We hear a lot these days about well-being, becoming who we truly are and realizing our wholeness. While this may sound compelling (“Sure, why not? I’m in!”), how exactly do we begin? Where do we start? And what is the first step?
First, I believe we are all whole and complete human beings just as we are. We lack nothing and we are not in need of “fixing”. From a holistic standpoint, we have everything we need to live life as whole and complete human beings.
Secondly, to be well in body, mind, heart and spirit, it is not a matter of needing to acquire something from the “outside”. Rather it is a matter of letting go – of releasing ourselves from the prison of culturally imposed limiting beliefs, fabrications and fear in order to live a life of authenticity and freedom.
The following is intended to be a way to “check-in”: to inquire into our own well-being and notice what we discover when we ask the following questions:
- Do you honor and love your own body? Completely…or are there areas of dislike and criticism?
- Would you be willing to consider accepting the body you have with love and tenderness, welcoming all areas equally? If so, where would you begin?
- Try this: do a “scan” of your body from head to toe, pausing often and noticing what occurs for you in each area of your body. Can you bring tenderness and love to these areas?
- Stop for a moment and notice the nature of your thoughts: are they loving and supportive or leaning more toward negative and critical?
- Would you be willing to become familiar with how your mind works in your life? For example, take a few minutes each day and notice your thought world – how your mind behaves and how convincing thoughts can be.
- Try this: do a three minute pause and notice your breath while paying attention to what’s going on “internally” – particularly your thoughts and how the mind is behaving. Keep noticing, allowing any thought process to be separate from “who” you are.
- Do you have a compassionate heart for yourself and for others? If not, would you consider opening your heart a bit wider allowing tenderness and care to soften you?
- Are you living your life heartfully? Are your choices and behaviors based on what your heart tells you – or are you more influenced by others’ opinions and input? What would it take to become heart-centered and follow your own “path with heart”?
- Try this: sit quietly for a few minutes, putting your left hand over your heart area and your right hand over your solar plexus (the area representing the core of who we are). Imagine sending love – genuine caring – to your entire body, mind and spirit at the same time sending heartfelt caring out into the world.
- What centers and balances you in your life? In a complex and fast-moving world, where is your “still point”? Is it an oasis for you?
- Do you take time each day to stop – to pause, refresh and renew your spirit in some way? Is self-nourishment a priority or does it only occur sporadically? If busyness gets in the way, how could you make more time for what you value most?
- Try this: take time each day to be in nature. Let the senses “take in” the world: what do you see, what do you hear, what do you smell…and how does the air feel against your face? Can you imagine yourself a part of a larger picture? Can you allow the beauty of nature nourish you?
In order to be healthy and balanced in body, mind, heart and soul we must allow time to nourish ourselves – not only physically but emotionally, mentally and soulfully as well. Not only do we feel better when we are balanced and living life from our wholeness but our brains become healthier also. Current published research tells us “experience shapes the brain” and that neural integrations promotes well-being in all ways. As we choose wisely how to care for our bodies, how to respond to life in a heartful way, how to recognize thoughts as only thoughts – not the truth – and how to refresh, rejuvenate and nourish our spirits, we not only benefit directly but contribute to the health of our brain and neuronal system as well.
Healthy living starts today! Begin where you are and take that first step, allowing these guidelines to be a blueprint – a starting point. May you experience happiness and joy as you choose health and wellness for yourself.