In recent conversations with friends, family and clients the topic invariably comes around to how disconnected people are feeling and that their energy just doesn't "feel right". It's especially prevalent among those who are sensitive to energy and/or empathic, however it doesn't seem to be leaving any one out.
Can you imagine being without your phone? In todays society it is so attached to us that it is like having an extra limb, or a security blanket perhaps?
On my recent trip overseas to spend much needed time with family, I turned my phone off, and it stayed that way for 4 full weeks. The first few days were tough! As a business owner, outside of the treatment room (when I'm with clients the phone is set to 'Do Not Disturb') my phone is regularly attached to my hand. But being in an overseas country where I didn't know anyone outside of my family, there was no use for it. We spent the majority of our time in and around my son's home. When we ventured out we were together, so again, no use for it. I could have purchased a phone card but who was I going to call?
What is considered healthy, or not, seems to be linked to fads that come and go. I've watched clients as they have embraced different ideas and diets based on what is current, only to spiral when they haven't worked. Alternatively, I have seen those clients who take the time to tune in to and listen to their bodies, and what "feels best FOR THEM", experience the most success with lifestyle changes. They are also the happiest and most content people that I know.
Taking the time to get to know your body and working with it rather than pushing it is essential to holistic wellbeing. Get quiet for a moment and ask yourself the following:
1. When in the past have I felt my very best?
What was going on for you at the times that you felt your best?
2. What currently makes me feel my best?
Think about the clothes you feel best in, the foods that give you energy, the activities that feel good and the people in your circle that light you up.
When you create this list be sure to leave off the things that are done, worn or eaten because you "should". Only list what "feels" really good
3. When you visualize or daydream about events of things you would like to draw into your life, what are they?
We often picture ourselves or wish for things we'll do or have someday when we have more time or money, or fewer commitments. List these things.
Now, compare your 3 lists. Is there a theme that you can pick out as to what things, activites, foods, people, etc. make you feel great? Can you incorporate one or two of them into your life now?
So what does this have to do with Holistic Health? Holistic health includes how you feel physically, spiritually and emotionally. If for example you love to dance but run instead because you feel you should, is running the optimal work out for a good foundation in your health? If to go out running you find yourself thinking of all the reasons you don't want to, you find you are not enjoying the experience and you're feeling unhappy doing it, is it really the best for you?
If instead, as soon as you hear music your body begins to move and your mood lightens, and you smile...doesn't dancing fit your holistic wellbeing in a more positive way?
Think about the "shoulds" in your life and how they make you feel. What can you change to shift the feeling for a more holistically healthy you?
During the months of September the trees are a shining example of letting go. The leaves they've grown through Spring and Summer change colours as they begin to die and then drop from the branches. The tree becomes bare, only to begin the cycle again the following Spring. There's no thought to it, there is just no more need of these leaves and so the tree simply lets them go.
We often marvel at nature as her colours turn to the reds, oranges and browns of Fall. The crunch of leaves beneath our shoes or jumping in piles of leaves that have fallen bring joy. I think though we often don't make a connection with the lesson the trees are sharing with us in the art of letting go.
For humans letting go is more difficult. We struggle with the one constant in our lives, change. It's inevitable that at points in our lives we must summon the courage to just let go and allow life to happen to us, because to do otherwise can bring feelings of desperation, guilt, anger, sadness and loss. Emotions can consume us and keep us stuck in the past chapters of our lives, when really the page has already turned...we just haven't acknowledged it yet.
In letting go we have to take some time to mourn the dream that is lost, the picture we have created of what we think our life is about, or should be, the person we thought was meant to be with us forever... For each individual the acknowledgement, acceptance and release of that dream takes time, as does the healing process and taking steps to move forward. But move forward we will, at some point, in some way, by our own definition. As natural as change is in life, so is our need for connection to something new. It's a part of what makes us human.
In the years that I have practiced the healing art of Reiki I have been witness to incredible feats of letting go. It's important to create a safe, non-judgemental space for each client to take whatever time they need, while providing a gentle and loving presence where they can feel secure to laugh, cry, rail against the unfairness, weep as acceptance comes, experience joy as they begin turning the page...and any other messy emotions that raise their heads. It's humbling to be a part of that experience as clients let go and move forward.
