Transformation This Is Your Season

Exercise generally does not come natural to me. I have to be in the right frame of mind with nothing ‘urgent’ on my agenda before I even begin to consider lacing up my tennis shoes.

Today was a good day though. All of the planets seemed to be lined up in just the right way. Today, I was actually looking forward to going on my walk. And not a 20 minute walk this time – but rather a much more substantial calorie burn.  My plan (as spontaneous as it was) – ‘throw in an extra block’ – another long block going south from my normal routine. Which meant adding another 10 minutes in total, and at least another 50 calories!

After donning my sweatpants and hoodie, connecting my headphones to my cell phone, activating the Run Keeper app (to prove to others that I ‘walk the talk’), then dialing in just the right station on I Heart Radio – I was finally ready to go. My weather channel app had already told me that the temperature was in the 60s with a brisk south wind. I felt up to the challenge.

The first several hundred yards took me through my hood. The people I know and see almost every day. I had a chance to wave at several but felt conflicted at making conversation since I had ear buds firmly planted infusing my brain with the best that 106.3 Jackson’s Classic Hits – had to offer. That stiff South wind was brisk, more than I had anticipated, but I knew that if I could pick up my pace, I’d be warm before long.

As I turned the third corner from my house, onto a street where I really don’t know many people, my attention was quickly drawn toward tree branches hanging over the sidewalk, directly on my path. They were hanging low enough that I would have had to duck to avoid facial trauma. But rather than ducking or dashing off to the side, I just stopped. I just stopped and looked at that branch. Part of my consciousness was saying “keep up the pace – Run Keeper is keeping track and will soon let you know how fast (or slow) you’re walking” or what if a passerby sees me standing on that sidewalk, in front of some nice homes, in a nice neighborhood, in sweats and a hoodie looking at a tree branch – “what will they think”.

Despite what others might have thought, I couldn’t help but to just stop and take in all that that tree branch had to offer. On that branch, were huge colorful buds that were on the verge of bursting open, as if to shout out “winter is over and a new life begins”.  The buds were enormous, vibrant, plump and exhibited colors that surely were offering a prelude to the performance about to occur.

This walk provided my first visceral reaction that Spring is almost upon us.  That Winter is winding down and the world is about to awaken from its cyclical slumber. Almost instantaneously my mood elevated. I felt a sense of newness with an entirely fresh outlook on life. Sort of a spiritual moment you might say. So accordingly, I changed the music on my iPhone from classic rock to K-Love – Christian Rock. It was Sunday morning after all.

The duration of my walk was magical. I passed no less than three of my current patients. Two were out walking their dog and a third driving home from his church service. It was more than just a coincidence that I know these three people to represent true transformation. In their own way, along their own journey, they have transformed their lives from that of feeling ‘unwell’ to that of ‘wellness’.  I saw in that walk, with my newfound sense of Spring – people who made a conscious decision to make some healthy changes.  I saw in that walk, 3 people who were ‘alive’.  They were smiling, they were active, they were fully engaged in life.  They were healthier; mentally and physically.  I began feeling like a proud parent, despite the fact that these 3 folks were my seniors by a few years at least.

I am blessed to be in a profession where I can witness healing. On a daily basis I get to see people transition from depression, lack of self-worth and self-confidence, despair, and pain, to a life filled with contentment, pleasure and a feeling of being more fully alive.

Each day, I am privileged to see winter turn into spring. I wish nothing less than for you to know that it can happen for you too. There is hope. There is support. There are people who care, and who can help make a difference.

This season, as we watch the world wake up from its seasonal sleep, I want to invite you to join in. Take control of your life. Strive for a healthier you. Know that most of us can’t do it alone. Reach out for support. This is your season!

Greg Lindholm, PA, MPH

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