Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sources of inspiration

I completely get inspired by other people and the path they walk through to get to the other side of whatever journey they are on.  There is such strength in resiliency, that scrappy fighter who will not be knocked down no matter what is thrown at them.  Think Rocky Balboa, Terry Anderson who was held hostage in Lebanon for six years ... and my older brother.

My brother, our mother and sister-in-law.
My brother was born with a condition in which the left and right parts of his heart were doing the opposite of what they were designed to do.  He also had a hole in his heart that was always leaking.  My dad mentioned me, when I was old enough to understand, that doctors told him when my brother was born that he would not live past five years old and needed a heart transplant.  That little bit of info never stopped my brother from being a kid, seeking adventure and getting into trouble.  He did live past five and ended up having a heart transplant right before his birthday seven years ago, when he was 35. 

The strength he had in walking through this was amazing.  He faced each challenge along the way with his usual attitude of What do I need to do next?  He was in the hospital for weeks, he was taking something like 50 anti-rejection meds a day for a while and yet would light up when he would see his wife.  She is beyond a rock, let me tell you.  His birthday is coming up and I think about how his life has changed in immeasurable ways every time another one rolls around.  He no longer has limitations and is doing wonderfully.

Often times, as I go through my own journey in weight loss, I look to others for inspiration in that realm as my brother has inspired me.  There are so many bloggers out there who just pour their hearts out in their writing.  Really, we could spend all day long reading blogs.  It's so addicting!  I know that, for me, I seek people that have my same experiences - be that through Optifast or those that have lost significant amounts of weight in other ways (see some of my favorite ones in the right side bars titled "Optifast Bloggers" and "Folks Who Have Lost 100+ Pounds").  For some, I've read every blog post they've written and others I have yet to get to, but I will.  There is such an incredible amount of inspiration and I appreciate every person who pours it all out.  Healing comes through that honesty.

Several friends, co-workers and even strangers have told me that I inspire them.  I have people, who I have never met before, contact me on this blog or privately and tell me they have gone from the beginning of my posts and read every single one through to the present time.  Some more than once.  There are times when I think to myself, "How can I possibly be a source of inspiration to other people?  Don't they see how much weight I have left to lose?"  Oh boy, we can be our own worst enemies, can't we?  The truth is that I do see inspiration in my own journey if I'm being completely honest with myself.  There are times, for example, that I'll go to my "pics of progress" page and look at where I've come from.  I can see how the weight has melted off my body.  Sometimes it feels as if I'm looking at the story of a stranger, but it's me.  I can look at my medical history and see how much healthier I am today.  I still have a long way to go emotionally as I maneuver in this new world of a smaller body.  I have never been thin or a normal body size before, so the road is a long one for me as I make my way through the emotions that pop up along the way.

This is completely a journey of discovery and growth at every turn.  It is life changing and I just pray that I remain present for every experience - whether it be pure joy, painful tears or whatever lays between the two.


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