Tag Archives: intention

Intention vs Commitment

First off, let me briefly apologize for the interlude between the last post and this one. Once again, I had a short bout with some stomach issues that have now been resolved. If you want to know the details, read the next paragraph. For those who are either uninterested in medical stuff or grossed out by what goes into (or comes out of) our bodies, just skip to paragraph three.

I went into the hospital with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting the middle of last week. The ER took a CT Scan of my abdomen and spotted what’s called a small bowel obstruction, which was caused by an adhesion caused by scar tissue from a previous abdominal surgery. While I can’t pretend to understand that particulars, what all that medical jargon means, basically, is that when the surgeons went into my abdomen to remove my appendix back in 2009, they accidentally made a small nick in the outside wall of my intestinal tract. Over time, scar tissue formed there, making the outer wall of the bowels unstable. Then, the outer wall can collapse on itself and “adhere” to itself, which is where the name “adhesion” comes from. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and sometimes for no discernible reason at all. Once an adhesion forms, it blocks off the intestinal tract, causing an obstruction. And, apparently, once it happens in a spot once, it has a significantly higher chance of reoccurring there in the future.

So, while I was not happy to have to spend three nights in the hospital again, I ended up learning something that went a long way toward explaining what was happening to me in late October and early November of 2012, and perhaps even starting as far back as two years ago. I have had quite a few abdominal issues similar to the ones described in the above paragraph that went unexplained. The doctor told me that many of those could have been this same problem exactly, but that unless they take the CT Scan at the exact right time it is very difficult to spot the adhesion, and in fact, often when the scan is taken without contrast, it cannot be seen at all unless the doctor already knows where to look and is looking for it specifically. I asked the radiologist later about it and he said, “It is like spotting one colored line in the midst of many slightly different colored lines. You often can’t see it unless you already know it is there.”

While all that really confirms, on one hand, is that I have indeed had at least a few unexplained hospitalizations that now have a clearer cause. But, on the other hand, I recognized something else that is very useful to me.

You see, while I was living both in parents house and on my own this past fall, I maintained my vegan diet, but I often ate more processed foods and my grain/gluten consumption went way up. This was, in recent history, when my digestive issues began. Then, even more recently, from the end of my hospital stay in December, I have been back on a diet more like what I used to eat in the past, including dairy and even some meat. I didn’t particularly want to eat those things, but I had the riot act read to me by two different dieticians in the hospital because I had lost so much weight so quickly. They wanted me to bulk up and told me I really ought to consider meat and dairy again for at least a short period of time until I gained the weight back, and then just to monitor things more closely once I switched back to a vegan diet.

I also realized that I have a tendency to not eat when I get sick. That seems sort of obvious to many of you, but I often forget about it because I usually feel like I’m eating enough, even when I’m not.

Also, my exercise makes a significant difference in my appetite and in my total calorie intake. It also affects my weight directly: muscle is much heavier than fat. So when I started to get sick, I not only started to eat less, but I also stopped working out, which caused the muscle to atrophe and turn into fat, which caused me to lose weight twofold. Not a good combination.

So, as of tomorrow, I’m back on my vegan diet. That’s really what this post is about. It’s an accountability post. I just tend to be more successful in any enterprise when I tell other people what I am planning on doing. Even if I never know who or where you are as you’re reading this, I know that someone out there has read what I wrote and they will know, and what in my head would have just been an intention becomes a commitment.

I have just enough life experience to understand the difference.

While an intention is nebulous, passive, and unrealized, a commitment is structured, active, and firmly put into place – it is binding, and does not yield to varying future circumstances.

In short, an intention is something you’d like to do, a commitment is something you are doing. It is intention enacted.

So, what does that mean for me from tomorrow on? It means returning to more involvement in my food, cooking more often, and preparing ahead mentally when shopping so that I have the things I need to create dishes for myself that I enjoy. I know that if I don’t really like something, I usually won’t take the time to cook it. Instead, I will often just snack or eat something easy or quick, and it is usually something processed, with all sorts of chemicals and preservatives. It is much less healthy than planning ahead and making at least a general menu for myself so that I cook and have leftovers to eat later. I end up getting more calories and also eating better quality foods that are easier for my body to digest.

At this point, I believe that it was at least partly my vegan diet (and my generally less stressful life) that caused such a marked decrease in stomach discomfort and a lack of any complications in my GI tract that required a doctors intervention. This was something I already knew, but that I briefly discarded in the face of pressure and change. That is something I will have to think about.

Thanks for reading, and I apologize for the lapse between posts again.

Peace to you,

-Nathan

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Reminders

Some days it can feel like life is narrowing. Some days it can feel as if you face a myriad of paths. And sometimes it can feel like the very earth is shifting beneath your feet so quickly you can hardly stay standing.

Amazingly, today seemed to be all three for me.

I was presented with a new opportunity to use some of my experience and knowledge to help others with interest in the goal of optimal wellness.

I was reminded that I hardly have an inkling of what the next three weeks holds for me.

I was reminded once more that there is nothing left for me to do to ensure a successful border crossing into Canada other than focus my intention on positive energy and belief that others will respond to the peace and compassion I exude.

And I was once again reminded that I could be a million things, do a million things, choose a hundred-thousand different paths in every second of every moment.

Wellness, for me, is not a singular choice. I haven’t just made the choice to pursue my wellness goals, snip-snap, done. No, I have to wake up every morning and choose wellness. I choose wellness every minute of every day.

Sure, some of those choices are easy. And yeah, I don’t always make the “right” choices. The point is that I consistently endeavor to choose the path that aims me toward my ultimate goal: optimal wellness of my mind, body, and spirit.

Another thing that came up for me today was my relation to past patterns. I am reminded that I am no longer the person I was six months ago. In fact, I am no longer the person I was an hour ago, or even ten minutes ago.

I talked about impermanence in yesterday’s post – and I find it coming up again tonight. Because it is not just the rest of the world that is impermanent, constantly changing – we as human beings are in constant flux. Our cells divide and grow, slough off and die, shift, restructure, constantly creating new patterns and new connections. We are by nature capable of immense change, both within and without.

I have the capability to feel like shit at one moment and to feel completely content a moment later, if I choose to shift my perspective and to use the power of my mind to command my body.

I’m not at all saying that some pain is not real. What I’m saying is that ALL pain is interpreted by the brain. Physical, mental, spiritual – all forms of pain are in some ways a choice. When I choose to give in and allow my pain to overwhelm me, I chose to be my pain rather than feel my pain.

There is NOTHING wrong with feeling pain. In fact, it is a necessary fact of being human. The problem, in my experience, is becoming your pain, to the point that if that pain were truly removed, you would lose a part of your identity.

I have had that experience. I have felt like my world was closing in. I have felt like the word was shifting and I couldn’t get my balance. I have become the essence of pain that permeated my whole being.

But I have had the chance now to choose to hold peace, compassion and gratitude within me while the world around me spins.

That is the intention I have for myself over the next few weeks during this time of newness, change, and opportunity: I shall radiate the peace and love that I truly feel for my life.

I feel a bit like a cat. I’m on my ninth life. Now’s the time to express my truth, and to be what I am with no hesitation.

Peace to you,

-Nathan