Self-Care

 

When I was in my late twenties, after years of trying different diets, I made a commitment  to stop attacking myself over this thing called being overweight. My first act? Getting rid of the judge and jury I submitted to every day. Better known, as the bathroom scale. My second act was to begin the lifelong process of looking more deeply inside for why I was using food the way I was. Decades later I understand a lot more about where that initial impulse to change came from.

It wasn’t about measuring up to some external, or even internal, standard. It wasn’t about getting something, or becoming something that I wasn’t already.

It was about remembering. About turning towards, and putting back together, an inherent Truth that was already built into me. My ability to care for myself came with me at birth. It is hardwired in. It comes with me everywhere I go; remaining throughout my life as an essential aspect of my ability to not only survive, but to thrive.

Has it been derailed? Yes. Forgotten? Absolutely. Misled? For sure. Lost for good? Never.

We are mammals. We all instinctively know what works for us, and what doesn’t. As humans though, we have to contend with our own growing up where real human needs were not always honored, recognized, and met. Leaving us too often believing the wrong things about what we need, how to take care of ourselves, and where to look when we are hurting and confused. We also have to contend with the fact that we live in a culture that actively works against us taking better care of ourselves. Except of course where self-care is being increasingly monetized in the form of the big business that is growing up around our doubt and confusion around who we are and what we need. Selling us not only lots of stuff, but worst of all, the belief that we don’t know what we are doing.

One more place in our life where we aren’t doing it right. Aren’t doing enough. Need something outside of us to be the truth of who we are.

Where to begin then in the midst of this? We begin from within, and we begin with what is most simple. But in order to get to what is basic and built in, we must first bypass all of the erroneous conditioning and unsound advice around self-care. We can do that with a simple question. Not one that needs to be answered right away, but instead, one that is contemplated, considered, and referred to.

What needs to go in your life? What punitive and critical “scale” do you use with yourself that not only beats you up, but keeps you from being with yourself in a real and deep way?

Magic Bullets

 

Not long ago, a friend was frustrated that she was just learning now from mainstream media about the healthful impact Vitamin D has on overall immune functioning. Specifically when it comes to the virus of the moment. At first, I felt uplifted with the knowledge that other effective approaches of being with our current situation are making their way into mass consciousness. Something for which I am profoundly grateful.

I am also of a mixed mind.

On the one hand, that viable, effective, studied approaches with long histories of helping are starting to make their way into the mind of the western medical system is, though long over due, a great blessing. On the other hand, we are running the risk of doing what we in the West tend to do. Look for the quick fix. The magic bullet. The one thing that we can do, and do fast. An action we can take, without much effort on our part, to bring an end to our suffering. So very human to want expediency without too much expenditure of energy. And yet, that very same want has brought us to our knees when it comes to our health and well-being.

Why? Because the demand for quick fixes is based in avoidance, and with it, a fatal lack of understanding of how health and the body actually works. None of which will bring us to necessary truths or needed perspectives. None of which will reveal to us that what sits at the heart of our current health care crisis, what ails us most, is avoidable. But only if we are willing to understand ourselves and our health as inseparable from what we do, think, and feel. As inseparable from our environments, our beliefs, the company we keep, how we grow our food, and how are with ourselves on the daily.

Without including all of ourselves and all that we come in contact with, we run the risk of leaving our vitality up to something separate from how we are living. A fatal flaw actually in its denial of what it takes to keep any living thing alive and well. An unfortunate perspective that has separated us from the fabric of Life itself. It is far more difficult to look in this way. Not because it is unnatural, but because we have been conditioned to believe otherwise. We have been trained to look at the root causes of an illness, a pain or an imbalance in the body as being something we need to make go away.

As opposed to understanding its presence in our lives.

This is the proverbial band-aid approach. I cover up the symptom. I gain a little relief.  I go on. Never addressing that whatever is underneath that band-aid, remains. Untended. Ignored. Denied. So no matter how much vitamin D I take, if I am not getting the sleep I need, am endlessly propped up by caffeine, and staying too busy to notice how out of my mind I am, my immune system will still be flagging. No matter what I put into it.

As we open ourselves up to new perspectives around health and healing, it is essential to remember that magic bullets can come in any form. They can come from conventional medicine or alternative medicine. The most important aspect here being how we use them. What our mind set is. For at its best, it is not about substituting one bullet for another. It is to stop looking for bullets all together. It is to create a way of being that honors the fullness and the totality of who you are and what you need to be healthy.

