The mindfulness theme for this month is gratitude.
I find it very easy to be grateful for the positives in life such as family, friends, pets, home etc. … BUT… Is it possible to be grateful for something that has been considered a negative aspect of life? Every day we are presented with opportunities to see things in multiple ways from many points of view. Too often we blast through, making snap judgements then base the rest of our opinions on these or on stories told to us. I know I’m guilty of this! So I challenged myself to take the biggest negative in my life and look at it from a different perspective. I learned what I once saw a negative has actually been a very positive influence on my life thus far.
I am grateful for Celiac Disease
What?!! Yes I said that. As I read through posts on celiac/gluten free groups there is a common thread of anger and sadness. People are so upset by diagnosis that their world is ending. And I get it! I have had my fair share of celiac/autoimmune struggles and anger. Take the fact that I can’t eat anywhere and neither can my family! Still I am grateful for it, for a number of reasons:
1) Deepened my understanding of digestion
By taking a good look at the digestive process, how the body absorbs nutrients and how foods work together I was able to create a healing program for myself and clients. One that had me up and back to normal in a very short period of time. I was able to create a space within for my intestinal tract to heal which left me healthier and more resilient.
2) Solidified my mind-body connection
How did celiac disease do this when I have been practicing, teaching and studying yoga for 20 years? Easy. It forced me to be mindful of what I was eating, and why I was eating it. Understanding how the foods I ate affected my body was the biggest step in healing. The why of it helped me get to know myself on a much deeper level.
3) Created a healthier body
To my surprise, removing gluten cured a bunch of problems I didn’t know existed, as they had been a part of my day for so long. Now I am in the best shape of my life, and I rarely get sick (I used to catch everything). Stomach aches, migraines, and dizzy spells are all gone!
4) Better body image
…well sort of. Maybe a better perspective? Definitely a healthier one! I was the girl that could eat anything (and I did) and not gain weight. I was 114 pounds at 5 feet 6 inches. Of course I had endless stomach aches, migraines, severe iron deficiency, weak bones and fear of eating in public because I always felt so sick after meals. Now my weight is exactly where it should be for a woman my age and stature. Sure I have moments of wishing for the old body…but then I remember: I FEEL GOOD!
This may be one of the best parts of the diagnosis. I was always on the outside; I never fit in. Through this journey I have met an amazing group of people going through the same stuff I have. The support for one another is awe inspiring and beautiful.
Sure, having an autoimmune disease is not the best and I would never wish it on anyone, but I have decided to stop hating it and appreciate it because it gave me the opportunity to lead a healthier and happier life.
An Exercise in Mindfulness
By looking at things in a different light we can grow in compassion both for the self and for others… now it’s your turn: Think about your daily life. Are there one or two things that are constant annoyances? Something or someone that really grates your nerves? Identify the problem(s). Write a list of all the reasons this “thing” is so awful.
Chose 5 of these reasons and turn them around. How has each one improved your life? What lessons have been presented? Can you find a way to be grateful for them?
I love hearing from you guys, send me a message or leave a comment on your thoughts.