Six Pillars are needed for Inner Wellbeing and Resilience.  

Where even one aspect is weak or neglected, we lose the ability to stay stable and strong.

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"Your task is not to seek love, but to seek out and remove the defences you have put in between yourself and love."  Rumi

I would say that love is the most natural of human conditions. We are told that a newborn baby can die within a few months or even by six weeks due to an absence of love.  So many of our thoughts and fears can be connected to our ability to find or to give love.  How many of our words and actions are based on what other people will think of us, where approval and acceptance are taken as social forms of love?

It is no surprise that emotional wellbeing and happiness depend so much on our ability to honestly express ourselves and to have our feelings validated.  Like the newborn baby who is picked up, held, and hugged as a response to his cries. Feelings and Friendship are closely connected, but it can be that due to a reluctance to open up to, or to acknowledge our feelings even to ourselves, we start to create a lonely, dry, and loveless life.

It isn't that there is a shortage of love in life. It's just a secret to many of us that one of the most reliable, accessible and constant sources of love is actually within ourselves. 

However. for most of us, there is no magic bulldozer that will remove overnight all the barriers we have put in between ourselves and love.  It is more of a systematic dismantling based on the recognition of one important principle: my thoughts and my emotional state are entirely my choice. In other words, the reality I live with has been created for myself.  Mindset, in other words.  We can argue that we didn't choose to lose our job, live in a warzone, etc.  That is true.  But I always have the freedom to choose my attitude in any situation, which automatically shapes my feelings, my sense of wellbeing, and has a huge influence over my life. (look up Viktor E Frankl quotes - author of Man's Search for Meaning) 

In fact, Feelings reveal another 'F' word that works alongside, and that is Freedom

If any of these thoughts here on in the blogs make you feel you want to respond or to ask a question, please do get in touch.

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“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” John Donne's Devotions (1624)

We are all connected to everyone else, not just to some.  And not just through the knock-on effect nowadays of world economies or de-forestation (note, this was written in 1624...) but in our connectedness through consciousness.  It is physics and, as Albert Einstein described it, 'Spooky action at a distance.'  

Friendship is about that connectedness, that relationship, being based on positivity: where there are only kind thoughts, good wishes, pure feelings, and they take the form of words and actions that are supportive, appreciative, encouraging, helpful, and give hope. Even the words and thoughts that go unspoken and unheard through the form of meditations and prayers.

Whilst the objective might be to help another, we also grow in our wellbeing in the process.  It has been discovered, for instance, that when people unite to take a stand and form a 'community' in the process, their own illnesses or addictions, be it physical, mental, emotional, dissolve in the process. 

But true friendship doesn't consider 'what's in it for me?'.  It comes from a place of abundance, not scarcity. It understands how life simply 'works'.

The most important and defining relationship we all have is the one we have with ourself.  That inner voice in our heads.  Nagging and critical? Or patient and understanding, that gives both love and discipline in the right measure and at the right time?   It is a defining relationship because in whichever way I think about and treat myself, that same attitude and mindset will also leak out and be how I also am with others.  This is why it is so important when they say: "Learn to Make your Mind your Best Friend." 

"To look forward and not back, To look out and not in, and To lend a hand.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."     Rupert Everett Hale; Author, Historian, Chaplain. 
   
If any of these thoughts here on in the blogs make you feel you want to respond or to ask a question, please send to Contacts.

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"Laziness is Love's opposite."  M.Scott Peck's The Road Less Travelled

What is the Mind-Body connection and why is it important?  There are many schools of thought on this, but definitely, when we put it to the test for ourselves, it is true our mood is always better after exercise than before. 

Maybe it is that sense of triumph over laziness, which otherwise tends to leave us with feelings of guilt and low self-esteem.  Extreme fitness has been viewed by some as a form of addiction: that euphoria that comes from having complete control over the body.  And of course, there is also the 'look at me' posts that seem to seek social recognition.  However, there are many recorded cases where patients have achieved radical remissions and where they have also introduced a regular fitness regime into their lives as part of their response to tackling illness.

I do believe that our chosen form of physical fitness has to be completely subjective rather than situational, although if I live close to a specific sport or keep-fit facility, a loch or a mountain, it would be daft not to at least give whatever is on my doorstep a try.  It can take time to find what feels 'right' for us, but when we do, it then becomes easily and naturally embedded into the fabric of our day-to-day life.

Chi, Qi, or Ki energy is our life force, or bio force.  It flows through meridians in our body and serves every cell as does blood, yet there is less awareness of its importance to fitness. Whilst we understand how air pollution and other toxins from the environment and in our food affect health, negative emotions and low moods equally have a toxic effect and can even start to create blockages in this invisible energy flow. 

Therefore fitness is not just a physical thing involving muscles, co-ordination, and stamina.  It is also about posture and the awareness that breathing occurs in every single cell of the body; how every thought and feeling transmits and creates a good or bad response in every cell.  Holistic fitness goes far beyond 'breaking sweat' - we now understand it includes energy movement exercises for the mind and awareness expanding exercises for the spiritual body.  

These words of the Buddha sums it all up beautifully:

"To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."

 

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"Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you what you are."  French proverb

So: do any of the words: cheap, fake, fast, easy, or even exploitive, apply?  Or are you mindful, careful, considered, and kind?

Long before food ingredients even reach our kitchens it has been on a journey: one of growth, harvest and travel.  And in every moment it has interacted and created or absorbed vibrational energy that remains stored in its cells until it transmits into the cells of my own body.   It's a fact of science.

