Friday, January 10, 2014

Being a Stomper

I recently rented and watched with my seven year old, the animated movie Epic.  The main storyline is of this eccentric biologist who lives in the woods and is searching for evidence of little people and their world that he just knows exist in nature.  When contact is made with this world through the accidental entering into their world by the scientist's daughter, we find out that that humans are called Stompers.  While enjoying the movie with my daughter well enough, and appreciating the beautiful animation, I was slightly annoyed at the subtle simplistic theme, "humans are the bad aspect of the natural world meme"  -- that was my first impression.

Also, I recently spent twenty-four hours on a silent  nature retreat.  The natural area I wandered through was home to a small herd of diverse "Zen cows".  Meaning the owners of the property keep the herd as a tax break for the land, but do not manage the cows in any commercial way--they are simply there to enjoy there existence, eat the grass and hopefully die at a ripe old cow age from natural causes.  Because I had no particular intention or goal, the relative silence and details of all the life around me became much easier to experience.  I found I was more and more comfortable as the hours flowed by and I liked the flow and felt more balanced and more integrated. And yet paradoxically I felt more in my body and the moment to moment experience of the passing moments  and yet less identified with the external, typically distracted, slightly anxious me.  And I was less of  a stomper and more of  wide awake, respectful visitor on the is piece of nature.  I noticed small insects with a quiet amazement  and gentle appreciation of how the creepy critters made there way on this land and that we were both participating in the univocity of being.  Everything does truly belong!  And that I am participating with everything and that these subtle little creepy crawlies are in some way teaching me!

So the wandering experience was truly Epic --like the movie.  I was travelling and searching for nothing in particular, and yet more aware of participating deeply in my environment.  And because I did not spend a lot of time thinking about and categorizing my experience,  my ego took a rest and perhaps even my thinking addiction lost some of its hold.  This is great for my wellness and stress, as my body relaxed.  More days like this feeding the soul and preparing  me for more letting go and deeper participation are needed by many --perhaps most!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Something Beautiful

"How are you doing?" A business acquaintance ask on a call. "Beautiful", I
respond . A few days later, finishing a transaction with a clerk, my
purchase in hand and my parting word, there it is again, -- beautiful!
What is going on?

While my experience recently of being graced by this word has very little
to do with anything that I have willfully or intentionally created, I am
nevertheless very grateful. It feels good and by the responses and
reactions it has been a bit of a light for others also. This got me
thinking about the classic Christian virtues of the good, the true, and,
yes, the beautiful! What does beauty have to do with health and wellness?
In these interactions, this flow of spirits gives the example of hope to
each other and therefore affect each others wellness journey. How might
this be? Apparently the health choices, attitudes, moods, and behavior of
the five people one is closest to affect motivation and current and future
state of health and well being more than just about anything!

Give beauty back, as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote. This internal
movement flows from us with greater ease when we are in the presence of the
beautiful. Maybe more accurately it happens when we allow what is
to wash through us and over us..  And maybe to a certain degree this process is always
happening deep in us and looking for ways to a least seep or peak out,
if not burst out!  We take in beauty in art and in the design of a well
done building which invites this opening of our soul to fill those places
that are so regularly marinating in the lie of anxiety and fear.

And when the anxiety gives way, we notice more easily the desire for health
and our conscious willingness is strengthened and positive behaviors happen.
These behaviors then become habits as the brain in its miraculous neuroplasisity
 rewires and mylinates( perhaps with greater power if we are consuming an
adequate amount of right kind of fats).   And we dance a bit more deeply into the mystery and perhaps in the words
of Meister Eckhart, " Our soul is as young as the day we were born...even

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Random wellness thoughts from the 2013 Ancesteral Health Symposium

Arriving and wanting to find the new cleverness, the next BIG thing, but instead sensing the essential, the whole --and what a fun discovery! As was noted at last year’s symposium, the attendees were a beautiful bunch of curious, fun folks. And the spirit palpable, flowing and inviting and perhaps most were unaware, and yet it is and was always breaking through. The wonderful farming couple from Floyd, Va., the mother filled with the joy of her new baby. I loved their samples and kept finding an excuse to be near them. Mercy and grace shining in their joyful presence and en-thu-si-asm, meaning with God, I am told. Oh the wonder and depth of it all! All wanting and desiring more and the spirit implanting this and nurturing these desires of the heart for more.

Smart phones keeping us connected to our lives back home, and yet drawing us away from the vulnerability of silence that always births in the meeting of a new, separate soul. Not knowing or perhaps unwilling to allow the spirit to move; unable to move into the intimate challenge of really meeting each other.

