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What I Believe

While researching and organizing old notes for the current book I am working on, I came across a page simply titled “What I Believe”. It stopped me in my tracks and got me to wondering how many people have actually taken the time to ask themselves such a simple and sometimes profound question. Though I couldn’t tell you the exact day it was written, I can share a little bit about how it came to be.

It was created on the heals of chaos. When my life was turned upside down due to many challenges and conflicts that my family and I were facing at the time. I wrote it when I was tired of fighting the good fight of faith and when God seemed silent.

This page was created, most assuredly after yet another “pity party” was held in my honor. I was inching toward the end of my rope and was fed up with my own negative attitude. Ever been there?

Today’s blog is short and sweet. A great reminder for me about what truly matters most:

  • I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  • I believe my husband loves me
  • I believe in family
  • I believe that God has a great purpose for my life and the lives of everyone
  • I believe in God’s love for me and my family
  • I believe there is always hope
  • I believe there is good in everyone
  • I believe in baby giggles and children’s laughter
  • I believe in being silly
  • I believe in lifelong friendships
  • I believe in happy endings
  • I believe in second chances
  • I believe in love
  • I believe that LOVE WINS

I guarantee you that by the time I had finished my list, the negativity lifted and I found a glimpse of the person I wanted to be. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the storm that we find the sweetest peace. My hope for you today is that you take a few quiet moments to make your own list of blessings or beliefs. Don’t forget to take time to just breathe, and be fully present in that moment. AND don’t forget to laugh:)

Namaste,

The Fitness Dr.

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Whole Hearted

“There’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you. And this hole in my heart can’t be filled by the things I do. Hole Hearted” by Extreme

This blog is being shared on a super rainy, somewhat dreary Valentine’s Day in Cali. I am sure for some, the weather represents their mood or state of mind perfectly. While many of us share wishes of love and happiness to those we hold dear, there are always those who are mourning the loss of someone they love, the loss of a relationship, serious health issues or just plain loneliness in general. It’s my prayer that these next few paragraph’s bring you hope and even a few ways to guard and protect your heart, the most important organ in the body.

In case you couldn’t tell, I am new to blogging. I intentionally don’t blog daily or even on a schedule. I’m not writing to get noticed or to advance my business or career. I only want to share a little insight of what weighs heavy on my heart in the hopes that in some way the story or words will help or encourage another living soul. That being said, God lets ideas marinate for a while in my brain before He prompts me to go ahead and write it all down.

The truth is, I am a bit torn about Valentine’s Day this year. Though I’d like to just spew love at you in heaps, as the holiday demands, I’d also like to get a little “real” with you, if you will allow it.

A year ago, to the day, our family suffered an incredible and shocking loss. My cousin, Erin Love (I called her “Ernie Elizabeth”), died unexpectedly in her home early Valentine’s Day morning. She left behind a husband, three young children, her parents and a sister. This was the second daughter my aunt and uncle had lost and the second sister my cousin, Aimee had to say good-bye to. Not to mention those precious children left without their mother and their dad who had lost his best friend in an instant. How quickly lives can be forever changed. The ache in their souls and the cries in their hearts had to be deafening that day and in the days to follow as we all struggled for understanding. Death truly does leave a hole in our hearts. There are no words that can comfort such a great loss, the loss of a child. As a mother, I can’t even begin to understand the loss of not only one, but two children. {I love you, Aunt Darlene, Uncle Chuck and Aimee…ALWAYS}

There are so many hurting this Valentine’s Day. So many suffering loss in one form or another. Every time I hear of someone in need or someone who is feeling hopeless, my heart squeezes a little tighter as I whisper a prayer that they are enveloped by God’s healing love and sense of peace. I always wish that there was more I could do to help. This blog’s dedicated to you.

The truth is, no one knows why bad or unspeakable things happen to good people. Ministers are taught to tell us that it is because we live in a fallen world. Well, that is true enough. But it certainly doesn’t heal a broken or wounded heart.

As the band Extreme shares with us in their song, “Hole Hearted”; “Life’s ambition occupy my time, Priorities confuse the mind, Happiness one step behind, This inner peace I’ve yet to find. Rivers flow into the sea, Yet even the sea is not so full of me, If I’m not blind why can’t I see, That a circle can’t fit where a square should be. CHORUS: There’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you. And this hole in my heart can’t be filled with the things I do. Hole hearted…” I especially find interesting the line in the song that states “If I’m not blind why can’t I see”. Don’t we all feel that way at times? Why can’t I see the meaning in all of this? Many times in my own life I have found myself humming this song and relating to its lyrics.

There is purposefully a hole in our hearts that we are all born with. It is my belief that we spend our lives trying to fill it up with love, relationships, religion, careers, trips, material things, social media, etc. We try to fill this empty part of ourselves with one thing, maybe even to the extreme, only to have that very thing taken away from us. Or that thing that we’ve chosen to fulfill us becomes all consuming to the point of risking our health and most likely our happiness. Maybe the thing we’ve chosen to fill that hole in our heart with even costs us our very soul. Maybe we become disillusioned with our hole-filler and feel discouraged, disappointed, hopeless or even forgotten.

