A key attribute in the process of making change and simply living in the present moment is called “mindfulness.” This concept is not cultivated nearly enough in modern day society, so it is no wonder why people describe feelings of having no drive, direction, or focus when it comes to trying to walk a healthy path or coping with difficult life events that inevitably happen.
It is important to focus on the things that we can control, rather than the things which we cannot control. This is the first part of the change equation. The second part involves action in a few different steps: regularly self observe to become more self aware, gradually remove unhealthy habits, replace those habits with positive ones, and witness blossoming growth in our life.
First, please join me in what I consider to be a “mindful” mental exercise which happens to involve our sacred vessel – the body. I invite you to stand tall with a long spine, feet hip width apart, and the hips level. Gaze gently ahead or close your eyes.
Ground your feet and “mindfully” connect with the earth at the little toe, the big toe and the heel. Visualize the triangle that is formed by these three points on the bottom of your feet. Allow your arms to hang loosely at your sides and nestle your shoulders downward, squarely, and comfortably into their natural place.
Let your knees be free of tension in the joint, yet supportive in your firm stance. Relax your face and level your chin with the ground. Imagine the straight line that extends from the centre of the crown of the head, down the back of the head, to the base of the skull, to the small bones of the back of the neck, down the spine to the tailbone, through the centre of the pelvis and directly into the ground at the centre point between the feet.
You are rooted to Mother Earth and blessed to receive her unending love and empowerment.
This strength has been with us since time immemorial and has always served great spiritual purpose. Somehow we must continue to acknowledge and regenerate this universal connection regularly so that we may be continually refreshed, balanced and empowered. We each have an inner knowing that guides us to do what is “right” for our being and “serves” our existence. During life, this inner knowing can become clouded by experiences and related emotions, which can sometimes make it difficult to ‘listen’, self direct and self correct.
You may ask, “What does this have to do with the concept of creating healthy change and enhancing our health and wellness, and how does it relate to diseases like diabetes?”
I will tell you. People often speak of difficulties with getting on the path to eating healthy, exercising, and balancing stress. I often hear about people feeling as though they have no motivation or willpower. This is not uncommon. In fact, these are the regular reasons why many of us often throw their hands in the air in frustration and say, “What’s the use?” or “I’ll never lose all this weight!” or “I just can’t do it!” among numerous other self defeating statements.
There is a big and very important common denominator amongst all of these (primarily mental) motivation barriers, and it is a sense of “disempowerment.” We have forgotten that there is always a degree of control that we have over our health and wellness. Life is a never ending journey of learning, but far too often we get caught up in learning about the external world and all that it brings. We forget about investing appropriate time and energy into ourselves.
I am sure that we have all seen and heard about numerous ways to eat healthier, get more active, reduce stress, and achieve a balanced lifestyle. We generally know what we want to do to better ourselves and have a greater quality of life. But we often ask, “How?”
Direction comes from the ability to de-clutter the mind and slow the outside world down so that our inner world may fall into place. It is our inside world that shapes our outcomes. This is where it all begins.
So set some time aside to sit alone and peacefully reflect on what it is you enjoy about yourself and your life, such as the love and companionship of friends or family, the sunrise and the sunset, a pet, a hobby; absolutely anything that brings a warm, genuine smile to your face.
Now, make a realistic list of healthy changes you want to make in order to bring about a good shift in your life. Write them down and use only positive words. Self talk is a form of energy that we emit out into the universe, and if it is positive, we will attract more of it. Negative thoughts, feelings and actions will only bring us the opposite of what we need.
After you’ve spent some time actively reflecting, you can set your intent by writing out some very specific goals and simple ways to attain them. Take your time and put careful thought into this.
Lastly, “root” your intentions (goals) by sitting in stillness and affirming them in your mind with positive phrases related to realizing them. Some examples of phrases are: “I am motivated,” “I am powerful”, “I am capable”, or “I know what I need to do”.
Sit tall, cross legged on the floor or sit in a chair, with your eyes closed and chin slightly tucked. Breathe smoothly and naturally while mentally affirming one of these phrases, or a phrase of your choice. This is a form of meditation in which you are able to access your ‘unused’ potential, or as one great article I recently read termed it, “the unused rooms of your mind”. Meditate for your desired length of time, perhaps 5, 10, or 20 minutes. Begin to put your plan into action.
Enjoy the journey of self growth. We are like beautiful flowers that bloom when given all the right conditions. Let your light shine ever bright.
Crystal Bomberry is a Diabetes Prevention Coordinator and Registered Yoga Teacher who works with SOADI. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.