Being human is complex and often times somewhat overwhelming, especially when we are faced with conflict. Though in my humble thoughts, it isn't the conflict that defines us, but rather it is our response to conflict that truly defines us.
As I consider the current conflict facing us all, it strikes me that for once all of humanity is facing the same external conflict at the same moment, when it is all past us, will we like what we see and saw in ourselves or will we just place it in a box in our memories we label the Corona effect and move on.
Lets face it COVID-19, is a conflict shared by all humans, it is a unique conflict, unlike War, Famine, Persecution or any of a list of conflicts to long to list, it is invisible and it effects all of humanity in the same way, with the same risks. This is an enemy humanity was not prepared to battle. It is this universally shared impact of this conflict that caused me to begin to consider how I am dealing with it and when I look back on it will I like what I saw?
In any conflict we really have two options, we can run from it or we can choose to fight it, regardless of which option one naturally chooses, it isn't that choice that will be remembered but how that choice was carried out. Will we our response be one fueled by empathy and compassion or will it be fueled by greed and selfishness? The answer to this question may be what truly defines us as individuals and as humanity as a whole, an answer that is as complex as the question.
To help deal with the fight or flight response, warriors since the beginning of time have trained, they have trained the Body through physical training, they have trained the mind through tactical training and in many cases they have trained the Spirit through mental and Spiritual training. The physical and tactical will help in addressing a physical enemy and the mental and spiritual training will help warriors to deal with what comes after battle.
But, most of humanity are not "warriors" in the traditional sense, not expected to face the enemy in the heat of battle as a soldier is, yet in this conflict we are all warriors fighting to survive an attack by an invisible enemy that does not discriminate. It seems clear to me that in this war, how we train our Spirits will have a greater effect on our future than any tactical or physical fitness training. This not to say that physical fitness is not vitally important to our health and well being, it is, but in these times it seems very easy to forget to "Just Breathe." I see so many people living in fear, confusion and anxiety, some of it external, some of it internal. I believe we need to take some time to slow down for a bit everyday to just breathe, do Yoga, take a walk in the fresh air (even if it is in one room with the window open to breathe fresh air). We need to take this time to nourish our spirits, because if we continue to simply react out we will undoubtedly look back on this time with seriously mixed emotions that will not serve our Highest Good in the future.
I know I don't have all the answers, I can only hope to find myself looking back on this time confidant that I responded to this conflict with Empathy and Compassion. I implore you nourish your bodies with healthy food and exercise and take time to quiet your mind to allow you to join with your spirit so that to may e nourished and help guide your personal response to this and any future conflicts that might come up.
If you have been following along (thank you!), I tossed out the idea of starting our New Years Resolutions in the spring, rather than at the beginning of the darkest part of winter. In case, like me, you have warmed to that idea, I thought I would continue with it by exploring the idea.
We are all faced with a dizzying array of obstacles we navigate in life, challenges that steal our attention from the path we are walking on. Sometimes so much so that we stumble, its ok. It isn't the challenge that defines us, it is our reaction to it that defines us, so if you stumble, take a deep breath, brush yourself off and take the next step.
What is the next step? In honor of spring and our newly established resolution to live happier, healthier lives, I thought we could talk about "Food". Food, we love it and sometimes we hate it, fact of the matter is we need it, like we need air and water, without food we will eventually stop functioning.
Along my journey I received advice from some people who are very smart in the areas of health and fitness (you know who you are, thank you). They advised me that around 70% of our weight management is diet and that we spend between 1h 8m to 1hr 20m each day eating or drinking, we should be getting the most value from our time spent. It seems only logical that like anything else we spend valuable currency on we should look for the highest quality for our investment.
As an example of what I am talking about, refer to the above photo (my Vegan friends will love this), it is done using Kirlian Photography and shows the energy given off by a given item. As you can see eating raw whole foods will give you the best value for you time spent and also provide more energy and nutrients, while even cooked foods provide energy, we should try to find the highest quality we can.
The second part of this puzzle is to not over eat, even with regular exercise, our bodies will only so many calories per day, so finding out how many calories you need per day is so important (talking to a nutritionist is very helpful) and moderation is the key.
Along my journey I have used this knowledge to find the right balance and it has allowed me to lose 100lbs. and keep it off. Trust me when I tell you it feels so good to be of the "your gonna die list", if you are having struggles I hope this in some small way helps. It takes some effort but if you apply the idea of "Just for today" you can achieve your goals.
I don't believe I have the answer for everyone, I am, like you, walking my own path as best I can, all I can hope is that I may in some small way help another along theirs.
Why think of New Years Resolutions two days before June? Why not?
January 1st is not only the beginning of the New Year, it is also the beginning of the darkest days of winter. Every
year on this date, people make promises to themselves to exercise more, eat healthy and improve their over all well being,
at what I believe is the worst possible time to make these changes. Lets face it by January 1st, we are still recovering from the food coma brought on by holiday feasting. It is now, when the days are shortest and the deepest cold is creeping into our bones that we decide to make our wellness changes.
