Today I came across this quote and it rang lots of bells for me…
“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” – Jean de La Fontaine
I spent my 20s on a mission to get fit. When I went to university I put on weight eating junk food and drinking too much. I couldn’t stand feeling overweight so I learnt to be a runner. I remember the first few runs I went on by St James’Park in Newcastle where I was a student. I was struggling for breath and exhausted after only 3 minutes as all new runners are! But I stuck with and until I could run a marathon and then, I did 9 more!
I dedicated myself to doing well at law school and then at work by putting in lots of hours. I was determined to become a successful lawyer. It never crossed my mind at that stage that I might think more clearly if I took more time out.
When I became a new mum I was just as determined to do well at that and to keep my life on track whilst loving my baby. I was busy even on maternity leave. Determined to keep my social life active, keep fit and fit everything in. I never though then that I would be a better mum if I took my foot off the pedal!
So I think I really did meat my destiny on the road I took to avoid it! I was avoiding stopping, relaxing, chilling. I ruled it out as lazy. I had no understanding that it might actually lead to a better life, a more successful life. No way was I stopping. I was doing much better than people who took time out. I was determined to keep training when I had a running injury. I was too set on achieving in everything that I did to take time for me. I thought it wasn’t necessary.
But it caught up with me…
In 2012 I lost my vision in my right eye…then my left.. and I got diagnosed with MS. At first I was devastated, but now I can see the massive improvements it has made in my life.
It has taken some time for me to adjust. Lots of time to learn that running miles is not the best for my health and that a few miles is better…
Time to accept that eating meat, which I had always thought was great protein to aid my recovery from exercise, is not good for me and to realise that my body works better with a plant based diet…
And the biggest change of all was learning to take time each day to sit and just be, to sit and meditate.
For most of us sitting still and listening to our breath is something we just never do. Something we don’t have time for. We are too busy, we have too many other important things to do. But ignore this important life skill at your peril!
If you start to look after yourself before you find yourself in a difficult situation then things are easier. You have time to adapt. You can make the change gradually.
If you start because your health demands it then the bonus is that you have the motivation and the dedication to stick with it. The down side is that you perhaps miss the opportunity to take your time. For me I was straight onto my new lifestyle to mend my body. The mental adjustment has had to follow.
So now it really feels like my destiny is to embrace well being and to learn to relax, to appreciate everything I have and to take nothing for granted. In short to be mindful.
Without realising it I think I was always doing what I was doing to stay well, busy was successful to me. Yet on this hectic path where I did everything to avoid taking a pause in life, where I filled every spare moment with activity, I was forced to stop. I stumbled and a change in lifestyle was the only way forward.
Getting mindful makes everything clearer. It puts things into perspective. It allows us to make better decisions. Come on a Revitalise day to take stock of your life. Life is so much better when you are in control.