The Simple Life _ Healthy Living

In learning to live a simpler life, I had to become a bit more mindful about my health, physical, mental, and even spiritual. A switch in lifestyle required me to do more physical work than what I was accustomed to, and to realize what things I could not perform as well anymore due to age and a lifetime of 9-5 and beyond workdays, little time for physical development, along with my dislike of exercise routines and doctor appointments (dislike the term wellness visits). I realized that peaking 60 meant a need for creating a simpler health routine that I could keep. It is as simple as eating as healthy as I can, take vitamins and supplements, and keep on moving, along with my yearly checkup.

A far as what I do, I cook 95 percent of my meals but also, I don’t deprive myself of something I would like that does not fall under my regular nutrition. I don’t pay attention to brands, organic or not; I just cook balanced meals and don’t overeat. Exercise takes the form of chores, some heavier than others, walking, stretching every morning, and staring at a stationary bike when I don’t feel like using it. I am up early, at 5 am and that works well for me. Part of simplifying my way of thinking about exercise was to accept my dislike of it and stop blaming myself and feeling guilty for not liking it. How freeing. My most hated class as a kid in school was physical education; truly hated it. That mental switch made a difference because the battle was over. As a Christian, understanding that our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit, also made a difference, hence respect it and treat it as well as you can, so I take care of myself as best as I can.

You can eat well and exercise till’ the cows come home but if you do not take care of your mental health the rest is wasted time and calories. Mentally, I try to keep myself healthy by being aware of what’s going on, reading, making art, taking on projects and learning new things. I don’t welcome negativity in my life, whether in the form of news, people, or propaganda … I don’t like gossip and will stop it at once. That doesn’t make for making many friends. I don’t watch trash on TV anymore; I rather do something else, but still enjoy some TV time (sad that most of it is trash these days). I don’t play the politically correct game and do not compromise my values. I also accept and admit when I am wrong. It keeps my peace of mind. I try to be true to myself and others, but mostly to operate from a place of love and understanding, even when that may seem very hard to do. Understanding to give it all to God when I can’t has made a big difference in my life. I live by Christian values, and in my case (I need to make the distinction) I had to learn to separate Christianity from religious indoctrination/history in order to understand the way – Jesus. In my opinion, if you want to know him better, go straight to the pages of the Bible and read in between the lines as well. It answers the question What would Jesus do? and the answer is always the right one.

It has not happened instantly, but slowly I have made better changes and adjustments in my life in order to live a simpler healthy life. Today, I try to balance those three aspects, but it wasn’t always that way, and it definitely took some time. Living in a healthier way is part of living a simple life, as long as there is a balance of what one likes, believes, cares for, as it honors one’s value system while being respectful of other people who might not think like you.

Simplicity comes in many shapes and form.

How to Stay Balanced When You are Upside Down

A triangular prism, dispersing light; waves sh...

A triangular prism, dispersing light; waves shown to illustrate the differing wavelengths of light. (Click to view animation) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I didn’t want to write about my novel or a writing topic, but instead, I wanted to write about what I was inspired at the moment.  So I asked my Muse, what do you want me to write about today? The title you just read came to mind, so that is what I am writing about this instant.

As someone who has known what this means, I can tell you that it is not easy to hang in there when everything has flipped upside down at one point in your life.  When your world hangs the opposite to your focus, it is easy to be discouraged, throw the towel, and just hang for eternity.  I think that hanging a bit is fine because you need to rest to fix your focus.  You need to rest emotionally, physically, and spiritually, as well as in the material state.  So give yourself time to just be, and let your broken spirit rest.

Once you have rested and pondered on your misery, the moment to make a decision knocks at the door of your heart, and you know that this is the time when you decide to pick yourself up and fix your focus, or maintain a state of hanging, sinking slowly into a deep hole.  Whether the contents of that hole is depression, sadness, anger, hopelessness, inertia, hate, laziness … and many other things, it is different to each individual.  However, when you are hanging upside down, after the rest, you will hear that knock, and you will have to answer.  Whether you start pulling at that rope, lifting yourself up slowly, and appreciating how the image comes back to focus bit by bit, or let the rope go, it is up to you.  One thing is for sure, you need to balance yourself to be able to pull that rope and getting yourself back up.  How is it possible to balance yourself when everything around you seems to be spinning out of control and you hang but by a leg?  It is not easy, but it is possible.  This happens when you rest and give yourself time to focus.

  • First, you need to recognize that you need help – whether from a professional or a best friend, and of course yourself.  Whether you can do this on your own, or need help is personal.
  • Second, you need to recognize that there are no blames in this process.  I truly believe that we are responsible for our own choices, and no one is to blame.
  • Third, you think about what you believe as truth in your life and make a commitment to yourself.
  • Fourth, you learn to view the world upside down for a while, and ponder about it.  What you discover about it may surprise you.
  • Fifth, you learn what your priorities are, and decide to make them your priority or not – knowing that there will be consequences to your decision (positive or negative).
  • Sixth, you accept to deal with those consequences understanding the process.
  • Seventh, you do this slowly, one step at a time.
  • Eight, you remain true to your beliefs and priorities when you start to fix your focus.
  • Ninth, you will discover that some things from your old upside down world, do not go into focus no matter how hard you try, so you will have to let those go, otherwise you will stay out of focus in some areas.  In this process, you will learn to say no.  You will learn that you will have to accept that you cannot please everyone. You will also learn to weigh which opinions matter more to you – others or yours.
  • Tenth, you must accept that no one can live your life but you, and that you cannot live your life according to other’s ideas of what your world should look like.  You have been given a responsibility to manage your life (a gift) and live it as well as you can; however your truths and priorities will guide you here.
  • Eleventh, this is when you start feeling that the image in front of you is just an image, and what matters is how you feel about it and how you live your life in this quasi upside down world.  You make it as straight as you want, and you do it one step at a time, balancing yourself in the process – checking from time to time your beliefs, truths, and priorities.
  • Twelfth, the realization that you are always in control hits you, and suddenly, even that you might be still pulling yourself up as you pull on the rope slowly, trying to straighten your world and fix your focus, you can see that the view upside down and in between is as ugly or beautiful as you make it to be, and that there is always a prism changing colors.

