A WHOLE-ISTIC APPROACH

It has been said that a holistic approach to our lives is needed to reach a space of balance. But what does that look like in a practical way? For me, it is comprised of the basic pillars that make up my daily experience: physical health, emotional health, food, and my space (home). These are the ways in which I can personally affect my everyday experience, and always determines how I show up in the world. Whether that’s in my personal relationships, my work, or to the stranger in the grocery store. When these aspects have been tended to in a nurturing way, I am more grounded, less agitated, and generally enjoy my own company more. Though four areas every day may seem like a lot, I usually go easy on myself and do what I can on any given day.

PHYSICAL HEALTH | Though I love a long, drawn-out hike on the weekend, during the week, physical health is usually my biggest challenge (bless those of you who wake up at 5am and make it to the gym, this will never be my reality). That being said, I can always find time for a short Pilates routine, a few yoga poses, or if nothing else, a brief series of stretches (sometimes in the kitchen!), which seems to do the trick.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH | This is a big one and one that most of us have been taught not to prioritize. I do what I can every morning to start my day in a balanced state. The quickest way for me to do this is with some deep breathing in the morning, even spending 5 minutes before I get out of bed, taking deep breaths to connect and check in, will start me off on the right foot. The next part of this is honoring what comes up for me during the day, if I get irritated or frustrated, I will process through those emotions either by myself or with a friend and then I can let it go and move on. Of course, there are days when emotions run high for one reason or another. The important thing here is to allow them to move through as opposed to suppress, bury or numb them. Most days, simply sharing them with someone you trust will defuse their intensity and if you can get to a place where you can laugh about it, that’s even better.

FOOD | I’ll be doing a post in the future on intuitive eating which is what I practice on a daily basis. This basically means paying attention to how foods make me feel, listening to my body and what it needs from me on any given day and generally making choices that feel good and satisfying. I will not punish myself, I will not restrict myself, and I don’t involve guilt or judgments like “being good” or “being bad” to enter into the equation. Eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods, always leaves me feeling more energized and less driven by cravings throughout the day.

SPACE | My home and personal space is a huge contributor to feeling a sense of balance and ease in my everyday life. A space that is uncluttered, functional, and serene does wonders to ground me regardless of what else is happening in my world. Creating a nurturing environment, whatever that looks like for you can be a rewarding way to care for ourselves.

Think about these four pillars in your own life. What small things can you do on a daily basis to tend to them in order to nurture yourself in a more “whole-listic” way.

UNDERSTANDING ENERGY

Everything is energy. So, by now, most of us have heard this a hundred times, and though we “get it”, it wasn’t until I truly absorbed this concept and put it into practice in my everyday life that I started to notice some pretty profound changes. It is now the principle that governs my life and has led to an understanding of interconnectedness and cause and effect that influences every action I take.

For me, the light bulb went on when I learned about the now famous water study conducted by researcher Masaru Emoto. If you are not familiar with the research, he basically studied crystals of water that were collected from a singular source. He then separated the water into containers and exposed them to different elements of energy such as music, phrases (labeling the containers) such as “love and gratitude”, or “you make me sick.” Finally, he photographed these highly magnified crystals to reveal that the water exposed to harmonious music and thought forms had very beautiful and balanced crystalline structures, while those exposed to difficult energies formed jagged and irregular shapes and structures. Given the fact the over 60% of the human body is made up of water, including 73% of both the heart and brain, 83% of your lungs, and 79% of your kidneys, it seemed pretty profound that the exposure to different forms of energy could literally alter the state of the structural components of our beings.

It was with this information that the gateway to energetic science opened up for me and I wanted to learn EVERYTHING. I started to become aware of things like the slogans we wear on our t-shirts. Similar to the labeled containers, these “words” had an energetic frequency and by wearing them, I was imprinting that energy into my body. Same with the things I watched on television or took in with advertising. It started to spill over into all areas of my life and I began to take notice of how I felt when I exposed myself to different situations, or how I felt around specific people. Did they make me feel good or bad, did I leave feeling energized or depleted? I then began to slowly move in the direction of the things that felt good and gently back away from the things that didn’t. I started applying this theory to food, activities, relationships, projects, work, my home, even my drive home. Did it feel better to sit on a freeway or to weave through neighborhoods and take in the sights? How did the music I was listening to make me feel? What about podcasts or movies?

This process has become my roadmap and now, over 10 years later, here are some of the changes I’ve noticed:

  • Stress is not the default state in my everyday life. Sure, there are times of stress that are unavoidable or moments in the day that can be unnerving, but in general, I am not “stressed out”. What’s even better is that when those times of stress inevitably emerge, I am in a stronger place and better equipped to handle what comes my way.

  • By choosing the people and things that fill me up, I’ve simplified my life. I also no longer over schedule myself or commit to things I don’t truly want to do. I don’t put pressure on myself to complete tasks that don’t really matter.

  • I am healthier. I rarely get sick anymore. When I start feeling run down, I stop. I do the things I need to to take care of myself instead of pushing through and feeling miserable in the process.

  • I have a clearer mind. It’s no longer cluttered with things like bad news, fearful headlines, chaos, and stress inducing programming that I used to take in automatically. Creating some distance between myself and that type of energy has left me feeling more relaxed, less agitated, and oddly more in control of my life.

  • I question everything. I no longer automatically believe statistics or something someone told me they heard somewhere, or the latest study saying that what was good for me last week will kill me this week. I take the time to experiment with ideas myself, to entertain the things that make sense to me and disregard the things that don’t, regardless of which expert says what.

  • Mostly, I live life in the moment. When with friends, they have my full attention. When I’m home cooking dinner, I’m enjoying the process. I try to stay present on my commute home, taking in the weather, looking at the trees, checking out the neighborhoods, or enjoying a podcast that feels uplifting.

  • The quality of my relationships are richer. Gone are the constant complainers, the criticizers, the drama queens, the people who seem to always be unhappy and unfulfilled. Of course, we all have these moments from time to time, so it’s not about running away every time someone has a moment, but rather recognizing how I feel around them in general. Do I usually leave feeling exhausted and drained or do I leave feeling uplifted and energized. Do I feel loved and supported in general, or is there an undercurrent of competition and envy. Over time, it becomes pretty clear who to move toward and who to step away from.

  • Freeing up more room mentally and focusing consciously on things that enrich my life has created space for me to be more connected to myself. I can step back and understand my behavior, as well as the behavior of others, with more clarity and compassion. I’m less likely to be reactive and can resolve conflicts in relationships in a way I am proud of. The other benefit of being more connected to myself has been a staggering increase in my intuition and understanding of the greater world around me. This, in of itself, has been worth all of the work.

Though I have SO many more things to work on and through, understanding how energy works in my life has caused me to make some profound changes that have laid the foundation for further growth and healing as this journey unfolds.