As I was reading through my 2013 Thanksgiving post earlier today, I couldn’t help but contrast where I am right now to where I was a year ago. Last year I was really grateful for myself and how I was finally starting to get back to feeling like good old Julie. This year, I’m way past getting back to good old Julie and am onto the best Julie yet!
I love that we have a holiday that makes us stop and reflect on the wonderful things we have in our life. (Even if some people are shopping ON Thanksgiving, ayyyyeeeee . . . *shaking my head*)
To stop and reflect this year, I decided to make a list of the top 10 things I’m thankful for!
10. Those Who Have Passed Before Me
I always used to say that the two worst days of my life would be when my Aunt Mary passed away and when my Pap Pap passed away. Now that I’ve made it through those two horrible days, I now know it’s only going up from here! Haha Yeah, if that was only in the slightest bit true . . . I know many who haven’t had the experience of loosing someone close to them. I, unfortunately, have been in that situation many times throughout my life. This past year my Uncle Benji, who was only a few years older than my Dad, and my Pap Pap, who was 93, passed away. Their deaths have brought a whole new sense of spirituality to me. At the beginning of this year, I started working on a mindfulness and meditation practice, but it wasn’t until I really lost these two souls that everything REALLY clicked. Now I feel like I’ve opened up a whole new world of possibilities and I really have my loved ones on the other side to thank.
9. Healthy Lifestyle Choices
I’m very thankful that I’m now SO much more informed and educated on health and wellness. I lived for years blind to so many things that we have control over, and so many that we don’t have control over. I now know that I’m on the right path to achieve wellness, but I’m also on a path to help others achieve wellness. It’s so heart warming and fulfilling. I’ve truly found my passion. Ohhh AND This year’s anti-inflammatory/paleo Thanksgiving menu is GOING TO BE AMAZEBALLS. I legit can’t wait to eat it allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.
8. Letting Go Of Limiting Beliefs
Spring of 2013 I had a reiki session and was told I needed to spend more time working on myself. *pshh!* I thought, I always take care of myself. I always get my hair done, dress nice, make sure my nails are presentable, ect…. I didn’t understand what it was like to actually take care of the INNER me. It wasn’t until I looked inwards that I really started to grasp who I was and to identify thought patterns which were engrained in my brain since I was small. Because of these beliefs, I believe I was limiting myself to how I was living. We all do it – consciously or subconsciously. For the last 20 years of my life I’ve ALWAYS joked about how the doctors said I’d need a knee replacement by 30. I always had the notion of ‘my knees are unhealthy’ in the back of my brain. So now, as I sit on the precipice of turning 30, I’m weighing options of a knee replacement. Is this something that would have happened if I wouldn’t have continuously told myself over and over a billion times? Who knows, but what I do know is learning to identify them and to release them was the BEST thing I’ve ever done. If this strikes a chord with you I URGE you to read Mind of Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin.
This Thanksgiving I bought a little paper tree at Target and had my family members write on leaves what they were thankful for. My brother joked asking if he could write the internet on his leaf – haha! But seriously, having the technology to connect with so many people who are in the same boat as me has been LIFE CHANGING. Life changing I tell ya! I don’t know what I’d do without my twitter friends haha (that probably sounds really sad and pathetic to the non-chronic illness community haha). I’m also thankful for new technologies that are emerging in the health care space. Like stem cell procedures! Crossing my fingers that these advancements just keep getting bigger and better.
6. Hallmark Christmas Movies …. Ok, Just The Holiday Season.
Okkkkkkk, I know I know. You’re probably thinking – ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?! But seriously, the holiday season is amazing to me. I always have such a warm feeling in my heart. To me, it’s just impossible to be in a bad mood during the holiday season. Between the cheesy christmas movies, the classic christmas songs, the traditions, friends and family, gratefulness and kindness – it truly is the most wonderful time of year.
5. My Mindfulness Practice
Becoming more mindful of my daily activities has brought me such joy, happiness, gratefulness and a whole new sense of self. If I could suggest one thing to everyone it would be to start a mindfulness (and yoga) practice! 😉 Hey, science has even proven that a mindfulness practice can be healing!
4. My Yoga Practice
Not only has my body become more flexible, but I think I’ve become more flexible in life all around. Linking breath with movements has given me a boost in every single area of my life. I have more patience, I have more goals, I have more inner AND outer strength, I have new friends, I have a new outlook on life… I wish I could give everyone a taste of the yoga magic. I’ve already committed to myself that once I’m off crutches for good I’m going to get my yoga instructor certification.
3. My Friends – New & Old!
This past year has seen a shift in the people in my life. Change is always difficult, but as my mindset and perspectives have changed, so have the people, places and things in my life. One of the biggest beefs (haha, did I really say that?) I’ve had with chronic illness is that everyone else in your life continues to live their lives day in and day out, while you’re often stuck in one place. It’s unreasonable to expect everyone to understand what you’re going through, but it is a hard pill to swallow when your friends don’t know what to do and you’re left mostly alone. This year I’ve picked up some new friendships and rekindled others that mean the world to me. It leaves me hopeful for a better tomorrow and makes me realize that there are truly many caring, supportive, kind people out there in the world.
2. My Family
This one really goes without saying, but I’m extremely thankful for my family. They’re there for, and with me, every single day. They see the struggles and victories that I go through and are always there no matter what. I can’t even begin to imagine what my health has put them through the past 2 ½ years, but I’m so blessed to have them right by my side.
1. My Health
Sure, it’s not a normal 29 year old’s health, but I’m SO thankful for the health and wellness I do have. We’re human and we’ll always want more and always want to strive for more – but this year I’ve really learned to accept what is and to celebrate in that moment. There are factors of my health that are out of my control, but now I can identify many factors that I CAN control and I can influence. Yeah, I’d love to drop these crutches, injections and pills, but you know what? I’m still living a great life and I can honestly say, without a sense of hesitation, that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
Being thankful really can put a situation in perspective. In a recent Wellness Wednesday post I talked about cultivating a gratitude practice. If there ever was a perfect time to start, this week would be it! So whatcha waitin’ for???
Keep the thankfulness going, click here to read my 2015 Thanksgiving post.
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!