Over the next few months I want to really focus on how to cultivate a way of living that best connects you with your own individual needs. I’ll do this through breaking up my posts and centering them around different ways of: exercising and moving, eating and making food choices, communicating and choosing the company you keep, and finding mental peace and quiet. The more you are in tune with your real self, the better you will be able to hear your inner-voice, which ultimately has all the answers we need to live a fulfilled life. It might sound clichéd, but the answers are all inside if we want to listen!
Unfortunately throughout life we learn many ways to block our inner knowing in order to be accepted. If our true expressions don’t fit the norm we learn to stifle or rebel against them. We learn to navigate life by “controlling” our emotions through restriction or over-indulging. When you’re feeling stressed, angry or sad do you sit and allow yourself to feel this so you’re able to listen to what you’re upset about and thus allow it to pass? Or, do you choose to shove it away or numb it with a piece of chocolate cake, a glass of wine, by yelling at your spouse, watching TV, over-exercising, surfing the net, going shopping or going to bed?
Because so many of us are numb to ourselves and our true desires it can be difficult to instantly tune in. Like anything we need to learn to cultivate awareness and this can be done by paying attention to how we move and what exercise choices we make; how we eat and what food choices we make; how we talk to ourselves and to others; what kind of people we attract and relationships we have; how we divide our time and if we choose to dedicate time to wind down and relax or not.
Despite what we are taught, the only way to live a truly fulfilling and happy life is by being ourselves, whatever that may be. Thankfully there are small shifts going on around the world that I hope will continue to evolve and help people realize this – school curriculums are incorporating a broader range of subjects that cater to varied behaviours and ways of learning; the practise of mindfulness and meditation is exploding; mental illness is becoming less stigmatised; younger generations are being encouraged to share their feelings; more minority groups are finding their voices.
In my next post I will talk about different movement techniques you can practise to help you know what kind of exercise best suits you and when. My belief is that movement or exercise must be used as a means for nourishing, healing and strengthening ourselves. It must not be yet another means through which we punish ourselves. Movement is life-giving so I believe everyone must move – I do not promote constant rest (unless you are severely unwell) nor do I believe in pushing our bodies beyond our limits… both of which are fear-based approaches. More on this next time.
“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”
– Eckhart Tolle