Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sleep, wellness and cookies ??

I have been thinking about sleep and how the amount and type of sleep we get impacts and affects our level of wellness and what role sleep plays in intuition. To state what is obvious to many of you, most Americans are sleep deprived or do not sleep well. Good, sound sleep that allows for dreaming is one of the key taproots to building and living a healthier life. Good sleep gives us more “space” for our lives. Let me explain.

Of course sleep allows our bodies to physically recover. Dreaming which is apparently on average of two hours a night is also important. While there are many functional theories regarding dreaming, what is perhaps most important for wellness is how dreaming allows our minds to make deeper sense of the events of the day and fit them in a larger realm. I noticed when I was not sleeping enough a few years ago, I did not dream or I had no easily recalled memory of the content of my dreams. And more importantly I did not feel as well. Sleep and dreaming help immensely to balance our lives by integrating our emotions with our physiological processes thus jettisoning the junk and help us to connect to our deeper selves and therefore more fully into that place where the good, the true, and the beautiful infinitely lives. Think of this balancing like what is necessary and what happens when we are carrying a dish of water and we are trying to not spill it. The individual ripples are the emotions, thoughts and behaviors that affect the whole dish which is the infinite world of sleep and dreaming and the energy and movement of this whole amount of water effects the structure and size of the ripples and “absorbs” their information and energy.

What does this have to do with intuition? Well, the ability to notice, listen to and honor our intuitions play a very important role in making sense of our lives and being able to consistently make healthy choices. If we have not slept well, we are more easily agitated and cannot think clearly the next day. We have to spend more of our precious daily allotment of energy managing yesterdays events. We are less likely to see and experience the abundance in the here and now and are more easily swayed to choose unhealthy foods or forgo our exercise for the day. In fact my intuition is telling me I need to get a bit more sleep this morning or those cookies from the kids party yesterday will look like breakfast!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Health and the Abundance “Secret”

In some of my recent web wanderings, I have again been stumbling onto that great American health promise. We all know that with a change in attitude and a pinch of optimism, abundant health and particularly weight loss is just around the corner for you! today!…NOW!!

First what we have here is the classic capitalistic power of marketing and promotion. Second, this adult “rational” pitch is on top of a more powerful trigger to our unrecognized, unconscious childhood feelings of false hope and false power. So the choice to buy the product or service is really for a need from long ago and is therefore destined to disappoint and fail. We fail to act consistently in a healthy manner, as the “five easy steps to a healthy diet/exercise habit/sustained weight loss plan” don’t work for us.

Why do we “fall” for these pitches and promotions? In part we fall because our amygdala, which is that part of our brain, which stores our primal emotional scripts, hijacks our rational neo-cortex. Our neo-cortex is that part of our noggin which already knows the core content and information of the health plan offering. This hijacking happens quickly and depending on our level of tiredness “feels” urgent if not essential. We are into primal fight or flight and we must act.!

This illustrates why most behavior change initiatives fail and shows another view of how the false self operates and fails the True Self’s essential and inherent healthy character.

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

Sunday, March 23, 2008

True Self and the freedom to choose health

The True Self ...what the heck is it and how does this unique essence in each of us impact our physical, mental, and emotional selves. This key question will be the focus of this blog. I thank you for joining me and sense that this relationship between you the reader and your humble servant :) will help each of us and those relations and groups that are part of our daily lives.

As I read somewhere your True Self is like a light. A pilot light to be exact that was turned on when each of us were conceived and incarnated. The challenge of course is that a pilot light is small and needs other fuel to burst into the true inferno that our lives, bodies, emotions, and thinking are designed for. Hopefully this blog will be fuel to burn away the demons, the held bodily pain, the incorrect negative thinking, and transform our little, fallen natures into a more highly functioning, healthy, present being grounded in "what is" and vulnerable to grace.

The freedom to make healthy choices seems at first pass to be rather simple process. We take in information about say the value of exercise, decide to act and we are off and running or cycling (my favorite) or anything else we fancy. And yet most people quickly discover that regular exercise, 3 or 4 times a week is difficult for most. What are the excuses or stumbling blocks that get in the way and stymie our efforts? The false self is the major stumbling block that informs and drives our thinking and our unhealthy choices. The false self wanders around mostly asleep and reactive searching aimlessly for programs and processes for happiness and health that ultimately do not bear any long lasting fruit. And yet that is where we find ourselves much of the time. We try this diet, we start this exercise program, we make this resolution or promise and we get excited or inspired for a short period of time. But the reality is that we are not providing our pilot lights with the appropriate fuel.

On of the most intriguing aspects of the True Self is that it really cannot be harmed like the false self. The True Self contains the appropriate amount of ego to be truly effective and yet connected to our deepest essence that is one with G_d.

When we seem to possess and use our being and natural faculties in a completely autonomous manner, as if our individual ego were the pure source and end of our own acts, then we are in illusion and our acts [health choices], however spontaneous they may seem to be, lack spiritual meaning and authenticity.
Thomas Merton (quoted from page 36 here)