“All streams flow to the sea. It is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.” -Lao Tzu
I am an eternal optimist. I wear a t-shirt that states “The glass is ALWAYS full: 1/2 air, 1/2 water.” Even on my darkest days, I know the next dawn will bring renewal.
Even as an optimist, this past year, with the pandemic and all that is associated with it, I am hesitant to say we have reached the other side…of anything. So, being where we are–in this here and now–how are you feeling about the state of your body, your mind, your spirit?
As you reflect on the challenges this past year of pandemic restrictions has presented you, I urge you to consider what you’ve learned about yourself. This is the chance to examine your own behavior and find meaning in it rather than simply judging it. Take some time to acknowledge what your actions over the course of the year might actually indicate about the real you…the authentic you.
One thing I’ve come to more fully understand is how nothing ever ends and nothing stays the same. While this is not a new realization, the pandemic has put a finer point on it. It is a universal Truth, with a capital “T”.
We, as human beings, somehow learned to believe that we might “arrive” one day; that we have a destination. What living has taught me is that there are no stopping points; biology dictates this. We only need to look to the natural world (trees, flowers, birds) to realize this. There are no plateaus, everything is either in the active process of living or the active process of dying. The tulip you see in your yard, for example, has a short, beautiful life above ground. Its life cycle is annual, like clockwork, seven rhythmic phases, much spent underground in the dark, growing and becoming the sprout and the bloom that flowers, and then dies returning to the earth.
But somehow humans feel exempt from our own biology. Perhaps because we, in the first world, have so much comfort. This comfort provides a sense of infallibility, that somehow we are protected from injury, disease or loss. We think we are not subject to the same frailties of the natural world. The trees and flowers cannot move away from anything that might do them harm, so they must truly weather the whims of Mother Nature, but also weather the damage done by humankind. As we know, a tree that cannot bend during a storm breaks–and the same is true for us.
We have lots of tools. We have tools to break things, and tools that help us avoid having to change, adapt, or bend ourselves. This is classic non-acceptance and it can work for a while. But we are reminded daily that while you can fight biology, you can never win.
Your body is the only one you get. How you treat it matters at every age. Toxins are cumulative over your lifetime. Many of our behaviors are real transgressions against our biology. And when illness, injury or loss comes our way, we can mask many symptoms with pharmaceuticals but we can only reverse them with our behaviors: mental, physical, and especially spiritual. We can ignore the signs, we can blunt the pain, we can distract ourselves in unhealthy ways–but the body is keeping the score. Always.
Imagine the energy you could recoup by aligning with your own body…by working with your biology. What if you notice how you really feel when you eat fast food or sugar? What if you paid attention to the feelings that lead you to alcohol, weed or another binge episode of Grey’s Anatomy? Often the “thing” we think is driving our behavior is not actually the “thing”, but we aren’t able to identify the real catalyst.
Do you need more rest? What if you tuned in to what it feels like to go to sleep and rise at the same time daily, blissfully aligning in your own circadian rhythm?
Maybe you want to connect with other people in a meaningful way but you’re actually afraid of being your authentic self so you post something on social media about your latest athletic feat, your thigh gap, your abs, your love or fear of doughnuts or kale–or something else artificial?
What if, instead of some impulsive or compulsive behavior you reached out to someone you care about and asked about them? Or asked them to help you get centered?
What if you did something for someone else? These are authentic and meaningful ways to begin to connect with another person; to open the door, the heart, the way.
Perhaps you require solitude, solace, peace, quiet, nature, nurture, and maybe you also require chaos, loud spaces, being with lots of people. Do you even know? Or do you busy yourself with the next thing so you don’t have to know?
It is the things we do in response to our feelings that become our behaviors, and the behaviors that can become our problems. For example, any habit (good or bad) you have created over the pandemic was a dormant seed. Seeds wait for the perfect conditions before they start to grow (which is the wonder of seed intelligence). But unlike seeds waiting for the perfect conditions, we create the conditions necessary for all things that are in our lives. We must accept that we manifest the reality that we experience.
Many bad habits, whether they involve too much food, too little food, alcohol, drugs, video games, etc., grow from the desire to change the way you feel. Many of the things we do to our bodies are a manifestation of feeling out of control.
What are some ways that you can exert ”control” in your life, in the here and now?
First, acknowledge where you have strayed. Then, acknowledge what you would like to manifest.
Work daily to control the things that you actually can control.
Develop routines that help you feel centered and calm.
Develop incantations that remind you of what you want to manifest:
- “I am healthy and strong.”
- “Food nourishes me and allows me to thrive.”
- “I always eat well.”
- “I am open and receptive to all good.”
- “I cross bridges with ease and joy.”
If you practice meditation daily—either walking or sitting—you can recognize the thoughts you have are actually incantations. Many of us just repeat the same nagging thoughts over and over and in the absence of observation, they can be incessant. Once you observe these thoughts and recognize them, you can simply acknowledge them and allow them to pass by.
Remember that awareness is the beginning of change. If you want to be different then you have to do things differently. Not 180 degrees, but 1 degree at a time, shifting smoothly towards your goals. We can change the way we feel in positive, negative, or neutral ways. Acknowledge the things you do really well in addition to the things you want to improve. You are all of the things you do and for each of us, we can improve on some things. It’s also so important to celebrate your awesomeness. We can only build on a solid foundation.
I am Giulia Isetti, Ph.D. and I want to help you unleash the infinite power of your own biochemistry. I know firsthand that wellness comes from creating balance through fitness and nutrition. When you feel centered you can generate the massive potential required to accomplish all of your goals.