This is where all the really good stuff is. The things one doesn’t learn in school, but only by living an extraordinary life. When I say extraordinary I’m not implying my life has been all rainbows and unicorns, on the contrary, it’s been rather strange and heartbreaking, wonderful and confusing, sad and miraculous, beautiful and chaotic.
The most impactful experience of my life was the years between 2006-2016 at which time I became the caregiver for my husband Klink, who battled his second, and then his third and final cancer. There were many chronic illness that came along for the ride and learning how to cope with the dynamics of it all—marriage, health, nutrition, spirituality, friendships—ended up being one of the most challenging, yet dare I say, greatest gifts of my life.
Yes, I did say gift.
While he was fighting his battles, the stress was loading up on me to hold it all together. I ran two mid-size salons at the time (one being seasonal) and had my own health issues as well such as Celiac Disease, IBS and SIBO. Not nearly as life threatening as his of course, but could definitely result in serious complications if not addressed, and this was enough for me to sit up and take notice.
How could I handle all of this?
Run my businesses, run the household, take care of him and take care of myself without losing my mind and my health?
It seemed as if we were each a fast-moving train on our own separate tracks both heading in the same direction—a steep cliff. I could make the choice to slow down the momentum of my train, eventually stop, put an engine on the other side and change directions. But for him, he had too many engines stacked up on the front end and the momentum was strong. In the end, there wouldn’t be enough time to stop.
As I watched my husband’s health decline it became quite apparent to me that the answer was to be pro-active about the choices I was making regarding nutrition, exercise, lifestyle—and mostly overlooked but more important than anything—my thoughts, stories, and beliefs about how I perceived life, people, and everyday situations.
I had a glimpse into my future.
This caused me to make health a top priority in my life and just like I do with everything else I’m passionate about, I dove in head first and took to it like a duck to water. My new way of living embraced nutrition, healthy cooking, juicing, holistic healing, alternative therapies, mindfulness, organic and toxin-free living, along with paying attention to and cultivating the words I speak and the thoughts I think.
What I noticed more than anything was the side effect of this new way of being, something I didn’t expect or “set out” to do but something that happened along the way. I noticed my life wasn’t as difficult. Things that would normally upset me—didn’t. I was calmer, more centered, more in tune with myself and my surroundings. I started to really pay attention to this and my life started to change.
I don’t always nail it but I sure as hell try everyday. The greatest part is knowing that each day is a fresh start. This way of life continues to give me a steady foundation to hold on to during times of chaos—and the way the world is now—that’s pretty much all of the time.
Chaos will never go away. Not now, not ever. We all have it to one degree or another yet we continuously fight it and push it away, thinking our lives will be better once it’s gone or when we no longer have to look at it. We professionally medicate ourselves to ignore it, self medicate ourselves to handle it, vent on social media to relate to it, but what most of us don’t understand is that we have the ability to be happy, healthy, and satisfied—so that we can live well through it.
Breathe Deep and Live Well,