We are starting to see all the predictable New Year resolution stories and ads – detox programs, diet and exercise ‘8 weeks to (insert considerable weight loss …)’ programs – gosh, I’ve even been invited to a one month planking challenge*. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with making a resolution to look after ourselves better, although we all know that many fail.
There’s also gratitude practice**. I suspect this is a really good practice to help us see things differently, especially if we are not feeling fully satisfied with life right now.
But I am going to suggest something different. I’m going to suggest listening to your inner wisdom. We actually know what is and isn’t good for our body and for our digestion. (Keep a food diary if you are not sure).
We know our bodies want to move.
And don’t forget rest, which is important too. There are times when rest is more important than moving, so that the body is allowed to heal.
This is what my time on the yoga mat and meditation cushion teaches me. Yes I enjoy the physical benefits from the practice. But my practice also reminds me that I am whole and complete and enough. Right here and now. I feel connected, peaceful, grounded and free. My natural state of joy and ease. My inner wisdom shines forth.
We have forgotten how to trust ourselves, and instead turn ourselves over to supposed experts who have packaged up the latest diet or detox box. Sit. Try listening to your inner wisdom. Then you will be much more likely to eat what truly nourishes you.
(By the way, I am not saying that we ignore the advice of experts or don’t consult medical opinion when sensible to do so.)
For myself, I have learnt that I am tempted to eat the wrong things when stressed, worried or even procrastinating. I can see myself reaching for the Cadbury dairy milk chocolate when feeling overwhelmed with things to do or feeling annoyed with others. I can now see the cues (and I still sometimes ignore them, but can at least see what I am doing) and know I will feel better if I listen and act on what my inner wisdom says.
I do love Cadbury chocolate, by the way.
I have also learnt that eating some foods aggravates my digestion and bloats me up, so I try to avoid those things. Do you know what works best for you?
You may recognize this practice of mindfulness. It is not something that has been dreamed up recently, it is ancient; it has stood the test of time. (And deservedly enjoying a surge of popularity as people look for meaning in their lives.) If we are mindful of what our body needs we don’t put junk in. If we are mindful of our mental state we can acknowledge it and see it for what it is and not be drawn into behavior we may later regret.
So how to tap into your own inner wisdom? Close your eyes. Let your thoughts dissipate a little, step back from them. Or do some yoga practice. Or go for a run. Or maybe knit. Remember those moments when all feels OK with the world and when you feel connected? Don’t think that you don’t have wisdom. You do.
Swami Shankarananda says, ‘When the mind is still, the self shines forth’.
I do wish you all a wonderful year ahead, one in which you feel connected and whole and good enough. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The practice of doing what we call ‘the plank’ and building up to a 5 minute hold over a month. Yes I accepted the challenge! (If you are interested I can add you to the group, but let me know ASAP as it started January 1)
You can write down something that you are grateful for every day and put it in a jar. Then read the contents of the jar when you want a lift, or just for fun. So much to be grateful for!
· A cuddle.
· A roof over our heads.
· Enough food to eat.
· The smell of rain
· A comfy bed.
· Yoga practice