Wow–where does the time go? I can’t believe the whirlwind that was 2018 has come and gone. 2018 was in many ways a whirlwind– a dream of getting my first book published and on shelves came to fruition, I traveled all over the country signing books and meeting so many amazing people, I lost my uncle (Godfather), quite suddenly, whom had been living with me for many years, and just like that, poof, it’s 2019. I’ve spent the past few weeks contemplating, meditating, and reviewing the year that has passed. Here we are back at the beginning, a new beginning, of another year–a little older, a little wiser, a little more determined than ever to do things better than before, and a chance to do so! Proud of how far I’ve come, aware of my shortcomings and things I still need to work on, grateful for this day and all the blessings I have been given, and excited about what the future holds.
More than ever, I am learning and struggling to find gratitude and to totally accept and embrace every moment, in all its splendor, in all its monotony, for the present moment it is all we truly have. When we learn to embrace where we are at this very moment, who we are at this very moment, who we are in our essence becomes more apparent. Even if things aren’t exciting, or as we may “want” them to be right now, if we are focused on what isn’t, we are wasting precious energy that could be better spent appreciating the present. Life is beautiful, and it is precious. When we are stuck in the past or living off somewhere in some imagined future, dreaming of what life would be like if and when x, y, or z happen, we are not being grateful for today. So, whatever today is, wherever you are, whoever you’re with, even if you are alone, take a moment and acknowledge it with gratitude. We never know what tomorrow will bring, or if we will even be here. It is great to plan and move forward with goals, yet we shouldn’t lose sight of the present–as we race along this highway of life, we often fail to recognize that the journey is just as important as the destination, and often miss so much beauty as we push and rush ahead–and often when we “get” what we think we want, or where we thought we wanted to go, we realize it really isn’t what we thought we wanted. Having been morbidly obese, totally miserable, on the verge of an untimely death, and punishing myself by overeating and making my body look the way I felt inside, losing weight before and still feeling totally empty and alone, it is through my struggles that I’ve come to the realization that we are way more than our outward physical appearance, the car we drive, the job we have, the place we live, the possessions we own–we are each special and privileged to be alive–and immortal. Just think of the infinite number of things that conspired and worked out just perfectly so that we could experience this life we are living? We are souls first, people second.
If we feel empty inside, no amount of food, possessions, social status, money, or a relationship with whomever will ever quench our insatiable need to attempt to fulfill ourselves with external gratification. When they inevitably don’t work, we go back for more, and more, bigger, better, and we are left feeling vanquished. Our inner happiness and peace do not come from anything or anyone else. For years, even after losing the weight I have ceded my own power to others–expecting a particular person to “make” me happy, or “If I sold x number of books this month, I’d be happy,” or “If I moved to…, I’d be happy,” or “If I weighed x, or lost x amount of weight, I’d be happy.” It’s a recipe for perpetual unhappiness and struggle.
I’ve been there so many times. Looking for love and fulfillment from outside myself has brought me to my knees time and time again– this time to the realization and acceptance that we are souls having a human experience and if we want love and fulfillment, all we have to do is stop looking outside ourselves and start looking inside. Our souls are in charge. Our minds aren’t. Our souls know what is good for us. Our minds don’t. Our minds think they know, we think we don’t have enough, and that someone or something else will make us feel better. Thinking this way is like trying to fill a bottomless pit. We need to collectively change our lives by changing our perspective. We come into this life with nothing but our souls and this is how we leave. Our family, those who brought us into this world, our friends, the other souls we meet along the journey, including our pets, are all bonuses, but in the end, just as in the beginning, we are and have everything we need. When we truly start to grasp and accept these truths, the negative habits we have acquired along the way as coping mechanisms can be shed more easily, and with less of the struggle that is typical for dealing with undesirable behaviors and addictions, like overeating. It is in this tone that I have begun writing my second book, the title and release date yet to be named, which I hope will provide a deeper insight into the art of living life, one day at a time, on life’s terms, and accepting and embracing our spirituality and realizing that anything is possible, and we deserve happiness as much as anyone else, and we deserve our own love and acceptance, and that we need to make OURSELVES our #1 priority!
