Forgiveness

What I’m learning at my CHIP class

Tonights CHIP class was probably the hardest so far. This class doesn’t just address diet or perhaps an easier to swallow (Pun intended) word, “nutrition.” It also addresses dealing with stress, and self care. Tonight, class dealt specially with forgiveness. This is not a new idea for me. I’ve been working on that for a long, long time. I had no intentions of sharing my past–or any of my experiences… but others opened up, and there was this chain reaction, and suddenly I felt I really had some insight that *might* help another person. Basically–the subject of sexual assault was brought up, and the woman who brought it up said she would NEVER forgive the perp. I guess for me the most healing part of the class is when a man made it quite clear that he was sorry he’d said some things to his kids and that he could never take it back. You could soooo feel his pain. Later he shared that he and wife, had lost two kids, one at 18 and one at 23. The 18 was killed by a drunk driver. How in the world do you forgive that? And I could feel that because when the police picked up my step father, he was all packed up and ready for his trip. He had only called and asked if he could pick up my child from school. I had no idea that he was planning on going out of town with her. My guess is that she would not have come back alive. How do you forgive that?! Fast forward 24 years, or something close to that. If you have a hurt, that is hurting you so bad that it affects your present life with a girlfriend, wife, husband, boyfriend, your kids… then forgiveness is essential. I don’t like using the term forgiveness–it is a little bit misleading, but I know of no other word in our language that covers the process any better. It’s not about forgiving and forgetting. It’s not about condoning the actions of the perp. It’s not about letting a bad guy or gal off the hook for their actions. It’s about you–the person with the hurt. What it boils down to is that by forgiving them– you release yourself emotionally from their power. Depending on the hurt you may do this several times over the years…someone like me… will be doing it the rest of her/his life. But, it is necessary because it helps to soften the anger and it helps to take away the pain. I made a conscious decision a long time ago, after I watched my mother’s reaction to the whole mess– I was not going to go my grave bitter and angry. My number one reason for this is that I wanted to set an example for my kids that there are better, more productive ways to handle our situation than what I had chosen in the past. Basically, I just wanted to be a good example, and kind of light the way for them, and show them it could be done. Have I stumbled? Oh yes…. does it hurt? Of course… to heal from these things, one must look the devil square in the face and say, “be gone…” so to speak. I was in tears during tonight’s class.. listening to all these folks share their biggest hurts. And a few of them had no interest in the exercise associated with class, writing a letter to the person we are forgiving. It is a letter that never has to be mailed, it is not for the perp– logically, if letter would have an impact on a perp, then they would NOT be a perp. That letter is for you, because it is the beginning of the end, something tangible that you can let go of when you are ready to help yourself, let go…. and move on.. and live! That letter is you taking back your life, your liberty, your freedom, and your power… I’ve written many such letters, and I can tell you that the very first time I was sure that I was wasting my energy–but many moons later, I can look back and I know it helped. And it was free… I’ve had several really great therapists who have helped in many ways. But no therapist can do the letter writing for you, nor can they light the candle that you use to set the letter aflame…. and only you can use this letter as a tool to bring the hurt and anger to your consciousness, decide let go of the anger and pain… do it for you. Take back your life, and your health. You deserve it.

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CHIP for Your Health

CHIP Class.. We March Onward Towards the Great (UN)Known!!

We started a CHIP class about 14 weeks ago. My husband had already lost 40 lbs or so on the Sugar Buster diet. Problem is that he let that diet rationalize that it was ok to eat stuff like Salami, lunch meat, .. well you can picture it, if it had a hoof, or ate grass…and it was a protein source, he pretty much ate it with relish. (not sweet pickle relish.. just relish!) I did not even begin to ‘diet’ until we started CHIP. CHIP is, in our course at least, Complete Health Improvement Plan. It is a course about Lifestyle and how a lifestyle can affect your health. The founders, and other knowledgeable experts simply present you with the science, and they let you make up your mind. In Roseburg, Oregon–so far, the class is 18 weeks. Spread over time, it lets the ideas sink into your mind and penetrate our awareness. And it keeps us coming back so that if we decide to ‘buy in’ to what we are learning we also have a built in support system. Our class didn’t officially start until after the first two weeks had gone by–we will have the advantage of 20 weeks of CHIP guided by Dr. Charles Ross, a local doctor who teaches with flare, with heart, and with sincere energy.

I was warned by friends and even another doctor in my life. One friend, a retired nutritionist, who once worked for the VA heard about our class, and she said, “…it’s not that Ross guy teaching is it?…” She’d come to the conclusion that he was a fanatic on the edge pushing people into unhealthiness. One of my many doctors questioned the usefulness of this class. I had to admit (only 2 weeks into the class) that Dr. Ross did come close to what one might describe as the preacher at the pulpit. I told the doctor, probably all he needed was the pulpit and the image would be complete. But, you know, Dr. Ross has been very clear from the very beginning, to let us know what were his ideas, and what were CHIPs. And the more time I spend with him in class, the more I appreciate his health, his vigor, his sincerity, his wealth of knowledge, and his sincere drive to see us succeed. He is simply a man with a vision, one he has committed to, and how many of us can say that?

