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Weekly Wellness Word: Renew

Monthly Theme: Moving

This week’s word is Renew

When we move, we begin to experience the effects of movement in all aspects of our life and our being. There is a Lakota Sioux saying, Mitakuye Oyasin, and it means that every creature is related and all things are interconnected. We are connected to everything and everything is connected to us. There is a balance in creation and we are a part of that balance. Many people from cultures all over the world are beginning to embrace the concept of connectivity. Yet, what we sometimes miss sight of in this idea is the interconnectedness of our own being. Our body is connected to our mind and spirit and visa versa.

Through this lens of holistic interconnectivity we might take this a step further. What if we opened ourselves up to the possibility that our interconnected being - body, mind, spirit - actually communicates to us about what we need. It makes sense logically, but are we really listening? Let's take movement for example. Think back to an incident when your body told your mind that it needed to move. You might get jittery. Maybe your foot moves back and forth quickly, seemingly on its own. Maybe your spirit begins to zone out and you start having difficulty feeling energized about the task at hand. How do you respond to these small prompts from your being?

Dr. Elaine Ferguson, author of the book Superhealing: Engaging Your Mind, Body and Spirit to Create Optimal Health and Well-Being says this in her book - "Paying attention to your body is a key ingredient to superhealing. If you don't pay attention to its signals, your body first whispers, then it speaks, screams, slaps and finally stops you - usually with an illness."

This week, explore what it looks like to listen to the messages of your body-mind-spirit, especially in the area of movement. What is your being saying to you about your self-care? Is it whispering, speaking, screaming, slapping or pulling you to a screeching halt so that you will finally listen? Is it asking for more movement, less movement, more rest, less sedentary activity? How are you responding to these conversations from your overall whole self?

If this resonates with you, perhaps you can take this a step further and jot down the messages you hear from your whole being this week. Is there a repeating pattern to them? A theme that recurs over and over from day to day? Consider what that pattern or theme might mean for your overall health. See if you can name one or two specific changes that you would like to make towards healthier habits of movement and, starting small, weave them slowly into the flow of your day.

Quote of the Week

MOVE YOUR BODY AND MOVE YOUR SOUL by John W. Travis, MD, & Regina Sara Ryan

"When you think of exercise, you probably think solely in terms of heart rates, strength, and muscle tone. But because the body, mind, and soul are always connected, exercising also involves your mind and your spirit. How you move will affect how you think and feel about yourself, and vice versa. And both will affect how you view life and the world. Here’s how it all connects in your exercise programs.

Adhering to a regular exercise program is a statement of personal power. It says that you are in charge of your own life, that you have endurance, strength, flexibility, and determination. And these qualities will spill over into other domains of your life and work. You can apply your newfound endurance and flexibility to creative projects, to handling questions that arise in interpersonal relationships, to setting out plans for the fulfillment of your dreams, and even to addressing ways in which you can contribute to environmental concerns and world issues.

Regular exercise firms muscles, may help you shed pounds, and generally adds a healthy glow to your complexion. All of this can build a more positive self-concept. You like what you see and how you feel, and your sense of pride grows because of your commitment to yourself.

When your body is tense or contracted, it colors your mind’s perception of the world. Problems seem more problematical, deadlines more deadly. But a moving body is less likely to hold tension. A good run or a vigorous swim, for instance, can be ideal ways to release a dangerous buildup of worry. As Joel Henning said in the previous quote, with exercise you can "own the day."

Exercise, like meditation, is a natural way of achieving an altered state of consciousness in which the rational and problem-oriented mind is temporarily put on hold. A deep sense of connectedness to all life and a sense of inner knowledge are potential benefits when exercise is done consciously.

Exercising can actually be a form of prayer-a thanksgiving for the privilege of having a body and for simply being alive. When the whole body is used in this way, spirit becomes united with flesh; spirituality is grounded in the things of everyday life. Yoga, the martial arts, and some forms of dance specifically use the exterior posture to foster inner spiritual attitudes, such as serenity, gratitude, courage, or one-pointedness. With practice, these exercise forms and the attitudes they foster will subtly start influencing all your daily activities. You learn to cook your food, drive to the office, and even do your income taxes with a heightened degree of focus, a greater thankfulness for life, and a sense of harmony even in the midst of doing things you don’t particularly enjoy. Such conscious practice helps to build the matrix for understanding, accepting, and participating in the great process of life. And out of that alignment with life, purpose and meaning are created and revealed."

Next Step

Research has proven that physical movement affects our emotional and mental state. To explore these connections further, check out this article from Srini Pillay, MD, from Harvard Medical School.

Further Information

For a deeper dive on the holistic benefits of movement, check out this article by Gina Pickersgill from Postive Health Online.

Have a GREAT week!

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