It is a perspective that asks the question “What do I need to feel well?”

What supports that in you? What undermines it? Though we are inclined to make this question beyond the lay person’s ability to know, that is just not true. I recently heard a physician say that if you listen long enough, all good doctors know, that the patient will not only tell you what the problem is, they will tell you what caused it. What enormous power and possibility lies in that perspective. To go from looking for a magic bullet that someone else shoots at you, to understanding that nothing within needs to be annihilated.

Try it. Carve out some time when you can be alone with yourself. Put your hands on whatever is hurting, and listen. Just listen.

Waiting

 

As that old song goes, “The waiting is the hardest part.” I feel that right now. You? I feel it in myself and I feel it in the world. It’s not like I want to get back to the way things were. That’s never made sense to me. But boy am I ready for what I believe things could be. And therein lies the rub.

How do you be with what is here, now? While still standing, waiting, believing, eagerly, openly and excitedly even, in something else? For me that something else always has to do with how we are living as a people. How we are treating ourselves, one another, and the planet. On that level it is both so simple and so straightforward, while at the same time being so complex and so challenging.

If there was one question I could ask when I am no longer here, it would be, Why is it so hard to be who we really are? Why do we fight and avoid our truest nature? Why do we hurt ourselves and one another? Why is it so easy, sought after even, to get sidetracked from what matters most? Sure, I know some would say it is because of our past. Or maybe because that is just how the world is. Some would say it is how we learn. But is this the only way we can learn? If so, we must be really off track to require such extreme lessons to be coming our way.

What would it be like though to change out of love? Out of possibility? Out of the belief that we deserve better? I know it’s possible because these were all of the reasons that allowed me to make such dramatic internal shifts in myself as a young mother. My reasons were not for me, they were for another. But my god did it end up being for me as that orientation grew and stretched me in ways I never could have imagined at the start of it all.

So is that the key? To do it for more than ourselves? What would that even look like? If this was the answer, or at least a part of it, I know for sure doing for others has got nothing to do with following external mandates. It’s not even got to do with whether or not another thinks you are a good person. This can be hard to hear. If doing for others cannot be measured in that way, what’s the criteria then? How will we know when we are in healthy alignment, and when it is that we are following the wrong things?

All I can say about this comes from my experiences as a mother. There was a lot of waiting there. A lot of input with no guarantee. A lot of blind faith. But mostly,  a lot of selfreflection. A lot of being with why it was that I was doing what I was doing that had nothing to do with the specifics of what I was doing. This is what brought me to myself.  And to the understanding of how it is that doing for another brings us back to the Truth of who we are and what we most need. Interesting, how in the end, it is the focus on the other that actually brings us back to our very best Selves.

It is potent and transformational medicine to serve others, to act on behalf of another, to gesture to the world that you care about more than yourself. It is a seriously sacred duty. One that should never be taken lightly. Nor allowed to be misdirected or misguided by the wrong sentiments.For to do so would be the equivalent of allowing children to tell you how you should be in relationship to them to demonstrate your caring. If this were true, it would mean you could never draw a line. Or let them know that what they were wanting or believing was harmful. You could never make a choice, or take an action that they might not understand. But that you did.

Devotion To Life

 

I have been offering a brief relaxation series for faulty and staff at the college where I teach, off and on, since last semester. This week one of the professors lingered afterwards to chat. He told me that since last spring when we covered the topic of news and its impact on the well-being of our nervous systems, he began to note his “obsessive” need to keep checking the numbers and the maps. Recognizing that this was serving as a source of great dis-ease, he made a pact with himself. If he couldn’t stop doing what he was doing, he was at least going to commit to something that might help balance out what he was exposing himself to.

What did he choose? Going for a walk. Each time that he would turn to hear more news, he would follow it up with a walk. Which meant, not only did he balance his choice, it served as a governor for how many times he could let his obsession run wild.

What a brilliant and intuitive choice. For we are, after all, Nature herself. What better way to return ourselves to homeostasis than by immersing ourselves in our own truest Nature. The quintessential place of reminding us of who we really are, and what it is that we actually need to be well. And informed. Then there is no fight. No confusion. No overwhelm. No obsession. For having returned to the most primal of truths about who we are in this body, every time we make the choice to be outside, we are able to take that knowing and apply it to how we are approaching what stands before us. Otherwise, separated from our truest natures, we bring great harm to ourselves, others, and the planet.

