I want to share a very real occurrence that happened this year with 2 people I know. This is the Tale of Two Cities. One city reborn while the other burned down. It poetically demonstrates two distinct paths that we all face. Are we creating our life or merely surviving it? In survival mode we live with fear, panic, doubt, anger and stress. Our mind and body are shut down simply trying to survive the day and our biochemistry is breaking down. Survival is not a healthy long-term state of affairs. The energy of creation on the other hand is delightful. We are full of possibility and wonder and explore the world with the curiosity of a child. We unite with others and expand our gratitude and love for this life. Our biochemistry is rebuilding, restoring and enhancing itself as this is our natural ability – to heal.

Jane is a delightful woman with an important job at a major firm and has a wonderful husband with whom she raises her 2 kids. The kids have challenges and the job provides challenges as she is trying to advance her position there. We all have our challenges but how well we balance the important issues in life, plays a role. Jane has forever been the master of excuses. More than 18 months ago as her weight was climbing and her health declining I encouraged change in her life on all fronts. “Change your diet, work on your sleep, find some exercise or I fear you will trend towards diabetes”, I told her. With each passing quarter I would see lab evidence that things were getting worse. My cautions grew more intense, “If you don’t make changes I fear that you are going to be a full-blown diabetic in 6 months”.  Three months later we reviewed worsening labs in the face of more excuses. I looked her right in the eyes and said with certainty, “this is going to lead to diabetes and heart attacks if we don’t make corrections!”. Three months later as her labs showed clear evidence of diabetes I discussed steps that would reverse her diabetes but instead Jane chose to keep her bad habits and just start insulin injections. YES, she literally chose to shorten her life with insulin injections than to expand her quality of life by making new choices. Her beliefs were so strong that eating good food was too time consuming and difficult and that fast food and carbs were her only option. She was so married to her present survival mode life, her self-induced stressful job, her repetitive pattern of exasperating childcare issues, that she couldn't open her mind to the idea of creating change. She was the embodiment of stress, anxiety, fear, and harried frustration and there was no room in her thinking for a bright horizon to cast her eyes on.

Paul by contrast started his journey at roughly the same time as Jane. His world changed 18 months ago when he went unconscious while driving and caused a serious car accident.  He awakened in the emergency room to the news that his sugar was 1700 (80-90 is normal). This is how he first discovered that he was in fact a diabetic. He was started on insulin and several other medications and within a few months was on 16 different drugs in an attempt to manage his disease and its complications. After a year of drug therapy his health continued to decline which is what led us to meet. Paul’s mindset was diametrically opposed to that of Jane’s.  Both of them are delightful people but Paul’s thoughts were questioning why he had to live like this and what could he do to change it. We devised a course of action, just like the plan that was given to Jane, but the difference was that Paul’s desire was to truly be healthy. He wanted to improve his quality of life and expand who he was. He wanted more energy, more vibrancy and wanted to feel younger. Most importantly, he was willing to make change and see the world differently.

Paul started gradually but intently and with a smile on his face was committed to taking back control. Within 10 days Paul was off all insulin. His blood sugars were coming down to healthy ranges WITHOUT using insulin as a direct result of the changes he made in his lifestyle. Over the next 6 months he came off one medication after another as his body was healing and didn't need the support of drugs. In just 6 months he was able to cease use of 12 different medications including the insulin. His blood sugars, blood pressure and heart rate were the best he had enjoyed in years. He lost weight, slept better and felt mentally clearer and enjoyed better mood and emotional stability. Paul changed Paul. Paul was willing to ask “what is possible”. Where Jane found pain in food preparation, Paul found empowerment and joy. Where Jane chose stress as her daily companion, Paul chose to view the world as a sea of friends and shared experiences. Jane is shutting down while Paul is expanding.

Addictive patterns plague us all. We have experiences in our life that lead to emotions and these emotions serve to form our beliefs. Once our beliefs are planted they can be stubborn and challenging to change. Or not. If we open our mind to possibility and make ourselves vulnerable to new ideas then ANYTHING is possible. Jane is not a bad person, she is lovely, but her beliefs will never allow her to fully enjoy her life. Jane has no more stress in her life than Paul but she is merely unwilling to address her repetitive habitual patterns of the past. Jane is a true cautionary tale. She lives as an example of what we want to avoid and with that we are grateful (yet sorry) for her example.

You get to choose who you want to be in this world. You always have the right to be upset, the right to complain, the right to make excuses. The question we each get to ask ourselves is “do I want to engage that right or relinquish it for the right to be vulnerable”. Are you willing and wanting to change bad beliefs that are killing you? Do you want to Survive this world or would you prefer to Create your world?