the_power_of_intentionHere’s wishing you all a wonderful celebration of the season, in whatever form that appeals to you. Whether you’re all about Santa leaving things under the tree, embracing Yule, focused on the Winter Solstice or some other celebration during this time of the year, I hope it has been and will be wonderful.

I’ve been very much caught up in looking at where I’ve been and where I’m going. The year has been an interesting one of contrasting experiences for me. On one hand, I’ve seen my business interests keeping me very, very busy. On the other, I’ve also found myself facing some health challenges. The latter brought with it some stress, but also an opportunity to fully embrace and implement the choices and actions described throughout the Living Intentionally articles. It’s been a learning experience and a most valuable one.

Visitors to the site will have noticed that as the early year progressed, my posts slowed and, as of August, eventually stopped outright. This lack of article output neatly coincided with me ultimately becoming swamped with work in other business areas. As many business consultant/owners know well, that being swamped brought with it a spiral of rushed diet and lifestyle choices. As time went on, I found myself mostly eating at restaurants between client visits, working from early in the morning to late at night and not quite getting enough sleep. When I was sleeping, it wasn’t at optimal hours. Longtime readers here will already see what’s coming: If one’s lifestyle choices become chronically ‘bad’, it’s only a matter of time before one’s health falters. Mine did.

Photo of some growth on my face

What is that?

One morning, I was shaving and happened to finally see something under my eye. Obviously, it had been there for a while — it wasn’t exactly tiny — yet it was the first time I’d even noticed it such was my usual state of haste over the preceding months. It was only because I’d noticed my skin was dry that I looked more closely and saw what appeared to be a melanoma. The mottled coloration was a concern. It definitely wasn’t a pimple. Was it cancer? My stomach sank as I began replaying my diet and lifestyle over the prior six months.

I’d done pretty much everything wrong and had become a poster child of the very lifestyle and diet choices about which this site warns people to avoid. The irony did not escape me. Rather than panic about it, however, I realized that this was a fantastic opportunity to see how powerful one’s intentional living (pardon the pun) could really be. When push came to shove, would one’s immediate diet and lifestyle differences honestly make a difference? Would my ‘teachings’ stand up to a real-world situation?

The above photo was taken on September 23, 2013. I decided to give myself till November 3rd, my 52nd birthday, to get this business under control. The challenge was to take all of my own advice to see whether it would put my health in order. Either I would see immediate results or I would sign up for tests and any conventional treatment. A lot was at stake here. Not only was my health and well-being in question, but my entire health-related belief system was up for grabs. Either I would support what I have come to believe over all these years or my beliefs would fall like a house of cards. I was genuinely curious to see what the answer would be.

Reduction of possible melanoma

Things are looking better!

I immediately began taking my supplements, especially focusing on high intake of Vitamin C and Vitamin D. On the ‘C’ front, I took 3 grams twice daily for a total of 6 grams of Vitamin C. To complement the C intake, I balanced that with 400 i.u. of Vitamin E thrice daily for a total of 1200 i.u. On the Vitamin D front, I blasted myself with 8,000 i.u. daily. I took a whole lot of other supplements at regular doses, too. If anybody wants the full Monty, just let me know in the comments and I’ll specify the regimen in full.

By October 13, there was a marked improvement. Whatever that thing was on my cheek, it was getting smaller and the colour of my skin was returning to normal. As well, my energy levels were way up. I was getting a proper amount of sleep again and at the appropriate times. All in all, I was feeling healthier than I had in a long, long time. At this rate, a trip to the doctor on my birthday would no longer be warranted.

Of course, Living Intentionally articles have long espoused exercise as a vital component of a complete health plan. Over the previous year, my exercise pattern had fallen from regular to nonexistent. I had inadvertently become totally work-driven and was not addressing my body’s need for regular exercise. In October, I made a conscious effort to change that, joining an exercise-oriented social network called Runtastic. The site has various exercise-related smartphone apps for running, walking, cycling and strength training.

From October onward, Facebook friends were privy to my progress doing squats, pushups, running and walking. Over October and November, for example, I found myself running and walking over 400 km, burning some 12,000+ kcal in the process. Hundreds of pushups and squats contributed to my core strength. I cooked for myself, eating all the foods I knew I should be eating. Slept when I knew I should be sleeping. I got sunshine and darkness to optimize my serotonin/melatonin cycle. I healed.

Healthful, home-cooked food

Good food is the cornerstone of good health

And so my birthday came and went. My skin was looking younger and that thing on my face had pretty much disappeared. I decided to skip the doctor visit and keep on with my game plan of proving that diet, lifestyle and beliefs can change the outcome of one’s experience. It has proven to be wonderful. I’m so unimaginably grateful for having had the opportunity to prove to myself that this is all the real deal. I feel good. Really good. I can skip out and run 20km at the merest whim. A hundred pushups isn’t impossible. Squats and other core training is a regular feature of my life. Yeah, I feel good.

Healthy looking skin now

No sign of the offender!

Aside from the merest hint of coloration, the skin that once hosted a growth has healed. I’ve promised myself that I’ll continue on with my regimen of good diet and lifestyle choices regardless of how busy my work life becomes. There’s no justification for putting work first. Without good health, good work is impossible. Without good health, little else of life can be positive.

This year has been a brilliant self-example of just how powerful our thoughts and actions can be. I could not have imagined a better proof of the power of taking responsibility for my well-being. In forgoing panic and just taking the steps to rectify my health, every aspect of my life has improved over the last few months. I’ll be carrying that thought forward with me into 2014.

May you all carry with you such wonder and excitement in the coming year. Happy New Year from Living Intentionally to you.

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