In the next several weeks, I will be sharing some of the journaling exercises from Sara Avant Stover’s The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life, a guide to returning to “daily, seasonal, and yearly rhythms of nature” in order to regain a healthy body and spirit.
Exercise #1 (page 19)
1. Looking back on my life, I’d say that the five main events – good and bad – that have really formed who I am include:
- Being harassed repeatedly by classmates in seventh and eighth grade, in ways I still cannot bring myself to describe to almost anyone, in ways in which I am not still fully healed. (1989-1990)
- Moving to Colorado only a month after college graduation, moving a thousand miles away from family and friends. (1998)
- Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and hypothyroidism in the weeks before my twenty-ninth birthday. (2005)
- Participating in the two-day, marathon and a half charity walk. Only a year after type 2 diabetes diagnosis, I decided to challenge my body to the extreme, and turned out to do rather well, even if I did not complete the entire walk. (2006)
- Going through a major acute illness and two subsequent major abdominal surgeries. (2009-2010)
2. Out of these, I planned two of them and the other three were unexpected.
3. The three biggest lessons that I’ve learned in my life from these events include:
- Knocked down again and again, and yet I have survived. Sometimes barely, sometimes stronger than ever.
- Sometimes I forget how confident I can be, whether it is making a thousand-mile move with very little cash to my name and with student loan debt awaiting me or setting ambitious fitness goals.
- I cannot change the past, but I can attempt to change the future by treating my body and mind well.
4. Two things I love most about my life right now are:
- Being free to lead my own routine – no one depending on me to be entertained (except maybe the cat).
- Being in the midst of learning so much at the new day job, keeping my mind (mostly) busy and alert.
5. Two things I would most like to change about my life right now are:
- To stop yearning for what I have lost (in so many respects).
- To be able to laugh more and cry less.
6. Two things I’m ready to invite and receive into my life right now are:
- Daily meditation practice.
- Exercise that reminds me of being a kid again – swimming, bicycle riding, even team sports like kickball or softball.
7. Some of my goals and dreams that seem a little crazy and that I’m almost too embarrassed to admit are to:
- Finding a job that combines the love of numbers with the love of words, along with the passion for helping people with chronic illness.
- Going back to school for a MPH (Master’s in Public Health).
- Traveling to Ecuador or Peru for intensive Spanish language training.
- Thinking about book proposals that could actually take off and go somewhere other than my computer’s hard drive.