Wellness Pearls

10 July 2019

Creeping Normalcy

One day you finally knew what you had to do… and began.
-Mary Oliver

The metaphor of a frog* dropped in boiling water will jump out, but if heated very gradually will be boiled to death, applies to our health too. The gradual degradation hardly gets noticed until one day, we are confronted with the pitfalls of standing still and slowly tolerating what has happened to us without us realizing it until it is too late.
Haven’t all of us remained in situations that weren’t good for us, that were slowly damaging our body, mind or soul, and yet we couldn’t quite make that jump? In each case, the gradual temperature rise makes it intolerable:

  • A relationship that becomes dysfunctional
  • A lifestyle that allows a chronic illness to land
  • An exploitive work environment
  • A life filled with clutter
  • An addiction that is clearly ruining a life (and those around it)
  • Procrastination on our most important aims

A client of mine realized he needed to do something about the slow degradation of his life. Hobbled by knee pain, he gradually became sedentary and 100 pounds overweight. He could no longer interact playfully with his grandkids. The ever-so-gradual limitations started to stack up and one day, he jumped out of the boiling pot. To stay there was an early death and disability. He dramatically changed his life, lost 75 pounds and sailed through two knee replacements.

It might be fear, apathy, or rationalization that keeps us in that unhealthy situation… until finally we were forced to jump. As soon as possible, we must accept changes and embrace uncertainty.

Everyone has had to jump from the life they once knew into unchartered territory, reluctantly leaving the safety to which they had grown accustomed.

A frog knows what it must do to survive and so do you.

*The story about what frogs do in gradually heated water isn’t true. It is a biological fact that the frogs will jump out once the water reaches 77 degrees. The only frogs that stay in gradual hot water are the ones whose brains were removed.

2 Responses

  1. Carlotta Fendrich NP-C

    I believe that letting go of control and surrendering to our higher power, will help us change our lives for the better. Trying to hang on to control with both fists causes us to catastrophize and increases the fear of change.

    1. Eileen O'Grady
      Eileen O'Grady

      HI Carlotta: So right, so easy to say and hard to do. For me its a daily and sometimes hourly practice. Great to hear from you! Eileen

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