Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet?
Stop making resolutions and commit instead to flow.
This is the year of listening to your body, for your body is part of Mother Nature and Her wisdom. The human body is an amazing machine, capable of incredible self-care, which is why it is always communicating to us exactly what it needs to thrive. But are we listening?
When we listen to the body, we listen to an intuitive and instinctual wisdom about energetic patterns that keep the body in harmony with the challenges we experience every day. It is important then to realize that the body has changing needs, and to commit to a rigid pattern in life, such as a diet or exercise routine, does not serve the body. Every choice we make must adhere to our body’s biological and energetic needs in that moment. So we may ask ourselves - am I energetic? do I feel rigid? do I feel empowered by the choices that I make TODAY, or in this meal, or in this routine.
Pushing ourselves into any endeavor in which we feel resistance in the body is harmful.
We know how to take care of ourselves based on certain models of performance learned years ago: How to bend at the knees when lifting something heavy; how to chew our food appropriately to aid in digestion; how to protect our muscles from strain and our lungs from fatigue. But do we know when it is appropriate to commit to listening to our body’s needs? Do you keep working when you are sick, or do you allow yourself to slow down and rest? Do you play in spite of an injury, or do you allow yourself time to heal?
Commitment to a pattern of behavior is only as good as the flexibility of the pattern. How do you define healthy eating? How do you define physical wellbeing and vitality? Patterns in nature are never linear. As a physical body that is part of nature, you must design your own unique patterns of behavior that are in harmony with nature. Nature is therefore progressive in its movement, always evolving in an effortless flow in sync with the energies around it.
Let’s talk about diets and exercise, as those topics tend to be at the forefront of people’s minds at the start of the new year. What you eat and how you move your body should be intuitive. The foods that you put in your body should not be paleo, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, plant-based, low-carb, or “absolutely everything as long as it’s in moderation.” You may think you want a yoga butt or a P90x body or runner’s legs or a body that moves like Beyonce by working out only 10 minutes a day. But when was the last time you asked your BODY what it wanted instead of your friends, Dr. Oz, the Amazon booklist or your Facebook community? Well ask it again, because that was last week or last month or last year. Look outside - notice the animals and their varying seasonal habits. As creatures of nature, they instinctually know what their bodies need and how to survive with or without it. And they change, they move, they flow - because patterns in nature are never linear.
What is a healthy diet and exercise routine?
Ask your body.
Every moment of every day we both lose and re-grow cells in our body. That’s an incredible concept, considering the potential we have to change. Not only can we change our bodies but our minds as well. Our minds, or our perceptions, are what allow us to establish new patterns of behavior based on what we know is true today, not yesterday. And today your mind and body has a new opinion, a new desire, a new biological need that will allow it to thrive. What do you want for your body today? Vitality! So ask your body - what will bring it vitality? Rest? Movement? Intensity? Flexibility? Nurturing? Risk? Change?
To be in harmony with your body is to create a lifestyle that allows for an abundance of joy in every decision you make. Truly. To push your body into pain or discomfort, and then tell yourself that decision made you feel good about the control or self-discipline you exercised is a lie. Self-discipline that aligns us with what our body needs is a blessing. Self-discipline that pushes us into a state of resistance against what our body truly needs on a day-to-day basis is toxic. Be aware of what simply feels good - in your heart, in your mind, and in your soul. And be wary of the fears that we have that we are not in control of the uncontrollable.
If you would like to take control of your mind, body and spirit, choose time each day to reflect upon your natural energy levels: When did you experience joy, peace, harmony and creativity; and when did you find yourself in a state of unrest.
My favorite ways to keep in harmony with my body’s energetic needs are yoga, meditation, body-weight strength training, light walks and swimming. The more flexibility you allow within a practice, the more you are able to commit to the practice itself, allowing for flexibility in intensity and duration.
Here’s to a simple, creative, abundantly playful New Year! Be Authentic. Be Graceful. Be a person of great capacity for living in Spirit.