and I feel that if I start the office project, that I need to do the whole thing before doing anything else, instead of breaking it down into smaller segments and working on one area at a time.  So because this is such a huge and daunting task, instead of something getting done, nothing gets done.  The office just stays looking the same way all the time.

In recent months as I’ve really been focusing on moving myself toward healing, I have come to realize how important it is to stop and take care of my body on a regular basis.  I have to eat every 2-3 hours, and I can’t just eat things that I can grab quickly.  I have to prepare my food in advance from scratch, so it’s important for me to take the time to do this and to slow down and eat properly, along with stopping and resting my body and de-stressing.  These things all take time, and can seem like a full-time job in and of themselves.  So it’s been extra hard for me to think about how to find the balance between taking care of the tasks that need to get done and taking care of my body.  I write about the things that I am learning and am working on, and I’m getting better at not beating myself up for the things I can’t accomplish, but in giving myself credit for the little drops that I am doing that are making a difference. But I still need to figure out how to find the balance of getting and keeping things in order with taking care of myself in a way that will help me to heal and stay well.

I was blessed with an important lesson in this last week.  We’ve been working to get our kitchen converted over to by completely gluten-free, getting gluten out of the home as any bits of cross-contamination are thought to be having a big effect on my health because of my Celiac.  Talk about a big project.  And it’s the kitchen- the most used place in the house all throughout the day.  So as my husband and I started the project, we had one full day and night where our children were at my parents’ house, so we were able to really tackle things without needing to take care of everyone’s needs.  We made great strides that day, but then things changed.  We had some traveling to do, and an emergency came up with my husband’s father, requiring him to leave for almost a week.  The day my husband had to leave, the frustration had been building as things hadn’t progressed in the kitchen as I had hoped.  I knew that he needed to leave and supported him in this important time where he needed to be there for his parents. Even so, as it was time for him to leave, the stress started building in me as I wondered how I would ever get the kitchen project completed.  It was beginning to drive me crazy because it was difficult to have the kitchen torn apart with things all over the counters as I was cleaning cupboards and dishes, while at the same time needing to use the kitchen to get food for myself and the family.

Thankfully, in the new program I have started that is working on healing my gut (, there are multiple trainings on using our mindset and getting our hearts and brains in balance to calm down our systems and learn to take better care of our bodies.  So on the day that I was feeling pretty anxious about the kitchen project and trying to figure out how I could get it done in the next couple of days, I stopped myself and began to think about what I had been learning.  I used a simple meditation technique I had been taught, connecting the heart and mind wth concentrated breathing.  I started to focus on my heart and the space around it, then thought of someone/something that made me feel grateful or loved.  Then as I took deep breaths in and let them out slowly, I focused on expanding that feeling of love or gratitude throughout my whole body and then to everything around me.  This is a powerful and simple tool to help the body calm down and bring clarity to the mind.  As I was doing this, I not only felt more relaxed and calmed, but the thought came to my mind that told me I could do both the project and take care of myself.  It didn’t have to be one or the other.  I really could choose both paths and be successful with each of them.  I would just need to make a plan that included the most important things I knew that I needed to do in my daily routine for my body, along with listening to it along the way and stopping as I needed to stop.  This would mean the kitchen project was going to take longer than I wanted it to, but I wouldn’t have to compromise what my body needed in order to get it done.  As the calmness came over my body and these thoughts came into my mind, I felt at peace with things as they were and knew that I would be able to progress with both the project and doing the things I needed in order to heal.

Although things are still not in the order that I would like them to be, progress is being made.  And it’s happening without me having to jeapordize the progress I am making with the healing of my body.  I’m learning that it is possible to do both sides, and as long as I’m patient and persistent with both, I will be able to accomplish the goals that I am working toward.


Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash