Stress, I am beginning to realize, is more of a choice than an affliction. The more I think about how upset I am with being unemployed, and the more I think about how upset I am that I am lonely and bored, the worse I feel and the more my heart races. The more I focus on bettering myself and my health, the better I feel.
Today I went to the funeral of our good family friend who passed away . He was a brilliant man, the father of 10 children, faithful, hardworking, a bit shy, and very humble. He didn't believe in wearing his accomplishments on his sleeve, despite how successful and talented he was, especially in the fields of engineering, math, and science. He believed in creating happiness and using knowledge to fix that which had been broken. He didn't believe in finding all the answers, but in the importance of understanding your questions. In his son's reading about his father, Matthew recalled a beautiful memory that exemplifies who he was as a person. One night when Matthew's sister Christine was sleeping she woke up suddenly, swearing that she heard blades on the new ice rink that her dad had just built the day before for her and her siblings to skate on in the cold winter months. She looked out her window to find her mom and dad, alone on the ice, skating together. Years into their marriage and the romance survived, 60+ years on earth, and more to come later. A beautiful memory of the love they had for one another that never faded and continues on eternally.
As I sat in the pew listening to that story, it gave me remarkable hope and faith. We choose the moments of peace in our lives, just as we choose the relationships. From beginning to end, Matt's love for his wife and his children was not ostentatious, was not flamboyant, but was beautiful, real, and strong. He is an excellent example of a faithful man to look up to, and I feel so lucky to know the beautiful, loving family he created. Being with them today, even in such circumstances, gave me comfort.
When I got back from the funeral and celebration of his life, I decided to take charge of my own destiny in the small steps I can presently. I went outside for a run/walk and promised myself that I would only come back when my heart calmed down. Exercise, it turns out, has remarkable benefits in terms of relieving stress. I'm not talking about 10 minutes of jumping jacks, or even 15 minutes of sprinting. I'm talking about walking, running, in nature, and soaking it all in. Separating yourself from all negative thoughts, working out your inner struggles and clearing your mind. A run, I find, is a remarkable miracle worker for that.
Being outside allowed me to admire the beautiful landscape that God has created. Acknowledging the animals and insects move about, the trees wave in the wind, admiring a flower that a neighbor took care to grow, making friends with a tiny snail, even dodging some geese poop along the way......each object gave me peace. It was an experience, and made me feel connected to the natural world.
My run/walk ended up turning into a 3 hour affair, and the rewards were awesome. I got back, feeling significantly more relaxed and at the same time energized, danced around with, as I like to call her, "my little crouton" (our puppy Zuzu) and made a delicious smoothie.
Nutrishus® Berrylicious Smoothie
- 3 scoops vanilla flavored organic hemp protein powder (TJ's)
- juice of one half lemon
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 banana
- about 2 cups frozen organic berries (I like to go heavy on the strawberries and don't add too many blackberries b/c of the pits)
- handful organic tuscan kale ... and voila!
It was AMAZE, seriously delish.... tart, tangy, refreshing, satisfying.
I then got in the shower, blasting the "Singing in the Shower" playlist on Spotify of course, singing "Stayin' Alive" and Spice Girls' "Ziga zig ahhh". Then the song "Angels" by Robbie Williams came on which made me so excited because it brought back memories of dancing on tables in the Hoffbrau Haus in Munich while abroad. In that moment, despite how ridiculous I feel for being unemployed and bored, I was happy and goofy and fun.
Life goes on. You must have faith and choose how you handle it. Better yourself, trust in who you are and what you stand for, and you feel better. Relish in the love of the people who you know will be there forever, and hold on to the relationships that matter most to you. Faith, above all else. These are my life lessons for today.
Wishing you a peaceful night,