by Jennifer Kaiser
Let’s face it folks, unless you’re the Pope or Mother Theresa, most of us tend to have a skeleton or two in our closets. But the ghosts of our past are simply that, and like everything else in our closets, we too can change. We have the ability to throw away old patterns of behavior like they were holey socks and to walk a brand-new path toward wholeness. Like the butterfly, it just takes a little time in our cocoons to reflect on how we would like to be when we finally emerge. But we too can learn to fly if we only set our minds to it.
Getting Past the Past:
Are you the same person you were ten years ago? Five years ago? Last year even? I’m guessing the answer to that is no, so then why do we hold on to our pasts like they are our favorite shirt from high school or those jeans we don’t fit into anymore? Sure, the past changes us and molds us into the people we are today, but it is up to us to move beyond our past and be the people we want to be in the future. They say that “Yesterday is the Past, Tomorrow is the Future, but Today is a Gift. That’s why it’s called the Present.” And we should choose to use these gifts to be all that we can be. Some may think, “Oh, I’m hopeless. There’s no point in me trying to better myself because I’m always going to be the same, worthless me.” But you’re wrong! No one is worthless, and no one is beyond the point of no return (unless you’re a serial killer, then you’re kind of pushing it). Everyone has a place and a purpose in this world, and it’s up to us to figure out what that is for ourselves.
Belief and Action:
On one hand, while believing in yourself and having faith are huge parts of making life changes, “You can wish in one hand, and $h!t in the other, and see which fills up first.” Action is the other major aspect of making lasting changes. You can want to do something all you want, but until you actually do it, you don’t really get anywhere do you? They also say that insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But where there’s a will there’s a way! (I could go on for days with these cheesy cliches😊) If there is a change in your life that you really want to make, then you will find a way to make it. Sometimes it may take a while and a step or two backwards, but eventually, if you put in the effort, you will accomplish the goals you are trying to reach. And sometimes, in order to get there and go from where we were to where we want to be, it takes a little bit of healing, on a number of levels.
Healing for the Mind, Body, and Spirit:
Healing can take place in numerous aspects of our being. Whether it be physically by changing our nutrition habits and activity levels, mentally by practicing stress-reduction methods or by doing brain-teaser challenges, or emotionally by… working out whatever emotions you may be having trouble with. Healing on a holistic level literally means incorporating the “whole” and not just one part of the healing process. The Mind, Body, and Spirit are connected as a whole, and it is important that they are treated as such.
Your body is your temple, and you should take care of it as best as you can so that it doesn’t crumble beneath your feet as it gets older. Proper nutrition and adequate physical activity are highly important in any healing process. If your body does not have the nutrients that it needs to function correctly then, well, things are going to be… off. On a biochemical level our brains and bodies need a certain amount of macro- and micronutrients each day or they begin to malfunction. It’s basically like trying to drive a car with a gas tank full of maple syrup. Not going to go very far. But when supplied with high-quality fuel and oil, that car will run like brand new.
A good acronym to use is S.O.U.L. food. Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed, and Local. Different foods grow in different seasons for a reason. The nutrients provided in those types of foods are what our bodies require at certain times of the year. For example, watermelon grows in the summer and is made up of mostly water… because we need more water in the summer. Likewise, winter foods are heartier because we need the extra calories during the cold season. Eating foods that are “out of season” also generally means that they were produced by semi-un-natural means. Which leads us to Organic. Eating organic foods helps to reduce the amount of chemicals put into your body, which we now know could also potentially lead to cancer. Same thing with processed foods. By eating foods that are Unprocessed, you remove any artificial preservatives, colorings, etc. and consume the food in its most whole and healthy form. And by purchasing as many foods Locally as possible, you reduce the distance your food has to travel to get to you, thus reducing the fuel, emissions, etc. that it took to reach your local store. Plus, Local, Organic foods tend to be more nutritious and taste much better due to being vine-ripened and well cared for. Not like I am biased though; I am just a simple organic farmer. 😊
Every person is different in the amounts of each type of nutrient they need, but you can find information about healthy eating patterns and a helpful guideline for the Recommended Daily Intake at https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/ You can also find further information on which foods contain different vitamins and minerals from sources such as https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-best-foods-for-vitamins-and-minerals as well as through simple Google searches. Once you have all of this information, you would then just need to make some adjustments based on your current height, weight, age, climate, activity levels, and desired weight goals (if any).
