Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
The first few weeks of January are often spent making profound promises to impose changes with something we don’t like. To resolve, settle or find a solution to a problem or unwanted matter about ourselves or our lives.
When we take stock of ourselves, examining the internal and external inventory of our lives, we bring an awareness that may not have been given light without the mindful and conscious act of doing so. However great this is, shouldn’t we be doing this more than once a year?
As holistic beings we have important aspects to ourselves: body, intellect, emotions, spirit, purpose and so on. When one is affected, the others may be too. For instance, when I was a nurse I encountered people that were in chronic physical discomfort. As a result, they developed depression, felt incapacitated intellectually, their spirit dimmed and their purpose unfulfilled. From a different angle, when I was working in psychiatry, I witnessed patients with high intelligence and purpose, lose it all when their mental needs were not in a healthy state. Therefore, it’s important to look at all parts of ourselves when we are looking life improvements.
Come February, the traditional New Year’s resolutions can fizzle and as creatures of habit we go about our business without taking personal inventory while going through the motions of “living” life. But is it really living, if we are not evolving?
“Evolve” is a verb meaning to develop, a gradual progress from a simple to a more complex form. Safe to say then, our own personal evolution is an advancement and progression to perhaps a better version of our holistic being. It comes from the Latin word ēvolvere, 'to unroll.' When something is unrolling or unraveling, it is doing so gradually. Any gradual change, especially when we have an end result in mind, requires patience with each step we take towards our own evolution developing practice of time to reach its final destination.
While resolution looks at the areas that we are blocked or discontented with, evolution will look to where we want to expand and grow, making a mindful partnership of where we were and where we want to go.
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens." (Carl Jung)
When we can envision our evolution by tapping into our heart centre and the feeling affect our goal will bring our life, we tap into a powerful personal evolution tool. Rather than just bringing awareness of what it is we no longer want or like about ourselves or our lives, developing vision of where we want to be, can offer us expansion beyond temporary resolution.
Let’s do a small exercise. You can use pen and paper or imagine in your mind. Sit comfortable and close your eyes or soften your gaze downward. As you notice the external world around you through sounds or other senses, begin to bring your awareness inward to yourself. Notice how you are sitting, make sure you are comfortable and give your attention to your breath. Breathing in and out slowly, like the ebb or flow of an ever-changing ocean tide. Slow, steady and rhythmic breaths. One of the quickest ways to go inward and centre is to allow focus of ourselves and one of the simplest ways to connect the body and mind is through our own life force, our breath.
Once you are feeling centred, take inventory of your body. Don’t judge, don’t conclude, but rather bring an accepting awareness of how your body feels. Start like a photocopy scanner at your toes and work your way up. Make written or mental note of any physical areas that are feeling sensation or feeling out healthy alignment.
For example a common complaint about our bodies is “I want to lose weight.” Each area that we desire change imagine the resolution and then the evolution. So a resolution might be to lose 10 pounds. From this place of acknowledging the desired resolve to this unwanted weight, we begin the gradual ascension to where it is we would rather be. Now imagine the feeling if this were already true. Imagine how your life would be more advanced, more evolved if your resolution were actualized. In this example, imagine the excess weight gone.
Keep focusing the details of your vision, as if already accomplished and feel gratitude. Keep breathing in and out deeply hanging on to the feeling and then imagine just the very first step of your evolution. Remember to evolve, means gradual so as you make a game plan of evolution remember patience. Often any matters requiring resolution took time to get that way, so sprinkle some loving patience on your piece of evolutionary vision.
You can continue your inventory on the other areas of your life. As you scan the mind, notice if it’s been overactive, overburdened or perhaps disengaged or bored. When you take stock of your feelings, notice any emotions that you are feeling in this moment, that you have felt today or even this week.
Again, just bringing acceptance and awareness to what is, as is. From that place, any areas that you are wishing to change, decide your resolution goal and then imagine your evolution as already accomplished. Let the new vision penetrate your every cell and thought as you breathe it in deeply. And when you are ready, take your first gentle and capable step toward your own personal growth.
Personal evolution is a graduation of self-perspective and a shifting view of yourself in the world and in your life. It is finding ways to change, adapt and grow, to improve your holistic being, your relationships and your life. To evolve means deepening self-awareness bringing the ability to create your life in accordance with your unique vision. It is the discovery of the self and what is in your best interest to be happy and healthy, body, mind and heart.
And while the New Year brings us a clean slate and motivation for change and expansion in our lives, I recommend doing this exercise monthly to start, eventually evolving to weekly or daily.
Wishing expansion and evolution of happiness and health for 2016 to all.
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