Monday, July 27, 2009
Restoration: the four directions
I sat down to begin outlining some of my thoughts that have been floating around regarding healing. Once I began, the floodgates opened and much more than I expected began pouring out. Because there’s a lot that I’ll be touching upon and I can feel a fire burning in me, these will be coming out at a faster pace than usual. If I could, I’d have y’all over for some morning coffee or such to bat around some of these ideas. I just want to reiterate: I have no corner on any special knowledge – I just happen to have gone around the block a few times. I still have plenty to learn and that’s also why I’m here writing – to learn more. [By the way, life-long learning is one of those building blocks of wellness.] These are my own personal observations and knowledge passed on to me from others. If something rings true for you – great! Explore it more, or ask me about it [I probably have 5 or 10 other leads along that line] If something doesn’t ring true [ever! anywhere!] Don’t drink the kool-aid! Honor your intuition. I try to remember that myself as it has saved my ass innumerable times - and my not listening to it has burned me innumerable times also!
Often when clients in the past came to me asking for help or insight into their health problems I would take a prescriptive course with them. Now, when we are in trouble we have a kind of knee-jerk reaction to look for an answer or a prescription to make us well from some outside authority. Truth is, if we’re honest with ourselves we can usually self-prescribe with a high success rate and improve our own well-being. It’s simple and it really only takes a little effort.
First, draw a circle. This represents the wholeness of yourself. Divide the circle into four quadrants or pieces of the pie. Each quadrant represents an area of our being. Together, they interact, interrelate, make up our well-being or lack of. Over the weeks here we’ll touch on all the four aspects: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. (oh-oh, did he say spiritual? Don’t worry, no dogmas here – at least none that can’t be kicked to the curb, if you so please)
Each of the quadrants is an important piece of our wellness, health and well-being – not just the physical. I’m not dismissing the physical, after all it’s the realm we’re all hoping to stick around in as happily as possible for a while, so yeah, the physical is basic nuts and bolts to the whole picture.
In looking at the physical quadrant it’s real simple to grasp: the four elements. That’s what this place [earth] is made of; it’s what our bodies are made of: earth, water, fire and air. It’s that simple. It’s what your Mom told you – or somebody’s Mom told someone: “Eat your fruits and vegetables, get plenty of exercise, fresh air, sunlight and plenty of water.” Mom’s were right all along, dammit! The only other thing I’d add to Mom is to get on the earth. Nothing more earthy and physical than the Ol’ Mother herself; garden, dig, plant, lie down on, sit upon, walk barefoot on – all these activities are grounding.
If you were a client of mine seeking help, I’d ask you to give yourself a number between 1 and 10 rating your physical well-being. Be honest with yourself and write it down in that corner of the wheel – The number one being: I can barely lift my head; with10 being: tip-top physical health. Now here’s the crux of self-prescribing. Instead of thinking of how horribly decrepit your physical condition is and how could you ever have allowed yourself to become this blob disguised as flesh and you decide you need a major overhaul the likes of which belongs on television’s Extreme Makeover; before you totally depress yourself and go looking for chocolate to assuage your feelings of shame and horridness – find one thing – just one, tiny, little thing you could do to budge that number 4 to a 5, not all the way to a 10 by Wednesday. Set your sights within reach. One thing. Anything. Drink water. Can you do that? One small thing that if you succeed with, might nudge your well-being one degree in the right direction. The only way we get to where we might want to go is one degree or step at a time. We all like to succeed and if you set yourself up for; “I MUST exercise for one hour every day for the rest of my life,” although a noble idea, most likely it won’t last long and will quickly fall by the wayside as if it had never been mentioned, thus avoiding feelings of failure. None of us likes to fail; we’d rather quit. So, for today, make it easy. What’s your number and what’s one thing you could ADD to your day [not take away, as in: “I will NOT eat chocolate anymore.” Add to, don’t take away. What’s ONE thing that will nudge your wellness physically that you could successfully incorporate into your life today? Write it down in the 'physical' corner of the circle.
And there you go. There’s step one of your self-prescription. Who’s going to be more honest with you than yourself? Who’s going to be more invested in your well-being than yourself? I recommend placing this circle somewhere where you’ll see it and read your own reminder to yourself daily of the one thing you’re adding to your life. We’ll add to this circle as the weeks go on and we take a look at our other aspects of ourselves that can help create a holistic web of wellness.
Next – “Planting My Feet” on the earth.