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Weekly Wellness Word: Reflect

Monthly Theme: Finding Meaning

This week’s word is Reflect

You go for a walk in the woods and somehow lose the path. What do you do? Perhaps you try to identify your compass direction by looking at your cell phone app. If that fails you might look for the sun or the North Star. You could listen for sounds of traffic, barking dogs, or a stream then walk towards that sound. Some more savvy hikers might look for which side of the trees the moss is growing or the direction of the wind. Hopefully, by observing and reflecting on your surroundings you can prevent yourself by walking in circles in order to find civilization again.

Trust your intuition. What does your gut tell you? Follow your heart. Phrases like these are offered to you by friends and family throughout your life as a way to encourage you to stop a moment and reflect on a decision that you are facing. Often answers to the questions you hold about your life are below the surface of your mind. It takes intentional effort to bring them to the surface. The voices of others sometimes drown out this inner wisdom.

Sometimes you hear what sounds like a really good concept, idea, activity, etc. You think, “I should do that!” Then, when you step out to try this new thing it may not go as planned or turn out as well as you had hoped. It might be more challenging and time consuming than you anticipated. It doesn’t feel very lifegiving. Do you stop or try to push through a bit longer to see if the benefits begin to unfold? Only you know what the best choice is for you. Yet, if you aren’t giving the decision adequate reflection, then you may be just shooting from the hip and hoping to hit the target of what you are trying to accomplish.

The way out of the woods of confusion is to observe and reflect. This week, notice what your inner wisdom says about your life.

Pay attention to the reaction of your body and emotions when you think about things. Do you notice tightness in your chest, a restriction of your breathing, an inexplicable sense of being overwhelmed or weary? These are some of the ways your inner being is saying No to something. Do you notice excitement, an increase of energy (mental, physical or spiritual), a sense of calm assurance, or relaxed breathing. These are your inner being’s way of saying Yes to something.

Trust your intuition. What does your gut tell you? Follow your heart. Write these phrases down, plus any other affirmations that help remind you to stop a moment and reflect before making a decision. Over time, you will learn to trust your inner wisdom more and more fully. Each decision is another checkpoint in the woods where you can look at the sights and sounds along the way to make sure you are still going in the life direction that is right for you.

Quote of the Week

“Wellness starts with the recognition that your body is wise, your mind is wise, and your soul is wise. You may not always honor that wisdom in yourself, but it is there nonetheless. You are at the leading edge of over five billion years of evolution. You are a being of amazing resources. It’s time to discover that.

Humans have an insatiable hunger for answers and cures, and show great persistence in their searches, which may take them around the world and back. Yet in looking ‘out there,’ they overlook, dismiss, and even demean the obvious – the knowledge that lies within.

Experts and guides are valuable in all aspects of life. But the trouble comes when too much responsibility is shifted onto these experts, these doctors and teachers, and intuition and self-understanding are ignored. Giving away personal power to an ever-growing army of ‘professionals’ puts us on the well-worn path to a power-robbed existence. Such reliance easily becomes a source of confusion when the advice of one specialist seems to contradict that of another.

One simple way to practice self-responsibility is to acknowledge what you already know about your own life and health. You have a basic sense of what’s good for you and what isn’t. By looking within and asking yourself some simple questions, you can access information for your own wellbeing. If you are currently seeing doctors or other helping professionals, share this additional, valuable information with them. It will help to move you out of the role of passive patient and into a partnership with a healing team.”

Next Step

An Experience in Discovering

"Have pencil and paper handy. Now, begin by letting yourself relax. Sit back and take a few slow breaths. Close your eyes, if you wish, to help achieve an inward focus, and just rest for a minute or so. When you feel at ease, open your eyes. Working quickly now, make a list of things that encourage your health and wellness. You can write out each response in a complete sentence, or simply use a word, phrase, or symbol to capture your idea.

For instance: I know that more outdoor exercise helps me to work better. I know … I know …

Next, make another list, this time focusing on things that discourage health and wellness for you.

For instance: I know that eating in the car as I’m driving is not conducive to my digestion. I know that … I know that …

Expand this self-discovery by writing yourself a letter about your current state of illness or health. Write as one best friend to another. Address any other issues that may be particularly troublesome for you at this time and don’t hesitate to write about the changes you want and what you know will support you in making those changes. For example:

Dear Janet,

I know you’ve had a lot of pain recently, and I want to encourage you to keep up your exercise program, which really seems to help. There are some other things that might be beneficial for you, like …

Love, Janet

You will gain maximum benefit from the exercises suggested above by repeating them periodically. For instance, try writing a letter to yourself every day for a week or more. Remember, as you write, that your health or illness is influenced by your state of mind, your emotions, and your spirit. Consider all aspects of yourself as you write your letters. You may find it helpful to write about your fears, your grief, your imagined weaknesses, and your negative opinions about yourself. Write also about your insights and intuitions, your dreams and plans, your day-to-day learning about questions of being and meaning.

Doing this kind of honest self-exploration will gradually reveal more of your own inner wisdom. This will give you the confidence to trust yourself as the expert on your own healing. You can begin to shape your life in new ways that promote greater health and wellness. You can speak self-reliantly to your doctor or other experts about what you know about yourself.

Take That First Step Today

Now that you are off to a good start by discovering what you already know, it is time to act on that knowledge. Please don’t discourage yourself by attempting an instant overhaul of all of your life patterns. Habits have built up over years and will take time to change. What is one step that you can take today to encourage your wellness? Write it down. Do it. And give yourself a pat on the back for taking one small step toward health and wellbeing.

For instance:

I will walk outdoors, vigorously, for ten minutes today.

I will refrain from eating sugary snacks or desserts

today and have fresh fruit or nuts and raisins instead.

I will …”

Further Information

For more information on the science of small steps towards wellness, visit the link below.

Have a GREAT week!

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