–We Are Destined to Thrive!–
When we think about what we eat, what we watch, who we surround ourselves with, we may notice a theme. Do we do things that uplift, nourish and support who we are and what we do or do we seem to draw in heavy, energy draining things that leave us feeling hungry for something more substantial. It may not even be that black and white. There may be some areas of our lives that we feel raise us up to our best and we feel whole. There may be other areas that zap our life force. Think about how it feels when you’re around positive friends versus the ones who bring the negative vibe to the table every time. The way you feel might be very connected with your life choices and actions. It’s not predetermined that you have to respond and live a prescribed or programed way. We can fuel ourselves so that we’re driving our polished and cared-for vehicle/body in the direction that we choose — a direction that supports, sustains and inspires us. Wouldn’t we always want to choose that?
Funny enough, we’re creatures of habit and creatures who stick with what we’ve learned and/or have grown up to trust as “the way” to be for better or for worse. We tend to give credit to our families and to our genetic makeup for our predispositions to things — whether to the foods we crave, the ways we behave or diseases and conditions we feel are inevitable. Dr. Dean Ornish, physician and researcher found that our genetic makeup is changeable. Scientific research has established this! And with discipline, we CAN alter the course of our health and well-being for the better by changing diet and lifestyle. Even cancer cells have been shown to shrink with these types of life changes. With practice and over time, we can actually see the changes that we’re longing for and move towards thriving as we’re meant to do. Dean Ornish video here.
There is a way to make these changes if not for you then for others. There is a way to make it possible that what we choose to eat, watch, listen to, support, vote for, etc. can actually benefit us and help us thrive versus become cornered by despair, disease and distress. We have a choice and that choice can make all the difference. Now sometimes, it may feel like we wish we had better choices to choose from. We are a work in progress and it’s important to honor the progress that’s been made and to choose which one will bring you closer to the type of world you’d like to live in. Progress vs Perfection. For example, if I can’t have an organic, plant-based meal, I choose to eat the vegetable option on the menu even though these foods are likely GMO and sprayed with pesticides. But I choose to eat and at least take care of my body in general by following the type of foods that I like to eat. Choosing this meal casts a vote to the restaurant and food conglomerates at large that I prefer choices that boost cleaner digestion and less reliance on animal life and fossil fuels. I believe one vote makes a difference.
To give up making a choice and to do nothing just creates stagnation and in yoga and Ayurveda, this is referred to as tamasic energy under which change and movement towards being liberated is impossible or next to impossible. With rajas, which creates action and momentum, at least SOME movement happens and it’s from even making a mistake that we move towards the path of equanimity and liberation. But again, do your best to make the better choice even when it appears this one or that one are flawed. Please vote to choose whom you see will make a better choice towards healing and undoing of wrongs versus one that will likely undo human rights and make choices that are based on fear and divisiveness. Yes, I did shift gears a bit from eating food to voting for a president, but how we choose one thing informs how we choose others. Not that eating plant-based equals being a democrat…just a fun way to make a point.
By recognizing the type of fuel that the “body” wants, we know how to treat it correctly just as some vehicles want diesel, some like unleaded while some are electric. When we vote, we are giving our best shout out to the best option we have at the moment. We’re not saying others are wrong per se, but that our sense of right is dominated by one choice. I’ve paid for carbon-offsets and while I don’t agree that’s the best solution to deter global warming, it helps create awareness that people care and I trust that this stepping stone builds the path towards the next solution. Doing nothing while doubting and being negative doesn’t help generate momentum.
We are fueled by the food of our senses — what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch dramatically affects us and we are easily convinced that one is better for us than another. One of the ways the yogis recognized how to bring balance was to halt all introduction of stimulation with the practice of pratyahara — conscious withdrawl of the senses. We can practice fasting or create a vow of silence. We can practice being celibate or remove ourselves from our urban environments and be in nature. This may sound too radical for some and it’s only effective to go where you can manage. Otherwise, we’ll say forget all of it when one step might be the one that helps take the next right step. In hatha yoga, we practice savasana, the corpse pose which directs energy inward and disengages the mind from the material realm in order to dive into the subtle layers within the body/mind. This is a practice of letting go and a powerful act of surrendering in order to refresh power.
Anything that gives us a break from the usual flow of experiences can bring benefit simply with this practice of abstinence. We recognize there is space before the moment of choice and the thing we’re about to choose. In 12-step recovery, abstinence effectively helps build a new relationship with the self in order to recognize what the true need is minus the addiction. With this distance, this abstinence, there is availability to either end or rebuild a right relationship (in the case of food or sex addiction for example) with the thing that had become a drug or compulsive behavior. By recognizing that our best thinking got us into the wreckage of addiction and acknowledging there is a power greater than ourselves, we can re-establish our life with better habits and newly found serenity without dragging regret for the past.
We can design and redesign the course of our life when we’re not lying down in the mud of our familial fate or the muck of our own intentional choices gone awry. We have the ability to make our best choice in this moment, which will very likely lead us to our next best landing of choices. And if at any point we feel dumbfounded or frustrated, then at least keep providing yourself with the fuel that will uplift and inspire you to make the next right choice. Please take action and vote…your vote will make a difference inside and out.