Are Your Health Goals in Alignment with Your Values?
I and many others are embarking on a health and wellbeing journey. It has not been easy, but it has already reaped rewards and it’s because my resolutions are in alignment with my values (finally!).
Weight Management: I am not particularly interested in calorie counting or counting pounds. In fact, I am not going to weigh myself until my biometric screening in June. Counting lost or gained pounds are counterproductive – especially when one is building muscle mass as they work out.
Others find solace in seeing lost pounds, whereas I find solace in feeling great, having tons of energy and sleeping well at night. I want overall wellbeing – few to no colds, a general sense of great health, and a knowing that my body is thriving.
There’s no right or wrong way to look at weight management. What’s most important is whether or not your weight management styles are in alignment with your true values.
Nutritious Diet: I value consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. My mother gifted me a NutriBullet for Christmas and I now I am cultishly juicing/extracting everyday. I’m hooked. Now I crave fruits and vegetables over chips and cookies. Juicing assists with my value of consuming a large amount of fruits, vegetables and nuts. I don’t beat myself up over having a meal at a diner or a dessert. I know I am in the land of the living and sometimes I want to indulge. I make all the conditions in my life to allow me to easily eat or drink when and what I want.
Moderation is key. Because I am on blood thinners, I can only consume a small amount of alcohol, so I save drinking for special occasions. I eat everything in moderation and never feel compelled to finish everything on my plate. I am a lifelong naturally slow eater, which I’m told is a good thing (a pain for my friends and family, but a good digestive/metabolic thing for me).
Exercise: I was the biggest gym rat ten years ago – going five to six times a week. Before that, I would rally up friends to take belly dancing classes with me. I do not have a gym membership presently, but I do have my beloved elliptical machine in my garage, some great 1980s ab workout videos and YouTube exercise How-tos. I also have my sneakers and long, suburban blocks to walk. There are several parks in walking distance that I can jog to. I may get a gym membership, but I have exercise at my fingertips right now, free of charge.
So many of us think we have to go to the gym and that there’s one way to fitness. Fortunately, there are many paths to great physical fitness that can be aligned to our personal values – not just what’s the latest fitness fad or what others are doing to stay fit.
Meditation: My relationship with meditation has strengthened over the last year. I carve out ten to fifteen minutes of my lunch break most work days to meditate. I book an empty conference room, turn down the lights, tune in to my YouTube meditation channels on my cellphone and I meditate. Sometimes, it feels like I’ve left my body, the building, the planet, only to become aware of reentry into my physical being when the music or chants stop. Meditation is what grounds us and at the same time releases us from the clutches of worry, anxiety, and earthly issues. I am most proud of myself for continuing to meditate on a regular basis, even at work.
Singing: I don’t sing for others, I sing for myself. I sing when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m driving, and when I’m feeling silly or serious. Singing is a form of exercise and meditation for me, all mixed into one. After losing my breath during my pulmonary embolism episode, I value feeling good and breathing. I can breathe, damn it!
What makes us beautifully human is our ability to sing, dance and be merry. Love your body, this earthly vessel that carries you. When we forget to love ourselves, our body communicates to us what is needed to get back into alignment. Sometimes that communication is illness, injury, or depression.
When we start to recognize and honor our values, our goals naturally flow and align to and from them, effecting lasting, positive changes in our lives.
~Your Curator of All Things Abundant, Kimberly Jo Cooley
Whew, When Life Happens…
Well, dear friends, I am back from my writing hiatus. I took a break – at a time I probably should be chronicling every moment. But, let’s face it – sometimes one has to be in the mood to write, and I wasn’t, so I didn’t. My life is under construction right now and moving homes, releasing loved ones, and allowing the Good to come in, took up every bit of my focus and energy.
I am ready to get back to writing and I’ve missed you all so much.
Over the coming days and weeks, I will wrap up the Freedom Consciousness blog series, delve into what the Universe had in store for me, and Recommendations and Shout Outs. Throughout my moving process, I remained inspired by inspirational Podcasts and I have to share some of them with all of you.
My life over the last couple of months has been a hurricane of change. Ready to start anew and I feel renewed. Loving the journey, loving the Now. No matter what. Blessed be.
~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley
A New Way to Be In a New Day: Depression and Manifestation
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them – Albert Einstein
~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley
Hibernation is a survival strategy designed to conserve energy when conditions are harsh. – animals.howstuffworks.com/animal-facts/hibernation.htm
Over the past week, I withdrew from social media, electing not to blog, not to Facebook, and to just Be.
