Refocus your Focus!

All of us have priorities, things we must focus on. Deadlines we must meet. But as we spend our days hyper focused on achieving whatever it is that is at the top of our to-do list…. Much of life (life happening all around us) seems to blur into the background – even when you think it is not. Even when you think your juggling really well; your eye, on all the balls… in reality, you ultimately drop one or two.

And what do we lose focus of most often? Things that are not a priority? Yes. But we also tend to lose focus on things that are a priority (usually things that are going so well… we simply feel we can relax a bit). Unfortunately, these are often our most important relationships.

Recently, my youngest started developing a nervous tick. Almost unperceivable at first, yet it went from 0 to 90 (becoming a chronic tick) in less than 2 weeks. It developed at such an alarming rate, that my child’s teacher, assistant teacher and myself all sought each other out (in a bit of a panic) to discuss what course of action should be taken.

My youngest has a learning disability, so he has had a lot of attention from me & help from tutors, therapists… to prepare him for school. After years of work & due to the fact everything was going so well, the tutors, teachers… and I all changed our main focus to more urgent priorities & BAM! Something happened to trigger his stress tick, but none of us had been focused on him enough to know exactly what. I took my eye of the ball so briefly, and one of my most important relationships immediately began to suffer.

During the same time period (not a coincidence), I had just gone back to work and was pushing myself to prove myself after being out of the workforce for a number of years. I spent far too many hours staring into my illuminated computer screens… and started developing mild headaches… Since I was trying to reach a deadline, I ignored my bodies warning and kept working until I got the job done. I pushed myself so hard that I ended up having a horrific migraine last Friday that lasted 72 hours through the Memorial Day weekend.

I reached my goal. However, I was so focused on my work, that I dropped two balls (my caregiver relationship with my son and my relationship with myself/my health). I ignored the warning signs (the mild tick and the mild headaches). I simply thought I had more time before I had to address the problems. Due to my delay, mild problems became chronic.

How often do we ignore (relationship and/or health) warning signs in our lives? We are all so busy, and our to-do lists at times seem endless… relationships (& health) often suffer because of it. How do we stay focused on all that is important to us? We don’t. However, we can address ensuing problems in our relationships as soon as they pop up – not waiting until they become chronic situations.

I know how to take care of myself when I get out of whack. So I do (although I shouldn’t) sometimes drive myself harder than I should. However, seeing my son out of whack for the first time – helped me refocus my focus on the most important things in my life. It was no mere coincidence that my son developed a nervous tick at the exact same time I went back to work. Everyone in a relationship (household…) affects everyone else. My son did not hear me speak or see me behave in any stressful ways… he simply felt the stress I was internalizing.

I dropped everything over Memorial Day weekend to right my wrongs. Thank goodness I was able to find a natural remedy for my migraines – and am back to work no problem. As for my son, we had a number of long talks. I am no longer multitasking in his presence. If he is “present” – so am I. His teachers are glad to report that his chronic tick is now no more than an occasional nervous twitch.

If I want my home to be healthy and harmonious, I have to be a model of health and harmony – not just outwardly but inwardly (physically, mentally & spiritually) as well. If your harmony/health is not deep – your energy/vibration will affect others/your relationships in negative ways (despite your outward well intended words and actions and/or your ability to “appear” healthy on the outside).

Pay attention to all that is important to you… when you notice something going astray – act as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to face a problem or change the status quo. The less damage that is done, the easier things will be to rectify. When you do fall off the wagon (so-to-speak), don’t be upset with yourself. Simply do your best to regain your (physical, mental and/or spiritual) harmony again – ASAP. If it is done quickly enough (without too much harm to those around you), your relationships should get back on track (after you say any needed amends of course:).

If life has simply been too hectic to manage, and, issues in an important relationship do become chronic… Again, do not waste time feeling guilty and/or beating yourself up over the situation… Refocus your focus and face it head on!

Mind, body and spirit… What?