When we start living on a more soulful level, taking better care of ourselves, we realize the ONLY things that matter are the things we can’t take with us when we leave this earth–our souls, the legacy we leave behind, meaning have we left this world better than we found it–the examples we’ve set, the lessons we’ve hopefully learned, what we’ve shared and given to others (I’m not referring to things) and how we’ve treated ourselves and others. I’ve come to realize that a successful life isn’t about achieving fame or fortune. It’s not how much money we end up with, or how much stuff we have. The art of living is discovering what matters most. Sometimes we have to lose something to realize its true value, like people we may have taken for granted. How many times I’ve heard (or thought), “I’d give all the money in the world” (to have them back). Looking back on losing my Godfather, and my dad 6 years ago this past month, I am grateful for having shared this journey with them for as long as we were meant to in these lives, and I am most grateful for taking them both on a trip through Italy, something we will always share, even after we are long gone from these lives. I gave all of us something priceless, that money can’t buy. It’s the people and the experiences, that matter most. Enjoying our time here, treating others with kindness, and making a difference. Giving of ourselves without trying to influence or control. I took them to Italy because it was something I wanted to do for them, those memories will live on, and it makes me feel good knowing how much they enjoyed it. We don’t take our houses or money, or fame, or anything else with us when we leave. We can also realize that we don’t “need” all these things, including excess food, excess weight, addictions to things like alcohol, drugs, gambling, smoking, shopping, etc. These are all ways we as people try to quench an inner emptiness, that our minds tell us our salvation is right around the corner in our next acquisition, in the new job, the new car, the piece of artwork, the fancy house, the jewelry, the nice clothes, the excess food, the quick thrill, the rush, the high that never lasts, the “perfect” relationship, the one special other person— these and other things and people will love us and somehow “make” us whole. Eating that dessert we don’t need after a big meal, and we are full will somehow “make” us whole or at least better. It won’t. It can’t. How can you make something that is already whole “whole.” We just need to recognize it, not go seeking it externally. I’ve got news for us: we are ALL WHOLE– we are perfection as souls, and perfectly imperfect as humans, once we realize this, we can make the shift in consciousness and one-by-one the negative behaviors and insatiable “need” for something or someone to love us and make us feel whole, or at least “better” will subside. We will be left with ourselves, and be forced to look in the mirror and deal with ourselves–the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we will come to realize that we are decent and worthy of love and respect–first and foremost, from ourselves. We don’t need all these other things to feel better or whole.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year! Much happiness, health, and prosperity. In reflecting on the year that has passed, and looking forward to what lies ahead, it is important to note that the things that truly matter most in life aren’t “things” at all. It has been a year since the release of my first book, “The Restaurant Diet.” I have enjoyed meeting and counseling people on how to lose weight as I did, yet the reality is the true art of living life is learning to accept life on life’s terms, and learning to love ourselves unconditionally and therefore to only want what’s best for us. Feeling good about ourselves regardless of the number on the scale, eating better, taking better care of ourselves, exercising our bodies daily, without overdoing, to get them into better shape–and to keep them there, balancing work and recreation, and getting plenty of rest are a few keys. It’s been over 9 years since I began my journey of weight loss and transformation. What I’ve learned is losing the weight was challenging, but the most challenging and rewarding work comes afterwards–from learning how to navigate a new life when we are no longer addicted to excess food, learning how to be intimate with others and honest with ourselves now that there is no longer a guise of excess weight as an excuse to shield us from intimacy, learning to not make excuses, and to not replace excess food with other addictive behaviors (they are too numerous to list, but those of us who have ever been afflicted with a compulsive tendency to overdo something will always struggle with this tendency, whether in the original arena, or with other substances–including people, places, and things.
2019, like every new year is the perfect time to start fresh and with a clean slate. It’s time to let go of old resentments, make amends when possible, forgive others, and forgive ourselves for our mistakes, and our lack of kindness and respect, especially for ourselves, to take stock of ourselves and our lives by looking honestly at ourselves–what we like and what we don’t like about ourselves, and making up our minds and hearts to release those behaviors and parts of ourselves that are not serving us, that are not authentic. Take with us only what is good from the past and build upon it by bringing in more of what is good for our souls. Whatever your situation, whether you are overweight, or not, whatever items you might want to resolve, let’s work on it together. But let’s make it more than a New Year’s Resolution, which typically last several weeks or perhaps a couple months. Let’s truly embrace a new, healthier, better, more soulful life, where we are nourishing and nurturing ourselves, and honoring our bodies as sacred vessels we get to experience the unique and special journey of life in. Let’s make 2019 our best year yet!
Stay tuned! I will continue to travel and share secrets to my success, positive thoughts and my book, “The Restaurant Diet.” I will also share important announcements about my upcoming second book.
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