It is nothing short of world-wide sanity and self-preservation to choose for something beyond what comes across a screen. This is not easy to do in a world that continues to offer up so many seductive sub par alternatives to living. Ones that diminish our capacity to feel at home in our own bodies. Ones that tell us we must look outside of our own experience, our own very nature, to be safe. And saved. Messages that convince us we must fear life. Not only our own, but also, the billions and billions and billions of life forms that we share this planet with.

Nothing in Nature fears itself. Nothing in Nature makes up fears about other life forms. Nothing in Nature is anything less than completely devoted to its own Life. Only humans do this.

What would it be like to make an agreement with yourself that would balance out what it is you imbibe in that brings you misery? What would it look like for you to choose to be devoted to your own life instead? This is not complicated. When in doubt, look for the choices that you make that just don’t feel good. While the mind will always say why you have to do something or watch something, do you? Challenge whatever it is that takes you from being devoted to your truest Nature, and watch what it feels like to really be alive.

A Good Girl

 

Like most, if not all children, I grew up trying to be good. Being a good girl was an organizing principle in my life. A kind of Holy Grail that I pursued with all my might. I was discerning in my endeavors and excellent in my follow through in this regard. I knew that what “good” meant for my father was different than my mother, than my grandfather, than my teachers. This extended to all of the grown-ups I came in contact with. I knew exactly what I needed to do to receive the coveted recognition of “goodness” as bestowed by whatever adult stood before me.

I was so good at being good that it made me physically sick in the form of debilitating stomach pains that had no “cause” according to the doctor. It would be years before I would come to understand it was the price I was paying for a kind of goodness that made others comfortable, as I sacrificed my own well-being to be seen in a certain way. None of this had anything to do with vanity and everything to do with belonging.

I know there is an argument to be made around the perhaps “essential” nature of conditioning children to the mores of the grown-ups in their lives. A kind of “for the good of all,” that I suppose must happen to a certain extent in order to have families and communities where it is clear about what makes for good, and what makes for bad. Whether this is, in fact, how it needs to go, matters not. What does matter to us as children is how absolute to us it all feels. How undeniable, incontrovertible, and inviolate the understandings are that we pick up around what makes us good or not. And how that gives us the right to belong. Or not.

Enter adulthood. While many of us would say that our choices now are based on reason and rationality, if you look at fields that study human nature, what we find is that anywhere from 90 to 95% of what we do emanates from our subconscious. The place in us where the root of all of our attitudes, beliefs and mores live. Including what we believe we need to do to fit in. Including the deep imprints from experiences we had as children around our own autonomy and belonging. This is the very same place that deeply controls our actions, thoughts, and choices. A subterranean world of influence that we typically have no awareness of; despite its powerful presence in our lives.

Which brings me to my point. I recently came across the phrase “Virtue Signaling.” It is being used in relation to whether one complies with the mandates currently in place around the virus, or not. When we comply we signal the virtues of caring and selflessness. When we do not, we signal that we are selfish and dangerous. This messaging strikes deeply at the heart of what it means to be a good person in relation to others. Something we all yearn to be seen as. Something that may feel like heresy to question.

But what if there was more to the story than that?

This is difficult to get to in a world where the preponderance of signalling says compliance with a particular set of instructions is how you do your part. Is how you show you care. Is how you are a hero. Ways of being that every one of us wants to be characterized as by others. But at what cost, and according to whose definition of virtuous? For what if there was far more to this story than the black and white summation of who we are based on whether or not we are masked or get a vaccine? What if there was solid and current science that offered another paradigm around how to be with what is happening?

Interestingly enough, the first reference in the dictionary for the word virtuous is potent. And then, efficacious. When we consider that possessing virtue is about being powerful and effective that adds another dimension to this conversation around what it means to signal to another your virtue. Your goodness. Your caring. Your heroism. What I mean is, what if being virtuous included the courage to ask powerful and effective questions while exploring other possibilities around what it is that brings health to an individual and to the collective?

Where do you derive your goodness from? Does it come from inside of you, from your own mighty well of authenticity and integrity? Or does it come from someplace else? And what is the downside of labeling people as virtuous or not based on one demonstrable piece of information?

Be The Cream

 

When I first started really paying attention to how my mind worked, including the beliefs I held, I read “The Only Dance There Is” by the spiritual teacher Ram Dass. A funky little book that gathered together some transcripts from a number of talks he had given at the time. While I remember the overall feeling and gist of these teachings, what continues to stay with me was the passage where he spoke about being open to what life had to bring. He said what we want to aim for is allowing everything in. Without resisting anything. That the Truth would rise to the surface like cream rising to the top, and that everything else would naturally get spewed out.

