Pray & you are speaking, MEDITATE & you are listening…

Pray & you are speaking, MEDITATE & you are listening…

When faced with a challenge in life, regardless of your denomination or belief system, we tend to reach out for a miracle, sometimes, we may in frustration state that our ‘prayers’ are NOT being answered, but do we ever listen? Meditation, for a long while, is no longer a whooo whooo practice, rather, a sense of flow in your life, if YOU allow it to be.

Ever received a beautifully wrapped gift, that which lifts your heart and brings a smile to your eyes AND lips? I liken that to the day I truly embraced meditation, it was as if an immediate realization of it’s importance AND the positive impact on my energy took place like a beautiful symphony. Some may still call it mystical [it is], magical [it is] or whooo whooooooo…. call it as you may, its possibly the best way in which you can actually hear all that is murmur in your heart. Now, this is NOT a religious discussion, in fact, it is an honestly written blog about my experience, it is me sharing my thoughts on something which is available, for FREE to anyone who takes the time to lay down the pre-determined idea of something they may not have given a moments thought to.

I was raised to say my prayers before I go to bed at night, then motivated to say it at any time of day, as time progressed, I honestly thought that these pleadings and converse was falling on deaf ears, no matter how my parents explained it. Sadly, nobody advised me to LISTEN… Yes, I had intuition tugging at my gut that there is more to this than prayers meeting the ears of who they meant for, but my lack of response led me to be a complete non-believer of all sorts by age 34… So, what changed? Someone once advised me to LISTEN… I found this slightly comical as I for sure did not hear any resounding reverberations at any time, and, my life and lack of acknowledgment of ANY greater good was not going too great, perfect for me to cling to my non-belief.  

One day a friend told me to test ‘all that is'[I use this term to ensure I offend nobody, that is not this blog post or my intention].  TEST! ALL! THAT! IS!!??? You must be kidding!??? There is none such energy… Oddly, this was suggested at possibly the toughest time in my life and indirectly the test would determine my ability to listen and acknowledge the power of listening, not just to the advice of a dear friend but so too when the test turned out in my favor. Skeptical me, I did it again, once again I was answered, not verbally but the pure creative expression on earth of my desired result. My heart started to turn, started to awaken to the possibility that the acceptance and allowance of energy to flow to us and through us was as clear a voice as one which is heard.

Slowly but surely I started meditating, here there and on odd occasions, making space for the possibility that if I open my heart I may just BE in a better place. 10 years later I was advised to take on this practice of silently sitting a little more in earnest, daily for a minimum of 15 minutes. The idea of implementing this on a daily basis did bring about a sense of anxiety, after all, how was I going to manage to cleave out 15 minutes EVERY day in an already hectic schedule??? Throwing my doubt of achieving this out the window, I committed to doing this for at least a month and then to make the decision whether, as the habit of drinking at least 2.5 liters to 3 liters of water a day, I would continue.  

The rest, as they say, is history, now I meditate daily, a minimum of 15 minutes, MY TIME and all that is is always invited in. The next obvious question is of course, what has been the difference? Have tough challenges abated? Has my world turned around? Is it all magical and positive? Nope, not at all, in fact, challenges continue, how I react to them is completely different, my world has turned around possibly it has more to do with the fact that I now react differently to the challenges. Is there magic and is it positive, I believe so, again, possibly what I choose to see seems magical AND positive. Some may say is that it? For the daily time invested, it seems a little lackluster? For me, not so, for me it is absolute ease and peace within, joy and the riches of life that allow my heart to sing once more, to find positive in all I see do and think does not have a price.

If you lived in the time of Mary, Queen of Scots, you may have been burnt at the stake or beheaded for having the belief that energy is available to you and through you, available for you to harness and bring about a more joyous life, now however there is a reach for open-mindedness, a knowingness that every thought we have has an impact on the life we live (and create), that miracles happen every day and yes we too have a hand in it, that meditation could be the key in quietening the mind long enough to get out of our own way and allowing a good life to follow.

There are many available resources on how to meditate and what to do how to breath etc. Find what YOU are comfortable with, for me breathing is REALLY important, 6 seconds in and 6 seconds out, this concentration of breathing allows you to focus on that instead of the odd thoughts floating in and out. In the beginning, these thoughts seem to drift a little too long, do not try to fight it, rather acknowledge their existence and let them move along. Start with around 5 minutes and work your way up to a comfortable time but be consistent. Trust me after a while of sitting to do this you will become possessive of this ‘YOU-time‘ which is GREAT!  

