Prompt #7: Health Activist Choice! Write about what you want today.
Life is littered with challenges, and that’s a good thing. With each one we learn and grow, developing strategies to get... where? As a culture we’re taught that our survival requires staying in motion with our goals clearly in mind. But if you’re anything like me, just when you have your ducks lined up they begin to swim away. Just when you think you have your life tent well secured a wind comes and POP! you’re scurrying around trying to nail it down again. It’s frustrating living that way, and more importantly, it ultimately challenges the body, mind and spirit.
Health challenges of mind and body at first call for learning, for arming ourselves with knowledge—the right doctor, the newest remedy, the latest study—answers from external sources. And answers are usually available, at times accompanied by more information than we know how to manage. If we are lucky, we find medical solutions to help heal our bodies (or minds). Unfortunately, many of us stop our search there, ignoring the possibility that a root cause of illness (and lasting healing) may lie within.
Whole health includes mind, body, and spirit. (Why does spirit always come last in the list?) Tending to the spirit requires looking within, stopping our perpetual outward focus and forward momentum to be present. But I’m suggesting more than just taking a meditative moment now and then. Yes, meditation and moments of peace relieve the stress that exacerbates illness, but let’s get even more concrete about spirit. Spirit includes attitude and energy, and ultimately the power of intentional thought. During my bout of cancer in the middle of caregiving, I would tell myself, “If I’m going to make something up, I’d better make it good.”
In my work I teach the powerful tool of managing our thoughts to promote emotional and life balance which in turn supports healing of body, mind and spirit during illness or caregiving. Managing our thoughts means managing the stories we make up about life. If our stories are the source of our well-being then they don’t just describe our reality, they create it.
Excerpt from “The Caregiver’s Compass”
“Jon Kabat-zinn tells us, ‘How we see things affects how much energy we have for doing things and our choices about where to channel what energy we do have.’ How you see things is determined by the thoughts you think. As you learn consciously to weave your experience, you will feel less at the mercy of life and those around you. As you broaden the interpretive lens through which you see, you re-tune your inner climate.You eliminate obstacles to fully experiencing your life, increasing your capacity for being fully alive (and effective) in all stages of caregiving and all aspects of life.”
As in caregiving, so in life. Byron Katie, that master at managing inner stories, tells us, “You either believe what you think, or you question it. There is no other choice.” As surely as the negative messages undermine you, constructive messages make you stronger.
Ask yourself each step of the way, What experience am I choosing? What thoughts and statements will support me in reaching my goals? Practice the skill of editing your inner editorials and you will be supporting your whole health—mind, body, and spirit.