Mind body and spirit. Mind body and soul. These words have become catch phrases. There are innumerable eastern inspired and/or “alternative” websites dedicated to the ideas; the American Cancer Society, the Teachers College at Columbia University, Harvard Medical School (just to name a few of the increasing number of Western mainstream establishments now promoting their own special interpretations) give much advise on living a “balanced” life. Yet, many simply use catch phrases (“balance”, “alternative…”, “quality time”, “ground yourself”, “meditate”…) to describe the catch phrase (mind, body and spirit/soul). Everything sounds very inspirational, but (in layman terms) how do we “balance” our physical, mental and spiritual lives?

First, forget the word “balance”. You actually want to harmonize (not “balance”) your our physical, mental and spiritual entities. Unfortunately, the word “balance” has become a common catch phrase due to a misinterpretation of eastern philosophy (in which the word for “harmony” was misinterpreted to mean “balance”). Balance is a state of equal distribution. Who wants the stress of maintaining a state of equal distribution to attain & maintain physical, mental & spiritual health? Our bodies, minds and souls don’t want more stress; they want harmony.

Our body, mind and soul are interconnected & therefore the health of one affects the health/harmony of the other two. Harmonizing each individually (and thus as a collective) is the key to optimal health, well-being, joy, and (desirable) love in our lives. Try to exercise/strengthen your body, your mind and your spirit everyday. I know that might seem a bit overwhelming at first… Just try!

Like any new exercise/health routine, it is best to try to slowly incorporate Body, Mind and Soul harmonizing techniques into your daily routine. Start with what comes naturally to you (or what you are most drawn to), then layer on additional practices. In time, the better you feel, the happier you are, the more you love life… the more motivated you will become to try/incorporate more techniques.

Here are a few I have found to have a great impact on my health, happiness and ability to appreciate love in and around me – and (even more importantly) to gracefully handle their opposites!

  • Exercise
    • Move, Stretch & Strengthen your body
    • Move your circulatory system (strengthen your heart)
      • Using “cardio” exercises – sweat
    • Move your lymph system (clean your blood/heart from impurities and strengthen your immune system)
      • Walking is the best way to move your lymph
    • move your energy systems (chi/qi/chakras – harmonize body, mind and spirit)every day
      • if you don’t like the idea of practicing kundalini yoga, tai chi, or, Qigong… you can always try Taoist or tantric sex and/or masturbation – they are actually the best for opening chakras and moving chi
  • Eat
    • Not just “100% Organic” (chemically free), but “Whole” (unprocessed) foods.
      • There are many “organic” foods that are refined (processed) that are simply not healthy
        • Learn the difference before you waste your money
    • The largest part of everyone’s diet should be a colorful array (yet the majority green) of low starch vegetables
      • If you eat raw vegetables – make sure you soak for 10 minutes in a hydrogen peroxide & water bath to kill the parasites
        • Most people don’t think about the parasites in raw foods (they exist in large numbers in ALL raw foods & are the cause of many digestive discomforts).
      • If you eat raw foods that you are not 100% sure were prepared properly – have a daily dose of ginger (raw, tea, pickled…) – the ginger will help kill parasites
  • Drink water that does not have added chemicals (since many tap waters do – if you drink tap and don’t know exactly what’s been added to your tap water – use a filter)
    • Also use a filter on your shower heads, chemicals in water are absorbed through the our skin (an organ in it’s own right) and can cause other health problems
  • Get plenty of sleep (children need 8-12 hours; adults, 6-8)
  • Get outdoors more – “ground yourself” in nature
    • We are animals first & just like animals taken out of nature (put into an artificial environment), we suffering physically and mentally if we are indoors too much of our day. Suffering physically and mentally will lead to a weakened spirit (loss of joy).
  • Be happy
      • Practice optimism (not fool heartedness, just optimism)
      • Be positive (don’t lie, tell people the truth, simply do it in a positive/constructive way)
  • Be grateful
    • If you pray for nothing else… say a prayer (or simply some words, if the word “prayer” makes you feel uncomfortable) of what you are thankful for – every day.
      • Only once a year, on the third Thursday of November – is not enough!
    • Western science has now proven that the health (harmonizing) benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless
  • Spend more quality time with loved ones
    • What is “quality time”?
      • It is time in which you pay thoughtful attention to loved one(s).
        • It is not (for example) watching a movie together
  • Live your passion
    • If it is a passion shared with your loved ones – even better
      • If not, to be true to who you are (how you define and love your own self), you must find time to cultivate your individual passion.
        • Schedule in “quality time with self”
  • Meditate
    • There are many forms to choose from: you can practice meditation (obviously), prayer, yoga, mindful breathing, tai chi, qigong, Daoist sex, journal/blog writing, any peaceful activity in nature (such as walking, a slow jog, gardening, sailing, biking…) – remember peaceful not competitive forms (leave those for physical exercise).
  • Sacrifice
    • Practice sacrifice, compassion and empathy for at least one other person everyday (and always for yourself)
    • For example: give time to a local charity, or, simply give a pregnant woman your seat on a crowded bus/train/subway…
      • No matter how big or small the effort – make sure the gesture is sincere/comes from your heart

