Yo Mismo

December 11, 2014

I’ve been wondering to myself lately: What if my only job was to look after myself? What kind of life would I live? What kind of decisions would I make? How much greater would my health be? How much better would I be? Taking care of myself is something I’ve never done an excellent job with. I’m not usually on the brink of falling apart but I’ve been close. My health, my weight, my writing, my exercise regimen, my studying it all seems to be consistently inconsistent.

But what if I took my life more seriously? Imagine for a moment that living your life and being your best self was an actual job. A job you have to go to and work hard to receive your compensation each week, each month, each year, for your lifetime. Yet isn’t that exactly what it’s like? If you don’t go to work, if you don’t make money soon everything will fall apart: all your necessities will perish and you’ll be left in ruin.

We don’t think about ourselves that way, but we should. I take myself for example, if I eat poor food (junk food and snacks), if I eat too much and if I don’t drink enough water I’ll gain weight, break out on my skin and be depressed by my lack of control. My actions have a direct result but somehow it’s more difficult to see the hard consequences. I know it will have a bad effect but the effect doesn’t happen right way. When you don’t go to work you lose your pay for the day, it’s that immediate but when I eat a donut or even three I don’t immediately gain five pounds. Sometimes if I eat too many sweets I may immediately break out but I think a second issue at play helps to lower the impact of these negative effects, because it’s my own body I get use to it.

A new scar on my face today is just an old scar by next week and in a month I’ll hardly remember when it wasn’t there. In a year I’ll start to think my face always had the mark. It becomes easy to forget that the scar or the addition in weight or any other negative aspect in life is a direct effect of my actions. If that thought were more present I think it’d be easier to change.

Yesterday I went my second day without eating any sweets (though I did have coffee) not applause worthy but worth noting, at some point in the day I told myself how nice it would be to have a Cinnabon then I quickly said “no”. How did I say no instead of hoping in a cab as usual or getting a second best snack from the corner store? I saw the direct consequence of eating a Cinnabon. I knew how it would make me feel, farther from my weight goal and a failure on my diet and though it wouldn’t immediately explode my weight it would get me back in to the habit of that sweet sensation. A Cinnabon today, a cookie tomorrow, M & M’s the day after that and so on. The Cinnabon would spiral other choices that would continue my weight gain.

I’m not saying I’ll never have sweets again, I’d never say that. But going a few days without them is such a relief. Breaking a cycle of addictive behavior, is empowering. I’m slowly trying to convince myself that my number one job is to take care of myself. Umm Sahl said something yesterday in her lesson that really stuck with me “Nobody is going to hold my hand when I stand in front of God”. And it’s true. My life has to be primarily about nursing myself to health and finding best ways to do that.

I’m trying to focus on what my body wants and needs. Today I realized I should probably stay away from meat and dairy as the winter approaches, this is how my body does best in the cold weather. I need to switch from eggs to oatmeal, from meat to soup, from coffee to tea. While these matters may not sound as serious as heaven or hell, it is, it all is. My body, my time, my mind are a trust from God that I will be asked about. I have to drink more water to maintain my physical heath, I have to do more dhikr to maintain my spiritual health. All is valuable all is a matter of distance or closeness to God, gratitude or ingratitude.

I found this talk extremely beneficial and I’m trying to make it my battle cry for life, ‘The Discipline of Finishing by Conor Neill: Listen

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