Hurry Up to Slow Down
I can remember working for a major nationwide financial call center many years ago. One of the things I remembered most about my experience working there was trying to avoid being in the red. I can still see the vision of the lights on the phone now that reflected our call volume. I don’t remember the specifics of the amount of calls for each light, but I do remember the basics. No light was the best because there were no calls on hold, green was a few, yellow was a warning that the call volume was getting heavier and red was the warning that there were a large amount of calls on hold that needed to be tended to ASAP. We never wanted to be in the red. I was slower than most and in the company’s eyes not as good as I should be at 17 calls per hour. The expectation was that I had to be faster at taking the calls, but also attempt to sell a product before ending a call. It was something very difficult for me to achieve.
I use this example because most of my life, I have spent rushing. Hurried to come into the world at my birth, hurried to start walking before I learned to crawl, hurried to be the first one finished when I ate, hurried as an adult to meet ridiculous deadlines, etc. It was always hurry, hurry, hurry!!
As I got older, I realized that I was just a product of our rushed society. We mustn’t have the patience to wait, we must have things right now! Cooking on the stovetop takes up too much time. We must risk our health through radiation by microwaving food and drink for immediate results. Who has time to cook when we have all these places to be? Fast food is so much easier and faster because we need food in a hurry!
We are constantly seeking instant gratification. I get the instant part, but is it really gratification when we are overextending ourselves and our families because of our constant hurried state? Why can’t one dance class or outside extracurricular activity a week for our children be enough? Why must there be a necessity to take every single class that is offered in order to be noticed? It’s hard enough to be an adult being rushed not only in our jobs but other activities that we choose to be involved. Now we are passing the torch onto our children? Are we really benefiting nutritionally in our mind, body and spirit by being rushed around from one thing to the next? It’s no wonder so many young people feel stressed in their lives because of being in a rush from all the activities that they are involved in.
I remember growing up how my father would be so annoyed with my mother because she always ate slow and took forever to finish her meal. Now as I have gotten older, I realized my mother was practicing mindfulness, an Eastern practice that I have now come to appreciate. She took the time to enjoy what she was eating rather than rush through it. She would savor every last morsel, especially if it was something she really enjoyed. One thing my mother has always said to me since I was a child in everything I did was to “Slow Down!”
When I got sick, that’s essentially what I was forced to do. Slow Down. I had over extended myself with my job, my family, my activities so much so that my body paid the price for it and literally shut down through dis-ease. I allowed toxic relationships and environments that weren’t for my greater good to take precedence over my happiness and chose instead to hide in the shadows of my own sunshine. I wasn’t being mindful of what my body was telling me because I lived in a state of hurriedness and certainly didn’t have time to listen. But my body made me listen. Sure diet played a huge role in my sickness and weight. But why was my diet so poor? Stress. My lifestyle centered around stress and the hurried state of chaos ended up taking priority over my health and well-being.
But rather than see dis-ease as the be all end all of my life, I chose to fight back by going out of my comfort zone and finally listening to what my body was telling me. I was in the red. Period. No more clear, green and yellow lights. Dis-ease was my body’s way of saying, “Warning Will Rogers, you are in THE RED! This is your knock you to your knees 2×4 reality check that you are in the RED of your life and this is NOT how you want your story to end.”
Hence, the start of trying to live a simpler more mindful life. It hasn’t been an easy process but one that has been most rewarding. My husband and I had to cut back on many things and gave up a lot of things but essentially we have gained more than we let go of. Mostly a better peace of mind. Did we at one time live above our means? Sure we did. But at what cost? Hindering the health and wellbeing of our family by staying in unfulfilling stressful jobs so that we can hurry up to spend our decent hard earned income on a certain lifestyle to keep up with everyone else?
Not anymore. In the beginning stages following my illness, we started off by making changes with our diet which helped to transform our physical health from dis-ease to wellness. We later began working on the other lifestyle changes that were causing stress on our health and well-being such as making the necessary job changes more in line with our goals and dreams of a rewarding career. This caused us to look more closely at our finances and our spending habits in order to carry us through to a successful transition. While most would look to add more debt to their plate, we were worked hard at eliminating it.
