I have been struggling with motivation for the past couple of months. I wake up in the morning with all these ideas and tasks I would like to accomplish, but then before I know it, half the day is gone and I no longer have the energy to do the things I originally wanted. Last week was different, however. I started a summer online class through the University, and it really helped to have deadlines and assignments to keep me moving towards goals. I found myself being motivated to complete the readings and assignments, which then translated to other parts of life such as preparing healthy meals and getting cleaning done. It helps that I am very interested in the topic- Ayurveda Medicine: The Science of Self-Healing. Ayurveda is a system of healing that has its roots in ancient India. I have dabbled in studying Ayurveda over the past year or so, taking a cooking class, joining a yoga shala to practice Ashtanga yoga, and meeting some amazing individuals who practice these principles every day. While in India for my field experience, I got to tour Ayurvedic clinics and learn about the integration of this ancient practice with western medicine approaches. I was intrigued and have been looking forward to this class all year. One week in and I have not been disappointed.
One of my assignments last week was to compare and contrast the definition of health from the western context (the World Health Organization definition), and Ayurveda's definition of health. This helped flip a switch in my mind that health is "not merely the absence of disease," (WHO) which both the WHO and Ayurveda make a point to define. Ayurveda takes the definition of health even further and discusses balance within the mind, body, senses, and consciousness (not going to go into too much depth here because Ayurveda is quite complex) but when there is a perfect balance, there is clarity, happiness, joy, peace, and love. One's state of outward well-being directly reflects this inner state of health (Textbook of Ayurveda Fundamental Principles: Volume 1, Vasant Lad).
The switch that flipped for me was that I can be healthy even with cancer. For some reason, I didn't really think that was possible and I was falling into bad habits of not exercising and eating unhealthy foods with the attitude that I am sick anyway so why not?! In fact, this is the opposite of what I should be doing! So, last week we got our first vegetable delivery from our CSA, and I made a point to pick healthy recipes that I could prepare and we ate home cooked meals which felt really nice (doing all those dishes did not feel as nice). Putting good organic food into my body never felt so good. I have been putting off exercise, I think out of fear, because I have had some instances when I feel really weak and sometimes even feel faint when just walking. But, who I am I to be afraid? I think I was also comparing my current physical abilities to my abilities in the past, which isn't fair because I wasn't being slowly poisoned by chemo drugs in the past. Today I practiced yoga for the first time in a while and it felt good. I realized, if I feel weak or dizzy, I can stop and take a break...I don't have to be as strong as I was in the past, and I don't have to feel upset by it.
I hope to keep this healthy momentum going as I complete my 7th Taxol treatment tomorrow. Off to plan meals for the week, and get a jump on this week's class assignments.