Not finding the answers you want in life? Really wondering if there is ANYBODY out there? Start with the quiet voice within, the beating of your heart and allow your mind, body, and soul to open to the beautiful flow of energy that allows you to BE.

Listen carefully and watch your world transform…

Are we dying of thirst?

Are we dying of thirst?

Ever wondered what a lack of water does to your body besides feeling thirsty, how about angina (heart) pain, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, leg ache, colitis pain, and migraines are ALL warning signals of dehydration… Are we dying of thirst?

My mind shudders if I think I spent the first 38 years of my life possibly living on a single glass of water a day if that! Most of my life I was in effect dehydrated… NOW my intake varies around 2.5 liters to 3 liters a day as much realization and appreciation of water grew over the years. Possibly my want to rid my body of the excess non watered fat drove me to accept my coaches’ demand to increase my water intake daily. THANK GOODNESS for that journey and that awareness created within me. I reached a point where if I didn’t have water close by I felt anxious. I became DEPENDENT on my intake and have been since then.

This led me to research the WHY behind the IMPORTANCE of water in our bodies and also made me aware of the fact that our pharmaceutical giants don’t agree that WATER is a saving grace pre ANY illness… I wonder why???!

Nerdy as I am, my investigation continued and I eventually focused in on the requirement of water in digestion realizing that as my water intake improved on a daily basis so did my weight loss… it has been shown that as water passes into the intestine it is absorbed immediately, and within a half an hour that an equivalent amount is pumped into your stomach to be used for food breakdown… yes digestion of food DEPENDS on water, and enough of it. With water, digestive enzymes and digestive acids allow food to be broken down for it to pass into the intestine for the next stage of digestion. Water provides the one and only natural guard against the relentless stomach acid produced in safeguarding the walls of your tummy. Now let’s take this one step further. Let’s say you are not the greatest water drinker, the acid ravages a war against your stomach walls and the route to pain relief… ANTACIDS added to that the milligrams of aluminum present in some antacids and the continual use of this to resolve the pain has been linked to brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease.

Should we be drinking water? For sure!!!

I have had clients share their concerns with constipation when taking on a regulated diet and my very first question to each of them is: “How much water are you ACTUALLY drinking a day?”, usually it is followed by a frown then a sheepish look of disdain as they realize they have not got even close to their required amount… a week later I ask how the blocked tunnel is behaving and they start grinning… most say that since they actually measured their water intake the use of the tunnel has been in perfect working order…

Your body has protective mechanisms in place, one being to ensure water is squuueeeeezed out of the excrement making it’s way down the intestine, after all, waste not, want not. In steps DEHYDRATION… without water, getting this mass of byproduct down the tunnel becomes a little, how do I say this? HARDER! Then lunchtimes food is on its way, again minus the required water, at this stage, there is sufficient pain in your lower left abdomen for you to cry CONSTIPATION!! In goes any medication to rectify the rectal anus situation with the associated chemical load for your body to deal with… all it takes is WATER! Drink that and wave laxatives goodbye…

I can go on to share the same type of stories regarding the lack of water, that is dehydration and how it has an impact on the emergence of hiatus hernia, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, neck pain, angina pain, and headaches… the list goes on. I can keep listing the negative effect of dehydration and the importance of water over and over again, but many people will argue that no answer to health challenges can be this simple… well I would like to add that if water was taken efficiently throughout our lives our health and balance within our bodies would not be at risk as we age AND we would look younger than ever as even our skin needs every drop supplied! If it is that simple to keep yourself healthy in a world of fast food and preservatives, why not drink up? And I AM referring to water, pure water, not cool drinks or coffee and tea, ANYTHING that has an added element in it is NOT water.

If we understand the basics that our body requires water in every cell, organ, and tissue, it helps regulate temperature besides bodily functions. We lose water consistently through digesting, sweating, breathing and quietly through transportation of every vital element required to live. Besides air, water is right up there to support your ability to live.

How on earth can you determine if you have enough water in your body? One way is to pinch and hold the back of your skin for a couple of seconds, release it and if it falls back to normal, know that your hydration is good, if not, then pay attention to your water intake.

