Affirmation’s are good. They reinforce that you’ve made a good decision(s). And by the time you reach my age (66 years old next month) you’ve already received a boatload of karma from bad decisions made along the way.
My decision to remove the toxins from my life was a really good decision, and I am reaping the rewards daily. The two major toxins that I ‘consciously’ removed were: leaving a toxic work environment; leaving a toxic personal relationship. One was easier than the other, but both were necessary.
Can everyday toxins kill you? I believe that they can, and often do. Not just in an emotional way, but also in an actual physical way. I have been in Mexico for just over a year now, and for those of you who have read this blog (or my book Expat Journal), you know that it wasn’t easy getting here. But it was so worth it.
Just a few of the benefits derived from my status as an expat:
1. When I left the USA I weighed 215# and I felt miserable. Without any dieting whatsoever I now weigh about 185# (and feel wonderful). That is a weight loss of 30# (or about 2.5# per month). I think a few things have contributed to this healthy reduction in weight, not the least of which is the dramatic reduction of stress hormones in my system (specifically Cortisol and Adrenaline). The endocrine system is complex, and these stress hormones play a key role in our primal fight or flight response. When our system is thrown out of whack in toxic environments it wreaks havoc on our body. Reducing these hormones automatically lowers weight. Combined with fewer meals, smaller portions and eating foods closer to the source weight loss is further accelerated. I am not a doctor, but these facts would seem to be self-evident.
2. Reduced medications. In the USA I was heavily dosed with multiple medications to treat the symptoms, and not the root cause of my maladies. Medications for hypertension, thyroid and depression to mention but a few. You could also include the copious consumption of aspirin and alcohol in the self-medication arena. I ate aspirin like candy, and drank much more than was healthy. I joke a lot about my Scotch habit, but in reality I drink much less now than when I was in the States. Do I like my Scotch and beer? Of course. But I truly drink much more in moderation these days despite my lofty claims on my blog. I drink socially, not medically (and there is a difference).
3. I am at peace and content and joyful. I still rant and rave, but with less fervor and urgency. I know that I can’t personally right every wrong in the world, so I just try to do my small part. I abandoned my ‘formal’ Buddhist practice some years back, but my overall spirituality is still very much Buddhist and Taoist in flavor and actual practice. I strive to live in the moment, and to be aware of the many blessings that surround me. I have attained (at least temporarily) a spiritual equilibrium that seems to work for me.
4. By living in the moment I am able to spot the red flags sooner, and more importantly to take appropriate action when called for. Part of that appropriate action is toxin prevention (that includes people). I don’t have the time, or inclination, to indulge in negativity (or negative people).
5. I practice non-attachment (Buddhist). I try to not attach to things or emotions. I try to let them flow in and out without trying to hold onto them. I practice a simple life. It is not an austere life (I don’t feel deprived of anything), it is just a simple life. But simple does not mean easy. It can be difficult to live a simple life, because our egos want to grab onto everything it experiences . The good, the bad and the ugly. It takes a certain amount of discipline to live a simple life.
6. I indulge my creative instincts.
7. I stimulate my intellect.
8. I engage in conversation with real people.
9. I drink my morning coffee. I smoke my Cuban cigars. I drink my Scotch whisky. All in moderation and with awareness. And with thankfulness.
10. I am happy.
I have the admitted advantage of not being ensnared in corporate America anymore. I have the admitted advantage of not being ensnared in bad personal relationship anymore. I have the admitted advantage of not being constantly distracted with mind-numbing, banal and meaningless distractions (cell phones, ipads, reality TV, talk show radio and the like).
I hear from you, my friends, many of whom are still mired in the quicksand of everyday life in the United States, and I am saddened. I wish that you could share what I have, and hopefully someday you will. Until then, try taking little steps in the right direction. Your efforts will be rewarded.
Buenas tardes from paradise.