Drink More Water.
Finish That Book.
We are all familiar with the traditional concept of creating healthy habits. Most of us work externally; lose weight, volunteer more, stop cursing. Of course, these healthy habits can benefit the masses, but we fail to realize that true change begins inside and then works its way out. With the creation of my healthy habits, there has been a lot of dirt, grim, slim and gunk in the catacombs of my subconscious that I have had to clean.
Shocking how pristine something can look externally without a finger lifted to the interior.
I hope that I have established by now that I am not perfect, never have been and never will be. But I must pat myself on the back at how skilled I am at up-keeping a facade of competency whilst entrenched in utter confusion and chaos. Not to worry friends, this is not a cry for help but a call to action. I have had to sever several ties with things and people in my life that I once identified so closely with in order to hear the soft whisper of my intuition that has been overpowered with the noise of other’s influence. It’s not a bad thing to let others in your life, it’s inevitable, but when you start to allow others to direct the show, you may run into problems. I did.
The healthy habits I am formulating now, to some, might not seem so healthy. Heck, they may think they are downright selfish- that’s ok. They are, in the BEST possible way…
I Eat Clean.
Oh yeah, I’ve tried ALL the diets; vegan, keto, vegan keto, pescatarian, high carb, low carb, whatever. I have come to the simple conclusion that I only eat real food and I only eat when I am hungry. Crazy right? I now recognize the difference between habit and hunger which has made a huge difference with my relationship to food and my attitude throughout my day. I have carved out time to understand the psychology behind cravings and the self-limiting beliefs that we carry which keep us prisoners to our own destructive habits. I don’t think that my body is grotesque or shameful by any means, but I am definitely that girl that struggles to lose that last 15lbs. NOT. ANY. MORE. The reason for this plateau in my body composition has to do with breaking my boredom. Boredom is one of the silent killers of my success when it comes to this area because if I am not careful my habits turn cow-like and I begin to graze through whichever area I am in. Food disguises itself as activity and emotionally fulfilling rather than just filling my stomach. I now view my food honestly. I want to know what is in it, I don’t like secrets. It really is a relationship! I don’t eat what I can’t understand. This new habit has treated me well so far!
I Sweat Every day.
Seriously, I make it a point to sweat. Every. Single. Day. No excuses. Sometimes I don’t feel like it, but 99% of the time I crave the movement and my body thanks me for it! I have been seeing more and more muscle definition in my body which is SO EXCITING! I lift heavy weights, I run, I dance and I am even considering training to become a certified yoga instructor. This is something that I would have NEVER thought I would be capable of doing, but I keep surprising myself with my flexibility and strength. My perspective has changed toward fitness and it no longer feels like an exclusive club that I can never belong to. I am intrigued by my body which motivates me to push through my lulls. Given the constant chatter, to-do lists, responsibilities, you name it that pollute my reality each day, sweating-movement makes me feel like I am fighting it all off. It reminds me that I am in control of my life no matter what it may seem like to the naked eye. The voice in my head has become more encouraging than tyrannical and I thank God every day for that.
I Pray More.
I really don’t know how I made it so far in my life without acknowledging God as much as I should have in the past. His grace is REAL. By making prayer a part of my daily routine it has helped my anxiety more than I could have imagined. My first big conversation with God came when I was still living in Hungary and really unsure of what I was doing and feeling. Much like Elizabeth in Eat Pray Love, I was on my knees, terrified and crying out to God. The epiphany that washed over me at that moment, alone, has changed the trajectory of my life since. From that moment on my trust in Him grew exponentially and I knew that everything that I face I can handle and I will grow from. Even when the situations that occurred after I left seemed treacherous, and some of them really were, I have found a beautiful stillness that nothing else could have ever brought out in me except God. Reading scripture and listening to the Word has built more and more confidence in me to be vocal about my faith. In the past, for some reason, I was embarrassed to admit that I believed in God. This partly came from the group of people I associated with and the fact that I was immature. Now, my faith is such a huge part of my life that I cannot make decisions without considering my values. It is something that I will not compromise on. Moving through my life with a strong foundation in Christ makes tomorrow not sees as scary.
Did you know that libraries still exist?