Physical activity is highly important to humans. We are meant to be mobile, active beings in touch with nature, not sedentary cave dwellers. The incidences of illness due to inactivity and lack of vitamin D (sunshine) in this country have grown exponentially along with the increases of technology and household luxury items. Not saying a little luxury is a bad thing, but when you let it get in the way of your health, there may be a problem. And while vitamin deficiencies can be addressed through supplementation, you can’t take a pill to get a good workout. That is something you have to put in the effort towards if you want to see/feel results. However, it may surprise some people to know that you do not have to go to a gym to get exercise. Most forms of physical activity can be considered exercise, depending on the level of effort that it involves. For instance, cleaning your house can be a great work out! Taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work (as long as you don’t work in a skyscraper), parking a little farther away so that you have to walk a few extra steps. Simple things can add up to the adequate amount of physical activity needed each day. You could also go a step further and include activities such as swimming, hiking, dancing, cycling, yoga, tai chi, karate, kickboxing, skiing, roller-skating, roller-derby… the options are endless! Activities like these can be great ways to do something you enjoy while getting a little needed exercise too.
As a supplement to nutrition, herbs and spices can be a wonderful addition to get your body into optimal condition. Several categories of herbs can be utilized for various purposes to help your body run at tip top shape, such as Adaptogen herbs. These types of herbs help balance your hormone levels and adapt better to stress. These are herbs such as American Ginseng, Astragalus root, Licorice root, Goji berries, and Holy Basil. Other types of herbs that may be beneficial are Tonic or Longevity herbs. Tonic herbs help to tone, restore, and invigorate the bodily systems and promote general health and well-being. Whereas Longevity herbs do exactly as their name suggests, promote superior health and a long life. Many herbs like these can be taken over long periods of time for overall health and wellness, but other types of herbs, such as Alteratives, are meant to cause a specific effect, and once that effect is achieved, use should be discontinued in order to not throw things off balance too far in the opposite direction. There are also the often-overlooked Culinary herbs. Herbs and spices like garlic, salts, peppers, basil, cilantro, and parsley (just to name a few) are some of the most medicinal herbs known to man. But because we use them so often, we tend to take them for granted. But by properly incorporating herbs into your diet, you infuse your life with the different life essences of these great plants, while also making some pretty tasty medicine.
Like herbs, some people may think that crystals and gemstone are nothing but hokum or nonsense. But scientifically speaking, the different minerals that crystals are composed of do hold energetic or magnetic properties. And when placed nearby or on your body, they can affect the magnetic fields and energies within our bodies. Sometimes our energies get out of balance and this can be a great method of restoring that balance. Getting more into the ancient properties, the various colors and densities of crystals (due to their geological make up) are associated with different parts of the body based on the ancient chakra systems. Such as how green or pink crystals like Unakite or Rose Quartz are associated with the heart, because the heart chakra is also green. Or how Amethyst is associated with the Crown chakra because they are both purple. Likewise, opposite colors can be used to produce an opposite effect when certain parts of the body are out of balance. Crystals, when used in conjunction with herbs and other healing methods, can produce incredible healing results throughout the Mind, Body, and Spirit.
Sometimes, the Mind and Spirit can be a little harder to heal than the body. The challenges we face in life can leave us scarred worse than anything can on the physical level. However, these wounds too must be healed, for the lingering emotions that result from traumatic past experiences can actually create manifestations in a physical form. These typically occur as illness or disease. For instance, feelings of being unloved and unnurtured (which generally reside in the chest and heart area) can possibly result in breast cancer or heart disease. Or, somebody who was sexually abused may find themselves experiencing reproductive failure later in life. These are just examples of how holding on to the emotions from our pasts can affect our futures. The negativity that comes from recalling past traumas creates blockages in the natural flow of our body’s energies. If this continues for long periods of time, it is similar to losing blood flow to a region of your body for too long. But by working on healing the pain from long ago (or possibly even recent events) you can free your Mind, Body, and Spirit from any residual effects. And, please, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance if it’s needed. The stigmas surrounding mental health are being shattered due to recent world events. Counseling and therapy are not seen as the bad guys they once were. But nonetheless you should never be ashamed or afraid to seek help. We all need it sometimes.
Once you put in place all the changes you wanted to make in your life and you are well on your way to becoming the best you possible, where do you go from here? How do you put it all together to transform your life into a success story instead of a work-in-progress? One day at a time baby! Relapses are an inevitable part of the growing process and they should be viewed as opportunities to improve instead of proof of eternal failure. You slip, get back up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward. That is how you make lasting changes in life. By working at it a little every day and never giving up. Then once you do get to a point where you feel comfortable that you will never go back to your old ways again, give back. Help teach others how to overcome the hurdles of their lives to be the people they want to be. You could volunteer at charity organizations or speak at public events if that is something you feel comfortable doing. Find your passion and look for ways that it can help better your community or others in need.
The key is to keep moving forward and not lose heart if you take a step or two backwards along the way. There are numerous ways to heal yourself and better yourself, it just takes the desire to want to do so. Desire, accompanied by action, will always give us the same level of results as the amount of effort we put in towards reaching that desire. Set goals for yourself, then break down your Big goals into smaller, timely, easily attainable goals that you can start working on to get you on the right path towards your ultimate goal. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything at once, just take things one step at a time. Life is notorious for throwing us a curve ball when we least expect it, but as long as we shake it off, straighten ourselves out, and keep batting, then we are bound to hit a home run.