Do humans hibernate? Should they? I think we do – and I think it occurs when external and internal conditions are harsh.
I am in the throws of downsizing, and self evaluating where I am and where I’m going. When I am in stressful situations, I withdraw from the world. I do not post every thought or concern in social media world. I retreat, until I am rested and ready to share again.
Do you hibernate? Do you retreat and if so, what are the conditions that compel you to disconnect? When you do disconnect, what do you do?
We have to share so much of ourselves in our everyday lives, both in reality and virtuality. Sometimes, it feels like we are always turned on and available. And, sometimes, it can be too much.
I will be back to blogging and social media connecting before long, after the harsh conditions of moving subside.
~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley
I Choose Life
March is Blood Clot Awareness Month and since I had a clot in my left lung last summer, this is a great time to share some life saving tips to my friends. 350,000 – 600,000 people in the United States develop blood clots every year. About 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year from blood clots, which means that about 1 in 3 may die.
The difference between life and death is awareness of the symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention at an emergency room. Quick medical intervention saves lives. Another unfortunate occurrence is misdiagnosis – medical professionals confusing blood clot symptoms with other conditions like pneumonia.
Even if you do not personally experience symptoms, a friend or relative might and you can urge your loved ones to seek immediate medical attention. I choose to live and I want others to live long lives, too.
Blood clotting is your body’s natural way to prevent bleeding out when you sustain a serious cut or wound. Sometimes blood clots form when and where they are not supposed to, which could lead to pulmonary embolisms, strokes, heart attacks, and death. Blood clots that are created inside a blood vessels can cause swelling in your legs and travel up to vital organs. In my case, we’re not exactly sure, but my clot may have started in my leg when I bumped it on the edge of my bed, and then traveled up to my left lung, causing a pulmonary embolism. Link to my blood clot story: https://abundantlifeinitiative.com/2014/01/04/kimbery-jo-cooleys-blood-clot-story/
I am still on blood thinners, but I also say this affirmation: “My blood clots when and where it is supposed to.”
I am blessed with attentive and knowledgeable medical providers and a great resource in http://www.stoptheclot.org.
I have to emphasize there are some people who exhibit NO risk factors and still have spontaneous blood clots, which is why I find writing this blog post necessary. It’s still important to know the risk factors and critically important to know the symptoms.
According to Stop the Clot, the risk factors are:
- Family history of blood clots, especially in parents, sisters and brothers
- Recent hospital stay or surgery
- Chronic medical illness or long-term bed rest
- Limited ability to move
- Recent trauma or injury
- Cancer or cancer treatment
- Knee or hip replacement surgery
- Using birth control pills or hormone replacement
- Pregnancy or immediately after having a baby (C-Sections further increase this risk)
- Traveling more than 4 hours by plane, car, train or bus (without walking around)
Deep Vein Thrombosis: Signs and Symptoms
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body, usually in your legs but sometimes in your arm.
- Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm)
- Leg pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or Charley horse
- Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
- Leg (or arm) warm to touch
These symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charlie horse,” but may differ in that the leg (or arm) may be swollen, slightly discolored, and warm. Contact your doctor if you have these symptoms, because you may need treatment right away.
Pulmonary Embolism: Signs and Symptoms
Clots can break off from a DVT and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus
I now have to take frequent work breaks to walk around as I have a sedentary job where I sit for hours each day. I take blood thinners and go to my medical provider once a month to have my blood checked to ensure no blood clots will form based on my blood levels. It has been an eye opening experience, to say the least. But, I choose life. I choose to share what I’ve learned from my experience with others, so they can choose life, too.
~Your Curator of all things Abundant, Kimberly Jo Cooley
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism, US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2008.
Kimbery Jo Cooley’s Blood Clot Story
My very first published piece is located on stoptheclot.org! And, it is something that is (literally) near and dear to my heart. My health crisis, has become a blessing in so many ways. I felt an urge to get my story out, to save even just one life. The original posting is on http://www.stoptheclot.org/news/kimbery-jo-cooleys-blood-clot-story.htm:
I’m a thirty three year old, healthy mother of three children, and I was diagnosed with a Pulmonary Embolism in July, 2013.