So if I feel tired, fretful, agitated, peaceless, or a general sense of low wellbeing, then a good place to start is to look more closely at my food and drink.  Fruit and vegetables which have been sourced locally are always going to be of a superior vibrational quality than something that has been transported from thousands of miles away.  That's a 'no-brainer'.  And do I really want to eat a strawberry in mid-winter and which is completely flavourless?  There is something that almost touches the sacredness of life in the appreciation of eating the 'fruits of the season'. It endorses my sense of connectedness and identity.

Our planet's climate crisis has hugely strengthened the argument against eating animal products.  That in itself should be a persuasive case.  How can it be justified to eat flesh if we have the fortune to live in a part of the world where we are spoiled for choices in non-animal alternatives?  

Yet over and above, even if I care about nobody but myself, to eat animal flesh means to eat the poison or toxin that resides in the slaughtered animal flesh - without exception. The long and complex alimentary tract of humans, and also the lack of 'fit for purpose'  bacteria, enzymes and organs required for the breakdown and digestion of flesh, makes it an over-long and inefficient process that is now being linked to various forms of cancers.  It's an 'own goal' which our bodies try very hard to steer us away from.

It is also a mirror that reflects how much I respect myself, my body, all living creatures, and our planet.

What are your views?  What holds back what seems like perfectly nice and friendly people from making this choice of not being part of the suffering and consequent slaughter and eating of animals? Coz I just can't figure it out ...

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"You were put on this earth to achieve the greatest in you, and you should do so courageously."   Steve Maraboli, Behavioural Scientist.

Some people are born with a natural gift, talent, ability, or even an inheritance, and it is very clear to them what life is calling them to do. The future is mapped for them - not necessarily the 'How?' but definitely the 'What?'  

For most of us, it isn't so clear  - at least until we work it out, and then it is amazingly obvious!  Sometimes circumstances inspire us, but otherwise, the first act of courage required is to never let up but to persist until we absolutely know what we are here to do - the thing that only we can do in the way that we do it, because this earth demands that each of us brings our special uniqueness to it.  

And woven into the fabric of our purpose is altruism - making a contribution for the greater good, with no thought of personal gain. Any other motivation does not bring out the greatest in us. And it definitely doesn't give us health and happiness long term.

It can take years - even decades - to reach a point of self-realisation, to know absolutely our Calling in Life. But it is never time wasted.  Every piece of experience, every disappointment, even illness, is all part of our shaping, our honing, our being nudged away from some directions and towards others.  

There is proof of this in the many who have succeeded in radical remissions from cancer where they put a large part of their cure down to the illness being a catalyst for them discovering an aim, a purpose for their life, which in most cases involved helping others.

Greta Thurberg, the young Swedish environmental activist for World Climate Change, is a schoolgirl who was becoming increasingly withdrawn, depressed and had developed an eating disorder.  Her concern for the sustainable future of this planet has been a Calling she faces courageously, and in the process she has regained personal health and reclaimed happiness.

We all have a future-based purpose waiting for us to claim in the present.  Maybe it is Global; maybe it is Local.  Maybe it is for a season, maybe it will be with us for our entire lives. Maybe it is as simple as zero waste and conscientious recycling, maybe like Boyan Slat @the oceancleanup it is more far-reaching.  But the measure isn't just in the scale of it, but in the courage, the bravery, the caring, the compassion, the respect we return in gratitude for every free breath of clean, oxygen-filled air.

To be future-based means to live a life where each moment counts not just for itself but also because it is a stepping stone to the next. First, there is the acceptance of the 'mountain' we are each assigned to climb in life because: "You were put on this earth to achieve the greatest in you..." But there is no shortcut up the mountain, no 'beam me up'.  It is a matter of step by step, toehold by toehold.  But provided we just keep moving forward, we will all of us reach our summit, where helping and inspiring each other along the way makes the journey both easier and more joyous.   

Thanks for reading.  It would be lovely to hear from you and your own thoughts and comments on any of these reflections and blogs.

 

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"Know the Life you want to Live, and Live that Life!"   Dadi Janki, Spiritual Leader and Keeper of Wisdom

Faith and Future are very closely linked. It takes Faith to believe in a future, to believe in our dreams.  And both Future and Faith require ongoing courage, resilience, determination, hope.

I would argue that Faith is not the same as religion.  But certainly religion or having a certain creed - a set of beliefs that help guide our actions - definitely assists us in having or developing faith.  

The greatest and most important faith of all is Faith in Myself.  Not a loud and chest-thumping display of self-belief, but a deep and inner knowing that I have all that I need already within me.  Of course, to achieve this, it helps to understand who I am, what I am about, and to find my way around myself.

Then there is Faith in Others.  Faith and trust are arguably not the same thing.  I learn to discern in which ways I can trust different people. For instance, I might trust them with my purse but not with my feelings. But there can always be an underlying faith, which can take the form of acceptance or appreciation, and where I have faith in there being overall benefit in every interaction even although it may not be immediately clear what that might be.

If I can understand there is always a bigger picture yet to unfold, then it is wonderfully reassuring to have Faith in Life.  What seems like a decision that needs to be made will have far-reaching consequences can be scary.  But when I look back on those decisions, the bad ones, as well as the good ones, have equally contributed to where I am right here, right now.  And I am content in that, because as someone once observed: "When we look at everyone else's life, we realise that in fact whilst we wish maybe some things to be better for ourselves, we never actually want to live someone else's life instead."

 

Thanks for reading.  It would be lovely to hear from you and your own thoughts and comments on any of these reflections and blogs. 

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