OK In Health - Embracing Change

Giving Thanks - October 2019

We all have a reticular activating system, or R.A.S., which is like our internal G.P.S.

By Lyndsay Blais

I’m not sure why exactly, maybe it is my new, expanded vision of my life after competing in the Ironman triathlon, but I have been looking at things, or at least seeing things differently lately - upside down and backwards.  Mind you, for as far back as I can remember, I have had the habit of reading magazines from the last page to the first, skipping over the ads and fillers, looking for things that really speak to what’s important to me; so maybe it is not so much new to me, however this is a little different: what resonates with me is showing up like a neon sign, in lots of different ways, ways too hard for me to ignore. 

Our brains are selective like that.  We all have a reticular activating system, or R.A.S., which is like our internal G.P.S. that brings things to our attention; things that align with a goal we are working on, or things that support what we are focusing on that we deem important to us.  Our R.A.S. can tell us where to turn, who to talk to, and where to spend our time and energy, if we are paying attention to it.

As I continue to ride the wave of my Ironman journey, I have been so grateful for the lessons, the support, the acknowledgement, and the opportunity to experience the aliveness of completing such a physical goal.  Gratitude, in fact, has been on my mind in a huge way these last few months.  So when I was in the store the other day perusing the magazine headers, what popped out to me was “Giving Thanks”…then I noticed it actually said “Thanks Giving”, as in the occasion, but I thought to myself, “isn’t it the same thing?” 

Funnily enough, I remembered that for so many years I thought of Thanksgiving as simply a holiday, yes one where we give thanks for the abundant harvest, our blessings, our life and those we share it with, but, truthfully as a kid, it was more about an extra day off school, turkey dinner and a chance to eat pie.  As an adult, especially as a mom, it has been about; exhaustion, kids home from school, cleaning the house for company, making the turkey dinner, and – “do I really need to carry on this tradition of making home-made pie??"

Of course these are all fleeting thoughts, ones that come and go – amidst the moments of gratitude, appreciation, giving back and being in service, yet I think it’s important to acknowledge the entire spectrum of feelings we have on a particular topic, otherwise we can become stuck.

Personally, I’ve been working on “embracing” whatever feeling comes up for me, without judging it. I even teach that concept in my workshops; “you can’t move off of what you don’t acknowledge”, so I can honestly say, I don’t always have patience, understanding, a grateful heart and a spirit of service - although I strive to.  In fact, in the past, I used to over-do it…give to the point of my own undoing, to prove to myself and others that I was a good person, worthy and deserving of abundance, kindness and love. 

Those were the days I couldn’t fathom saying “No” to a request no matter how busy I was with my young family, nor would I dare admit I needed help, for it may mean I am incapable!!  Unfortunately, what I was left with was a pile of resentment and guilt, which left me teetering on the brink of burn-out.  I found it hard to be grateful for anything in that space, and felt even more guilty because of it.  It turns out that it was a gift in disguise, because that chronic experience is what motivated me to do the kind of work I do now.

Currently, I do my best to balance the acts of giving and receiving, and my life is full of opportunities to practice both.  I am so grateful for the past year’s journey to Ironman because it pushed me to the outer limits of my comfort zone in the area of “receiving” to the point where I nearly gave up 3 days before the race.  Had I not opened myself up to receiving even more, I would not have made it to the start line. 

I have come to understand that being on the receiving end once in awhile, allows me to give others the opportunity to experience the joy of giving unconditionally, and in my “giving thanks”, my gift to them is my heartfelt gratitude, appreciation and joy ~ isn’t it beautiful how it works?  I am starting to better understand how giving and receiving are the same thing, a concept I never quite understood years ago.

So I intend to celebrate the holiday “Giving~thanks”; it feels like a whole new twist on Thanksgiving for me, an expanded version if you will.  I will take what I have learned, and allow others to support with getting the groceries, making the turkey, and cleaning the house, which will free up some energy to spend that extra day off with the kids feeling joyful instead of exhausted.  I expect it will be a whole different experience, heck, who knows, we may even end up making a pie or two!

I hope everyone had a Happy New Year!
In- joy!
~ Lyndsay

Lyndsay BlaisLyndsay's Bio: Lyndsay Blais, creator and facilitator of the Embracing Change Program; Assisting Individuals through Career and Life Transitions. Contact Lyndsay in Penticton, B.C. 250-809-5399 - Email

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