This rather lengthy post is an opportunity for me to re-introduce myself to those of you who are newer to my practice. It summarizes my evolution over the past few years and reminds us that we are all constantly evolving and growing. I hope you’re up for the challenge at the end!
It wasn’t a very smart combination. A birthday weekend away in the mountains for my 13-year-old daughter and 5 of her friends and my commitment to dive into my new book on mindful meditation and daily consciousness (Wherever You Go There You Are”, by Jon Kabat-Zinn). Two great concepts on their own, but when combined, well, let’s just say it may not have been as well thought out as I had hoped. While they were engrossed in their phones and adventuring in the forest with the sole intent of capturing cute photos of themselves to share, post and like, I was snuggled warm under a blanket on the deck overlooking the green forest, reading and rereading passages about “capturing your moments”, “waking up” and “doing non-doing”. Needless to say, there was time without phones on day 2.
Why am I, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, sharing about meditating? For those of you new to my role as an NTP, it encompasses not only the foundation of eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, but also of examining your life in its entirety and finding what makes you uniquely happy and healthy. In this fast-paced, instant gratification, keeping up with the Joneses life we are living in, it is likely that your health-physical, mental and emotional-is being affected by not only the food you eat but your thoughts and the habits you have created for yourself. Unconsciously. Did you know that we spend the majority of our day in an unconscious state? Some of us up to 95% of our day! This means we are living, reacting and behaving based on automatic responses we have created for ourselves. Some of these responses developed in childhood and may even be a survival response while others are simply the development of habits. Think of driving, brushing your teeth and reacting to your children in certain situations. We do much of this mindlessly, or without thought.
Since my initial evolution of transitioning from consuming mostly processed “food-like substances” to plates full of nutrient-dense whole, real food to feel better, I have come to the realization that my overall health is connected to more than just what’s on my plate. While my digestive issues cleared up, my energy improved, I was sleeping better, my blood sugar was stable, my PMS symptoms had lessened-I still wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. To find optimal health, both at a cellular level and an emotional level, I needed to look at all areas of my life. Over the past year and a half I been focusing my energy on examining my unconscious and conscious behaviors, exploring my past to discover why I do the things I do, say what I say, feel what I feel. This second phase of my evolution has included self-reflection, therapy, more acupuncture, sound healing, journaling and now meditating. I am listening to healing music, reading books and am following The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram. I am not alone in this journey, many around the world are awakening to the notion of “self-healing”. I am enjoying this work and am enjoying the many changes I have made, from how I parent to how I cherish alone time and value time in nature even more than before.
I am sharing all of this with you because we are all on a journey and we all evolve as we go. I now envision my life as a road made up of many pavers. Each new day a new paver goes down. The road is not yet complete and the pavers have not been placed ahead of me. It is created as I go, each moment I live leading to the creation of the next moment. I have been grappling with meditation for about a year now, a little nervous to get started in case I didn’t really know how or in case I couldn’t do it “right”. Wherever You Go There You Are has explained meditation in such a simple way that I am ready to take it on.
“Meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It’s about feeling the way you feel. Meditation is about letting the mind be as it is and knowing something about how it is in the moment. It’s not about getting somewhere else, but about allowing yourself to be where you already are.”
According to healthline.com, the science-based benefits of meditation include:
- Reduces stress
- Controls anxiety
- Promotes emotional health
- Enhances self-awareness
- Lengthens attention span
- May reduce age-related memory loss
- Can generate kindness
- May help fight addictions
- Improves sleep
- Helps control pain
- Can decrease blood pressure
Sounds pretty amazing, am I right? So I propose a question, a challenge of sorts, to you.
How conscious are you in your day?
I’m not asking you to start meditating per se, just think about where you are with this right now and where you might want to go. Would you be able to commit to one conscious moment each day? Could it be the first moments of a meal? This would also allow your nervous system to get into the parasympathetic state, or “rest and digest”, which is imperative for proper digestive function. Take time to become aware of your body and how you are feeling. Focus on your breath. Then notice your food with all your senses. Allow yourself to be where you are and feel the way you feel.
Can you commit to a mindful, conscious moment every day this week?
Welcome to Evolve Nutrition+Wellness, where we are always evolving.
Please share with me in the comments! Do you meditate or practice mindfulness throughout your day? If not, what is holding you back? If you do, have you noticed any changes in your health, your emotions, your responses to those in your life? I’d love to hear!