Sometimes it's clear we've passed a milestone, and sometimes we miss them because we're distracted, or didn't know there was a milestone to see...
One reason we love traveling is the novelty or "newness" of the moments we get. Our minds crave this, and most of the time we're in a constant state of trying to find it. The funny thing is, this "newness" is happening right under our noses. Nature wants us to notice these changes. So how do we find this inspiration and excitement in our "everyday life?"
On any given day, there's a lot to do, isn't there? So much happens before we even consider that our day has "started." We go through the motions on autopilot, each Tuesday morning seems like the previous Tuesday morning. But is this true? If so, what are we doing it all for? The weekend, retirement, a big vacation, our name on a plaque somewhere, something else?
When we think we have a lot of time left, we get good at putting important things off - "I'll get to that stuff later." When we think we don't have a lot of time left, we start to question whether we spent our time well - "Should I have put in so much time at the office all those years?" If we're either putting the important things off, or wondering if we did enough important things, when do we really get to live? And what does it mean to really live?
I think this is where the idea of mindfulness can help us. Being mindful of the moment we're in right now, means we're really living right now! Being mindful of ourselves gives us the chance to notice, and decide how to respond to the constant changes in our life.
If you have an interest in mindfulness, but haven't settled into a routine yet, I invite you to try an app like Headspace or Stop, Breathe, and Think. Our phones have become inextricable parts of who we are, so we might as well make friends.
Good Health is Built Like an Empire
In general, when your health changes quickly, it's not good. Years of wear, tear, and abuse can't be reversed overnight. For that to happen, we've got to make tiny steps in a single direction.
What you're seeing in this photo (besides Nicole's and my feet) are cobblestones outside the Colosseum in Rome. The Colosseum is roughly 2000 years old, so I imagine these stones have been there since at least then. I distinctly remember having the feeling of being connected to all of humankind while I was taking this photo. Imagine the many millions of feet that have stood on this very spot!
Looking around a city like Rome it's clear to see where the cliche "Rome wasn't built in a day" comes from. Even the Colosseum had scaffolding around it for repairs while we were there. Our health is much the same - small decisions to eat this, rather than that, respond with curiosity, rather than anger - these decisions build the "Rome" that is our health.
Sometimes it's helpful to imagine what we'll "be" when we get to our goal. But many times the thousands of steps it will take to get there seem overwhelming. Focus instead on this step, now. Commit to just one step, and take it. The challenge of taking a step goes down the more of them we take.
Michael Stanclift, N.D.
Naturopathic Doctor - Carlsbad, California
When it comes to dealing with "our issues" (unpleasant emotions, events, or thoughts) many of us believe we should just sweep that under the rug and remain positive. "Keep calm and carry on," right? Unfortunately, this kind of attitude can have terrible consequences on our health.
Our brains, like other organs in our bodies, have changing demands, and they are built to adjust to changes in demand.
I remember the first time I met eyes with the "Dutchman." His stare was steady but soft, tinged with strength and fragility. It was clear he had tasted financial success and fame, but something wasn't all right with him.
This time of year can be an excellent opportunity for reflection and inner work. Below are three principles that can help us prepare and endure the season and holidays to come.
Our minds crave novelty, connection and meaning and our everyday life can feel dull when nothing "pops out" at us. Mindfulness is a habit of noticing, without being carried away by our internal dialogue.