Sunday, July 25, 2010

Freakin' Eurekan'

On a recent trip to Eureka Springs Arkansas, a t-shirt caught my eye. Aside from it's bright hot pink color, the tag line was very appealing. "Freakin' Eurekin'" The word play makes it cute, but, to me, it is synonymous with eternal optimism and is vital to wellness. 

Early in my childhood, I learned that friends, boyfriends, and sometimes spouses are temporary constituents in the whole of life. Family, however, is forever. Family is do or die. Family is life, love, and laughter. Family is a foundation on which you can build and enjoy the other elements of life, and fall back on when everything crumbles.

My sister, Bonnie, was 10 yrs. old when I entered her life and, according to family folklore, she couldn't have been happier. She was thrilled to have what seemed to be a real live baby doll to 'mother.' She took me for walks and pushed me around in the carriage for hours. She tended to me so regularly, that I very soon began to call her mommy instead of Bonnie. The rest of our relationship is no different than the beginning. I was her maid of honor, her birth coach, a staple in her girls' night out, her first phone call with good news, and bad. I am her everything, and she, mine.

It is not always easy, this close bond we have. Like most women with their mothers, I dread my sister's sometimes overly critical input and her ever wiser, more experienced opinion on.... everything. Overall, though, it is a warm and comfortable relationship. We have been through many ups and downs together, and love each other unconditionally, through all the joy and all the tears, even through the busy-ness of life that led to long stretches of silence between us. We always pick up where we left off, and never question where we stand with each other.

As is everyone, I was thrust into the woes of adulthood, college, career, marriage, children, and have always maintained my 'glass half full' mentality, despite life's challenges. My eternal optimism was fueled by my faith and provided a happy, healthy life. Until my sister's tumultuous terminal prognosis. Suddenly, the glass was empty - all the time.

I subconsciously reverted back to my childish world of 'should,' where things are black and white and boundaries are clearly drawn. No one should lose a sibling. No one should have to say goodbye so prematurely. No one should ever have their foundation cracked. I shouldn't have to bury my 'everything' and carry on, I shouldn't.

In a perfect world, 'should' would be a valuable word. This is not a perfect world, and 'should' is weightless. 'Should' strongly correlates with hindsight, regret, and bewilderment. Such frustration cannot co-exist with peace.

In addition to grieving our family tragedy, this frustration over 'should' affected me physically. The negativity led to additional stress, and consequently fatigue and irritability.

According to David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, in his book Anti Cancer: A New Way of Life, psychological stress has been associated with cancer for more than 2,000 years when the Greek physician, Galen, associated the two. The type of mindset that can most negatively affect your health is the feeling of utter helplessness and despair.

Further, the Harvard Health Publications suggests:  "...optimism may have biological benefits that improve health. A 2008 study of 2,873 healthy men and women found that a positive outlook on life was linked to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, even after taking age, employment, income, ethnicity, obesity, smoking, and depression into account. In women, but not men, a sunny disposition was also associated with lower levels of two markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6), which predict the risk of heart attack and stroke. Other possible benefits include reduced levels of adrenaline, improved immune function, and less active clotting systems."

I recognize that 'frustration' and 'peace' are two opposing concepts. We must choose which philosophy we want to live by: a life of wishful thinking, and sadness, or one of contentment, and eureka.

Peace is not in the absence of troubles, however, it is the presence of God. Living in peace requires an immense amount of commitment, determination, and daily surrender. I will continue to choose to see the bright side, to appreciate the goodness in everything, to let the negativity roll off my back, and reap the rewards of a good attitude and a fully functioning body.  I encourage you to be conscious of this decision, and choose optimism, for your own wellness and your family's.  In the interest of faith and wellness, be a Freakin' Eurekan. Cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Are you a fellow Food Prude? Tell us your thoughts....

For Email Marketing you can trust