Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doors: Opening and Closing

Last year on my 50th birthday, I made a decision that I was 100% committed to my weight loss effort. Doors were closing to me because of my weight. Some people are prejudiced against obese people; they assume we are lazy or self-indulgent. Airplane seats were too snug; I felt embarrassed about the way my fat kept pushing the arm up. My co-workers were -- at times -- dismissive of me; some of them told me I was exercising a lack of self-mastery.

At that point, I was still healthy, but I could see the "handwriting on the wall," so to speak. I knew that if the door opened to diabetes or heart disease, those would be hard doors to close. I decided I would do whatever it took to get back to a healthy weight. I knew that it would not be easy --- I'd spent the last four years 75% committed with little results.

As soon as I set my sights on that goal, I became aware of doors opening and closing all around me.

My internist closed his door. He said, "I have done what I can to help you. You need to move over to medical weight loss or you are going to get in trouble with your health. In my opinion, the genetic cards are stacked against you and this is not something you can accomplish on your own."

In the fall, a friend opened the door to a website called SparkPeople. I found there a lot of support and encouragement, as well as the easiest food and fitness trackers I've come across so far. It has been life-giving. And it's free!

75% of my freelance event coordinator job went overseas. Slam! Some people would look at this closed door as a dead end, but since we do not depend on my income for basic necessities (thank you, Paul), I saw a big open door to more exercise and greater focus on my health.

With fewer work responsibilities, there was a door open to foster parenting, a "want" that seemed impossible with my big job previously. Fostering -- though not as frequent as I'd like -- has encouraged me to be more active and helped me expand my vision for our family.

Lessened freelance work allowed me to open wide the door to my coaching practice. And coaching allows me to remember for myself the power of intention and how much can be learned both from meeting and falling short of my goals. When I'm coaching, I work harder at "practicing what I preach" and my whole life has gone from being a little out of tune to ringing clear.

Also in the fall, I decided I wanted to do the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and there was a sunny door open with a neon sign over the top saying "Walk this way!" Turns out the Avon walk is on my 51st birthday! How is that for synchronicity? At first I had to push on a few doors to find the opening for my training because it takes a lot of time. But the openings are there -- I only needed to look for them.

As I've been successful at weight loss, I have found my training easier and easier. This has opened doors "to the future" as I plan what I will do for exercise in 70-something days when the Avon walk is over. I see possibilities I never did before!

It is all about choosing. It is about taking what God is offering and saying Yes! It's about seeing each closed door as a chance to open a different one. It's about trusting that inevitably, there is a force for "good" working in my life and that though I cannot always see the whole path, the next step is right in front of me and all I have to do is take that next step! Or jiggle the door-knob a bit and see what happens!

I'd love to hear about the doors in your life! What doors are closing and which are opening?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Please Help Me Make a Difference!

In 2007, my dear friend Martha Edgemon told me that her daughter-in-law, Karson Beaty, had breast cancer. Karson was 30 years old when diagnosed. I clearly remember the exact moment Martha said the word, "cancer." I remember how my heart felt heavy and I had a queasy feeling in my stomach. What can I do?," I wondered, "How can I help?"

As I followed Karson's journey over the next many months, her battle was never far from my mind. I barely passed science in school; creating my own cure is probably out of my reach. One day an online friend wrote me that she was doing a breast cancer walk. I realized that while medical science is not my forte, endurance certainly is. I started researching the walks and found one that seemed ideal for me, The Avon Walk. It covers 39 miles in two days and a Walk is held annually in Houston, only a 3-hour drive away. In Texas, that's close!

Last fall, it was finally time to begin my training and now my walk is only 77 days away. My training (at this stage) consists of a 13 mile walk Saturday followed by a 7 mile walk Sunday and a 3 and 5-mile walk through the week. 8 weeks from now I'll be logging 45 miles a week.

A lot of great things have happened to me in this training. I've lost 25 pounds. My legs are strong and my steps are sure. My family have become my support-team with Paul on foot at my side for the "long" walks and the girls on bikes. We are all doing this big thing together.

But the greatest thing is that I am making a difference. As a participant, I boldly agreed to raise $1800 in donations before the event. this money will help fund breast cancer research and screening for those who can't afford it. The research is what most thrills me, because, as my shirt says, I'm "In it to END it."

I'm dedicating my walk to Karson, who is still fighting her battle. I'm also walking for my mom's best friend, Joan, still fighting. And for Kathy A and Irene S. who won their battles; I'm walking for Mary Pearl and Paul's Grandma Florene, who not only triumphed but lived a full life for several decades afterward. And I'm walking especially for each person who will lose their battle to breast cancer every 14 minutes of every single day, every week of every month of every year -- until a cure is found. I'm walking so that should this disease ever touch either of my beautiful girls, their odds will be better.

Will you help me? Every donation of any size will help me reach my goal, which in turn can change the future of this deadly disease. To use a credit card, click HERE!! To write a check or donate cash, please email me (dreena@gmail.com) for instructions. Thank you so very much.