Primates mentioned as spending much of their time grooming each other in the talk describing the concerns about social media. What is our equivalent of this behavior? Just hanging out and playing and loving and enjoying? Yes, the joy of being is enough and yet feeling the tinge of loss at not connecting deeper, always wanting to go deeper always wanting more as the good desire of the spirit keeping us feeling the nips of the hound of heaven. There is always more in to the beauty and the goodness and the truth.

The playing/movement coaching from my man from London was wonderful and freeing --the best part of the symposium. Overwhelmed by the sensing of the positive hearts dancing with the Trinity expanding and touching as we do the crab walk and these “pilgrim strangers" holding me up and encouraging me to hold my legs off the ground in a spontaneous, simple human connecting moment. The movement of my heart, echoing the behavior of my child bride, in the tipping of the soul who would be cleaning my room; pushed ever closer to you in spite of my innate frugalness. Thank you!

And the strength and enthusiasm of the farmer and his wife with their forty plus head of water buffalo living the good life and battling the nonsense and leviathan of our Federal government with the good libertarian fight. It is all good and belongs in our stumbling beautiful movement deeper into the wonderful dance of wellness. The caller of the dance calling the steps, as we move to get a little closer to thee.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bathing in Silence

The world is almost never truly silent, except perhaps in a vacuum chamber somewhere. And yet it is in sitting in and with silence that we begin to really hear what is most appropriate for our day as far as health behavior is concerned. A period of silence, prayer (listening to God), or meditation is necessary as our next breath if we are to live out our true potential. If in this idea you notice resistance, ask yourself simply how is it working with just you in charge?

The only "Dancing with the Stars" worthy of attention, is between your free will "star" and the supernova of gratuitous grace. Sometimes grace is clearly leading the dance. Well really always, but we are given the harmless illusion that we are leading sometime just so we come back next week. But really it is an ever present dance in which our will or choice can be engaged by listening through the silence to the next announcement of the still small voice. It may just be a whisper, but sometimes in may be a scream, especially if you have not been listening to the whispers! And the source powering the voice and composing the content of the message is being crafted just for you in a particular moment. This moment -- pregnant with your level of known willingness and your heart and head positioned just right to hear and receive--is a distilled point of the infinite possibilities just for you, NOW! Rather amazing and humbling.

So what should your eating or exercise choices consist of today? Well, take a few moments to recognize and find "the gratefuls" in what already has or is producing the fruitful results. Let this reality and the context of the success bath you with strength and positive energy. Then,refreshed and energized by your first bath, enter perhaps what is the larger bath of silence, and turn your attention to the vastness and depth. Watch for the bubbling whispers that may just pop into a scream, offering the clarity of the more integrated, customized platter of healthy choices Wow, I can't wait for my baths!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Activity as personal preference

A solo traveler on a cross country flight was settling in for some quiet work, when on came a group of high school students flying to Washington, D.C. for a school trip. The conversations began, "I really like Justin Beiber" said one. "I really like Miley Cyrus" said the other. "I don't like vampire books." "I really like the Professor Layton series." And on and on it went for most of the four hour trip - a constant cacophony of preferences or in Facebook lingo "likes."

While this behavior is not unexpected and perhaps a necessary place to start for people, especially young people getting to know one another, this refining and enthusiastically celebrating "preferences" is now a dominant social meme. This surface dominance and obsession has replaced deeper connection to visceral, wholehearted activity and true engagement in meaningful projects and a letting go into the fullness of Life! A recent quote from a fellow blogger says it simply this way, "The main form of activity in modern life is the expression of personal preference."

It seems with technology offering a richer and richer assortment of instantaneous choices and views, we fill our time operating in our comfort zone of likes and dislikes. This comfort zone anesthetizes something important and deeper inside. Life is lived more from the surface ego where, "it is mostly about me" instead of the more challenging and richer perspective of "being about life!"

Of course the likes and dislikes are important to clarify the expression of our soulful self and strip away the dead end layers of the False Self. The challenge and opportunity is to listen to the still, small voice that is woefully out gunned compared with the ease and excitement of a flick of the finger on your iPhone, a click of your computer mouse, or navigating between the hundreds of channels on the new plasma screen.

