Archive for July, 2009

Listening to Our Bodies

July 4, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

When our body, mind, and spirit are in balance, we experience good health. But sometimes we get caught up in life’s parade of change and movement, and things get out of balance. Just as there are seasons in nature, our bodies go through times of cleansing and times of activity. Illness is one way our bodies restore the balance they seek, as it cleanses the buildup of unwanted manifestations of negative energy in our system. When we are not feeling our best, we can go beyond addressing the physical symptoms to listen to our bodies as they tell us the changes needed to restore balance.

Our bodies give us signals, but if we don’t listen when they tell us that they are tired or stressed, then the imbalance increases and a stronger message is required, one that is generally expressed by illness or dis-ease. The first step to regaining equilibrium involves slowing down, eating healthy food, getting more rest, and taking soothing remedies. Once we have nurtured ourselves with these things, we can begin examine our illness for the message. A heavy head may be a sign that we have been thinking negatively, harboring anger, resentment, or guilt. A sore throat may be telling us we have been speaking without integrity—gossip, insults, twisting the truth, or even speaking ill of ourselves, all of which can knock us off balance. A sore throat and swollen glands can also mean you are cleansing and processing some powerful emotions at present. Stomach problems could mean that we are having trouble accepting or “digesting” something. Only you have the knowledge of your thoughts and choices that will allow you to decipher the messages from your body. All it takes is time and attention.

When we take the time to listen to our bodies we can learn how to restore our balance and improve our lives. By honoring the messages of our bodies, we can turn a time of illness into a constructive time of restoration, healing, and revitalization.

Being Your Own Village

July 3, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Simple survival requires us to be in possession of many skills. The pursuit of dreams requires many more. Most individuals rely on the support of a village, whether peopled by relatives or community members, to effectively address the numerous ways we need assistance. This can mean anything from asking favors of acquaintances and leaning on loved ones for support to paying a skilled artisan to handle specialized tasks. However, each human being is born with the capacity to be their own village. We embody many roles throughout our lifetimes, all of which are representative of our capacity for self-sufficiency and self-determination. In different moments in our lives, we are our own counselor, janitor, caregiver, cook, healer, teacher, and student. Our willingness to joyfully take on these roles grants us the power to maintain control over the direction our life’s journey takes.

In times past, human beings learned all of the skills needed for survival. Today, the majority of people specialize in a single discipline, which they hone throughout their lives. Thus, many of us feel uncomfortable standing at the helm of our own existence. We question our ability to make decisions concerning our own health, happiness, and welfare, and are left feeling dependent and powerless. But the authority to take ultimate responsibility for our lives is simply a matter of believing that we have the necessary faith and intelligence to cope with any circumstance the universe chooses to place in our path. Proving that we can each be our own villages through action enables us to accept that we are strong enough to exist autonomously. Cooking, cultivating a garden of fruits and vegetables, undertaking minor home repair, or adopting a healthier lifestyle can help you reassert your will.

Being your own village does not mean embracing isolation, for a balanced life is built upon the dual foundations of the inner and the outer villages. Rather, being your own village is a celebration of your wondrous inner strength and resourcefulness, as well as an acknowledgment of your innate ability to capably steer the course of your life.

Defining Your Direction

July 2, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Many people are committed to professions and personal endeavors they never consciously planned to pursue. They attribute the shape of their lives to circumstance, taking on roles they feel are tolerable. Each of us, however, has been blessed with a purpose. Your life’s work is the assemblage of activities that allows you to express your intelligence and creativity, live in accordance with your values, and experience the profound joy of simply being yourself. Unlike traditional work, which may demand more of you than you are willing to give, life’s work demands nothing but your intent and passion for that work. Yet no one is born with an understanding of the scope of their purpose. If you have drifted through life, you may feel directionless. Striving to discover your life’s work can help you realize your true potential and live a more authentic, driven life.

To make this discovery, you must consider your interests in the present and the passions that moved you in the past. You may have felt attracted to a certain discipline or profession throughout your young life only to have steered away from your aspirations upon reaching adulthood. Or you may be harboring an interest as of yet unexplored. Consider what calls to you and then narrow it down. If you want to work with your hands, ask yourself what work will allow you to do so. You may be able to refine your life’s work within the context of your current occupations. If you want to change the world, consider whether your skills and talents lend themselves to philanthropic work. Taking stock of your strengths, passions, beliefs, and values can help you refine your search for purpose if you don’t know where to begin. Additionally, in your daily meditation, ask the universe to clarify your life’s work by providing signs and be sure to pay attention.

Since life’s journey is one of evolution, you may need to redefine your direction on multiple occasions throughout your lifetime. For instance, being an amazing parent can be your life’s work strongly for 18 years, then perhaps you have different work to do. Your life’s work may not be something you are recognized or financially compensated for, such as parenting, a beloved hobby, or a variety of other activities typically deemed inconsequential. Your love for a pursuit, however, gives it meaning. You’ll know you have discovered your life’s work when you wake eager to face each day and you feel good about not only what you do but also who you are.

Fuel That Nurtures

July 1, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

At its simplest, food is fuel. Though our preferences regarding taste and texture can vary widely, we all rely on the foods we eat for energy. Most people are aware that it is vital we consume a diverse assortment of foods if we aspire to maintain a state of physical well-being. However, the intimate connection between diet and our mental well-being is less understood. Just as the nutritional components in food power the body, so too do they power the mind. Some foods can impair cognitive functioning and sap our energy while others heighten our intellectual prowess and make us feel vigorous. What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our ability to focus, mental clarity, mood, and stress levels.

Food allergies, which don’t always manifest themselves in forms we recognize, can also play a significant role in the maintenance of mental health. Thus, for most of us, even a simple change in diet can have a profoundly positive impact on our lives. Taking the time to explore whether anxiety, muddled thoughts, or inexplicable tension can be linked to a food allergy or food sensitivity can empower you to treat your symptoms naturally. The benefits of a healthier, more personalized diet are often felt immediately. Sugar, saturated fats, wheat, and dairy products are frequently allergens and can stress the body. For people that are allergic, consuming them can cause imbalances in the physical self that have a negative effect on the body’s ability to nourish the brain. Water, fiber, nuts, unprocessed seeds, raw fruits and vegetables, and vegetable proteins, on the other hand, support physical and mental functioning by providing those nutrients we do need without additional subs!
 tances we don’t.

A balanced, natural diet can ease mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, and mild depression. Intellectual clarity and agility is improved when the mind receives proper nourishment. Even those individuals who are blessed with the ability to consume almost any food can benefit from a healthier and simpler diet. Since the mental and physical selves are closely bound to one another, we must feed each the foods upon which they thrive.