He also said it would be a very scary thing to do. No kidding. It is. And yet, it is exactly what we need more of in the world today. An ability to be with things without closing down, denying, excommunicating, or mandating.

Interestingly enough, we have literally never had more access to enormous and seemingly endless amounts of information through the technologies we possess. Simultaneously, dare I say, we have never been so closed off to anything that does not fit with the existing buckets of information we have amassed and come to call our own. Deeply identifying who we are with the information we have accumulated, while becoming increasingly intolerant of anything outside of the boxes of our own making. That intolerance is alarmingly being verbalized in ever-aggressive ways. And it is not, what many of us feel assured in believing, outside of us. It is not someone else. It is not someone else’s doing. It is happening in and with each and every one of us.

Are our viewpoints so absolute and brittle in nature that they cannot tolerate a dissenting opinion? Do we have so little faith in our own beliefs that we have to legislate them in another? I know this place personally. The place where if someone felt differently than I did about me, what I was doing, or believing in, it felt emotionally and psychically dangerous. It felt like an attack on me. Or that, even if the other person was off base, that what they were saying or feeling had to be true. This left me exerting a lot of energy trying to get others to see things as I saw them.

More than anything else I have come to see it was a survival strategy. It was my attempt to keep from feeling annihilated by another and their opinions. As if my very existence depended on the viewpoint another held of me or what I valued. Instead of realizing what needed tending to was me and my own sense of self, I spent my energy focused on another’s beliefs. It was only when I began to recognize that my sense of self was separate from outside opinions that I was able to feel more tolerant of what others chose to think and believe.

And that is the key. Not only is your sense of self an inside job, it is by far the very best thing you will ever do to increase the level of tolerance and respectful discourse you are able to engage in, and therefore offer the world. We will always have it wrong when we believe it is about getting the other side to see it the way we do. The only real game here is, can you see yourself clearly enough to be able to hold space for how another shows up in front of you?

We are at so many crossroads right now. While it can feel daunting to know this, I think a large part of that overwhelm comes from believing we must get others to line up with our version for us to be OK. The Truth is, it is only you that you need to address. It is only your enduring sense of who you are. It is only your beliefs that say you cannot be safe or valued or included if others believe differently than you, that need looking at.

If we cannot begin to get a handle on this one, not only will we miss out on the Truth of who we are, we will most certainly be ineffectual in coming to a greater good for all of us; choosing instead to demand a kind of totalitarian allegiance to agendas not in keeping with the rich and necessary wrestling with dissenting, alternative, out-of-the-box ideas that are needed in this moment, and that have always been what has called us forward. By one another and for one another.

The Power Of Nothing

 

Every morning, I begin my daily practice in the same way. I sit. I just sit. I breathe. I look out the window. I might sip hot water. But basically, I sit and do nothing.

What would possess a person to sit and do nothing? Because, I have come to discover that when all of the mud settles, the mud being the difficult and troubling thoughts threatening to take over, there comes a sense of spaciousness that not only allows me to breathe, it reminds me of who I am, and who I most want to be. Believe it or not, out of the nothing, comes everything. Absolutely Everything.

I have found over the years that out of that spacious nothing-ness, creativity, ease, alignment, discernment, clarity, and my favorite of all, Truth with a capital “T,” resides. Which means that any problem I have, any solution I am seeking, any balm needed for my broken heart, or any quieting required for an insane mind, is there. Always.

I first discovered the “nothing” when, after my kids had gone off to school, my mind would kick into high gear in an absolute frenzy over all of the things I had to and wanted to get done. It would hound me about how I needed to do things; in what order, how fast, how well. It was maddening. So much so that I couldn’t settle into yoga or meditation because the demands of the mind were that intense.

So I sat, doing nothing, initially to protest. To say to the thoughts, I want out. I am not playing anymore. I will not negotiate with you anymore. And then, at some point, what began out of an exasperated refusal to participate anymore with a derailed mind, turned into a portal transporting me to a whole new universe that I did not even know was accessible with so little effort. Without me having to work my way into the ease and peace I was seeking. I literally did not need to do a single thing.

But it does take time, and some getting used to. Some days it only takes a small handful of minutes for everything to settle down. At other times, I sit doing nothing for all of the time I have devoted for a morning practice. And even though my crazy mind will still push me to get going, to do something for god’s sake, I know better now. I know that in the nothing, everything that I could have ever hoped for will show up when given the space.