I vaguely recall bumping my left shin on my platform bed, and feeling a leg cramp. It had been a long time since I had a leg cramp, but figured I needed to eat more bananas for potassium, which helps prevent leg cramps.
A week later, Saturday, July 13th, I felt a tightness in my chest. I thought, “Gee, I am gaining weight!” I was breathing shallowly, but assumed the Sacramento summer heat was getting to me.
The following Monday morning, I drove to work and I was feeling a little lightheaded. I called my mother once I got to work. She told me to call the doctor. I thought my mother was overreacting, and I told her if the tightness persists, I’d consider making an appointment.
That day, I climbed a set of steep stairs near my office building, which I normally had no problem doing; but this day, every step was agonizing. I couldn’t catch my breath, and had to pause with each step. I still didn’t think anything was wrong – just assumed it was time to start a new exercise regimen. On the drive home from work, I felt the tightness again, so much so, I needed to take my bra off.
Tuesday was the same symptoms, only more intensified. As I breathed, there were sharp pains on the left side of my chest and I couldn’t take a deep breath. I’d listen to Podcasts and had trouble comprehending what was being said. On my drives to and from work, it felt like I was even starting to black out.
On Wednesday morning, I barely made it to work. I was so dizzy and disoriented by the time I arrived. My mother called me and asked me how I was feeling. I told her, “like crap.” She demanded I call Kaiser’s advice nurses and make an appointment. I was so busy at work. I was a new arbitration specialist for an auto insurance company. I had workaholic tendencies, and the thought of going to the doctor felt like a waste of time.
I decided to listen to my mother because the dizzy episodes were starting to freak me out.
I called the advice nurse. She placed me on hold to consult the on-call doctor. When she got back on the line, she said, “I do not want to alarm you, but you need to get an ambulance or have a co-worker drive you to the ER (emergency room) right now.” I was like, why? She proceeded to tell me that I had life threatening symptoms, and then said, “I wish you all the best. I am sending you waves of light. May God bless you.”
I began to sob. I called my husband and he picked me up to take me to the ER. I was too cheap to call for an ambulance, and I really didn’t want to bother my co-workers in the event that there was nothing really wrong.
I went to the ER and the staff attended to me right away. They ran some blood tests, one of which was a D-dimer test. While the nurses were out, I googled on my smart phone what a D-dimer test was for. I realized it was to rule out blood clots. A few minutes later, a doctor confirmed the diagnosis.
A CT scan confirmed I had a blood clot in my left lung. I was prescribed Lovenox injections and Warfarin. Two days later, I was back in the ER with excruciating pain on my left side. The ER doctor explained that the pain I was feeling was the area where the PE was caused that part of the lung to die – a pulmonary infarction. They gave me Norco for the pain and I went home.
I feel like a combination of things caused my PE. I have a sedentary job where I sit for many hours per day. I bumped my left leg, which likely caused a DVT (blood clot in the leg). I was once a smoker. I did test negative for genetic clotting disorders. They still do not know officially what caused it, so I will be on blood thinners the rest of my life.
I made some changes in my life. I take frequent breaks at work now. I exercise. I go to the doctor when unusual symptoms pop up, despite what the financial costs may be. I now put my health first in my list of priorities.
Take Home Messages:
- Blood clots can happen to young, seemingly healthy people.
- Seek medical attention for symptoms that seem like a muscle pull or soreness, especially when they seem to get worse, since DVTs often appear in that way.
- Get care right away in the ER for chest pain or shortness of breath.
- Pay attention to unusual shortness of breath and seek medical help as soon as possible.
- Immobility can increase your risk of blood clots.
- Trauma to the leg can increase your risk of blood clots.
- Listen to your body and go to the doctor when something doesn’t feel right.
10 Life Enriching Things To Do When It’s Cold Outside
Cold weather or tending to sick, sleeping children definitely keeps many of us in doors. When we find ourselves bound to the house, whether to stay warm or to care for ourselves or others, we can use the time productively. Here’s a list of ten life enriching things to do while stuck in doors.
1. Create an acknowledgement/gratitude journal. This type of journal is different than one to capture all your thoughts and emotions from day to day (although I think that’s a good reason to journal too). This journal is simply to acknowledge the specific things you did in a day and what you are grateful for. In time, you will have a collection of acknowledgements about your life and will have physical evidence of all that you do and receive.
