Choices, Mental Digestion and Your Well-Being
Our society is facing challenging times and we’re really not handling it well. Of course, there’s always been a strong element of ‘this is how it is, so you can fit in or suffer’ when people’s views collide. That has led to people being silenced or persecuted, This is happening in many areas of public life and we often see both sides trying to shut down the other in ways which I consider vicious and unhealthy for the well-being of individuals, and therefore society as a whole. Hopefully there can also be a measure of openness to reason, logic and a willingness to hold different views (even on important matters) and still be friends.
Let me illustrate this with an issue which I believe strikes at the heart of your right to make informed choices. Alternative health practitioners are increasingly being targeted by mainstream medical groups in an effort to shut down debate on the subject and control your choices. There are some oppressive forces acting upon our industry, even though the general public clearly appreciates the services and products that we have to offer. Some private health insurance companies are refusing to cover naturopathic and homeopathic treatments and it is only a matter of time before other alternative treatments are also excluded. As you know, we support western medicine and are immensely grateful for its many benefits and the ways in which it contributes to our health. However, we do not believe that any single form of treatment is right for everyone in all circumstances. What does this have to do with mental digestion and your wellbeing?
It’s quite simple, really! Obviously this issue, and some of the associated initiatives which stem from an overwhelming desire to reduce people’s choices have challenged my own vision of my role as a health provider: to increase people’s opportunity to take control of their health by sharing our skills and knowledge through publications and visits to the clinic.
As a result I’ve been upset over the unprovoked attacks, concerned by the anxiety and fear I’ve seen in other alternative health practitioners and unsettled by the possible future ramifications of this movement. I know I’m not alone. Maybe your profession isn’t being targeted like mine is, but many people are fearful about the future of the planet, their financial security, their relationships, their health, their children’s future… and are worried that things may only get worse. These fears and worries play out in your body… especially in your digestive system! They also play out in your mind.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos by Anita Mertzlin
Here are my own principles for staying centred.
- Know your limits and choose activities and courses wisely;
- Be mindful of what is affecting you and how it manifests in your mind and body;
- Keep life simple – there are always choices between complication and simplicity.
This is not an opt-out mechanism, it’s an opt-in mechanism. Opting in to the things which are really important to you.
I will finish with a wonderful quote from Henri Nouwan
Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of my anger and resentment?
Did I forgive?
Did I love?
These are the real questions.
I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and in the life to come.
~ Henri Nouwen
– Nadia Gazzi
Have You thought About Volunteering?
Sacred Heart Mission
I started volunteering at Sacred Heart Mission St Kilda over 3 years ago, and I’m glad I did. Yes, I’m helping people access health services they couldn’t otherwise dream of, not to mention providing a listening ear and a sense of connection, but the experience probably gives me more than I give them.
Here’s a few of the big things volunteering does for me:- provides perspective on what really matters, encourages me to be grateful even when things aren’t quite going as I wish, gives me a window into others’ lives and the courage and resilience they need, provides a sense of connection and community, lifts my mood and energy even when I don’t feel like going.
Sacred Heart Mission, St Kilda provides meals, housing, healthcare (traditional and alternative) for people from 18-80, as well as a women’s shelter. Health care recipients need to be local and pay a small fee for the services they use. The volunteers demonstrate concern in practical ways and provide a compassionate, listening ear which brings hope to many.
Whether it is Sacred Heart Mission, or some other place, I urge you to consider volunteering as one of the most effective ways to increase your gratitude and happiness, both now and throughout the year. Volunteering has been demonstrated to help with depression, anxiety, and general dissatisfaction with life, and it makes a great difference to the lives of those who your services benefit. Whether it’s a soup kitchen, charity shop, or sharing your expertise, please think about where you could serve this year?
January often feels like a ‘lost month’ between Christmas and the ‘real start of the year’ in February, so I thought I’d take this time to reflect on the importance of transitions, and ways in which we can use them to shape our lives intentionally.
Like anything that indicates change, transitions can be challenging. They represent new opportunities, but they also carry with them echoes of past challenges, success, and failure. In any case, transitions (like any excitement or worry) take a toll on your mind, emotions, and body. You’ve probably noticed how you sometimes feel tired (even though you go to bed early, your mind races in so many directions that you can’t sleep) and lose some of your love of life during times of transition. It’s not just the busyness and stress of Christmas parties that wears you out, it’s also the sense of transition and, while many people set goals for the new year, few people take the step that really makes a difference….