To the busy, stressed out, divided, and fear-based mind this practice can feel like a death. And it is. But not the death of anything but those things that need to go anyway. Not the death of anything other than exactly what you would be better off without. Try it. And when the mind screams and screams and starts rolling out all the heavy artillery around what a slacker-loser you are for not doing more, nod your head and continue to sit, remembering that you do not have to believe everything that your mind thinks. As a matter of fact, when you get right down to it, much of what your mind thinks with all of its judgments and worries and evaluations, is nothing worth listening to anyway.

A Real Reset Part Three

 

Something that has been profoundly beneficial in my life is the practice of looking across disciplines, and drawing from a wide range of perspectives and practices to help make my life better in terms of health. This has gifted me with all kinds of healing that I have come to rely on for myself, my family, and for those I work with. My only criteria in this gathering is that whatever it is that I am drawing on, serves real human needs, supports the body without harm, includes all of me, and carries with it a resonance of truth and wisdom.

For a while, I did not fully see the value in the amalgamation I was engaging in. At times, even going so far as to hide or downplay what was working for me. I thought maybe there was something wrong with this kind of approach; that I was being some kind of flighty mutt by not committing to just one thing. But then I spoke with my daughter whose degree is in interdisciplinary studies. Not only was there a name for what I was doing, but a deep understanding that when it comes to the really big issues in Life, it is only by drawing from a number of perspectives, that we can hope to come to real and lasting solutions.

Which brings me to where we currently find ourselves with the health crisis we are in. One, by the way, that we have been in long before a virus showed up, but that is revealing all the more, all of the ways, that our current medical paradigm is just not working. Unfortunately, instead of opening up the view around what we are up against, we are further entrenching ourselves in a system that emphasizes disease, insists an expert knows more about your body than you, deals in fear to gain compliance, and justifies the treatments offered as being the only way to deal with what we are facing.

What would it be like though, if on a national level, our conventional medical system opened up the discourse around how best to approach what it is that stands before us? What if the vast array of health approaches that have been safely and effectively practiced all over the world for hundreds and thousands of years were included in how we bring health back to our people?

But that would require a loosening of the monopoly the current medical system in power has over our health. It would require that the AMA stop demonizing other traditions. (Something that dates back to its inception when it declared other legitimate approaches like herbalism, midwifery, indigenous healing and more, unlawful). It would mean the accusations from a system that routinely kills people every year through properly prescribed medications and procedures, would need to stop. This one has even got a name. Iatrogenic illness. Which translates to “doctor induced,” and which claims hundreds of thousands of people’s lives each year, while disabling millions.

If there was ever a time to explore and include other traditions, it would be now. Right now.

The Indian system of healing, Ayurveda, is the longest continually practiced health care system on the planet, being 5000 years old. Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Herbalism, Naturopathy, just to name a few are hundreds and thousands of years old with rich traditions of not only healing in general, but possessing the very solutions we need right now. There is also the old, accessible standby, food. The very same thing that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, spoke so eloquently about when he said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”

Alternative health care approaches need two things from us to claim their seat at the table. They need to stop being referred to as “alternative;” being pushed to the periphery for the whackos or as last ditch attempts. And they need our trust and our willingness to explore their vast offerings. We, as the consumer, have the right to determine what it is that makes sense to us in terms of how we care for ourselves. And we have the right to demand medicine that does not hurt us. With that said, the biggest shift in our current “health” care system will never come from the government, the doctors, the hospitals, or those who train and credential them. It will only come from us.

This will require an enormous shift on our part. One where we must learn to take full and personal responsibility for our own health. One where we begin to question what is not working, recognizing that it is not, as we have come to believe, that the lack of results is due to the virulence of something, but that it is an indication that we are looking in the wrong direction. And that is where we begin.

Is there some place inside of you that wonders if there is a better way? A place that is willing to ask another question, look a little deeper, challenge what is being offered when what is being done is not working? If so, start there.

A Real Reset Part Two

 

There is a big ask in front of us right now on just about every level of living. That being, can we take what is happening and open ourselves to new possibilities? Or will we hunker down, lock down, and wait for it to be over?

The reason why it is such a big ask is that when we are in a state of trauma, which we all are now and have been long before this past year given the world we live in, we are locked out of accurately assessing what is happening. In other words, stuck in a collective trauma response, we are destined to see everything through the lens of false fears and exaggerated dangers. We are subject to looking at the world and what is happening through the window of all the past hurts and harms, large and small, that we have ever experienced, and that have never been recognized or resolved.

