Sunday, October 14, 2007

Balancing Body, Mind and Spirit

There is always a lot of talk in the media about balancing body, mind and spirit for optimal health, yet it is still a very confusing and misunderstood field.

Many of us just ignore the “mind, spirit” components,dismissing them as too *granola* and too weird. Although only focusing on diet and exercise might make you look healthy from the outside, for some people it just provides a beautiful shell, holding inside it nothing but an emotional wreck. On the flip side, there are people who have very balanced spiritual lives, but
do not take care of their physical bodies, which, in my opinion, is just as bad.

Human beings are made up of an amazing mind, capable of doing very complex things; an intricate body, filled with organs, muscles, ligaments, nerves, etc; and energy, spirit, life force,
call it what you will. Without any one of these things we cannot exist. In order to live to our
full potential, then, we must support and nurture each one of these parts equally.

Why bother, you may ask? Lets look at an example – a flower. It is made up of roots, leaves, stem and flower. You might think if you just give it some soil, water and sun it will be fine. In fact, however, there needs to be a correct balance of these things for the flower to flourish. If the plant gets too much water the roots might rot. If it gets too much sun it may wilt and die, and if it is planted in the wrong type of soil, with insufficient nutrients, it may not flower. It is only when all these elements are in balance that the flower can bloom to its full potential. Often times if you move a plant you will “stress it out”, and it may not flower for years after, even with water and nutrients.

Humans are just like flowers (our needs are just a little bit different). We can survive for many years with insufficient exercise, nutrition, mental stimulation and little or no spiritual or emotional support, but we live like a dandelion that seeded itself in a crack in concrete: small, weak and pale. Pardon me for a minute while I get up on my soapbox, and tell you that you need to take care of yourselves – your entire selves. Stop hiding your emotional issues behind your marathon running (I could write an entire report on this one!), stop blaming your lack of exercise on your busy job, stop pretending your over eating is because of your genes. Take responsibility for your body, your mental health, and your spirit.

In our society we seem to view people as weak and crazy if we hear that they are seeing a councilor, or taking a meditation class. If we see someone eat salads for lunch everyday and order dressing on the sides, we look at them and think, “who do they think the are?” Well, these are people who are taking their health into their own hands, and maybe, just maybe, understand the power of prevention – a concept not well known in Western Civilization.

Wow, are you still with me? I hope so – I don’t mean to rant, but we have been handed so much in this part of the world that I think many of us have forgotten that not everything is free or easy, and we just can’t take our health for granted anymore.

So turn off the computer, go for a walk to a beautiful spot, sit down and take 5 minutes to soak it all in. Let your mind wander as your body relaxes, and just “be” in this miracle of life! This is an example of the perfect balance!
See how easy it is!

If you just can't slow down, and need some great music to help you calm down and relax, check out Mark Romero's site at http://tinyurl.com/29nopj

1 comment:

Marc Fairgray said...

Hi Denise,
I really ejoyed this article. Like you I believe in living a balanced life and make choices to work with my mind, body, and spirit. I think it's wonderful that you are sharing this with your patients and explain all the benefits we can receive from simple things that are very easy to do, once we begin to incorporate them into our life. And they do make a big difference, I can attest to that.

Even when we spend time being creative. I like to spend time in the garden, cooking in the kitchen, running in the rain. Even enjoying different kinds of weather can be healthy activity. Like you say about flowers that way we are able to live with all the elements of the earth.

Like you I could go on and on, in this area as it is such a big part of my life. I hope other readers will begin to investigate and think about balancing their life out by making small subtle changes in priorities.

One of my favourite quotes is "The Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with one step"

Hope we can chat more about this sometime.

Take care
Marc Fairgray