Here is a video I made about reading P.S. I finished the books I talk about LOL)
Seriously, it’s amazing how you can get so much entertainment for FREE if you are willing to go to your local library. Since I have become less and less tolerant to chatter on social media, t.v. and the like, I have found great refuge in the library and new friends between the pages of some great books. It’s funny because I am relatively young, but I would rather read a good book on the beach or curled up in my bed with some tea over getting drunk at some local, dirty dive bar. I’m not saying that I don’t believe in going out and being social, but I don’t feel a need to do all the same activities that most women do at my age. It’s like I recently realized how thirsty I have been for stimulation and how desert-like my surrounds were. Reading allows me to travel, meet people, learn new subjects, challenge ideas and myself all while physically sitting in the same spot waiting for my physical world to catch up to my inner world. Sure, I’m open to meeting friends and one day I want to get married and have children, but I strongly believe that I don’t have to desperately market myself anywhere and everywhere I go in order to get attention. Unfortunately, the conversations I find myself in when I allow myself to venture out are too shallow for a hummingbird. This is not to say that I expect conversations to immediately start with quotes from Emerson, but talking about trivial things like celebrities is exhausting for me. It’s like people are afraid to show their true creativity and independent thought whilst in a conversation for fear of separating themselves from the herd. I say branch out! If people don’t understand what you’re talking about or can’t keep up, find someone who can- better yet- write it down! I refuse to fold myself inside myself in order to make others more comfortable with the concepts that I want to talk about or that interest me. Again, I am not saying that I am some great mind with no time or need for peasants, I am just expressing the fact that I do not crave the same group acceptance that seems to be all the rage nowadays. I don’t seek it.
I Say No.
One of the healthiest things that I could recommend is to rediscover what the word priority means. The book Essentialism is helping me tremendously in the rediscovery of this misinterpreted word. Over the past 3 years, my massive purge has served as a pilgrimage to this idea. I no longer have the same social circle, participate in the same activities, do the same work or think the same thoughts. I decided to no longer involve myself with anything that does not aid in my growth, which turns out to be A LOT of things. The healthy part of this change is for each thing I say no to, I discover something I should have said yes to a long time ago. It is easier said than done to say No to things that otherwise look like great opportunities, but I am in the pursuit of only doing things that make me feel balanced, connected and fulfilled rather than busy, burnt out and abysmal.
I Do Things For No Reason.
Let me explain…
The trap that I fell into for a majority of my creative life was that everything that I produced had to result in something. For example, the fact that I am not terrible at singing, writing or painting has locked in my mind that I can ONLY participate in these activities if I am getting some kind of compensation – if it is furthering me up in the fictitious creator career ladder. This stifled my own artistic spirit for longer than I’d like to admit. I do not regret going to art school and consistently pursuing creative work to make ends meet, but the issue is that the things that I once turned to in order to feel more like myself were beginning to pull me away from my core. I put too much expectation and pressure on myself to be the best, to prove them wrong, to make something of my talent because then, and only then, will my work matter or be of value. I think this is the curse of following your dreams. Since it is so rare to actually go after what interests you, inevitably your peers will watch you like a hawk. It’s almost as if there is this unspoken “prove it” game that we all sign up for when we declare we want to do or be something. I actually don’t think this is a bad thing, I think we overlook the operative word, GAME. The pursuit of your own happiness should be FUN. I forgot somewhere down the line that I was supposed to be having fun. That the things I was involving myself in day to day were my choice. I have this horrible habit that is constantly praised which is being rather militant about things. Like, I can be a drill sergeant when it comes to getting work done efficiently and completely lose sight of everything else in the process. I can turn something ambiguous into something practical just in the name of creating order. Of course, this trait can help in certain situations, but it can kill my ability to play because I need to play efficiently, or I need to have a purpose behind each note I sing or each brush stroke I maneuver. It’s ridiculous.
I have recently allowed myself to rediscover the Ilyssa that has lied dormant inside for far too long. Thanks in part to the book Big Magic, I am making play and creativity the priority in my life. If something comes of it, it comes. I do myself and others a disservice to wait to share my ideas. Value doesn’t solely come from money. It never has and it never will. Value is completely devoid of money. Value exists on its own. The only reason we attach money to something of value is because of our need to be efficient and practical. We must be able to measure something that is immeasurable and define something ethereal. This stems from fear of the unknown which is where creativity is born and logic dies.
Who knows where these healthy habits are leading me to, or why I feel a need to share them with you now?
What I do know is I feel better and closer to the child I left behind during adolescence, as Carl Yung would put it. The change is imminent and with each day my gratitude grows for the destruction of my old habits. I am standing on the precipice of who I once was to who I will be and the view is intoxicating. I invite you to join me as I further my steps on this journey as I am reluctant to turn back. This adventure does not have a destination, but beautiful sights to marvel along the way. It takes stamina, patience, and trust. The guarantee is that where I am going is much better than where I have been.
Can you say the same?