I realised a few years ago that at New Year (and other times of transition) there was an important step I needed to take which made a huge difference to my mental, emotional, and physical energy: this was releasing the past before setting my intention for the next phase. I liken it to washing dishes: if you have a glass of red wine, you rinse it out before changing to water, white wine, or some other beverage. But when we start something new, we don’t often get closure on the old, so we carry around the ‘dregs’ with us – both good and bad – and this acts like a heavy chain, stopping us from really moving forward wholeheartedly.
I don’t usually plan a trip over Christmas and the early part of the year (too many people everywhere) but I do set aside time for 3 things:-
- Review the year past and release all the associated tensions;
- Take some spontaneous ‘mini-vacations’ – last minute day-trips or overnight trips to put something ‘new’ into the mix; and
- Set my intentions for the year ahead: major goals, ideas, challenges.
I do the same thing each day during my transition from one activity to another: just take a moment to release tension; create change (it might be as simple as stretching and drinking water); and setting my intention for the next activity. Try it! You’ll be surprised how something so simple can be so energising.
The Simple Man – Paul Mutimer
The image for this post is from Paul’s “Simple Man” series. You can follow Paul on instagram “paulmutimerbooks” https://www.instagram.com/paulmutimerbooks/?hl=en
Food is one of the Four Pillars of Health in Traditional Chinese Medicine
I love discovering new recipes and have experimented with various eating plans/diets over the past few years. I’m keen to discover how difficult the transition is, how easy it is to find foods that are compatible with each different diet, and how my body responds to these dietary changes. I also like to see how different plans compare to Chinese medicine’s dietary principles, where food is one of the four pillars of health. The eating plans/diets I’ve recently experimented with are the 5:2 (intermittent fasting) diet, the ketogenic (high fat/low carb) diet, and the autoimmune paleo diet.
Your dietary habits are one aspect of your own self-care that you are easily able to influence. Many of my clients do follow different eating plans. One thing that I’ve discovered is that depending on your body-type according to TCM (hot/cold etc) some of these eating plans are more effective and easier to modify than others. It’s interesting to note that following the TCM recommendations and modifying any eating plan to match can significantly affect your energy levels and weight loss.
Click on this link to read more about TCM and Dietary Therapy
Your skin is your largest organ. It helps you eliminate toxins and absorb nutrients so don’t you think you should consider how you can help it work more effectively? Unique by Nature Body Scrubs is the result of my search to find foods and products to help my teenage daughter feel comfortable, energised, and beautiful despite food intolerances and severe eczema. Not only are they 100% natural, vegan-friendly, GMO free, and untested on animals (including the individual ingredients), they are also incredibly moisturising and smell wonderful! In fact, you could safely eat the scrub (if you wanted to), because I believe that if you wouldn’t put something in your mouth, you shouldn’t put it on your skin.
Each of the four ‘flavours’ of Unique by Nature Body Scrubs has different qualities, but they’re all easy to use and designed to make your skin look, feel and smell fantastic. Just hop in the shower, take a small amount of scrub in your hand and massage mindfully in a gentle circular brushing motion starting at your feet and working towards your heart, paying extra attention to the rough skin on your knees and elbows. Take a second handful for your upper body and so the same thing. If you have time, leave on your skin for 5-10 minutes and use 2-4 times per week. Scrubs are also a great post-workout boost for athletes and may possibly improve recovery.
Caffeine helps in the regeneration of new skin. Just as a cup of coffee helps concentration and focus, coffee scrub can make your mornings brighter and more energised.
Sugar, Mango, and Coconut Scrub:
Cleanses and moisturises your skin while protecting it against toxins and leaving it firm, smooth, and deliciously tropical.
Sea Salt Lime and Jojoba Scrub:
Salt has antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties and this scrub not only exfoliates dead skin, it also reduces bacteria and inflammation, leaving your skin, smooth, clear, firm and deliciously moist.
Sea Salt and Matcha Green Tea Scrub:
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of salt, combined with the rich antioxidant ingredients of Matcha Green Tea are a formidable resource for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation and free radicals while making your skin feel and smell amazing.
Pamper your skin the natural way and get your body glowing with therapeutic benefits. Keep your skin feeling clean, fresh and rejuvenated with healthy body scrubs. These products are rich in goodness and are available from the clinic.
The Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond website is an up to date and extensive source of information on pregnancy, birth and parenting. You’ll be able to find lots of information on midwifery care, pre-conception care, pregnancy, birth, water birth, homebirth, vaginal birth after caesarean, postnatal care and breastfeeding. Providing a rich resource for families, midwives and other health professionals to explore options and make informed choices. The website for Pregnancy , Birth and Beyond can be found at www.pregnancy.com.au