Water = health

Going through the detail above, lets look at a few obvious signs of dehydration which are the following:

DRY MOUTH

When water hits your mouth, mucous membranes in it and your throat light up and continue to keep your mouth moist for some time after. Without sufficient water in your body, your mouth is your first indicator.

SORE JOINTS

If we understand that the cartilage and spinal discs are 80% water we will also understand that without water the bones end up grating against each other. With the right quantity of water in your body, your shocks would be in perfect working order, keep water in your body and joints will ease up.

DRY EYES

Without water, our eyes end up bloodshot and dry due to tear ducts drying up. If you feel this, do drink that glass of water.

WANT FOR WATER

Ever felt that you more water than you can possibly get in? Maybe with a slight hangover on waking up? When alcohol dehydrates our body demands copious amounts of water, the brain sends the signals… The brains want for water may be that it is largely made up of it, listen to its instruction to ensure safeguarding it.

STAYING SICK?

If you are struggling to shake off illness, or possibly find yourself consistently struggling with colds and flu’s, start upping your water intake. This allows for the continuous flushing of toxins. Water allows the organs responsible for filtering to do their work, if there is an absence of water your organs end up pulling water from your blood, this then is causative of other problems, other health challenges which can be avoided, drink up!

DRY SKIN

A lack of water leads to a lack of sweat and therefore your body’s ability to not get rid of impurities. Skin is your largest organ and it signals when there is not enough water in your body, if it is dry, it is a problem and sign of dehydration.

CONSTIPATED

Simply and politely put, no water in the colon leads to no lubrication, leads to constipation… if there is no water the digestive process cannot take place, besides constipation, we start lacking the vitamins and minerals needed in our bodies.

LESS TOILET BREAKS REQUIRED?

Not needing to take those loo breaks may be a clear signal of dehydration, besides this, the color needs to be just right, a light yellow, if not, water needs to be your first go to. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, water needs to be your best friend forever. Increase your water intake and keep it at least at 2 liters a day.

CONSISTENTLY TIRED?

When your body is lacking water, your blood gets hijacked of water resources, this leads to a lack of oxygen which basically ends in wanting to sleep and fatigue. Does that late afternoon crash start taking over the day? Then do drink up – water preferably.

WEIGHT LOSS STRUGGLE?

Is your body crying out for food? It may think it NEEDS food if it is not hydrated. Midnight snacking? This happens due to water demand first and foremost, not food, but our bodies interprets it in this way.

It is imperative to include water as part of your daily intake. If you struggle with water, decide to take it on as a new habit, start with a minimum of 8 glasses a day and slowly increase to at least 2.5 liters a day. Place a reminder on your phone, start making it a habit to have water consistently throughout the day and sooner than later you will find 2.5 liters easy. It is after all for your health and wellbeing!

What is weighing us down?

What is weighing us down?

Ever stood in front of your clothes cupboard being at a loss for words, so too at a loss for clothes none of which are flattering? In an instant, you loathe the choices available but realize that not dressing is also NOT an option… Then you loathe yourself and realize you really need to figure out what is weighing you down?

Now CLEARLY, there is an internal [albeit silent] realization that what is weighing you down IS the extra weight sitting around your hips and all we can do is ask HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???  How DID this excess creep up so unnoticed over the years? Or did we notice it but decided to quietly look the other way? Now, of course, we are all grown-ass individuals and cannot possibly be naive enough to not realize the role we play in our choices and hence the outcome we were heading towards, but human nature prompts us to look for the reasoning behind the fat cells bloating EVERYWHERE else except within.  

This numbing space in life is also fondly referred to as a ‘COMFORT ZONE’ problem with this is that it is exactly the opposite of the truth… There is no comfort in this haze of self-pity and contemplation, it quietly leads to the break down of self-love and self-esteem, day by day, kilogram by kilogram. We truly turn a blind eye to the facts and then face our clothes cupboard daily until we find the strength and courage to drop the excuses and ‘find ourselves’ again [beware the ‘self-help’ gurus, it does start with us and generally ends there too].  

As we leave the question behind “How did this happen?”, we start facing the facts that SOMETHING needs to be done as soon as possible. Let us forget the questions and focus on the answer, right? Some people have the capacity to DO SOMETHING before it gets totally out of control. In my life as a wellness coach, I have crossed many paths with clients who WAIT… AND WAIT... until their deteriorating health starts ticking like a time bomb ready to bring their daily activities to a halt. Some wizened individuals pick up on the tick-tock timeously, preventing the bomb from exploding. This is a fact I have always pondered on, when is enough ENOUGH?  Why is it that some people are SO AWARE of their expanding girth whilst others, me included, got to the point of feeling like a wounded buffalo before taking on the much-required change?

