Body Wise

Are you at ease in your body? It is believed that the more at ease you are in your body–that is, the more you treat it with respect and care–the more at ease you’ll be in your life. The state of your body and your connection to movement and peace often closely reflect the state of your life.

How can you ensure a healthy relationship to your body? Paying attention to the language of your symptoms, honoring a relationship to movement, loving your body and honoring your spirit are a few ways to connect with your body. Here are other pointers:

  • Your body reflects what is happening in your life, and you body tends to get sick more easily when you are not present in it.
  • A commonly held perspective in integrative medicine is that the body gets sick to get your attention, and your symptoms provide a type of language about what is going on with your spirit.
  • Healthy people usually have a loving relationship with their bodies and often feel inspired.
  • Life is movement, so when you’re feeling in pain or in some way disconnected from your body and spirit, one of the most effective integration tools is through movement.
  • Movement releases and helps energize the body, creating a new sense of aliveness in the body and mind.
  • The body, mind, and emotions are interrelated, and deeply negative emotional states can cause enormous stress in the body–contributing to disease.
  • The body is a living, breathing organism in which every cell is aware of every other cell—constantly conveying information through numerous communication pathways.

It can be healing to engage in bodywork and meditation, particularly to practice “listening” to your body.

Holding a Sacred Viewpoint

When we are overwhelmed, it is difficult in that moment not to get caught in the minutia of life.  Whatever is going on seems to BECOME our life–the whole of it.  Our emotional response can be out of proportion to the events that are occurring.

It is important to be able to step back at any given time and take a “sacred view” of what is going on.

You can ask yourself:

–From a larger perspective, how does this problem or issue factor in to my whole life?

–Are my feelings and response to this situation appropriate given the meaning of the situation in regard to my life?

–How can I be “in this world but not of it”–in other words, participate in it but not be caught in the drama?

–Will I remember this on my deathbed?

When you are caught in a dramatic or fearful moment, take a breath, and remember to hold “a sacred view”!  It will make those difficult times far easier.

Balance Is Key

Do you long to bring greater balance and meaning into your life?

For more than thirty years, I’ve coached thousands of people internationally. And over the years, I’ve found that it really didn’t matter whether my audience consisted of corporate executives, homemakers, physicians, artists—whatever the occupation—people said the same thing. Their lives were overloaded with work and personal responsibilities and they were just playing catch up every day.

Some people felt that their lives were an exhausting effort to maintain safety and security.

And they tried to make the “right” choices so that they could be in control of their days, only to find that control is just an illusion. The reality is that we’re never really “in control” of anything.

You see, no matter how hard they worked at it, how many measures they put in place, how many times they second guessed what might happen, they found they couldn’t really control what was happening in their world.

They worked in part to have health insurance and found that their work itself affected the very quality of their health.

So, really, what I’ve found in my coaching is that most people are looking for some kind of inspiration and understanding that will lead them to create a more meaningful, balanced life.

I’d like to share a true personal story which I’ve referred to over the years as the “Hamster on the Wheel” story! When my children were young, they were staying overnight at my parents’ house. They had a pet hamster that they loved and fed every day, and there was a little wheel in the cage for the hamster to exercise on.

On this fateful Saturday morning, the kids were gone, I woke up, and lo and behold, our poor little hamster, who was only 2 weeks old, had died.

I called the pet shop, and told them what had happened, and they said reassuringly: “Oh, I’m so sorry. But that happens. Sometimes the hamster forgets to get off the wheel, keeps going without stopping, and has a heart attack. Just bring it in and we’ll give you another one.”

Now—you could not have given me a better analogy for my life at that time. Because I was the proverbial hamster on the wheel. I was working fifty-hour weeks, writing a book, parenting my children, and generally just trying to survive my life.

And we all do this: We get on the wheel of life, move rapidly, and sometimes forget to get off and rest, or forget to decide what’s important and what’s not. We burn ourselves out.

So how do we course correct, gain greater understanding, and change our lives into something worth living?

Here are a few tips:

  • First, pay attention to what you’re saying YES and NO to. If your heart’s not in it, you’re not either. I’ve certainly found that out.
  • Second, take a break and gain a little perspective. Fast forward to your 80th birthday. Imagine that you can look back over your life at that point. What would you have wished was your life?
  • Third, does your life reflect the best version of you? Is what you’re doing, your greatest contribution? You see it doesn’t matter whether you’re president of your company or doing a job of manual labor, you have to ask yourself: Is your heart in it and are you doing it well? Is it a contribution that you’re proud of?

And while each of us didn’t come into this world to be Moses, Gandhi, or some great figure, we did come in to be the best version of ourselves.

So, our freedom lies in going backstage in this Life play, challenging the thought that our dramas are pre-recorded, having the courage to challenge our thinking and to rewrite our scripts, and in general, through these new thoughts and more consciously intended actions– to bring new and better experiences into our lives.

Here’s to a mindful week. . . and life!

Healing through Meditation

Many people express an interest in meditation but feel they don’t have enough time. Some say that finding 20 minutes to do “nothing” is not possible in their daily life. Meditating is far from “doing nothing”; when you center your mind and release anxiety, you bring restoration and balance to your whole system. In fact, research shows that meditation:

1. Enhances the immune system.

2. Lowers and/or stabilizes blood pressure.

3. Slows the aging process.

4. Improves learning ability and memory.

5. Develops your willpower.

6. Decreases restless thinking.

7. Brings your body, mind, and spirit into harmony.

You do have to find time to meditate. You should choose a time of day when you are least distracted and are able to be calm. You might want to start with a 5-minute meditation and try different lengths of time as you explore the process.

Also, decide on a comfortable posture. While most teachers suggest sitting positions, I have always found my best meditations occur when I lie down, and surprisingly, I do not fall asleep. Try different postures to find what works best for you.

If you are seated, you might try staring at an icon (religious figure, candle, etc.), and in doing so, allowing yourself to “empty” your mind. If you are lying down, you can stare at the ceiling.

Be patient with yourself, so if many thoughts come racing through your head, simply allow them to clear. You may wish to focus on one word (such as “love”) to center yourself.

You can also practice the simple technique that I call “stopping.” Simply sit for five minutes each day and allow your body to rest. Take a few deep breaths and be still. In that moment, be with whatever comes up, and let your mind slow down until your body, mind, and spirit feel in greater harmony.

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