Greetings. I am Mona Dunkin and I am a member of a local Health and Wellness Task Force. If you read my profile, you see that I call myself a Motivational Speaker. But the truth is I cannot motivate anyone to do anything.

And neither can you.

I am not even going to try. That is too stress producing. Maybe you can identify.

It’s not stress that kills us …It’s our reaction to it!

We are each self-determining and make our own choices based on the pleasure-pain syndrome. We seek as much pleasure and success as possible while avoiding pain and failure. In the body-care realm, one may see vegging out in front of the TV as more pleasurable than the boredom of exercise. However, after a near-death experience, one sees death more painful than the pleasure of staying alive, even if that means exercise and healthy eating. Our mind is capricious and is capable of being deceived, and of being enlightened and of being changed.

You cannot motivate people, but people are motivated! They become self-motivated when somehow a solution is seen to meet an individual need.

I am not here to tell you anything you do not already know. My goal is to strike a cord that resonates in your being and you motivate yourself for better self-care.

Everyone has a story and I would like to share a little of mine with you.

The book of Acts begins with a reference to a previously written document that we know as the epistle of Luke. “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”

I love that. Jesus set the example while he taught it. With God’s grace, I teach what I live.

The majority of my work is with the at-risk community and/or training the facilitators that work with the at-risk community. In giving illustrations, I carefully avoid using weight loss/gain points to explain a point. Why? Although I have many disciplines in my life, taking care of my health has not been primary. And now it is time.

When I was asked to serve on the forming Health and Wellness Task Force, I readily said “Yes”. I must admit to selfish motives: I joined H&W as a way for you to hold me accountable for my health habits and lifestyle.

I am spiritually and emotionally and financially and relationally and mentally and even physically healthier today than I was 35 years ago; however, my weight has continued to be an issue.

I love the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program:

Step 1: I came to realize that I was powerless over _______________.

Originally it was “powerless over alcohol”. With the success of the 12-step program it is used for any life-controlling issue – drugs, gambling, food, inertia. Or we could insert a character flaw such as anger, selfishness, … pride.

Step 2: I came to know there is a Higher Power that can restore me to sanity.

My Higher Power – who to me is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – has and is restoring me to sanity in a number of areas:

Morality and fidelity

Self-esteem and anger issues

Perfectionism and stress

Control and unforgiveness

The food/exercise issue has pretty much ceased, due to resignation, not a continued effort. Now it is as though “the fullness of time” has come …. not that it hasn’t been time before this. It’s just that the struggle has been released. Partly through Renew “U”niversity’s Self-Care Workshop and the commitment to a self-care covenant, but more about that another time.

I equate this to my salvation experience. As a child I was reared in a five-charge country Methodist church. My Mom especially had a fire burning in her spirit, so we went to other churches, tent revivals, Pentecostal meetings and fellowshipped with black congregations. It is a rich spiritual heritage. Unfortunately, in my teenage rebellion I turned my back on God. It lasted for years. Maybe there is still some residue.

At a particular low point in my life, I sensed God speaking to me. “Mona, why don’t you give up the struggle. Just let me be your friend.”

As I listened to my heart’s yearning, it seemed as though the invitation was to quit the struggle to be good or nice or holy. It was a summons to relationship not rules.

It was an offer I could not refuse.

I responded with an audible whisper: “Okay”.

Bells did not chime nor did rockets soar, but something dramatically happened in me that day. And it is still in effect. And growing. Broadening into every aspect of my being.

Now, thirty some years later, this friend is saying, “Mona, quit the diets and fads and the weight resignation. Just let me teach you about nutrition.”

My response is a simple, “Okay”.

Dr. Mark DeHaven, founder of the GoodNEWS program, is a social epidemiologist, which is kin to the science of Epigenetics. That is a big word for years of science that basically means, just like there is a protective layer of skin – epidermis – above the lower layer of skin – dermis – so also in the genetic code there is a protective layer above the gene.

Just like the epidermis is sensitive to the environment. Skins sunburned. Skin sweats when hot. Skin becomes clammy when nervous. Skin gets goose-bumps when chilled.

Different environments. Same body systems. Different results.

So too this epi-gene responds to the environment. Stress wrecks havoc. Limiting beliefs sabotage. Calm restores. Abundance mentality heals.

Different environments. Same body systems. Different results.

John Wesley (1702-17910), founder of the Methodist Church, preached a “method” of holiness and emphasizes three themes:

1) preserving the “well-working body” which is the proper mechanical functioning

2) encouraging “sympathy” among the bodily processes that influence one another (such as the rightly ordered passions, or emotions, that can prevent disease

3) the “healing power of nature” by which wholeness can be regained

“All violent and sudden passions dispose to, or actually throw people into acute diseases. The slow and lasting passions, such as grief and hopeless love, bring on chronic disease. Till the passion, which caused the disease, is calmed, medicine is applied in vain…. The love of God effectually prevents all the bodily disorders the passions introduce, by keeping the passions themselves within due bounds; and by the unspeakable joy and perfect calm serenity and tranquility it gives the mind; it becomes the most powerful of all the means of health and long life.” Westley, Primitive Physick

Renowned scientist and author Bruce Lipton says that if John Wesley were alive today he would be an epigenestists.

In the book, Anti-Cancer, Dr. Servan-Schreiber, begins: “Cancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check. In the west, one person in four will die of cancer, but three in four will not. Their defense mechanisms will hold out, and they will die of other causes. … This is what I learned: If we all have a potential cancer lying dormant in us, each of us also has a body designed to fight the process of tumor development. It is up to each of us to use our body’s natural defenses. Other cultures do this much better than ours.”

At the October Health and Wellness Task Force meeting, Pastor John Clifford’s closing prayer:

“Lord, we say we love you with all our heart, soul and spirit. Now let us live to manifest that.”

ALL: “Lord, this is our prayer.”

This blog is an account of my journey and recovery in the all-encompassing arena of Health and Wellness. I would love for you to join me. I would also love for you to give input into your struggles, insights and victories.

Take care. Mona