I’m an inquisitive soul. Illness has fascinated me, often with sadness attached, and vibrant good health enthrals me. How do some people gather it, while others don’t. The enquiry has taken me through layers and layers of study, training and self awareness. When it comes to our health, awakened awareness plays such a pivotal role in how we feel, and what in turn we pay attention to. Most often, we will find ourselves on a spiral of attention and feeling, a spiral on which we can be rising or deepening. In simple terms : health – when we have it, we forget about it, when we don’t have it, it comes sharply into focus.
The challenge in this pattern, is that at a time when our mind is seeking for solutions we are more inclined to lean into everything and anything that offers a quick solve / salve, we are open to adapting anything we come across to fit our need.
The fads, trends and fashions in health have dramatically increased our knowledge. The reality though is that practicing good health is far more valuable to us preventively. And practicing wellbeing when we are well, gives us the opportunity to trial and error, observe our personal responses and devise systems and rhythms that work for us uniquely and personally. It frees us from having to follow what works for someone else (or the law of averages that modern medicine is based on). Modern medicine’s role in our wellbeing is to offer fixes when things are wrong, but unless the fixes happen in a context of continuous self care and well-being our ability to recover can only reduce.
There is never a bad time, and it is never too late to pay attention to what works for us personally. To know when I feel good, and when I get too far away from that goodness, to know what it takes and what methods to use to encourage myself back to vibrant good health. Listening, patiently and lovingly attending to body, brain and spirit for some time, can pay dividends in what I can hear and understand from myself.
Here’s where I begin
- Noticing myself: life is distracting. I realised early in my self awareness journey that I can go for days or weeks without noticing how I am. That’s not conducive to good health. The first stage of meditation is often to become self aware in some way, in yoga we call it Dhyana. For many this simple act of self awareness is often described as uncomfortable and hard work. But its valuable beyond compare to check in daily and notice how I am, with no judgement.
- State management: In NLP we talk about ‘state’ as the combination of what I am thinking, and how I am feeling in my body. We create ‘state changes’ for ourselves naturally and often, the most British one of course being a cup of tea. Going for a run when stressed, taking a deep breath, relaxing with a glass of wine. Clearly our state changes can be healthy or not. While mine is herbal, a cuppa can always support my good state. But so can noticing my thoughts and choosing which ones I will dance away with, or allow to lead. For me personally movement is my great state changer, my asana practice allows me to transmute and transform negative sensations, sometimes in just a few breaths and moves, sometimes in a full on whirlwind followed by deep stillness. I also walk daily, and vary my terrain, speed and length depending on what needs processing.
- Stillness: My vision for bodies I work with is to become so connected in body-mind that we can move with the stealth and ease of a cat in the woods. I love to practice, particularly when doing random daily acts like washing up, how stealthily and easily can I move from one stance to the other. But I also think that this ability comes from deep stillness. In Savasana it can take up to 7 minutes (teaches Rolf Sovik from the Himalayan Institute) for the nervous system to become steady. Stillness really requires practice. And its dividends are endless.
- Research and openness: I love to research and to learn about what is being shared in the health and wellbeing worlds. Researching a lot means that I am quicker to know where to find good resources when I need them. From teachers that I love and relish learning from to friends who have had different experiences and training.
- Dreaming: In recent years, and guided by wise minds, I have learned and grown in owning my dreams. For a long time, I found dreaming tricky. Owning my dreams means have to own up to my part in creating them. I turned my day dreaming that got me so regularly into trouble at school into one of my best assets as a grown up.
- Action: daily action is my greatest asset. I don’t think of myself as a fast mover, in fact I think I am often slow (happily) particularly in comparison to much of London life. I see this path as a life choice, my health choices are the ones that I integrate into my life long existence. No more fads, when I add something new I try it out for a while, give it time to settle and then let things go and add things in slowly.
Of all these resources I’ve grown I find that I have used them again and again in my choices about what I eat, how I move, who I see, how I learn and the ways I work.