The priest told them, “Go in peace. The Lord is watching over the journey you are going on.” Judges 18:6 (HCSB)
I confess, I may have been a tad smug when I wrote that my blood pressure was good without medication. I even shared that my physician was impressed enough to ask me what I had done to lower my blood pressure. It was with only a little pride I told him it was “reducing stress, using meditation and prayer, and taking time for exercise” that gave me the desired results. So maybe I was more than a little smug. But I was proud of my progress and felt delighted I was “healthy”!
Until I wasn’t. I know you are shocked. On the television infomercials they say, “Susie lost 40 pounds and is keeping it off.” Or “Ruthie now has her high school figure after she lost 60 pounds, and she hasn’t gained them back.” Well, I know from experience, it is easier said than done. Whether it is weight loss, maintaining normal blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar numbers; it is not easy. And despite the hype, it is not always permanent. In all my joy and satisfaction at maintaining desired blood pressure numbers, I overlooked the possibility that the numbers would go up—that I would have to return to vigilance rather than enjoying the ease of maintenance. When I checked my blood pressure and saw the results, I was not only disappointed but wondered what had happened.
I had become so caught up in the changes in my life: grandbaby, babysitting, daughter’s life (not that she invited me to try to run her life!), my own professional goals, and oh!—trying to do more of what brings me joy! I placed my devotional materials and journal on my nightstand, put away my yoga mat and walking shoes, and I could not squeeze out 20 minutes to meditate.
What I did continue is my daily 8:00 p.m. commitment to pray; after all, people are counting on me. So why was I surprised that my blood pressure had become elevated? What made me think that I could stop doing what keeps me well and that I would stay well anyway? Wellness is not a one-time event that lasts forever. Wellness is a journey. It is a path we walk over and over, even as we shape and reshape how we define progress.
The good news is regardless of the surprises, the twists, or the darkness of the path, we are not alone. God promises to give us strength to fight our battles, to love us forever even if we feel a little smug about our abilities. Also, we need our community: family, friends, church members, schoolmates—even strangers—all who may have an encouraging word or story to help us keep going.
So I need your help. I am going to, once again, refocus my attention on my well-being. I intend to get back to what keeps me well, to what brings me joy. I would like to share this process with you. I value your feedback. I would love to hear stories of your own paths to wellness. We know what works; the change happens when we keep doing what works.
I will share my process and progress on reducing my blood pressure numbers. It is a matter of life and quality of life. I feel less energetic and more chaotic when my body is not operating from body, mind, and spirit wellness. I need time for communion with God and myself. What do you need to be well? Let me know.
My Daily Joys
- Seeing two blue jay “couples” in the crape myrtle tree outside my window
- Seeing a cardinal couple in the same tree
- Watching the buds on the tree each day open into leaves
- Receiving a pink rose for Valentine’s Day
- Having a quiet dinner with a friend in my favorite café
- Spending ten minutes practicing yoga—it’s a start!
- Making time one day this week to read my devotional and write in my journal