I would like say goodbye to 2008 by thanking everyone who has been so supportive of me and the Wellness Center.
I am truly grateful to each and every one of you.
I will do my best to return the gift by being a support to as many people as I can.
This past week, I was reflecting on the great fortune I have experienced in my life up to now.
The end of the year is a good time to reflect on life and to take a look at all there is to be thankful for.
It is also a time to ask the question I ask myself on a regular basis, "what are you waiting for?"
Just tonight I was thinking about how many people come to me struggling because their life has been disrupted by illness, stress or loss.
These disruptions can become the very thing we need in our lives to get things back with a purpose.
What I mean by purpose is not just going through the motions but really allowing the greatness that we all are to come forth.
Every experience becomes a way of finding ourselves and then standing in the truth of who we are.
These obstacles we all face are opportunities to evaluate our life situation.
We get to make the choice of following a path that is the one we have walked on for too long or to walk our own walk, the walk of a life of purpose.
There is nothing to wait for, so again, the question I wonder is "what are we waiting for."
Someone once told me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result each time.
A lot of you who are reading this have a good life with minor disturbances.
Take a look to see if those small disturbances are the result of repeating the same unproductive patterns.
For those of you with larger issues: You have been given the great gift of something so dramatic that you simply have no choice but to meet it. Some of us make choices that prevent retreat.
This is a good thing.
The disturbances provide us perspective and help to mold us so we get back on track with what we were born to be.
Not only do we all have a purpose, but it is never too late to find it and it always is available if we are willing to walk it.
To me, finding wellness is part of finding our purpose.
Looking inside to find wellness means taking care of your physical health, emotional/mental health, and spiritual health.
Making wellness a priority in your life allows you to handle life's "bumps," physical, emotional/mental or spiritual, with much greater resolve and determination.
It most certainly is worth it.
And again, "what are we waiting for?"
Let's all take a minute right now to stop everything.
Just for a minute.
Take a nice deep breath and really feel the air rise and fall in your lungs.
Take a minute to say a prayer of thanks for everything you can think of to be thankful for.
Let's start here.
Let's end the 2008 with thanks and begin 2009 with thanks.
Together, let's commit to a New Year of walking our walk. Let's put our Wellness at the top of the list. I would like to commit myself to helping in any way possible.
The other day, I was asked how to find your peace in events that are clearly not peaceful.
The question came from several individuals, all experiencing stressful life situations.
The answer has to be an individual pursuit and I am not suggesting that when times are tough we should pretend they are easy.
I do not believe that pretending something is good really helps at all.
Life is not "easy" all the time and life is not "hard" all the time. If you find yourself out of balance, from this day forth, you can consider the "disturbances" in your life as alarm clocks.
The alarm clock is so you stop, take a deep breath, say a prayer of thanks for all you have in your life and then consider, from peace, what the best course of action is for you.
I speak about finding peace first because in my life it has made all the difference.
When I made peace my priority I started noticing how my stressful decisions actually lead me towards more stress.
The more I reacted from anger, frustration, resentment or any negative thought the more I experienced more and more problems.
These stressful decisions were in the realm of physical, emotional and spiritual.
One day, a teacher told me to find my peace in all things first. I realized she was being literal.
There is no exception to this rule.
I simply had to walk my walk.
As I opened myself, I began to acquire "wise discernment," which means that I learn from the past so I avoid making the same poor decisions that caused trouble in my life.
My main lesson was that when I did not have peace, I was acting from a stressed point of view and I made one problem into two the first was the original problem and the second was the problem I made by making a bad decision because I was stressed making the decision.
For me, things started to get easier when I literally stopped. When there was even a hint of doubt or uncertainty I waited hours, days and sometimes even months before finally acting. As soon as I was certain, I acted fully. I learned that peace is not forced nor can wise decisions be forced.
This waiting was not passive in the sense of ignoring what I was feeling. In contrast, I spent all the time I could allowing myself the time to find the gift in the stressful situation. Often my head would come up with all kinds of expectations and goals, but inside I still felt stressed.
So I would wait. When I had an idea and no stress with it, I acted.
Believe me, this took a lot of trial and error.
I had to refine my own ability to use wise discernment.
Everyone can apply this strategy. Imagine that you have back pain and in this moment, while you are sitting and reading this article, you hurt. Stop.
Literally stop sitting.
Do something other than what is hurting you.
Allow your body to guide you, not your mind. Most minds will say, "I do what we have always done and get what we always got pain!"
I hear every week how people believe that they can keep pushing through the pain because we learned to "suck it up."
But from a place of wisdom, ask yourself: "If I'm doing the 'best' thing for my back, why does it still hurt?"
Take a minute and really consider the question.
If you want to feel better and you keep pushing yourself to finish chores or responsibilities, then what you really want is to keep hurting.
This is not meant as a criticism, it is meant for you to be honest for a minute. You are good at "talking" about wanting to feel well, but your "walk" is one of doing things that make you hurt more.
Most of us have had the experience of holding back tears of sadness or frustration so we can "help" a loved one who is sad. Most of us have tried to cheer up someone who is sad. The question is why? Why not cry with someone? Why can't we cry when we hurt?
Our "talk" is "it's good to grieve," but our walk is "it's good to grieve for an arbitrary time frame and only under certain circumstances."
Or our talk is "yes, we know how important it is to express our emotions/thoughts" but instead our walk is one of holding back our emotions or worse yet, pushing them down inside.
I am convinced that part of the physical pain experienced by people with fibromyaliga is the emotional pain they have held inside for years.
How many out there have said that God is first in our life, only to criticize someone who looks different or believes differently from us, weighs more or less than we do, or works more or less than we do?
Our talk is one of love, but our walk is one of judgment.
One of my favorite teachers was talking to a woman who was very critical of herself and my teacher said, "Do you imagine God is up in heaven looking down on you right now saying, 'boy I really messed up on this one?'"
It is hard for me to imagine God making a mistake.
Take a minute right now and ask the question, "Can you be sure that the person you are criticizing, including yourself, is wrong, evil, bad in any way?"
Each event of our lives becomes a great opportunity to find wellness when we are ready to walk our walk. It does not matter if our starting point is physical, emotional/mental or spiritual.
What matters most is that we learn to be wise in our decisions.
The first step is to literally stop.
Stop to ask yourself what are you waiting for, really waiting for?
If you feel like you keep messing up or that you "can't" be successful, consider this a call for you to get back on your purposeful path.
If you are struggling, it merely means what you are doing isn't working, like scratching your left foot when it's your right foot that has an itch.
It's time to drop your way and find your purpose. It is never too late, nor is it something you have to work hard to achieve.
Wellness is the same.
If you are struggling to be well physically, emotionally/mentally or spiritually, consider this to be an opportunity for you to find wellness.
It is never too later, nor is it something you have to work hard to achieve. All you need is to stop, find your peace, and then just walk the walk.
Consider this an invitation to you to get well. I promise to help the best I can.
Call me or come by and let's walk the walk together.
Let's end 2008 with a commitment to wellness in 2009 what are we waiting for?
Thanks for reading my columns.
Matthew Goodemote, a Gloversville native, owns Community Physical Therapy & Wellness. His Health & Wellness column will answer your questions and discuss topics that are relevant to your everyday way of life. If you would like to ask a question, e-mail Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org.