As weight is gained, why do some people see it sooner than later?
As weight is gained, why do some people see it sooner than later?

Reflecting on my childhood, I thought it would be good to start with blaming my parents, [after all, the blame game is something easily played when you cannot understand or get to grips with your personal journey]. Honestly, they struggled with THEIR weight [and health] throughout life, surely that means I should struggle too. Then, their UNCONDITIONAL LOVE of myself and my brother REGARDLESS of our expanding size made us blissfully unaware of our greater than average size. In my office, many conversations later, as one client after another crossed my threshold on to my scale, I started realizing that those children who were brought up in homes KNOWING their weight, being scale aware (but not obsessive) were the ones that arrived at my door with a maximum of 10kgs to drop. And at 10kgs overweight, they were horrified at their size, horrified that they could let themselves get out of control to such an extent. Then there were the others, again, me included, who got to 40kgs on the hefty side and then realized, “oh my shattered nerves, I need to DO SOMETHING!!“. The ones that waited and waited thinking their genes are to blame or their sedentary office job was the reason and nothing could or would change. These are the people, like me, who cannot tell you what they weighed in their teenage years, also the people that were not counseled about the dangers of weight gain, whose parents did not want them to feel body aware… So here is the better question? Being body aware [yes there is a fine line to being obsessive] and keeping a check on your weight to ensure you live a healthy lifestyle to a ripe old age even if here and there you need to pull back the reigns and partake in a regulated diet to drop a dress size, or, those individuals that are oblivious of their Heffalump status based on their parents [yes, parents, including mine did so ONLY lovingly] assuring them that it is not about what you look like but your heart, the individuals who continue to obliviously pack on the kilos until they are red-faced and huffing in front of the doctor who is writing out a prescription for cholesterol tablets. This is where it gets even more interesting, personally, feeling well-loved and accepted as I was, I NEVER saw my size, even years into my then marriage, I was oblivious of my waistline, only the honesty of my then-husband of: “rather NOT!” when I squeezed myself into a bikini made me stop and realize I had a weight issue. Now, NEVER having to deal with such a personal realization resulted in me not knowing how to deal with it AT ALL!  Physically and emotionally I had taken a knock. I did not have the tools to deal with this ‘new space’ I found myself in, and like Eve when she bit into ‘that apple’ my world fell apart slowly but surely. That all-encompassing unconditional love I had felt from my parents now seemed a far cry away from facing the reality of what I was allowing my body to become. Now like Eve, I understood the wrongs and boy did I dig into myself emotionally. When I could not figure it out, it was after all the first time that I was facing such a dilemma, I started looking externally for the possible reasons for my weight gain in the first place, besides blaming the genes. I looked at my lack of physical activity, my poor food choices, my now ex-husband, my plate sizes, the fashion industry and their hand in poor self-esteem [I was far from the model size promoted in magazines and movies after all]. I attacked everything that could remotely have any hand to play in the game of life I was living. After going through diets, gaining weight back again, and starting diets over and over again [on a Monday of course], I shifted to the next stage of “what is weighing me down? -STILL“.

Clearly, if I was continuing to gain weight, drop weight and so on, clearly then I could not keep blaming my parents, blaming society, blaming the diets for I was now informed, enlightened and educated about better health and wellness? What WAS STILL weighing me down???? Why was this a continuous battle? I could not accept that being FAT and FEELING like a wounded buffalo in the process was my life journey, there had to be more to it. It seemed as if I was reliving the nightmare of the bulge over and over again. It was around this point in time that I read something written by Peter F. Drucker, he said, 

Courage, rather than analysis, dictates a truly important rule for identifying priorities. Pick the future against the past. Focus on opportunity rather than on problems, choose your own direction rather than climb on the band wagon and aim high, aim for something that will make a difference, rather than for something that is safe and easy to do.