What does this have to do with wellness and healthy behavior?--plenty! Googling healthy eating plans has over 8 million results. Weight loss plans results in over 2 million results with probably a lot of overlap. You get the picture. We all knows this as it is the dominant "air we breath" that fills up our attention and captures most of our presence. How to decide? Down time, no screen time days, going off the grid for a while, a resting/retreating on the seventh day. All of these resting/pausing behaviors allowing the still small voice to muscle its way in to our consciousness. The muscled, grace filled consciousness can now engage in the heavy lifting of real critical thinking and integrated presence guiding and clearing the path and revealing the way to the freedom and joy of going where we really need to go.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yielding to "What is"

There is this tree in my yard that keeps sprouting despite the relentless onslaught of the worst drought in thirty years. Oh and by the way, the main portion of this tree met the business end of a chainsaw a year and a half ago and the remaining stump and the annoying sprouts from last year have systematically and carefully poisoned this Spring. And yet there those sprouts of life are! Like mushrooms after much rain (I am dreaming here)they are all over the yard. A nuisance yes, and yet a clear example of the tenacity of plant life to fulfill its biological imperative.

Which brings me to this small dog I find myself living with. Her genetic, biological imperative is to be close to me, crawling in my lap attempting to lick my face. Her essence and breeding compel her. It does not matter what my will is or even if or how much she is trained (not much)not to jump into my lap. Here she is! So yielding to What is is the peaceful, life affirming choice.

Yielding to what is is not to be confused with passive, resigned acceptance of a life situation or neglect of a wellness process that needs attention. Far from it and perhaps more the opposite. Yielding to what is is more about paying attention to the transitions from one activity to the next and being open and aware to where your internal compass is pointing and what the next moment will require of you.

The tenacity of our "beingness" and the essential roots of beingness are constantly with us on our wellness journeys. Take for example the mundane, yet ever present choice of food that is so vital to wellness. Forget for a minute the reflective, critical thinking and trial and error around the solidification of "your food worldview." So lets assume you are clear about what is best for you as you prepare to dig into your meal. One still needs to make the choice and actually gather the food into your mouth. How to yield to this next moment in an integral, conscious, and yet perhaps even playful way? Notice the tenacity for wholeness and life pulsing through your body and soul. Feather out the edges of your solo intention into the dissolved edge of willingness and yield to the experience of biting into the food!

Likely you will more deeply enjoy the experience more, a great benefit in itself, and this will contribute to you body appropriately utilizing the nutrients and allow more powerfully the various hormonal systems and chemical catalyst to work their mysterious magic. All of this from yielding and being hospitable to the delicious yielding reality of the next fresh moment. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Past Reality Integration --the power and peril of deep feeling

For many, their current life situation and level of wellness is strongly shaped by their past unconscious reality. This of course is psychodynamic psychology 101. The challenge has been, and is how to make this old, generally traumatic material, conscious,-- how to integrate it and heal.

Now, wellness behavior change is based on awareness and knowledge of the healthiest choices. Unfortunately, information is not enough and by itself almost never leads to real, lasting transformation. Enter past reality integration. You might be saying to yourself that this does not apply to me or I have done therapy and counseling. Great!, if you think you have worked through all your issues and integrated all your old stuff, or at least enough so that your life and relationships are functional and generally positive, then find a wellness coach who can help you build on what is working in your life and help you discover the ways and means to reach your wellness goals.

If on the other other hand , an honest look reveals that your wellness behavior patterns are best described by the rhetorical recovery question, "What is the definition of insanity?"--doing the same (or similar) thing over and over and expecting (or hoping) for a different result! Well, then you might be interested.

Try this. For one week, notice and write down when you experience a strong feeling or reaction to some event or person. This is usually and easily noticed in relationships with significant others or people in authority (i.e. your boss) Try/pray to be very open, humble, honest, and courageous to name your experience. Keep your descriptions simple, like scared, angry, sad, etc. Then write down what you did, either internally or externally in response to the event/person. Once you have noticed for a while, try feeling the feeling underneath the feeling-- the real old reality. Warning: this can be very difficult and seemingly scary. I say seemingly because if the level of emotion is very strong, the present moment situation is likely symbolic for you and triggering/reminding you of an old painful reality that you did not process when you were little. Remind yourself with positive self talk like: "I am an adult, and I am safe and these feelings will pass," or have a friend sit with you to ground you in your present situation.

Remember the feelings are not really about the current situation. Once you have done this for a while you will start to see the world as brighter, clearer and a place for your un-defended True Self to joyously participate! And a competent therapist can obviously be very helpful. If you are intrigued by what I have been describing, but really don't understand my meager explanations, try purusing Dr. Ingeborg Bosch's site and work Past Reality Integration. She is the expert and I have found her work to be brilliant and personally very helpful.

We are not caught in the iron grip of the past.
We are caught in the iron grip of the illusion that we need to
protect ourselves against what happened in the past.

Ingeborg Bosch
Peace, All Good and Happy Spring!