Like so many previous blogs, this one was inspired by my morning workout with two added kickers – the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and the memory of my son’s college graduation the night before. I was watching the wedding while walking on the treadmill at 6:00 AM in the morning.
The pomp and circumstance were amazing and the pastoral introduction that Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury invoked was moving. It talked to the power of love in marriage and the foundation of family as a society. Then Bishop Curry, the Episcopal Head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, took us all to church and expanded on the redemptive of power of love to renew the world. In his words, he said:
“If you don’t believe me, just stop and think and imagine, think and imagine, well, think and imagine a world where love is the way. Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way.” Bishop Michael Curry
He then tied marital love to the great commandment as proclaimed by Jesus.
“But love is not only about a young couple. Now the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we’re all here. Two young people fell in love and we all showed up. But it’s not just for and about a young couple who we rejoice with. It’s more than that. Jesus of Nazareth on one occasion was asked by a lawyer the sum of the essence of the teachings of Moses and he went back and reached back into the Hebrew scriptures and Jesus said, ‘you shall love the lord, your god, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment.’
And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. And then in Matthews’ version, he added, he said on these two, love of god and love of neighbor, hang all the law, all the prophets, everything that Moses wrote, everything in the holy prophets, everything in the scriptures, everything that god has been trying to tell the world, love god. Love your neighbors. And while you’re at it, love yourself.” Bishop Michael Curry
Now, we have not yet realized the redemptive power of love as a society as what happened yesterday in the high school in Santa Fe can attest. But one thing I can speak to you from the heart and from experience is the redemptive power of love as it applies to my own experience and my weight loss journey! Love of yourself, Love of your neighbor (and the Love of your Neighbor for you), and Love of God were the keys to becoming a healthier and happier person and hopefully projecting that to joy to those that I encounter. Let me illuminate each point as it pertains to my own experience in weight loss and life in ascending priority order and relate it to my son’s graduation
- Love of self – Loving yourself is the first step to loving others and becoming a healthier, happier person. Prior to 2015, I did not often practice self-love. Grumpy, griping and overweight, I dwelled on what I didn’t do rather than focusing on what I could or would do. Chewed up by self-centered anxiety and stress, I overate and overcompensated for my failings. The nadir in self-doubt and recrimination came sadly on a day that should have been one of my joyful one – the graduation of my third child and only son from high school. Over 330, unfit and unhappy, I was not an example that I wanted my son to uphold.
I said this was the nadir but really was not. This graduation and the picture taken their drove more self-loathing and more weight gain, although it did sow the first seeds of change. I idolized my Father and thought to myself of the example I was setting for my son. And it was not just an image thing. I was so worn out from the little exercise walking to and from the car to the graduation, that I nearly did not have the energy to get in the picture, let alone look happy in it. I truly wondered if I would make it to the next one.
It was only when I joined Weight Watchers and started to see small victories that I could slowly stopped beating up myself. I no longer focused on the past or had anxiety for the future but started to focus on myself and today. Our Weight Loss lead Julie has a saying that echoes those of flight attendants, “You first need to put your own mask on before putting on the mask of others”. By first focusing on loving yourself, you are then able to get on the right track and ultimately get place to help others.
2. Love of others – The love of others from my friends, family, and team members in Accenture Active and Weight Watchers were key to my renewal and in redeeming myself in my own eyes and perhaps those of others. I cannot tell you the number of times that a kind word from someone lifted me up and drove me forward. I learned so many lessons from their love and experience! Countless times a thoughtful word or suggestion helped to pick me up and get back on track to becoming a healthier person. I am now trying to pay their love forward by helping others with the lessons and gifts given to me. The impetus of this blog is to help others struggling with weight loss and anxiety with words of encouragement, useful information and love. You help yourself by helping others!
- Love of A Power Greater than Yourself – The last and most important element in the recipe of love is the unconditional love of a power greater than oneself. In my case that power is Jesus Christ as proclaimed by the Catholic Church. For others, it may be different, and I am certainly not here to proselytize. But what I am here to tell you is there is a power in moving beyond ourselves and being thankful for what was given to us from up above. The power of prayer and thankfulness transform!. It was key to renewing my body and to refreshing my soul and for other. But more importantly, it affords the opportunity to have a closer relationship with God and to give thanks for both joys and sorrows in life.
My personal favorite prayer is the Rosary because it reflects the love of God for us and a Mother for her son. I started the practice to say at least a rosary a week. Likewise, I keep a daily, thankfulness journal to remember all that God has done for me.
In closing, love has the ultimate power to redeem and renew. Yesterday. I attended our son’s college graduation a 150+ lbs. lighter with a renewed body and improved soul. If the power of love can renew a curmudgeon such as I myself, it can do it for you and in time the world!