Reiki, loving energy that is focused, can begin the process of developing a cushion to the pain, until the client is ready to take it on, face it and release it. Often surrounded by that loving, healing energy, it can be a less painful and easier path. Reiki energy can also help in guiding us towards that new path, one that is the best and most joyful path for our being.
In the art of letting go I'm often reminded of something a friend has said to me, that
"What is meant for me will not go past me"
In acknowledging a trust in the universe and wrapping it in the loving energy of Reiki it is easier to have faith that this is so. That what is part of life's plan for us will show up...if we allow it.
For many, Spring is the time of year to toss out the old and make room for the new! This tradition can help to create fresh energy that benefits both our physical and emotional wellbeing. The art of Feng Shui suggests that clutter in our home can bring clutter and stagnation into our lives. For myself, I find that physical clutter affects my mental calmness and clarity of mind.
For many years I have embraced the beautiful art of placement, Feng Shui, as it has brought so many positive energies into my home space. People will often comment that my home feels welcoming and peaceful. The sense of sanctuary, my space of peace that separates me from the rest of the world, the work, the noise pollution, the chaos... is essential to my wellbeing.
For this part of Spring Clean Yourself I will share what I have used in my physical space when practicing my own type of energy cleaning. Watch for Part 2 where we'll talk about emotional spring cleaning...even more important!
Anything you don't absolutely LOVE!! The most important step. When you look around your home at the objects you have how do they make you feel? Do they offer positive thoughts, memories, associations? or do they bring your energy down? Certainly there are the everyday mundane things we must have for day to day activities, however, if the can opener you're using is difficult to use and not doing it's job, how are you feeling as you open that can of food for you or your pet to ingest?
Take a look around and get rid of those things that don't work that well, that you've kept out of some sense of doing the right thing, gifts that just don't fit (re-gift them to someone who will enjoy them). Once you've removed these things take a breath and notice how the energy in your home feels. Does it feel better?
Once I've gone through all the stuff and cleaned everything then I often smudge my home or mist with a purification blend of essential oils to move out any old energy. Other regular activities can include:
-Opening all the windows for 15 minutes each day to allow stagnant air out and fresh air in
-Find natural scents that you enjoy and fill your space with candles, incense, oil diffusers or whatever works for you
-Before bringing anything new into your home take a moment to check into how it "feels". Do you love it? just like it? meh?
-Create corners of sacred space that bring you joy each time you see the contents. This could be photos, pictures, art work, plants, candles, crystals, etc. Whatever brings your heart joy.
-Smudge regularly as energy can get stuck in spaces. I usually choose just after the New Moon each month when energies are fresh and new
Coming next: Spring Clean Part 2 - Emotional/Mental cleaning
The ever typical peace keeper, despite best efforts not to be, I find myself slipping into that role time and again. Boundaries were never something I learned. Growing up in an alcoholic home they just didn't exist. I earned my gold medal in peacekeeping just to try to maintain some space between myself and the chaos that surrounded me. Unfortunately it's a tough role to break...but I will continue to make it a work in progress.
With a lot of self work and reflection, boundaries have become something more familiar and I've identified a number of them that work for me. The difficult thing about having boundaries is knowing when to set them. For myself, it's usually after I've allowed them to be pushed, a number of times, in my efforts to keep the peace and oh yes, did I mention I'm also working towards becoming a reformed people pleaser as well?
Something I hear from others, but also experience myself is the way in which misunderstanding, hurt and hard feelings come about through the lack of emotion when communicating through technology. When reading a text or other message we tend to interpret what we think the sender is expressing, but we do so through our own filter. That filter through which we see and hear others, is what we've developed through our past experiences in communicating with the world...but, is it true?
In order for it to be true we would have to have had the exact same experiences that the sender has had in their lifetime, and have dealt with those experiences in a similiar way. Yes, there are life experiences for which we can empathize with or share the joy of, but we still do that through our perception.
When communicating face to face, and really listening to another (and I don't mean listening to respond, but really hearing) we have the benefit of facial expression, hand gestures, body language, touch and tone of voice. It creates clarity in communication and the opportunity to ask questions to be sure that you are truly understanding another.