2. Create a Manifestation journal. This is different from an acknowledgement/gratitude journal because it is a chronicle of the things you wish to bring into your life in the near and far future. It will feel amazing to see the things you scribed in your manifestation journal come to fruition in your acknowledgement/gratitude journal. Some things I have manifested was my daughter, my degree, my vehicle, and a better job, just to name a few.
3. Create a Vision Statement for your life. A paragraph detailing your vision for yourself is an awesome way to culminate all that you want represented in your life. It is a great reference to look at each day in your cubicle wall or on your bathroom mirror. Companies have vision statements, why not the little peoples too?
4. Create/work on your vision board.I have a well loved, ratty vision board that essentially has everything I wanted to manifest come about and now need to make time to create a new one. A vision board is great for the visual folks who need to see images to conjure up good feelings of what they want to have or continue to have in their lives. I grabbed images from the internet, magazines and even fortune cookie notes. It is a fun project to do with the kids, too.
5. Surf the web with purpose. Surfing the web sometimes gets a bad wrap as a time zap. I personally feel we are gaining information to store for later when we are perusing the net. Now that I am blogging, every opportunity to surf is a possibility for a new subject to write about. When you’re surfing the net, think about something from your manifestation journal you want to do a little more research about. Perhaps it’s a trip to Brazil. Or, an article on the history of tithing. Whatever it is, surf with a purpose to make the computer time count.
6. Guided meditation. I am a huge fan of guided meditation because it helps to guide the mind and body into a quiet state. Guided meditation reduces stress and for those of us who are spiritual, it brings us closer to our Higher Self or God. Here is a link to UCLA Health’s website with free quick, guided mediation MP3s http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22. If you’ve never meditated, having a guide to help you quiet your thoughts is super helpful. Don’t feel like you have to start out doing 30 minute sessions – start with five minutes and work your way up.
7. Listen to Podcasts. Just as I’m a journal junkie, I am also a little strung out on Podcasts. I listen to spiritual leaders and life coaches for daily inspiration. Some podcasts to check out: Everyday Attraction with Rae Zander; Think, Believe and Manifest Show with Constance Arnold; Receive Your Life with Janice Campbell; The Matt and Phil Show; Flowdreaming with Summer McStravick. For the creative writers, check out Writers on Writing.
8. Exercise. Get some second hand yoga or fitness videos, dance, or if you have room in your family room, get a small bike or elliptical machine and work up a sweat while you watch television. Whatever you do, get moving. Obviously, if you have a sick child or you’re sick yourself, this is not really a feasible option, so that’s why it’s towards the bottom of the list.
9. Daydream. Now, this is something you can do while your child sleeps or if you’re bedridden. Allow your mind to wonder. It feels so delicious to dip into a daydream, and almost a letdown when it’s interrupted. Here is how Wikipedia defines daydreaming: Daydreaming is a short-term detachment from one’s immediate surroundings, during which a person’s contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake. Your mind needs a break, why not daydream?
10. Sleep. This will be a given if you’re sick. Even if there’s no sickness in your house, a nap or a night’s rest is what your mind and body needs to recharge. For many of us, sleep is a depleted commodity and naps are great for storing a little day’s energy. On days when I’ve had a hard time or had to leave work early, I go straight to my couch and take a nap. I usually wake up feeling a lot better about a situation or I may even dream up a solution to a problem. Sleep is medicine.
What are some ways you pass the time on cold or rainy days? And, what are some ways you enrich your life for free?
Feeling Guilty About…?
An exercise plan can be doomed from the start because of guilt. I used to be the workout queen, when I worked for USAA. They had an onsite gym and I was able to work out most days (and even weekends) while in my mid-twenties. It was awesome! I was feeling great and accomplished. There was no room for guilt. Working out came easy for me during that time.
Let’s fast forward to my thirties. I now have a third child and a full time job. I am married and trying to fit in writing classes, all the while holding on to the remnants of a social life and being a good family woman. Fitness fell to the bottom of my list, and as a result, my physical body suffered. At first, I blamed having a child in my thirties for the weight gain. Recently, I couldn’t fit into a pair of slacks that I bought a year after Ella was born, and realized that since Ella was one year old, I had gone up yet another size. Then the guilty feelings set in. Guilt over lack of time and the clothes that were no longer fitting. I was a girl in limbo between where I was and where I wanted to be.