From this place, creativity shuts down because truly who needs to be creatively solving a problem when you feel as though your very life is at stake? I know this may sound extreme, or that it might be impossible for you to believe you have been traumatized because our old way of understanding trauma was to believe it had to be the really big things like being abused or raped. But all of the current understandings in this area now rest on the fact that trauma occurs in all shapes and sizes. And that it is subjective with the impact depending on so many things. Like the level of support you do or do not have, constitutional factors, your ability to re-write the trauma experience, and more.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because without a thorough and deep examination of what each of us is bringing to the table at this particular time in history, we will never be in a position to effectively and accurately resolve what stands before us. Instead, we will be fated to repeating over and over again what we fear most.

I’ll give you an example. Because I grew up in an alcoholic home where the wrong things were in charge, where real human needs were denied, and where we were all controlled by something harmful, I have a tendency to look out at what is happening now and fall into a kind of fear and desperation when I see agendas or mandates that I believe are not in keeping with real human needs. So this has been my work for the past year. The process of clearing up those old hurts and trauma-based projections so that I am in a position to not only heal myself, but to be part of a real solution for the world.

Make sense? If so, try this. Pinpoint what you are most afraid of at this time. And then see if it in any way links to anything you have ever experienced. It is a kind of following bread crumbs through the forest with no agenda other than to find the next one, while allowing it to lead you where it will. It is helpful to do this when you have some space. So make the space.

And if not for you, how about for the rest of us?

A Real Reset: Part One

 

The opportunities for greater clarity around health abound at this time. Why? Because as we come up against all that is not working, there comes an opening of such magnitude for greater well-being, that it might actually be difficult to imagine given what we have come to expect as “normal.” But what I am talking about is available for each and every one of us when we allow ourselves to be open to creating a greater understanding of, and connection to, the very bodies that we inhabit. The very bodies that we are. The very same ones, unfortunately, that we often fear, disparage, criticize, harm, ignore, and deny.

How can this be? We are mammals after all. That one biological truth alone serves as both a cautionary tale when it comes to where we have separated from our own nature, as well as being a True North in our ability to return to caring for ourselves. You see, as mammals, it is built into us. It is innate. Inherent. Available always. So it becomes both interesting and essential to wonder why it is that no other mammal other than us makes choices that undermines it health, well-being, or very nature. What’s the deal with us anyway?

It can be summed up in one word: Conditioning. We have literally been trained away from the basic biological truths of our bodies. Without which we become lost and susceptible to what is not true. Either through our own confused minds or through the information we receive from the external world, we convince ourselves of the wrong things. And because we see the results of this conditioning on other bodies nearly everywhere we go now, it can be easy to believe.

Want to find your way back? Go to the body. Be with the body. Learn about the body. Get some basic information, and I do mean basic, on how a body works from a source that is not trying to sell you something or get you to do anything. From a source that is actually living what they are talking about, as opposed to experts who give lots of disembodied and unlived information.

I have been working with something that I think of as The Body Primer 101 that may be of service. A set of understandings and nourishments that are a prerequisite for health, and that without the satisfaction of, you actually do not know what you are looking at when the body becomes unwell. These are universal satisfactions that must be met for health. I see them both working together as one, as well as having a bit of a hierarchal nature to them at times.

They are: The Breath, Hydration, Whole Food, Sleep, Movement, Good Company.

The Breath is your single most important nutrient. Literally every one of your trillions of cells requires a continuous, unobstructed flow. The sad truth is that we can breathe enough to stay alive, but not be thriving.

Hydration is critical for many things. One of them being to keep your tissues moist enough to serve as a protective shield against invading microorganisms.

Whole Foods speak directly to the old adage: You are what you eat. The food you ingest makes you; your body, your mood, your energy, your thoughts, your actions, and your contributions.

Sleep is an absolute biological necessity. Did you know that Johns Hopkins did a retrospective study after the 1918 pandemic and found that the single factor predicting how people fared who had gotten sick was how well they took to sleeping and bed rest?

Movement equates to vitality, aliveness, and the overall health of your body and your brain. Forget about exercise. Find something that moves you.

Good Company serves as an insulation against stress, and is an undeniable prerequisite for health and longevity. Loneliness and isolation kills.

Pick one, focus on it, and it will eventually lead you to all the rest. And in the end, all of it will lead you back to not only health, but to your truest Nature.