Last, but most importantly, DO NOT STRESS, if you are unable to do something everyday. The trick is to SIMPLY TRY YOUR BEST everyday. Be kind to yourself. Practice will make progress.

Again this is only a short overview of body, mind, and spirit practices that have helped me maintain harmony in my life — even through the most trying of times. I hope they inspire & bring health, harmony and happiness to you. Remember, all parts of us are one in the same. Be loving to one part of yourself, and in time you (and others) will love all of you even more!

Be You (tiful)!

I was in the fashion industry for years. Therefore, I do appreciate outer/superficial beauty. And, as mentioned in my previous post, I understand its value and limitations in society. I just want to add: you can value superficial beauty. However, make sure it is be you (tiful)!

Changing fashion and beauty trends are often bizarre because they have to be different/new – to create a reason for people to buy them. If there wasn’t constantly something “new”, people would not have a constant (conditioned) need to buy (and the industry would suffer financially). The trick: learn to use the industry to your advantage – not theirs. Remember to be you (tiful).

Know: everyone has natural beauty. Everyone. The key to being a beauty is to make all your features (appear) harmonic. It is not who is the skinniest, or, who is the most voluptuous, or, who has the longest hair, or, who has the -est or –iest of anything. Any extreme, of any feature is bizarre looking. Bizarre is not beautiful. Period.

Instead of stressing yourself to be every fashion and beauty trend –est and -iest… First and foremost, just be your health-iest. Then, don’t allow fashion and beauty trends to dictate your looks (no one is beautiful in every trend). Instead, use fashion and beauty trends as experiments to figure out what makes you the most be you (tiful). Make the fashion trend your own. Don’t be afraid to tweak it to fit your personal beautifying needs.

If you are healthy – you will be beautiful! If your fashion & beauty tricks are harmonic (not extreme/trendy) – you will be breathtaking! If your are breathtaking – no one will notice if you are following a fashion trend or not! Simply be you (tiful)!

You Don’t Want Balance in your Life – You Want Harmony!

When you read English translations of ancient eastern philosophy, it is unfortunate that the word “balance” is used often – instead of the intended word – “harmony”. This has lead to the use of the word “balance” oft in western “New Age” vernacular…. Which has made it harder for western people to understand and follow the ancient lifestyle philosophies.

You don’t want “balance” in your life! Balance is a stagnant stationary point – extraordinarily hard to maintain. It is tension. In an instance, if one is not absolutely vigilant, balance will become instability, inequality, non-composure – differences. That is a stressful way to live. Who wants a life like that?

The harmony spoken about in ancient eastern philosophies is akin to musical harmony: the art of the combination of differences, into something agreeable or desired. It is not a stagnant point. It flows between while simultaneously incorporating (experiencing) the highs and lows of your life. The highs and lows are actually essential to joy you experience from a harmonious life.

There is tension in all lifestyles. Tension & stress are necessary at times. However, where as tension/stress is a constant state needed to achieve balance. Harmony is a state of constant flow; in which tension, (anger, grief… all the low notes life throws at us) are simply moments in your journey. Instead of falling off the balance beam (falling off the wagon, binge-eating, shopping-till-you-drop, having a string of illicit affairs… whatever your tension/stress response is) life simply goes on (it actually goes up). When you have mastered harmony, you have learned how not to get stuck and dwell in the mire – how not to become unbalanced. You have learned how to pick yourself up and naturally reconnect with all of life’s natural highs.

TenceBalance3

Balance is tense; harmony, flows.

HarmonicFlow