I still wasn’t motivated, even by the guilt, to work out. I figured, I could spare to add on a few extra pounds since I’m naturally thin. The guilt I tucked away was still there, only I got good at ignoring it, so much so, that one day I had a blood clot in my left lung or a pulmonary embolism (PE) at the age of 33. The doctors told me I was on the younger side of a PE and that news depressed me.
I attributed my PE to a host of things, from my years of smoking, to my hours of lack of movement during the day, to the guilt I have for not spending enough time with this person or that child. And, then just as pervasive as it wants to be, my guilt reared its ugly head and I cried like a baby. I was thinking if only I had been working out all this time, I’d be healthier. The truth was, my PE could have been random occurrence, never to happen again, but my guilt had taken over.
I didn’t want to work out, as I had grown lazy over the years. But, I decided not to be motivated by what I should be doing, but instead, focus on what actually feels good. My PE had literally taken my breath away. During my PE episode and before I realized what was happening, I could barely catch my breath and it felt like the air was squeezed out of my lungs.
Two weeks after my PE, I began to work out, but not because of guilt, but because I simply wanted to feel good again. I wanted to know that my lungs could take it. I got on my elliptical machine and went for two minutes the first day. It hurt like hell, but the pain of the exercise was rivaling and beating out the pain of the dead part of my lung due to the PE. The next day, I did four minutes, and now I am up to 25 minutes each workout. I went incrementally and that was the best thing I could do.
I will never forget the day when the pain of the cardio workout superseded the pain from my PE. Eventually, the exercise pain squelched and quieted the pain in my lungs. My lungs felt new again! I made a conscious decision to not allow guilt to hold me in limbo over working out and how my body looks. I surrendered to what exercise is really all about – feeling good! Being healthy! So many of us have guilt around things in our mind and what makes it most painful is we feel like we should be able to do something about it, and then we beat ourselves up over why we’re not exercising, or eating good, or advancing in life. These thoughts only hold us in limbo. It wasn’t until my blessing called a PE came into my life and reminded me that my body doesn’t care about the guilt in my mind, it just wants to move!
There is a reason most religions tell their flock to not feel guilt, shame, or any of the low frequency feelings that keeps us stuck in the problem, instead of joyously working towards the solution. I had to face my guilt around fitness and replace it with steps in faith and action.
So, look guilt in the eye and kick it to the curb. You are probably too hard on yourself. Give yourself a break and remember even the smallest of steps are movement and motion in any area of life is gold.
Your Everyday Spiritual Warrior ~ Kimberly Jo Cooley Thursday, September 12, 2013
Inner Peace Is A Choice
Inner peace is a choice. Many people find themselves swayed here and there throughout the day, without the centering notion that their inner peace is their choice and their God-given gift. We are people with many demands – we are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends, commuters, enemies, co-workers, bosses, teachers, students, and every other role we take on. We are constantly pulled, tugged, pushed and shoved at the will of others and our inner peace can falter.
Some people instantly know when they are out of sorts, or lacking peace in their hearts. It could be around a certain situation, or it can just be a general feeling. Others, it may take a long time to realize they’ve been walking around shouldering the burdens and volatile emotions of others. Prolonged periods of lack of peace can lead to stress/health related issues. Be the person that stays in tune with your inner self so you can employ techniques to get back on course.
Noticing your peace has been tampered with is your first step towards getting back into balance with self. I was a claims adjuster for thirteen years and dealt with daily demands from demanding attorneys, managers, insureds, claimants, repair shop employees and anyone else who wanted to beat me up about their injury settlements. Oftentimes, I would hang up after each call and curse loudly or under my breath. My peace was shaken on a daily basis.
One day, I made a decision to no longer give my peace away, even during very difficult phone calls. I first reminded myself of my value in the given situation I found myself in. If the phone call became heated, I would calmly remind myself and the person I am talking to that we are both trying to find resolution and it would be appreciated if we could remain civil. If that could not happen, I ended the call – business-like and with a promise that when both parties could talk calmly and listen to each other, then we could resume the conversation. Over time, I rarely, if ever had to rely on this tactic when dealing with others, because my inner energy and vibe exuded protection and love of my happy, inner self. The protection of my peace shown through and even demanding attorneys bowed down to it.
In moments of high stress, breathe! Repeat the affirmation, “I am peaceful, happy and whole in every situation”. It will work! And, you will find that over time, your peace can never be shaken at the whims of everyone else’s mood swings.
Your Everyday Spiritual Warrior ~ Kimberly Jo Cooley
Thursday, September 5, 2013