Love smells like…

I was asked: What does love smell like?

It is such an indescribable scent, I had to answer:
“Otherworldly! Harmonic! Blissful! Love smells Divine!”

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!

Beware of the Barrenness of a Busy Life.

Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.  – Socrates

We are physical beings, living in a physical (material) world. The need to pursue networks to become more successful materially (financially) – is a vital part of our survival. However, we are also beings with complex psychological and spiritual (harmonic & loving) needs as well.

Make sure to make time for deeper connections with those around you. Being busy and jumping from one chaotic work and/or social event to the next doesn’t leave time for truly understanding your needs, and/or the needs of those around you. If you can’t find time everyday, try to find time once a week (at the bare minimum) for quiet time  to focus on keeping harmony in yourself and your relationships.

Desirable love is complex, but well worth the effort. When you have harmonic loving relationships in your life, you will be stronger mentally, spiritually, physically & thus materially. Yes, materially. At the end of a chaotic busy productive day/period/life… don’t find yourself standing alone (with none who truly loves and cares for you). A life barren of love and harmony is simply put – an unsuccessful life.

Love is a Tide!

I could say if one does this, or, one does that… life, love, your physical health, your mental health and your spiritual well-being will always be what you desire them to be – healthy, happy and positive – but they won’t. I adore inspirational quotes and stories just as much as anyone, but we must remember they are only half of our life (and love) stories. Finding the love and way of being we want, actually lies not so much in learning how to recognize and appreciate the high moments – it is in fact learning how to gracefully handle life’s lowest moments.

The t(d)aoist symbol:

YinYang

which many recognize today as “yin & yang” symbolizes an ancient philosophy “the way”. It teaches that everything (every moment) in a healthy life ebbs and flows – like a tide. First the tide comes in then it goes out. Opposites. First there is day then there is night – then there is day…. Rotation. First there is joy then there is sadness then there is joy then there is sadness…. Constant (movement). In summary: All of life is a constant rotation of opposites (positives and negatives). By excepting this, one does not feel the pressure of feeling guilty when their life is not “perfect”. No one is perfect. Remembering this simple fact makes loving yourself and others so much easier!

The same eastern lifestyle philosophy believes that the lows in life are actually necessary learning tools. Lows help us develop knowledge and wisdom to later attain ever greater highs – such as in love. Remember: the lows are necessary. Although it can be hard at first, view them as learning opportunities. This mental attitude is the first step in turning a low point into your next high.

I am sure at least one person reading this post (that is now going through and/or has gone through an extended or extreme low point in their lives – physically, mentally, in love and/or spiritually) is probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah, what do you know of my suffering?” To that thought I will simply say, “I assure you, I can empathize”.

The small white dot in the sea of darkness (as seen in the ying & yang symbol above) is the first sign that the tide is changing. Learn to be able to see those positive opportunities (those rays of hope) when things are not going well. Don’t get stuck or dwell in ill health, mental anguish, a destructive relationship pattern or loss of faith in the world. As long as you continue to move forward you will find your good health, your love and your happiness again. Don’t get stuck in negative patterns!

Accept the fact that everyday is not going to be blissful. Forgive yourself when you feel that you haven’t lived up to your, your partner’s, or society’s ideal. Be thankful for what you learn when times are tough. With a mental attitude like that you will find you are healthier physically, happier and find it easier to love yourself (and others) more. Learn life and loves lessons, but try not to lose your harmony or grace, this will make even your darkest moments seem light.

Biggest Disease Today… Feeling Unloved.

The biggest disease (in) this day and age, is that of people feeling unloved. – Princess Di

Share the love in your life with others. Pay attention to them. Make sure you not only tell them, but also show those around you how special & loved they truly are. The worst feeling in the world is feeling as though you don’t matter or aren’t valued. Love is the most healing and harmonizing energy in the world. Use it.

Dedicated to lovely M.T.I. ~ Know you have always been worth loving… I am sorry your Mom was too unwell to be able to give you what you deserved… you are truly a remarkable young lady.

Open Up Your Mind, Your Body & Your Heart.

Most people are searching for love outside of themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Love is something you cultivate inside yourself – it is born from the way you think.

Unfortunately, many unintentionally let media tell them: who to love, who to hate, who to be afraid of, who to trust, what to think, and, what not to think…

If you truly want love in your life, be intentional. You can enjoy popular culture – but you don’t have to make it your religion. Instead, make your inner life your priority. If you learn how to open and cultivate your mind and your body, you will learn how to open and cultivate your heart.

When you are full of love (when you love yourself unconditionally), then you will know the true meaning of “being in love” & know how to spot the same same ability in others. Then, enjoy!

Givers Need to Set Limits Because Takers Never Do.

GiverAndTake2

Givers need to set limits because takers never do, is a tenet of a number of Eastern philosophies.

Personally, I was born in the west and raised to always “turn the other cheek”, forgive (& forget), practice unconditional love…

As a young adult, to my surprise, I often found myself in relationships where it appeared that the other person had not received the same memos. Never-the-less, due to these beliefs being ingrained in my subconscious – I merrily committed myself to the unconditional love/’til to death do we part scenario… just to find myself literally dying from trying…

In short, I still believe in forgiveness (as do Eastern philosophies). Forgiveness is not so much for the sake of the person you are forgiving, but for your own peace of mind. However, I now also believe in limits.

Don’t get me wrong. It is important to put effort into your relationships. The old adage: the best things in life don’t come easy is quite true. Relationships can grow in depth and intimacy when they survive trials and tribulations – together.

I guess that is the key. If both people are trying, a relationship is worth fighting for. However, if you find you have been the only person trying for an extended period of time… you must set a limit. “‘Til death do we part” should be interpreted as the death/loss of any part of us that makes us healthy and whole (loss of physical health, loss of joy/emotional well-being, loss of spiritual well-being). Don’t let a ‘Taker’ take parts of you. If the lack of true partnership in a relationship is killing you – forgive, grow & go.