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When You're Forced to Slow Down

When You're Forced to Slow Down

I've been dealing with some issues, friends. As some of you might know, I was born with just half of my right arm. While I try really hard not to let that get in the way of anything I do, it tends to cause problems—daily. Unfortunately, I've let myself get to a point where those problems are getting worse.

It's not that I want to deal with muscle atrophy, aches and pains regularly—I desperately want to be as healthy as I can be. It's that, since starting my own business, I've put myself at the bottom of the list. I keep resolving to make time for myself, but the motivation to change my unhealthy habits simply hasn't been there.

That all changed the other day as I was lying in bed in the middle of the day, essentially unable to move without pain radiating throughout much of my body. You may have seen this Instagram post a few weeks ago and—let me tell you—I'm just now starting to come out on the other side of that literal pain in by back. The spasms and continual pain over the last several weeks have caused me to slow down (and stop completely, in some instances) and reflect on what I'm doing to myself by not making time to improve my physical wellbeing. 

And it's time to make a change.

I'm hoping that by being truly honest and open about some of my physical issues in this space, I can hold myself accountable and work my way out of this mess. I hate feeling weak and I miss feeling strong. I hate feeling out of touch with my muscles and tendons and I miss nurturing a body that does what it's meant to do. I used to run marathons, for crying out loud. I played volleyball and trained hard with the best of them in high school. While I realize that was ages ago, my body is capable of so much more than I've given it credit for lately. I am not the person sitting in front of the computer writing this.

I am much, much stronger than she'll ever be.


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Guest Post: Life Change Can Be an Adventure. Really.

Author  Janna Marlies Maron . // Photo courtesy of  Marita Madeloni

Author Janna Marlies Maron. // Photo courtesy of Marita Madeloni

Janna Marlies Maron is currently on a virtual book tour to share the story behind her recent book, "How to Manage Depression Without Drugs" and she's been kind enough to stop by the blog today! She's a wonderful writer whose goal in life is to tell stories without shame. Her book comes out later this month and will—without a doubt—help a lot of people who can relate to her struggles. 

A self-proclaimed “woman in progress,” Janna is most passionate about creativity and the power of the written word. She currently runs a coworking space in Midtown Sacramento with her husband; publishes a quarterly literary arts journal; takes on select editing projects; teaches college writing and pursues her own writing.

Life Change Can Be an Adventure. Really.
By Janna Marlies Maron

If we think about embarking on any adventure—camping for the first time, mountain climbing, even a road trip—we get excited, we investigate options, we stock up on supplies. We’re eager for a new experience, and we look forward to it. We can approach life-change with the same eagerness and excitement, and it really can turn something we dread into something manageable and, eventually, enjoyable.

My life was pretty intense with drastic change for about three years. Imagine this: In the short span of three years, from early 2010 to the summer of 2012 I filed for bankruptcy, I got laid off from my job, my church shuttered, I got engaged, I had a falling out with my family because of the engagement, I had an episode of optic neuritis which led to a string of MRIs to monitor for Multiple Sclerosis, I got married, and, ultimately, in June 2012 I was diagnosed with MS.

Talk about change. This was not your ordinary get-a-new-job or move-to-the-other-side-of-town change. This was life-altering-mind-boggling-and-sometimes-debilitating change.

The MS diagnosis was only the beginning. During those three years I had been struggling with depression (“It’s no wonder,” my therapist said.) and attempting to get it under control without drugs (which is what my new ebook is all about). So when my neurologist gave me the choice between two immune suppressing drugs—one a weekly injection, the other daily—my husband and I went home, talked about it for like a second before we both agreed that I would not be undergoing drug therapy.

That meant, if we were going to pursue a natural course of treatment, we’d be taking on a complete overhaul of our lifestyle: from food and eating habits to work and sleeping habits.

How do I do it? How do I maintain a sugar-, dairy-, yeast-, soy-, gluten-free diet? How do I get enough rest and keep up with all of my projects—ThinkHouse Collective, Under the Gum Tree, TrueStory, teaching college writing, freelancing?

There’s no easy answer to those questions. But one thing that has helped me is to think about drastic life-change as an adventure. Here’s how that approach has helped me adjust and embrace the change.

Perspective Flipped

Often change happens and we feel like it’s out of our control, right? We feel like now we have to do things that we don’t want to, and we don’t have a choice.

But looking at life-change as an adventure helped me to flip that perspective. Instead of having to change my diet, I get to try all these new fun foods. Instead of having to start exercising on a regular basis, now I get to make yoga a priority.  I treat it like an adventure and I get to investigate options; I get to stock up on supplies and, yes, I even get excited.

Prompted Experiments

Experiment means to try something out and see how it goes, and adventure is all about trying new things. We can treat life-change the same way.

I’ve been experimenting with new recipes like homemade crackers and new self-care practices like skin brushing. At first I didn’t think crackers were something I could make, and I didn’t know what this skin brushing was all about. But I gave them a try—along with a host of other odd stuff that I’ve never done before—with no expectation, just to see what would happen. And so far the results have been stellar.

Promoted Openness

We often resist change, don’t we? It causes our reflexive no to kick in. A sugar-free diet? I can’t do that! Regular MRIs? No! A GI test? No! Going to bed early? I’ll never be able to! Asking for a laundry list of exceptions with a restaurant order? I don’t want to be that person!

The problem with the reflexive no, the automatic resistance, is that it closes us off to adventure. Seeking adventure requires the ability to say yes (perspective) and to try new things (experiment). Once I had my perspective flipped and experiments prompted, I found myself becoming generally more open to new ideas, such as supplementing my health with essential oils—something I previously would have dismissed off hand with little to no consideration. (I write more about using essential oils in the ebook.)

Life-change isn’t easy and it definitely isn’t always fun. But treating it like an adventure can make the journey much more manageable and even enjoyable. We seek adventure and try things that we’ve never done before in hope of discovering something new about the world—about people or history or religion or culture. Life-change can do the same thing and, really, what we end up discovering is a new part of our self.

Interested in following along with the rest of Janna's virtual book tour or ordering the book? I've got you covered!


Many thanks to Janna for sharing her story. I've read the book cover-to-cover and have already implemented some of her tips to help in my own quest for health. Though her story is different than mine, I think her practical advice, non-nonsense tools and honest account of her journey can help anyone striving to be the best human being they can be—no matter what life throws your way.

Happy reading, friends. I hope you enjoy learning from Janna as much as I have!

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