We began cutting simple things like cable because why should we pay extra money for a luxury item that did nothing to benefit our overall health and well-being? So what if we didn’t watch the VMA awards, Honey Boo Boo or The Kardashians? I get much more enjoyment using the money saved to pay for my daughter to go once a week to her aerial circus class to perfect her chosen art form rather than spending it on the mindless dribble of cable TV.
It’s hard to make such a transition like this especially while raising a teenage daughter who didn’t always understand why her parents made such a drastic shift from the lifestyle that she was accustomed to. The thing is, we felt that by having her see her parents less stressed and happier, it would positively impact her so much more than it would by watching us suffer from the effects of a hurried stress filled lifestyle. Although I don’t know exactly what she might have been thinking when she would have to help me walk across the room or use my cane and eye patch because I couldn’t walk on my own without assistance, I do know it was hard on her.
I often speak of when I was at my sickest my daughter came into the bed with me and hugged me. I will never forget the words she said to me. She said “Mommy I wish you weren’t sick anymore”. Hearing this come out of her mouth at the tender age of 10 was the most heart wrenching words I needed to hear in order to realize that I needed to make a change. Not just for me but more importantly, for her. She needed her mommy in her fullest capacity which led me to make the lifestyle changes I have and why we have done so as a family. Lastly, I wanted her to learn that it wasn’t by some quick fix miracle drug, diet or money driven product that got me well. It was about slowing down and being mindful of what areas of my life that were broken and needing attention, then working to fix those areas little by little, step by step.
Rev Diana Pfeuffer
I’ve embraced my uniqueness with all my imperfections mixed with my goodness, education, knowledge, experience and love and view them as strengths. I will use those strengths to bring forth the awesome woman, wife, mother, friend, health coach, employee, person with a dis-ease that I am and hopefully be an inspiration to others.
Life is too short to spend all your time working and not enjoying what life can truly bring.
Money can buy a lot of things but it cannot buy back quality time lost with your family. Spending money on a healthy lifestyle has become more important to me than spending it on other things because that’s what keeps me capable of being there for my family.
I no longer take little things that I assumed I would always be able to do for granted such as working, driving, showering, cooking and cleaning as well as big things like being able to see, walk and run. I fought like hell to get all of these abilities back and will continue to fight to avoid losing them again.
I thrive on positive energy and positive people in my life.
Good nutrition (Career, physical activity, relationships, spirituality as well as a healthy diet) has brought more joy to my life than any sweet indulgence ever did.
At 39 I’m bringing sexy back! ;p
There comes a moment in time when all the energies put forth in your life come together unexpectedly and shine on you like the most glorious light. It is then that you realize the path you are on, though you may not have seen it before when looking for it, had been there all along guiding you. At that moment, your inner light sparks and shines so bright that you cannot wait to continue the journey of creating a joyful and inspirational life for yourself and for others.
My heart goes out to those that were injured and who died in today’s explosion at The Boston Marathon. Prayers for those that were affected by this horrible attack.
So I recently had a dream that I ran a marathon. I was never one for running so this dream really took me off guard. The more I thought about it the more, I thought I should try it. The universe was telling me something. I may never get there but I’m going to make an attempt. What an accomplishment that would be for me after all I have been through! Just getting out and being able to run even if for a little bit has been so therapeutic for me! I wouldn’t have been able to do that 3 years ago!
I have a great friend and personal trainer who is helping me every step of the way. We ran/walked together last Thursday for over 2 miles and that was such a great feeling! So today I went for a 1.17 run/walk by myself and was doing pretty good. Then as I was crossing the road from sidewalk to pavement, I realized that my clumsy MS gait still haunts me as I tripped over the transition and got a little road rash. What’s a girl to do at that point? Wipe herself off and continue running as if nothing happened, bloody hands, knees and all. I think the neuropathy in my hands helped the fall onto my hands. lol. Builds character. Motivational Strength Baby!
