Walking along my beautiful Redhead Beach this morning I was thinking about life, what I do and why I do it, and it all came down to simply wanting to live well. Deep down I think that’s all most people want. To feel healthy and happy, and good about who we are and what we do in this life.
So…what does it mean to live well? What are the actual ingredients for living well? Lots of different things come to mind however sifting through them I noticed that three things seemed to underpin them all…
Connection with Nature
Simply put…we are part of Nature and Nature has certain laws and rhythms. When we eat and live in accordance with those laws and rhythms we feel well and when we don’t…we don’t.
Two simple examples demonstrate the intimate connection between our health and wellbeing and Nature, and as you can see it’s not rocket science.
The foods that grow in a particular season have the qualities that are most beneficial for our health and wellbeing at that time. Foods with cooling qualities, like sweet fruits and leafy greens grow in summer to help us stay cool. Foods with warming qualities, like heavier root vegetables and sour fruits grown in winter help us stay warm. Eating what is in season, as close to it’s natural ‘packaging’ as possible is an important dimension of our connection with Nature.
The production of hormones in our body are also linked to nature’s rhythms. For example, the production of melatonin is triggered by the setting of the sun, which is Nature’s way of telling us when to go to bed. Melatonin not only regulates our natural sleep pattern, it reduces stress, it’s an antioxidant which means it slows down the ageing process, it decreases cholesterol and generally makes you feel better. Staying up late and exposure to light at night, particularly the blue light of TVs and computer screens, inhibits the production of melatonin. Try turning off the screens, light some candles, have a warm drink and go to bed before 10.00pm. You won’t believe how much better you will feel the next day.
One thing I have heard consistently over the years is the importance of ‘good company’. Having people in our lives who encourage and support us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. People who encourage us to learn and grow…not to become perfect…simply a better version of ourselves.
Finding out who we are and what we want to do in this world is not always an easy thing. Invariably there may be people in our life who think they know who we should be and what we should do, and have a vested interest in us following that path. If that is the case make sure you also have a community or network that supports you in being the best version of yourself, and following your own path. It’s a truly wonderful thing.
Sense of self-worth…I’m ok/enough
For me this is the real game changer and the most challenging. Eating well and living in accordance with Nature’s rhythms usually comes fairly easily for me, and I am surrounded by family and friends that support me in who I am and what I do. What comes less easily is believing in myself. Navigating the deeply embedded, and often destructive patterns of behaviour, and disempowering beliefs that have developed on the basic premise that I am ‘not enough’.
Learning to develop a strong sense of enoughness has been the most profound part of my journey to date, and I suspect will continue to be so. I am becoming better at noticing when an ‘old story’ hijacks something that is happening now. I am beginning to see more clearly how my reaction to something is being influenced by what has happened in the past rather than what is happening now.
Reprogramming these beliefs often feels like a slow and laborious process, as the same patterns seem to keep repeating themselves, but every time I catch them in the act and choose to ignore the old story, something shifts and changes. The old story loses some of its power and I feel stronger. I am gradually changing my ‘programming’ to ‘I am OK…I am enough’.
Living Well…a conscious, daily commitment to myself
So, those are my three pillars of health…equally important and interconnected…a bit like the 3 legs of a stool. Take one leg away and my life starts to feel a bit wobbly and topples over. Standing on all three legs I feel stronger and more balanced, however keeping it upright is a conscious, daily commitment to myself.
Stepping outside the limitations of my own beliefs is scary, however I know it is the key to feeling free and safe in this life. I am better equipped to take on this challenge when I feel connected to nature, by eating and living as nature intended. I find it easier to cultivate that connection when I keep ‘good company and have people in my life that share my values and belief.
Right now I am feeling happy and grateful in my life. I feel physically well…healthy and strong; I know what I want, I am surrounded by family and friends that support who I am and my journey, and I am consciously trying to change the ‘programming’ that put limits on what that looks like. Tomorrow I may find myself plunged back into ‘not enoughness’, feel that my sense of connection with nature has slipped away, and because I am feeling down withdraw a bit from my friends. The stool topples over!
That happens occasionally…its called life!
When it does…I stand myself back up by reconnecting with nature thru my daily practices and eating well, reaching out to my friends for support, and reminding myself that I am enough, that my ‘old stories’ do not define me.
Learn more about how to Live Well
Coming back to basics: Yoga & Ayurveda 101.
10.00am – 3.30pm on 15 May 2016
In this Coming back to basics workshop we will explore some simple, daily practices within Yoga and Ayurveda that help us to Live Well. Coralie and I have a whole range of practices that keep us upright and we look forward to sharing them with you.
More information and bookings.
Living Yoga & Ayurveda Course in Ubud, Bali
4-12 June 2016
For those of you who want to delve deeper, this 8 day/night course at the beautiful Narasoma Retreat Centre in Ubud is all about the experience of living well and learning how to do that.
There is so much that can be said but really nothing equals an experience. Our intention is to create a space for you to step out of your life for 8 days and experience how to live a bit differently. The daily program is structured, meal times are regular, vegetarian food is simple and delicious, the body and mind are toned with daily yoga practices and pampered with massages, and a regular routine for sleeping and rising is established. Within that framework we share with you how Yoga & Ayurveda work together to restore positive and resilient good health on all levels; physical, mental and spiritual. The systems are simple, gentle and extraordinarily effective and in just one week we promise you will notice the difference. Your energy will flow more freely and life will feel easier.
More information and bookings
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