Armed enough to be dangerous: when knowledge affords the upper hand

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In a recent post—“A new way to approach the New Year…”—I talk about exercising kindness to self by managing my health. Along that vein (pun intended), I donated my blood to science (okay, not exactly) and learned that I share a familial gene mutation. Although my heart sunk when I viewed my results, I did not awaken one day with this disorder; as with my heart defect (BAV), I’ve lived with Factor 5 Leiden every day for 50 <cough cough> something years. I just didn’t expect to see the big fat “F,” so to speak, glaring at me from the online healthcare portal. In non-doctor speak, the diagnosis simply means I may be prone to developing blood clots. But the funny thing: I’m grateful. I am able to arm myself with knowledge about my genetic makeup which, in turn, allows me to exercise better care for my health. Ignorance might be bliss, but it will not save my life.

How do you exercise kindness to self?

Take your dreams to the next level: establishing a vision

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Earlier this month, I attended a vision board workshop with six other women and our host/facilitator. The session began with meditation and “smudging”—the burning of sage to clear negative energy that might keep us stuck or stagnant—to jump start our individual intentions for growth or change or whatever we desire to manifest during the year. Then the eight of us proceeded to converse and flip through magazines for pictures that resonated with the words and images we conjured up. Complemented by red wine and sparkling water and margherita pizza, visions were borne. Today, my vision board hangs on a wall in my hallway at home where I see it daily. Although I can joke and say that my new year begins Feb. 1, the truth is: each day is a new opportunity to do something our future selves will thank us for. I seized my dreams and created a vision (board). Now it’s time to crush each and every one.

How do you manifest your vision?

Quit forcing the issue: a study in contrasts

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During a solo hike on the Sonoran trails last month, I sought—as a matter of course—divine guidance pertaining to my vocation, my relationships and my spiritual, physical and emotional health. Oftentimes, it requires miles of silence, a veritable test in patience, for me to gain any type of clarity. That afternoon proved no different and, while I navigated the ins and outs of a new-to-me trail system, I sensed clear instruction: Quit forcing the issue. Although not quite the message I’d expected or hoped for, I understood the directive. For a planner like me, however, to sit back and go with the flow also illustrates a study in contrasts—not unlike the vibrant desert blooms fixed against a backdrop of rugged terrain. Yet, the moment I quit forcing the issue created space: to either freak out, or to growth within. To wallow in the challenges, or to celebrate the victories. Most important, it allowed the magic to unfurl.

What issue do you need to quit forcing?

Taking ownership: making your health & well-being priority

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January turned out to be the month to exercise kindness: to myself (see “A new way to approach the New Year: what’s your word?“). Because let’s face it: if I’m not personally invested in myself, then who will be? On my quest to take ownership of my overall health and well-being, I’ve met with various doctors this month—including my primary care physician who ordered a glut of labs to rule out myriad disorders (yay, me), and my cardiologist who I retain to monitor a congenital heart defect. The good news: in all areas tested, I either show normal or improved results. There is no bad news. I feel like I’m finally back on track. And that the lifestyle modifications I’ve applied over the last half year are not only working, but they’re realistic and maintainable. For me, that’s a win-win. Next up: annual echocardiogram, and lab work to dismiss a familial blood disorder. Oh yes, and an overdue skin cancer checkup.

How do you invest in yourself?

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.