I was hit by a car when I was 15 while riding my bike, so I am no stranger to my face hitting the pavement. I still have a chip in my tooth from that accident. But that never stopped me from continuing to ride my bike. So today’s little fall won’t prevent me from continuing on this journey. I saw this song by Frank Sinatra on Youtube posted by Argosy34 and felt it was relevant for my little mishap while running. I just replaced man with woman in the lyrics in my head. 🙂
Did some reminiscing today. Can’t believe how much I have changed over the course of 3 years after being diagnosed with MS. I am still the same on the inside but just smarter, healthier and more in tune with who I am as a woman, mother and wife balancing life, schooling, family, career along with dis-ease. There is one thing which has never changed and that is the wonderful man in my life who has been my rock through it all. We make an amazing team. We always have. I am truly blessed to have his support and love to come home to everyday. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that I have without him by my side. The words on our wall say, “Always Kiss Me Goodnight” and he always does. He truly is my life, my love and my everything.
I remember when I was pregnant my husband had been asked if I was crabby or moody by some friends. He had told them that I wasn’t either and that I was pretty happy during my pregnancy. Overall I had a great pregnancy despite being put on bed rest towards the end because of a kidney infection that landed me in the hospital for a week.
I really loved being pregnant and felt beautiful. I also felt it in my core that I was carrying a beautiful child. Her spirit would just overpower me to be around all things beautiful and happy. I would feel the urge to frequent art galleries, museums and botanical gardens because I wanted to be surrounded by places or things that were creative, artistic and beautiful. I also had professional pregnancy photos done because I knew that I would never get that time back. I wanted something that documented how I felt and what I looked like during that moment in time when my body was creating such a special little being.
But after my pregnancy came these deep and unsightly stretch marks that weren’t so beautiful to me. I hated looking at them and spent countless dollars trying to find the product that would erase them or make them go away. Then one day I started looking at them from a different point of view. My body amazingly stretched itself to make room for this beautiful being. These glorious marks around my body had cradled and protected the womb while she grew stronger and ready to enter the world on her own. What a miraculous thing for my body to do! I now look at them as beautiful scars that came from my body’s ability to bear a child naturally to term 13 yrs ago. For that I am blessed and thank my body for doing what it needed to do to provide the space necessary for my child to grow and be nurtured while in the womb.
One of the most treasured gifts that I inherited from my dad’s mother, Grandma Chris, was her creativity, love of cooking and love of family. I was very close to my grandmother for the short time of my life that she was alive. She passed away when I was in 5th grade from stomach cancer.
My grandma made everything special in my eyes and I had a special bond with her that still remains, especially at Christmas when I can still hear her beautiful voice singing gospel. I can remember living in OK and when I would go visit her and even when she lived with my family, she would always have fun creative things for us to do such as decorating our own pillow cases, decorating pine cones, pecan picking, baking and so many other things. She was also the best Midwestern cook around.
One of the last things she did before she passed away was attempt to write a story/cookbook for us grandkids. I still have mine and would look at it occasionally through the years to remember her and feel her presence. I haven’t pulled it out in many years and recently felt the need to do so. I’m so glad that I did. Though the recipes she included weren’t the healthiest per say, she was still on the right track.
This is my favorite passage in the story because of how relevant it was to my life after getting sick and doing what I needed to do like changing my eating habits to get myself healthy and stronger.
She wrote, “Now kids, I’m going to teach you natural foods. This means you will be changing your eating habits. It also means that you will be making healthy bodies. What better way to show your love to our families than making them healthy…One of the reasons grandma is sick comes from bad eating habits.”
I was so impressed with the fact that she mentioned whole grains as well as the unhealthiness of white flour, white sugar and white rice. She even wrote a glossary of different foods and their nutritional values. I think this story means more to me now than it ever has. Thank you Grandma Chris for your wisdom, love and creativity to leave such a wonderful gift that will always be treasured.
I will end this post with my two of my favorite prayers from her story. I am so incredibly thankful for all these things and feel truly blessed to have them all in my life.
“Thank you God for food, strength and love. Amen. Thank you for love, thank you for families, thank you for food and strength. Amen.”
This is a picture of me and my Grandma Chris when she came to visit our family while living in Hawaii in the 70’s.