This is what I had to write today.

 

Following Your Bliss

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What is bliss?  It is defined as:  supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment.  I define it as finding your balance, your equilibrium.  Each individual’s bliss is different.  And everyone operates at a different level.  Sometimes, we burn ourselves running after what we think will make us happier:  more money, another step on the corporate ladder, a bigger paycheck, or many other ideals.  In our search and journey we realize that something is missing, even when the prize has been obtained.  In the intense focus and chase of our goal, we fell out of balance – we lost our bliss.

Somehow, our prize is not as shiny as we thought it was.  And soon, we set our eyes on another goal, and the race starts all over again.  Setting goals, and planning is great, but we also have to find the balance while achieving them, otherwise we lose appreciation and become empty vessels looking for fulfillment.  So, how do we follow our bliss without ending up tired and disappointed?

Because everyone is unique, there is no recipe or mold.  The answer is within us, and all we have to do is look inside and figure out what makes us, not only happy, but whole.  When we realize what it is, slow and steady steps will take us there, while enjoying the process on the way.  Each day will bring its own rewards, but its challenges, too.

We live on an instant fast-paced society.  Everything was due yesterday.  We are conditioned to react and think fast.  If we want to follow our bliss, we will have to slow down the speed of life, or at least our perception of it (our attention).  When we live mindfully we are slowing down the speed and opening our minds and hearts to what makes us whole and happy.  Some of us, will make radical changes, others, small adjustments.  For some, the climb is steep, for others a small turn in the road.  But the rewards are living a happy and balanced life in harmony with one’s self and the world around us.  What could be better than that?

 

Simplifying Your Life

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Simplifying your life may sound easier than done.  That is because when we decide to (truly) simplify our lives, the process has percolated in the spiritual sense.  Something has happened on the inside that is starting to manifest on the outside.  The truth is that we do not recognize this; we just feel the desire of simplifying our material lives and this is where we usually start.  Suddenly, we start decluttering our home and environments in which we spend most of our time.  We declutter our desk, closets, attic … and the healing begins.  This is necessary to make space on our cluttered minds and hearts to welcome the things that are needed for our healing.  This is a personal process, for some people, it takes longer than for others, and you arrive at this cleansing stage on your own terms and in different circumstances.  The important issue is that you arrive and let the growth begin.

What started as material decluttering suddenly transforms into spiritual decluttering as well, and the path’s design is personal – unique to you.  Each one of us are here on a journey – whether a short or long journey.  Many times, people watching you from the outside do not understand this much-needed cleansing and may think that you are going nuts, even try to dissuade you to hold on to your stuff – “Get a storage space,” they will suggest, “You will be sorry you got rid of that one day,” and some other similar remarks.  However, it is up to you – it is always up to you to continue your journey.

No Guilt, Just Happiness

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Have you ever felt so happy that your heart overflows?  Have you ever felt guilty for feeling happy?  Sounds like a contradiction, but it happens.  Many times we don’t know how to accept the happiness in our lives and give thanks for it.  Sometimes, we think that it is temporary or that we might put a jinx to it if we enjoy it for long.  What is wrong with this picture?  Everything.

Many times we think of the old adage that said – “After much laughter, there comes the tears.”  I thought of this adage and how sick it is to think that happiness is something that we have to grab fast because it will disappear and be replaced by some sad moment and suffering. 

This adage is an example of the power of words in our feelings, and in entire cultures.  Words are passed from generation to generation.  They build stories, they become tools for educating entire families, cities, countries … civilizations.  They become sacred or heresy; they become anointed with the same feelings they have provoked in people.  But they are just words, and we choose to give life and meaning to them.

The truth is that there are happy moments and sad moments – and we should embrace both to grow as humans and spiritual beings.  Our Creator made us to enjoy our lives and be happy.  (This is a personal belief).  However, even when you do not believe in a Creator, a God, or whatever you choose to call it – him – her …. one thing remains true – It is silly not to enjoy a happy moment or a happy life.  It is silly to feel guilty about pure happiness, and moreover, to let a silly adage cloud a perfect day!

Be happy!

The Simple Life

Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Although this book has been around for a while now (1995) it wasn’t until recently that I got to read it.  Immediately I loved it.  I have to admit that it has sat in my library for a year, maybe two; I just did not have enough time to get to it – but it kept calling me.  Finally, I listened and read it.  I did not read it as intended, one chapter a day, instead I read it until my eyes became blurry, and then came back for more day after day. 

I recommend this book to anyone that is in the path of a simple life and needs inspiration.  Its principles are even more true more than a decade later.  If you are in search of simplicity and abundance, you will enjoy this jewel.