A step into the hard shoes of adversity can have you slugging through a lot of soft and smelly doo-doo. You can find yourself walking a 1,000 mile stretch of anxiety. If you're not careful your soul will wear out. Here’s the happier news. You can learn to cook up or maintain a tough cookie status through tough times and prevent stress from taking a bite of you.
I won’t lie to you. To be or become a tougher cookie than you are now is sometimes a stinky experience. Still, I’m confident you’ll come out the other side smelling like a pile of cookie courage—unafraid of the next bite life might want to take out of you--if your temperature is in high gear to transform. All of this work beats the alternative fall in doo-doo; stuck and unable to climb your way past the stink of stress when it comes to job loss, bankruptcy abandonment, divorce, death, or illness.
Do you agree? If so, let's move on.
Today, let’s change things up and step into the shoes of good ‘ol discipline, shall we? I promise it’s no more comfortable than the shoes of adversity. I also promise that with enough walking you’ll breakthrough these shoes without damage to your soul! In fact, you’ll cross the finish line on anxiety and collect on that gold medal reward of fulfillment! Others will ask, “How did you do it?” And you’ll be able to pass on your well worn and strong shoes so they can run their own race.
Here’s one story that shines a light on the need for athlete style walking, running, and rest, before your world goes dark again. Believe me, it will get dark again, and it’s up to you to turn the lights on and stand up straight. You'll arrive in time to act in high performance on your stage—not for applause itself, but for implementing your brilliant rehearsal—for your work in disciplined action.
To connect to what I’m saying…
Here’s Today’s Story Title:
How I Tripled My Understanding of Fulfillment and Doubled My Duty to Stay Disciplined Through Good and Bad Times
The moment I was told I was pregnant with triplets, I squealed so loudly the windows must have shattered in the adjacent waiting area. In an instant, I was, in my head, tripling my need to invest in my self-care. All of it. A non-negotiable contract between me, and me.
I was at a point where I had racked up an impressive decade long commitment to keeping myself well. This commitment turning point followed a well-worn path of exhaustion as a caregiver. It was a gurney ride through a hospital hallway that would indicate I needed to change my weary habits. I was also in for a much-needed rest—the kind that only comes when you feel you’ve died.
"I was committed and ready for this pregnancy because I had learned THE VERY HARD WAY how NOT to feel fulfilled…and how to collapse without getting back up in times of stress…so many years had passed since that one day riding on a gurney in a New Jersey hospital."
You see, years before I got pregnant with triplets, and prior to getting married, the father and husband of my babies had been in 24-hr need of care due to a permanent spinal cord injury—I, being his caregiver for years appeared to be a champion wife. I was that everything do’er in the face of adversity…a perception I despised because although I consider myself to be a tough cookie….After all, I was truly able to fulfill my responsibilities on only four hours of sleep per night…It was impossible to last if I wasn’t taking care of ME!
"I was a slowly brewing pot of bitterness and a fast unraveling former ball of tightly wrapped optimism…
UNTIL…One day, my bitterness boiled over, my last thread snapped, and I was forced to eat a chewy bowl of oatmeal twice a day as part of a heart-healthy hospital diet—a racing heart example of ignorance to the warning signs of caregiver stress—OOPS!"
NECESSARY ACTION UNFOLDS
The leap into the world of daily discipline in self-care came as a result of NECESSITY following my collapse. A decision to get real about my health is why I was ready and committed to having babies long after my oatmeal chewing days.
NECESSARY CONVICTION CALLS
When it came to how I treated my pregnancy, I received back some interesting treatment from others. As such, it became increasingly more necessary for me to maintain my conviction to take care of myself.
Some friends made fun of what they named my “Virgo planning on steroids” in need of intervention. Others told me that pregnancy is a perfect example of God’s work and that you if you allow it to remain in God’s hands, what will be, will be.
I was told to “Just relax, kick back, let nature do its work”…
I heard, “Why would you waste your money on that”, as I followed everything on the triplet baby diet menu that came with the $500.00 Triplet Pregnancy Diet/Exercise/Sleep-Video/Journal Program I bought…
A guest at a gathering joked, “I bet you’ll never let your kids have Oreos. You watch, they’ll need therapy because all their friends will be eating Oreos and they'll be eating carrot sticks at a birthday party!”
A neighbor sneered, “Really, Amy, are you serious to go to yoga classes and swimming for pregnant women? You’re making the rest of us look bad.” (at the time there were three other women who were pregnant in our neighborhood!)
So, what did I do? I stopped hanging around some of these people. No, just kidding, not in this case, and not for this reason anyway!
The truth is, no one person had a true window into my story because I kept the shades down. They just thought I was putting too much on my plate--to have to "worry" about so much when there was so much going on already.
People meant well. And I was fiercely defending our family's privacy--something that calls out where disability is present--in this case, the father and husband of the babies. The fight for dignity is real and you hold tight to the chest any questions people ask about the ins and out of the day. So, this quiet behavior spills over in other areas of life. At least, that's how it was for me. I ended up just excusing people and trying to get better each day.
"I offered no inspiration or thought-provoking conversation about why I felt what I was doing was important…and I was annoyed when people asked, 'How do you do it?'
In reality, had I been more evolved, I wouldn't have missed out on golden opportunities to influence, serve, coach, these people. I could have helped others out of real and fear-based confusion about how I was making such uncommon commitments in the midst of chaotic life circumstances.
No one knew that discipline in health was the actual answer to most of life's headaches."
No, I hadn’t yet learned to see past my own experience…to pass on to others as I pass on to you today another way to look at commitment, and discipline…as a necessity of living for the sake of fulfillment and health. To be disciplined does not mean you have to act like a child about it. It's not that much fun, and it's also not that boring task assigned by your mother as a form of punishment when you did something naughty. I want people to review fulfillment, not as a one-day luxury, but a present possibility with future unlimited rewards!
"The decision to BE YOUR BEST through tough times is fulfillment-seeking at its best!
The truth is, lasting fulfillment is about doing everything you can to avoid future regret!"
Here’s the final point and conclusion of this story I share with you here today…
At 3 months pregnant I lost baby “C”. Everything I had done to try and have healthy triplets failed one of my babies, anyway…at least, I could have felt this way--but I didn't. I cried heavily for a while as I viewed the ultrasound. AND…I felt zero regrets…I felt CALM…
I know now I grew that day…beyond keeping my stories and struggles to myself. I repurchased a pregnancy program for $500. This time, I was preparing for the birth of twins. I adjusted my diet following the book and went forward with renewed optimism. This never would have happened had I not learned to grow tougher better.
I am my most calm today in the face of adversities because I keep raising the bar on the promises to myself…to not necessarily do more, but to do what I’m doing to the very best of my ability.
Every day, every week, every year. For years I've been investing and training with THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD to become better at what I do…I do what they teach and coach me to do….which is why I’m able to help others, like you, become tougher cookies over the long-term. I want us all to learn to no longer allow stress to take a bite out of our tough cookie potential!
In the end, I helped my twin pregnancy along to reach a full-term status and gave birth to two healthy
6 pounds-each babies via C-section! A double blessing and renewed duty in the art of self-discipline. Self-care is not a fun topic. A choice to be your best is sometimes criticized harshly--and you can still laugh at it as you take that bite of carrot. Putting in the work and discipline comes with its sacrifices and setbacks. It’s tough work, I won't lie. The good news is, it’s now o.k. to face because you know how to be the best tough cookie in a bunch of soft doo-doo. The kind that inevitably shows up on the shoes of adversity as you step into and onto your next walk toward uncertainty and fulfillment!