The healthy coastal lifestyle is more than just right eating and moving our bodies. It also involves keeping our minds, hearts, and spirits healthy, too, and that’s what I want to speak about here.
I love people. I’m called to minister to people and enjoy being around them. Caring for people isn’t much of a hardship for me. However, since I can discern spirits, it’s important that I protect my own spirit from getting overwhelmed.
And it was getting overwhelmed. You know how some people just put off negative energies? That’s what was going on. Then you realize that, though you may have liked someone and genuinely cared for them, their energies were beginning to be more than your heart, mind, and spirit could tolerate.
Last semester, I welcomed a friend of my younger daughter into our homeschool. By midterm, this was starting to feel like not the best choice. By the end of the semester, the Spirit told me loud and clear that things had to change. I had been neglecting a lot of things in my life–my daughters, my exercise disciplines, and my sleep. My poor husband was suffering, too, because he wanted to talk to me at night, and try as I might, I couldn’t sell him on the advantages of getting up with me at 7:00 a.m. to talk to me in the mornings instead. I functioned on six or seven hours of sleep for months.
When I subtracted this something that started off as a good thing but turned bad, I became liberated. I reclaimed myself and my time. My family got my spare time again. Shoot, I had spare time again! With no morning alarms, I could catch up on my sleep, luxuriating in the sheer joy of snuggling in bed just a little longer on cold winter mornings. Now I’ve reclaimed up to an hour a day most days to exercise and have gotten back into a fitness regimen with cardio, weight training, and two types of yoga with a day or two rest days a week.
As time has ticked on from those days, I’m noticing even more positive changes in me. I’m sleeping soundly, often sleeping eight hours straight without even getting up in the middle of the night. I have tons of energy to get things done, including sewing and exercising. Probably the best benefit, though, is having so much extra time with my girls. School days fly by, leaving time to spend with either or both of my girls and sometimes a friend or two. My stress level has dropped, my anxiety-related facial tic has gone back into hiding, I feel light, often dancing freely around for no reason at all.
I have often spoken of gaining things to add to the healthy coastal lifestyle–adding exercise, sleep, meditation, or healthy foods. This lesson has taught me that subtraction is also necessary to living the healthy coastal lifestyle because we can’t find room to add good things until we subtract some other things, perhaps things that create mental, psychological, and spiritual clutter in our lives.
As we embrace whatever this year holds for us–and who in the heck knows at this point, am I right???–let’s be willing to let go of anything that’s not serving us. Maybe it’s an activity, maybe it’s a relationship, maybe it’s a habit. We need to be willing to ask ourselves, “How is this benefitting me?” If it’s not, then we need to give it the Elsa treatment and just let it go. If you’re like me, you’ll find greater gains will replace the loss.