I wish I were taller. Or thinner. I should be more flexible. Or more muscular. I wish my thighs didn’t jiggle or I had six-pack abs. If I could just lose these last 10, 20, 50 pounds then I would be happy, satisfied, fulfilled. I should meditate. Blah, blah, blah.
I am so grateful for this body. I am happy that I am able to see, hear, taste, touch, feel. Thank you body for being so strong and resilient. I am free to be me.
Which statements do you think create vibrant health? How many of us say them to ourselves on a daily basis? How many of us want better health, great sex, more money and happiness? What if I told you that it all starts with the recognition that you are the temple of the Divine?
Regardless of your religious or non-religious background, you can not deny that we are uniquely and wonderfully made. Just the experience of being a human at this time in our planet’s history is astonishing when you really think about it. But how many of us are awake to the gift of this life right now?
Wellness is not one size fits all. What works for one person will not work for all. What is important is to ask ourselves, what does wellness or wholeness look like for me? Let me ask you, what is your motivation? Let me give you a few examples.
I’ve worked in health and wellness for over half of my life and I’ve met some truly wonderful and inspiring people. Stan (names and other identifying information changed to protect privacy) is 57 years young and was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. His definition of wellness was to have a body that was strong enough to withstand the side effects of chemotherapy and a mind that was singularly focused on one thing- beating cancer and living a fulfilling life. I supported Stan in creating major changes in his life. He relocated to an area of the country with a nicer climate and more opportunities to be outdoors. He radically changed his diet from lots of fast food, packaged meals and sodas to fresh produce from the farmer’s market, organic and humanely raised meats, raw juice and lots of water. He began to practice yoga and mindfulness meditation. In addition to support from family and friends and a strong commitment to his faith, Stan sought out opportunities to give back to his community through service. Stan’s doctor informed him that he was cancer free 9 months after the diagnosis. Several years later, Stan remains committed to his wellness and well-being.
Jane is another client that is seeking optimal health. She’s been diagnosed with chronic fatigue and rheumatoid arthritis. There are days when she’s in so much pain that she is unable to get out of bed. But if that’s the case, Jane knows that she can access wellness within. She closes her eyes, deepens her breath and feels into her heart. She allows herself to feel connected to everyone and everything. Amazingly, the pain subsides, and she can go about her day. But if she’s having a stressful day or reliving painful, past experiences, her pain increases.
I am a reformed Type A personality. I used to be a mechanical engineer. I designed engines for GM and BMW. I designed missiles and spacecrafts. But I wasn’t happy. And my body let me know it! I would have tummy aches, headaches, rashes, digestive issues, joint pain. I would have chronic insomnia for weeks at a time. I started practicing yoga to remain flexible, because I was a marathoner. Then one day on my mat, I felt and heard something in my chest crack— it was loud! I thought other people could hear it. But from my chest I felt this heat moving all throughout my body. I started to cry. In that instant, I knew that I had to change. I was not well. This was not my life. This was not my path. The steps I took have been discussed in previous posts, but I share this story to highlight the many ways the body lets us know when we’re missing the mark. In his book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”, Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk, says that “neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves.”
A beautiful and powerful way to practice this form of self-care is with a daily yoga practice. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’… just move your body! Don’t know where to begin? I’m happy to help! Contact me for a free consultation. If you need specialized care, I can also connect you to a variety of practitioners that can support in accessing health.
I’m happy to announce that I have new classes available and am offering a special invitation-only 6 week class for individuals with seeking a supportive environment to restore themselves to wholeness. This special program will be offered for FREE. Donations are appreciated. This class will be offered on Monday evenings in Oakland starting in May. If you are interested, please email me for the application form. I also have a few openings to work with individuals for one-to-one health coaching and yoga sessions. Here’s my teaching schedule for May.
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath… and ask yourself, “what do I really want?” And then ask yourself, “why?” Keep asking yourself why until you get to your core of understanding. What do you need to be well? What do you need to be made whole? Please add your comments below… I’d love to hear from you!