In my opinion, God is the only one who can fill up this hole in our lives. If I have faith in nothing, there is no hope and I lose myself. God fills me up with His love and hope every day of my life. Though I will never understand why I’ve had to go through such challenging times, or why people I love have had unthinkable tragedies happen to them, I will rely totally on my heavenly Father who loves us all the same to see me through. He wants us healed. He wants us “whole hearted”.

“Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

I don’t know what you are going through today. Believe me, I wish I had all of the answers or knew the exact words of comfort to say when devastation hits. No one on this earth will ever completely understand your journey. One thing I do know is that God has told us in His Word, “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 I believe it. We are never alone, even though it may feel that way. He loves you! He knows you by name! Nothing can ever separate us from His love. God IS love. One thing I’ve learned about Jesus is that he is crazy about you. He showed us his ultimate love by giving up his earthly life for us on that cross.

With that being said, I can’t help but share some physical heart tips along with the spiritual. It’s in my blood. Are you wondering what simple things we can do now to protect or guard our hearts? So happy you asked that question 😛 The wellness coach in me would like to share a few healthy ideas with you: Consuming apples, blueberries and bananas (and yes, even small doses of dark chocolate) may help to protect your heart. Omega 3 rich walnuts, fish, and flaxseeds also help to prevent heart disease. Garlic and cayenne pepper helps to lower cholesterol and the curcumin in turmeric aids in the prevention of artherosclerosis. Please don’t forget that healing daily dose of laughter! It truly helps. (See previous blog: “Laughter Heals”)

Most of all, remember, the One who knows you BEST loves you MOST. And, He wants you to be “Whole-Hearted”. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Namaste,

The Fitness Dr.

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Healing Laughter

Reflecting on the last several years I’ve noticed a few things about myself that I’d like to change. January arrived with resolutions galore, which is nothing new. This one felt different. Maybe it had something to do with my age or this season of life. I found myself wondering when did it happen? When did I become so serious? When was the last time I actually laughed until I cried? More importantly, how could I get out of this funk and find a way to include more laughter into my daily ritual?

You may be wondering why you would even want to include a daily dose of laughter at all. I’d like to share a few statistics in the hopes that you will see its importance and join the movement too.

According to Ronald E. Smith, lead scientist at the University of Washington in 1971, laughter can significantly reduce levels of stress hormones in the body. Let’s face it, we all need to find a way to get rid of our stress. It’s the basis of many diseases and discomforts so many of us deal with right now.

A recent Vanderbilt University study calculated that ten to fifteen minutes of laughter a day may burn up to fifty calories. Just by laughing! Just think of the calories we could burn by laughing while working out! Or laughing in the middle of a workout when you fall off of your balancing ball, or slowly fall over while in Tree Pose, like London Bridge when it’s falling down. Yes, I’ve done both, and laughed at myself all the way down.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America have suggested that the benefits of laughing for a few minutes might even make you feel better for several hours afterwards. Laughter as therapy may ultimately help in the healing process as it enhances oxygen intake. Can you think of a time that you laughed until you could hardly breathe? It’s like a mini workout and does increase oxygen through the blood stream. Amazing, just from laughing!

Laughter lowers blood pressure, decreases the risk of a heart attack and the risk of a stroke. By now, you should be totally convinced that you need to laugh more. I know I am.

There seems to be quite a lot of evidence proving that laughter is a strong medicine that can help to improve our health. A good laugh triggers the release of endorphins, the feel good chemicals that promote an overall sense of well-being. It strengthens the immune system, is a great mood lifter, can relieve symptoms of pain and can protect against the damaging effects of stress on the body.

According to an old Irish Proverb, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book”, and I believe it.

Proverbs 17:22 states that “A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want dried up (or arthritic) bones! I choose daily bouts of laughter. I choose to be joyful on purpose.

With all of the negativity continually being thrown at us through the media in general, or the daily challenges we face, it may seem hard at times to even find a reason to smile, let alone laugh. But especially BECAUSE of all of the negativity, daily doses of belly-busting laughter should be a priority.

It helps me personally to, at times, just turn off the news, or any negative social media as well as depressing movies that may trigger sadness or anxiety. Basically, take a fast from anything negative and cling to what is uplifting. Make sure to spend time with friends who are easy to hang out with, have positive outlooks, like to go to fun events, play games and laugh easily. Find a funny movie or television show and laugh away. Some of my favorite scenes are slap stick comedies watching a character fall down, run into a glass door or just act goofy. If you are having a rough day, you could even research online for something funny. There are a lot of zany people doing the craziest stunts that are caught on camera. Babies and little kids giggling always brighten the day.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take it from one who’s done this for years. Just because we are grown up, have had children, are bosses and CEO’s, and have huge responsibilities doesn’t mean that we can’t cut up and be silly from time to time. Give yourself permission to just let go, lighten up and laugh until you almost pee your pants. Laughter brings health and prolongs life. Why not give it a try?

Better yet, join the Laughter Heals Movement! Check out laughterheals.org, these guys know their stuff.

Namaste.

The Fitness Dr.

Reference: Smith RE, Ascough JC, Ettinger RF, Nelson DA. Humor, Anxiety and task performance. Jpers Soc Psychol.1971;19(2)243-6.

Reference: treatments/laughter-therapy-Cancer Treatment Centers of America http://www.cancercenter.com