As a hands on therapist I have that opportunity to clearly hear what a client is saying in regards to issues they may be having with their health. I'm able to watch how they are moving, listen to their tone of voice and see their facial expressions.
What I find is that it is more often those personal interactions that are shifted to technology, as we find ourselves busier and busier in our day to day lives, and often relating from a distance. The communication with those that are the most important to us, our friends and family, are left open to the misunderstandings that can be created through our filters. While I see this causing stress in clients lives, I feel it in my own as well.
Many will respond to this dilemma with a shrug and say "well, that is just how the world is now". But is that true? Perhaps it is as simple as picking up the telephone. Granted you only have tone of voice to really listen to, but that at least keeps some of the emotion in communicating. Better yet, if those relationships are important to you then making the time for face to face communication is probably more essential than keeping up with the "busyness" of life. In the long run it is likely that you'll not only experience less stress and negative emotion, but increase the release of the feel good chemicals and endorphins in your body that keep you healthy and vital.
How do you maintain clarity in your communications with others?
How do you make the time in your life for those important, in person conversations?
Whether you love your job or would rather do something else, the night of your last day off before the work week begins can be stressful when thinking about the week ahead, what needs to get done and finding the time.
My days off are Sunday and Monday and each Monday night I have a ritual, it's something I've been doing for years and it ensures that my week ahead will be smoother.
First the practical stuff...
Coffee is my get up and go juice, it's likely an addiction but really, I don't care. I really enjoy that first cup in the morning (I only allow myself 2 a day). I know that if I take the time to sit and sip then my day will go well. So on Sunday night I set up the coffee maker for the morning AND grind enough coffee for the week so that I can selfcare each morning.
I also take a wander through the fridge and cupboards and in my head figure out the meals for the week. I make sure that what is there will meet my nutrition needs and for the longer work days, will be easy to prep.
And then of course, given the work that I do, there is the nail care. Making sure that my nails are trimmed and short so that I don't knick or scratch a client's skin during their sessions this week.
There's also the mundane...checking that the clothes are clean and ready, the linen for clients session is washed and folded...
While meditation is a regular habit, I take some extra time with visualization the night before my work week begins. Lighting scented candles that I love and putting on some quiet back ground music I make myself really comfortable. This has become an invaluable practice in easing into the first day back and being in a space to give my clients the best of myself throughout the week.
What do I visualize? The work week ahead going smoothly and easily where clients receive the best care that I can give them, Sending positive energy ahead to the clinic so that as I walk into my workspace it feels really good from the get go and that will reflect upon my mood when working with clients, visualizing my days filled with clients as I do something that is my absolute passion!
And with those pictures in my mind I breathe deeply and settle into bed just a little earlier than needed with a book and a cup of tea, knowing that the week ahead will be fabulous!
What tips and tricks do you have to set your work week off right?
Do you take the time to visualize?
OK. If you're a dedicated people pleaser then these tips are likely not for you, however, if you have the understanding that your self preservation means you have more energy and presence to give to yourself and others then read on...
Why is the holiday season so energetically draining? It may be the extra foods, lack of sleep and worries over spending (see Surviving the Holidays Part 1) but perhaps its something closer to your soul. Putting yourself "out there" whether entertaining or visiting takes a lot of mental and physical energy...AND...when you are out there in the midst of family, friends or shopping at the mall, already feeling drained, you can be a magnet for the negativity, fear or anger energy that others are emitting. So what can you do to take care of you?
You'll need about 10 minutes, so brew a cup of tea or coffee, find a quiet space, take out a pen and pencil and let's get to this. I'll admit that some of these suggestions are not going to be easy for some of you the first few times you put them into place but see if you can give 1 or 2 a try.
It always seems that I have to get that universal kick in the butt before the concept of self-care crosses my awareness. In complete opposition to what I encourage with my clients. Yes, guilty of doing, more than being.
A recent round with a cold/flu virus knocked me back...again...seems this year I've caught everything that is going around. I probably should have received the message the 2nd time around with a cold but it took this last knock for me to sit down and reassess. My body had been talking pretty loudly before the virus...knowing I needed to do more yoga and meditation, take more time for soaks in the tub and "do nothing"time. But as many of us do, I kept putting it off until I "had the time". Well the universe made sure of that.