Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Ways To Lighten Your Load

 Day 6 of Your Year To Wellness
Several years ago when I first set out in search of the path to wellness, I already knew that my answers would be far from conventional wisdom. I was an “obese” vegetarian. I was active and exercised regularly so I had suspected that the whole calorie counting things was not my answer. I knew that weight gain and imbalance had to be the result of more than overeating, as we’ve all been told. So I asked for an answer and got one.

There is an ancient Arabic proverb that says “When a person seeks their purpose, the Universe conspires to answer.” That’s exactly what happened for me, but the answer came in an unusual way.

I’m a sociologist, I was probably born one. I love making observations and then searching for answers. While others have a list of things they'd like to do before they die, I have a list of things I want to study; things like, why it isthat the people who offer the least, require the most work? And what are the differences between people who back their car into a parking space from those who drive straight in; important things like that. When I’ve got my sociologist mind going my kids will say “Uh oh, she’s got that dog look.” That’s when my head cocks to the side and my brow lowers as if I might actually be able to see my answers. Anyway, back to the story and answer I found.

The sewage system on my house kept backing up. It did this over and over again. The engineer folks would come out to determine the source of each problem, repair it and then drive away, but the problems became increasingly worse. The engineers kept finding different items that caused the problem but I was certain that none of these things came from my house. I asked how the system worked and without getting into all of the messy details—pun intended, I was told about the backflow valve which kept the refuse from the street line from coming back to my line. I did the dog look for a second and exclaimed that I’d figured out the problem; the backflow valve must have broken. The engineer laughed and told me that I had no idea what I was talking about. I asked that he check. Several hours and later, I was informed that the backflow valve wasn’t broken because I didn’t have one. For some unknown reason, the folks repairing the tank over and over again had not noticed that no one had ever even put one in. The sewage from my neighbor’s houses was coming to mine. I had an alarm on my tank which prevented an overflow into my house, but still it was coming to my tank.

The answer to the problem of the sewage system was the answer for me as well. (I told you it was unusual.) My spirit, mind and body had been experiencing this same thing. I was doing what was necessary to be well, but I was allowing the waste of others to be dumped into my system. I know it seems like a leap, but when you begin to prevent the flow of the stress and mess of others into your life, you will be able to find the time, the peace and path to your wellness.

·         Don’t be a dumping zone—stop allowing, enabling and encouraging gossip, negative talk and mindless chatter. Research shows that a negative view of others becomes a negative view of you.  Gossip is often disguised as a “concern” or even a prayer request. “Oh, I’m worried for Mary; we need to pray for her. Did you hear…?” Avoid the gossip. Don’t answer the call, fill your time with something else; READ A BOOK.

·         Flush your pipes—when you first wake up, take a moment to stretch and move your joints and limbs while still in bed. You will be refreshed and renewed before you even step foot on the floor. Allow your blood to circulate and your mind to become active before rushing into the day. This small act will help  reframe your view and mood for the day.

·         Shut it Down—your TV and devices should actually be shut down a few hours before you go to sleep. Gradually wean yourself by putting your smart phone on the other side of your bedroom at night. You will be less likely to check it constantly if you have to get up to do it. Turn your TV off and read a book—not the newspaper, before going to sleep.

·         When you have to go; GO—we have become rather adept at not going to the bathroom. I know people who brag about how well they can “hold it.” My mother prepared me for getting older when she told me that if I didn’t go when I could, I wouldn’t be able to go on my own when I got older. I am grateful for the wisdom of elders. They have been down a path that we may get to go on. Listen to what they have learned.

·         Cleanse your system—flush, cleanse, fast, retreat, have an hour of silence and do whatever is necessary to remove the waste before you become --- backed up.

When you are well, you can shine a light for others to follow. But if you allow the mess of someone else’s life to clog your system, you can’t even be well for you.

Be Whole, be Well, be You.

Bertice Berry, PhD

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