The class is about lifestyle. It’s about nutrition, it’s about treating yourself kindly, it’s about making good choices (you know, like: thou shalt not smoke ANYTHING.) It’s about encouraging each of us on along our journey so that we can restore our health via proper nutrition, and self-care.

My husband has lost 30 more lbs. A total of 70. In less than 20 lbs, he’ll be at his ideal weight. He was on FIVE high blood pressure pills, and now he is on one. He was on 70 units of Lantus Insulin every night. He now takes NONE. Don’t want to get too personal, but, men… it works again! My are we having fun!! If that doesn’t impress you– let me tell you, less than a year ago, we were literally waiting for him to die. His cardiologist had told him to put his house in order. There was nothing more that could be done. At 39 years of age he had his first stent. Two years later, another. At age 43, he had open heart surgery and had four grafts (by passes) on six blockages. During all his life, they found upon opening up, he’d already grown one by pass himself. At age 6, he and his older brother were found to have high cholesterol–450 was his number at 6 years old. He spent his entire youth on many experimental drugs given via UC Medical Center in San Francisco. Keep in mind this is genetic his father was dead at 34 of heart attack, his older brother died at 46 years of age, an older sister has heart issues as well. These Snyder’s in general just don’t live that long. Talk about feeling doomed.

While my husband was playing guinea pig in San Francisco, my father had his first heart attack at age 32. It was massive and killed 1/2 his heart. That was around 1970–give or take a few. A couple years later he had open heart surgery, and it was one of the first. His team at Stanford had Dr. Debakey (I hope I didn’t just really misspell his name horribly) on board as a consultant, the surgery was just that new. My dad healed very well from surgery and he went on with is life. He quit smoking, mom fed him only egg whites, but you know a lot of damage was done. Ten years later, at age 43 he had his third, and final heart attack. He was on the heart transplant list when he died. All I can tell you from this little girl perspective–is that I was an awful lot like dad, every one said I looked just like him. That must have meant that I had it too, this dreaded heart problem. I took it so seriously, that I have written each of my children goodbye letters to remind them that I love them with all my heart, and that I want them to be happy and healthy, and to have a very, very good life. I took it so seriously that when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in my 20’s… I just knew I was doomed.. it was inevitable, and because I am of the female persuasion–I figured I’d probably be dead by 32 years of age. 32–it came and went. 43–came and went, but I did get a pacemaker to confirm my diagnosis. The doctors didn’t explain things too well, like the pacemaker pretty much fixed my problem, and that I was not in any danger of dying anytime soon. And my cath came out clean! Today, I am 53, and I have outlived all my goals, so here I set alive and looking for new goals. Maybe I should go back to school!!

So many things simply were not talked about in my house growing up. As far as I knew…. most people quit having sex by at least 32 years of age. How is that I got to 53 and still wanted a life?? Into this CHIP class we marched. The more I learned the more I recognized, the more I became afraid. This program is basically health reform as prescribed by Ellen G. White, a Seventh Day Adventist Prophet, in the mid, and late 1800’s. I know this why?? Because dad’s side of the family was 7th Dayers, and I wanted to be one too. When I tried to go on a healthy diet when much younger.. I was pretty much ridiculed by my ex husband, and bullied into giving it up. With no support from family–there is no success. My fear, I later realized was fear of failure…again (you know… I’m on a diet AGAIN).

But, I have lost 30 lbs so far. My dosage of my diabetes (type 2) medication metformin has been halved to 500 mg. 2x per day. My thyroid which has lain dormant for 16 years has suddenly started functioning again–that’s a story in and of itself let me tell you. The only thing I have to blame that on is this Lifestyle Change. Time will tell of course… OH, I forgot to mention, about 10 years ago I was diagnosed with two forms of arthritis. Both have been very painful. I have not been in pain for weeks!!!! This is NOT NORMAL. 😉 In a good sort of way, of course!

With the success I have had in about 18 weeks (total), I set myself a goal of losing another 20 lbs by class end. And I know I won’t make it because of my thyroid throwing a monkey wrench in there, but I won’t consider myself a failure because now I have the proper tools, and the support system I need to succeed. You see, Dr. Ross, has made it abundantly clear that we have joined the CHIP Lifer’s club and as long as he’s alive and kicking and facilitating a class, we can go back in with the front lines and get the shot in the arm so to speak that we need. And so, at 51 years of age, my husband is alive and LIVING. He is not sitting in a chair waiting to die. He still has blockages, he still has chest pain, but he can take a break from activities and rest and then go back to it. And at 53 years of age–I feel like– well, I just feel like I have more than a few really healthy years left to live. Sex included! Who knew!?!?

Does anyone ever stop and think, and realize… “OH, My Goodness.. Prayer answered…”

To those who have already passed judgement without experiencing it yourself, my suggestion to you is to come to a class. I can assure that you that Charlie Ross won’t mind. None of us will. Our story really isn’t a lot different from others in the class, and as long as we continue to eat our ‘rainbow’ for our meals, and stay away from that which has a face or a mother –then we will be healthy enough to tell you that we have succeeded at last–at living a very HEALTHY LIFE.

🙂 In the words of my dad… “So, how do you like them apples?”