I read so many articles and blog posts on health and diabetes and technology and business that sometimes my head just spins. But it usually doesn’t take too long for some sort of theme to congeal for me — some thought thread that connects to my life and inevitably to this exasperating health condition that permeates it. This past week, the thread that emerged was words to live by.
Fortune magazine ran a cover article featuring a number of hot-shot execs talking about "The Best Advice I Ever Got." Larry Page, the Stanford-grad founder of Google, for example, was advised early on to "look at the link structure of the web." Good idea!
My personal best-advice-received was only a few years ago, post-diagnosis, and surprisingly, came from
a woman I barely know and don’t even like very much. I was at the gym, apologetically trying to fit myself in to the front a crowded aerobics class, when this rather unfriendly Super-Aerobics-Babe sort smirked at me openly and said, "Be bold."
At the time I was simply annoyed and a little confused by her words. But since, I’ve decided that’s about the smartest thing anyone ever said to me. No more apologies for being who I am. Having this stupid disease, I’m lucky to be alive. Lucky to be healthy enough to jump around in an aerobics class at all. Lucky to have been able to reach out to so many people via this blog and discover a whole community of like-minded souls.
To give credit where it’s due, the so-called "Glucose Goddess" Laura Menninger told me several years ago that she feels the same way about her diabetes. The mantra she lives by is "accept no limitations." That I also aspire to.
I know that it’s sometimes hard to swallow all this "make the best of your chronic illness" dogma. But as Birdie over at Aiming for Grace points out, if nothing else, having diabetes forces the opportunity to pay close attention to your body, to your health, and ultimately, to life itself. One might call this practicing extreme self-care (I need to check out that book by Cheryl Richardson).
Meanwhile, I was giving some thought to actual mantras — those repeated incantations that help us conjure up energy in the face of adversity. Whenever I tackle a difficult workout, when I’m panting and ranting as I jog up that last leg of a hill, for example, or gritting my teeth on those last 5 miles of my bike ride, I find that whispering this mantra to myself helps: "failure is not an option." I REFUSE to stop running and walk. I REFUSE to cut the bike ride short. I REFUSE to accept limitations.
I love the way Ranae Whitmore wrapped it up when she was asked about her mantra for extreme weight loss: "be kind to yourself and never give up" she said. Excellent words to live by.
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btw, if you’re really interested in mantras in the traditional spiritual sense, check these out: Mantra Therapy for Diabetes, a music CD; and A Boon to Diabetics, a book by the Swami Sivananda, including the Yogic panacea for diabetes (I kid you not). Live long and prosper, my Friends.