The Gift of Change

“There are times in our lives when we have to realize our past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that, we can change the future.” —  Eleanor Brown

In the Christian calendar it is by all means still Christmas. The four weeks of anticipation through the joy of Advent culminated in the Nativity on December 25, with most of us celebrating on the Eve. Fortunate are the ones who also get December 26th off, to celebrate Boxing Day or as we do here in Germany, Stefanstag. But Christmas doesn’t end there. If you are ultra traditional, then another great celebration is just around the corner, the Feast of the Three Kings, or as it has been re-named in the Catholic doctrine, the Epiphany.

If you have followed this blog over the years, you are familiar with my disdain for New Year’s Resolutions. I find this tradition absolute rubbish, and I can count the number of people who actually adhere to their resolutions on one hand, and I won’t even need all five fingers. Over the years I have learned that setting unrealistic goals that to not factor in the intangible and unexpected along the way do more harm than good to your mental health, case in point the Year of our Lord, 2020.

We tend to set our goals on lofty ideals that others have imposed on us, rather than going deep within yourself and examining what really needs to change. Screw diets and weight loss for 2021 – and take a good look at your lifestyle, your emotional wellbeing, and spiritual inertia and figure out what your body and soul need to be happy, and NOT what social media and ridiculously outdated misogynistic social norms dictate you should look like.

Shortly before Christmas I was introduced to the wonderfully complex world of essential oils. I was getting pretty fed up of the growing mountain of pills I was swallowing each morning – mostly vitamins, but with age comes a lot of physical change as well that need to be addressed one way or another. Even if the spirit is willing, the body will reach a physical limit to certain activities. My knee, for example, has gone on extended holiday, and that has put an end to tennis, kickboxing and running. I refuse to be on a permanent diet and count calories for the rest of my life, and I detest the idea of having to run back and forth to one form of medical practitioner or another who will put me on even more pills. So I pulled the emergency brakes and decided to explore alternative ways, slowly, and tentatively, but with the stubborn determination of the fire goat that I am.

I’m not about to give a full discourse on essential oils here, but let’s just say that I have replaced this

with this (this is the basic set and I am still building up my collection)

I feel like a bartender and alchemist rolled into one, because you need to mix certain oils together to suit your needs. My knee has improved leaps and bounds in the last week as compared to the last seven months of agony and various visits to the the specialists. I haven’t needed my brace even to go out.

Now along with this shift to natural healing, is also a necessary lifestyle change, beginning with the diet. I wrote a while back about becoming a flexitarian, and I am sticking to that. The Christmas indulgence in fish kept me on track and I suffer no side effects from the copious amounts consumed over the past few days. In addition, because of my age, I also changed the pattern of my meals, making breakfast my main meal, a small intermezzo mid afternoon, and skip dinner altogether. Built into this new routine is also intermittent fasting, which I now swear by.

That’s not the only change I am giving myself – it’s time to restructure my social media presence again, and this time with a more dramatic change. So come January 1, 2021 my Instagram and Facebook will merge the two greatest passions in my life: photography and writing. Twitter has proved to be utterly useless for me, so I will be putting that to sleep for now. I am tired of living this dual identity of writer or photographer, when the truth is, I am both, and that is what I want my pages to reflect. I don’t have to choose one or the other. I choose to be both.

It was with great joy that I stumbled upon the following quote of Eleanor Brown last night, because that is exactly what I needed the universe to remind me:

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” — Eleanor Brown

Don’t fall for the old trick of writing New Year’s resolutions. Hopeful though we want to be and bring 2020 to a close, 2021 will be just as unpredictable as 2020 and we still won’t be able to nail down any holiday plans just yet. Work with what you have, take a good look around and inside of your life, and embrace the changes no matter how radical they may seem. Do it for yourself, your body, your spirit, and not because someone expects you to do so.

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