What follows is simply my observations (be it humor or wisdom, you decide) of the usual New Years Resolution. During our annual holiday celebrations, while feasting and possibly drinking, we somehow come up with the grand idea that we are going to do _______, ________, and ________ in the new year to improve our lives, which is fantastic that we are doing introspection to improve ourselves. Did I mention this is likely the worst time to try to start making changes? To highlight this point, count on your fingers how many resolutions lasted past May? I am betting that you can use the right hand to count the total on your left, without having to switch hands or take off your shoes, otherwise we would not be making the same resolutions every year.
So, here's my thought, lets make June 1st our wellness "New Year", after all it only makes sense. Traditionally New Years aside from marking the beginning of the new calendar year also marks the beginning of winter, short days, long nights and colder temperatures, all working against us as our bodies just want to huddle under a thick blanket. Unfortunately our bodies also naturally crave heavier, fattier foods at this time of year, foods that help us to stay warm.
Rather than fight a losing battle in winter, welcome Spring, allow natures rebirth be yours as well. The days are longer and warmer making it easier to be more active and we naturally tend to eat lighter foods, I think this is the best time to really focus on the changes you want to make. Rather than fighting your bodies and natures natural rhythm, work with it, by the time January rolls around you will already be firmly on track and better able to face the dark days of winter and fend off the holiday bulge.
I do not believe I have the answer for everyone, I am, like you, walking my own path as best I can, all I can hope is that I may in some small way help another along theirs.
There is an old saying that says; "Within each of us two wolves battle."
"One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego."
"The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth."
The question being which one wins?
The answer is the one we feed.
World events seem determined to force us to lose our perspective and choice of which we will feed. Try as we may we may feel powerless to escape the trap. This is just an illusion, a web of lies spun by the evil wolf to force us to feed it. The truth the evil wolf does not want us to see is that we always have a choice. It is true we can not control people and events, but how we react to them, is our choice.
We can always chose the path that leads to feeding the good wolf or we can allow our choice to cause us to feed the evil wolf.
Over the years I have given this little parable a great deal of thought. I have come to believe the food is our "emotional equity", the stronger the emotional response the great the influence, good or evil. We are all getting more and more cautious with how wee spend our hard earned cash, but we seem to be over looking and throwing away the most valuable currency we have, our inner peace.
As our world continues to spiral faster in what ever direction it is going, I believe we, as individuals need to slow down our emotional reactions to it. Take some time to consider if we are investing our emotional equity wisely and ultimately feeding the right wolf.
Do I believe I have the answer for everyone, not hardly. I am like you walking my path as best I can, all I can hope is that I may help someone else along their path in some small way.
"Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change"
It is very possible that if you are reading this you have some aspect of your life you would like to change, even if you are not aware of it at the moment. Lets face it we live in a fast paced world where the desire for instant gratification drives many of our choices. While instant gratification brings things quickly and in most cases easily, it is not necessarily the wisest choice in the long term. In my own experience I have found things that come quick and easy tend to depart quick and painfully. I have also learned that things of true value to us take time and some effort.
Let's pretend as you read this that you are one of those people who have an aspect of your life you would like to change. Remember we are just pretending because we all know every aspect of our individual lives are perfect just the way they are, so back to pretending. Once we have decided that we have a flaw in our life, now we have to fix it, "now please". So we lay out our plan, set our timeline, gather the resources and set to fixing the issue, whatever it may be. Seems simple enough, but, if it is so simple why is it that so many people are "not" achieving their goals? It isn't the approach, that is sound, but it does include one thing that may be causing us to fail, time and again. Here it is: Our expectations. Yes, our expectations, lets go back to the world we live in, fast paced and filled with instant gratification. We tend to approach everything in the same fashion, and when the approach does not meet our expectations of fast and easy we give up on it. We then find a new approach and start over never realizing any real benefit from our original approach.
So how do we get out of this vicious cycle of start, fail and start again, when it comes to our wellness, we change our expectations. Lasting changes in our bodies and wellness life style, rarely happen quickly and will usually require some effort, but then again, it is of true value to us if we want to live a full vibrant life. There are no quick fixes here and your approach has to be balanced with the understanding that there are no magic pills or quick fixes that will create the changes for the long term. Now that I have come to grips with the idea, I am not going to change the habits I have held over the last 20 years that have created what ever imbalance I am looking to correct, in the next month. I can start to make the small adjustments that result in big permanent changes down the road, so to speak.
This bring us to our time line. Ever go to the gym on the third of January, it is packed with people sweating, grunting and running. You have to wait in line like you are at an amusement park to get close to the machines you want to use, but if you wait a couple months the machines will once again be easy to access. Why is this? Did all these new people suddenly get so busy they simply have no time to work out anymore, maybe for some that is the case. Truth of the matter is that long term goals are hard to keep with current expectations, instead of setting your goal for a week, month or year, which is hard to maintain given our busy lives. Starting out looking at changing things for a long time from the beginning may seem impossible after you actually start doing it, and the first time you fail, you prove to yourself it "is" impossible and stop trying. Just start with today, anyone can do something or give up something for a day, that is easy compared to a week, month or year. "Just for today: I will _________", if you accomplish it that day, that is awesome, if you don't, that's ok too. Because tomorrow is just today waiting to happen and as you achieve your daily goal the begin to stack up as yesterdays successes which will eventually lead to lasting healthy changes.