Up until this point with regards to my weight, I had gone into analysis paralysis about my health and weight, never had I identified the priorities, never had I picked the future against the past, in fact, I kept replaying the past, dissecting it in the ‘hope’ of a better future, never had I aimed high, being so caught up in the vicious cycle I found myself in. I also realized I had made plenty of assumptions, based on my not so successful battle against the bulge and each assumption I had made was not conducive to righting the present or the future. I was in fact caught up in the past, it was eternally repeating itself like a stuck record. I had placed myself in a difficult situation. This was the honesty record I had to set straight. I had spent so much time trying to find out what made me tick [incorrectly] that I had lost the plot completely. 

Maybe even with the fact that my parents never made me scale, weight and health aware, they did place emphasis on love, love of self and those around you. Slowly the light in my dim outlook came on. The foundation of love started to trump the shadows I kept chasing. I realized that if I had that as my foundation, I could and would get out of any difficulty [thank you Mom and Dad]. J. Sidlow Baxter wrote in Awake My Heart; 

What is the difference between an obstacle and adversity? Our attitude towards it. Every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity.

I realized that I had seen everything as a difficulty, as an obstacle and with it came PLENTY of adversity. Needless to say, my attitude with regards to it was not the greatest. In fact, I really BELIEVED that I was dealt a shocking hand of cards and such was my fate. I made the decision to see no further difficulties, only opportunities, I realized what was weighing me down when it came to my weight was MYSELF, my thoughts, my belief system… Working with so many individuals on their individual journeys I also realized I was NOT THE ONLY ONE. We all seem to reach for the answers outside of ourselves. We look for what is weighing us down in our external environments, we dwell on it, we embrace it, never to put it down, never to draw that really important ‘line in the sand’ to start afresh and focus on your current day and thereby rebuild a better tomorrow. I am sure you have all heard about burning the dietary wagon, AKA giving up on getting rid of unwanted fat? After we realize we have gained an excessive amount of weight, we decide to do something about the weight and around that time, [of course!] our bestest friend decides to have a birthday slap bang in the middle of our journey to wellness. We promise ourselves we will be good until we are offered that first glass of red wine and then we completely forget that we are on diet. By the next morning, we have literally thrown the diet manual out the window and decided to GIVE UP. So doing, we perpetuate the downward spiral and find ourselves clawing our way out of it a couple of months later. This is atypical of NEVER drawing the line in the sand. Once you take control back and NOT allow life to bully you into submission, no friends birthday will be the cause of your weight gain, in fact NOTHING will drive you to that every again because for once you KNOW, that you KNOW that regardless of where you are with regards to your girth size, you are taking each day as it comes, having a better day seeing only opportunities, allowing today to flow into tomorrow, ANOTHER GOOD DAY until you have rewired the outcomes of your tomorrows in such a way that nothing of today could possibly negatively impact the outcome of tomorrow. This may seem a simple narrative, it may seem of no great consequence, trust me, IT IS.  

How do we say no thank you to the birthday cake?
How do we say no thank you to the birthday cake?

Have you ever sat down for a cup of coffee with a friend only to find out that all and everything seems to be going wrong in their lives, that one ‘thing’ led to another and another? The entire conversation dwells in the space of doom and gloom, there seems no way out, ever heard the saying ‘history repeats itself’? As a doting friend we tend to empathetically give advise, solace to this dear friend and their struggles, sadly we add to the negative energy and sooner than later the stew of emotions weighs heavily to the negative side of the scale. Soon after the fateful cup of tea, a follow-up call opens new bad news and so it goes on. No line has been drawn. We have helped perpetuate the past into the future and our friend sharing has done the same.  

So how do we change what is weighing us down? It is this simple. Make the decision to draw that line in the sand. The change may not happen immediately, or the next day, or the next month, but that line is a conscious awareness that becomes the anchor on every day. Sooner than later, the tide starts to turn, IF WE ALLOW IT if our focus is on the opportunities of change that DO EXIST. No matter the situation you find yourself in, delving into the past and massive amounts of self-reflection and introspection are NOT ENOUGH, pause there for a short while ONLY. It is all about that one decision daily as you wake up; that today, is a good day, that you are the grateful victor of this day and definitely the luckiest person alive. Get rid of the blame game and be knowledgeable of the fact that you set the pace, your acceptance of a positive day before it starts sets the pace for the day and the day to follow. The seemingly offensive chokehold life has over you slowly dissipates, doors open and the universe conspires to make EVERYTHING BETTER, LIGHTER, including the weight that is weighing you down.

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