Saturday and I am a proud spinach warrior(ess). Well, not really a warrior, if anything I am a lot more of a lover than a warrior any time of the day. I have spent most of my day outdoors in the lovely sunshine, met up with the boyfriend at lunch, went for a rejuvenating power- walk to soak up the sun while enjoying the fabulous view of a couple of buzzards performing sky circles in the air. The beauty and the grace of their every moment will never cease to mesmerise me. The artistry in preserving energy from the warm beams of the sun while at the same time being able to gaze down below is a heavenly privilege indeed. But really, how lucky are we not to live here and now? Some days, such as today I have to pinch myself in an effort to ‘wake up’ and fully – with all that I am – enjoy the beauty that is all around. It makes me realise how tremendously grateful I am for the life that I’m able to lead, for the freedom I have to speak, for the opinions I am allowed to voice, for the possibility to educate myself and being able to enjoy the many comforts of my every day life. I think these moments of silent reflection are vital to appreciate the otherwise considered mundane, the everyday things and incidents that is easy to take for granted without contemplating the bigger picture. Thus, to stop and take it all in, is my way of finding great peace within, to slow down and simply allow myself to exist in the now, free from the pressure of life itself and the stressful environment our busy lives often can be.
I firmly believe that the body does not know the difference between physical and emotional stress. Many people train as if there was no tomorrow despite being absolutely drained emotionally. I am no personal trainer so I do not know if its possible to achieve good results while carrying pent up stress in your body. But, as a budding psychologist I wholeheartedly believe that too much stress can destroy bodies, minds and peoples lives.
The importance of allowing yourself time to do nothing and using that time to teach your mind and body how to fully relax is a vital skill in todays society.
Compared to former social systems and current collectivist societies, our western contemporary society is constantly increasing its demands on the individual. We have moved from being happy campers in a much bigger machinery where the efforts of everyone was of more importance than the individuals to a society where the achievements of the individual is paramount. Contrary to the collectivist social system, the western world values cognitive intelligence- above emotional, and as such leave very little room for developing skills in self-awareness. Without this essential skill we also lack the ability to understand how our emotional state of mind can create stress, and subsequently impact our general health. As a result, far too many people push themselves until their physical bodies crash, literally. The shortcoming in understanding and listening to our emotional needs, emerge in many of the present stress-related problems our health service is currently battling. Because what happens when we solely focus on the surface and very little on the inside? Well, we crash and burn. Perhaps not at once, but sooner or later it comes down to two options; crash or learn.
I am by no means innocent of taking part in the rat-race that an individualist society brings forth, I too strive for my own individual achievements. It does not matter if its related to training or studying, I want to succeed and more so, I want to be truly good (to not say, brilliant) at what I am doing. It’s a notion that has been incorporated in every cell of my body since I was very young. Achievement is key and the problem with this is that the concept of self-worth is now being measured by how well we perform instead of the fact that we partook. Stress has many faces, and it impacts people differently – I do believe that the best grounds for success is to first achieve and learn how to maintain a sound balance in life. To allow ourselves to simply stop every now and then is a good start to reconnect body and mind. It’s important to challenge ourselves to begin noticing the little mindless things as well as the grand gestures and other significant aspects of our lives.
To me, the health conscious food I carefully prepare represents finding peace and balance in my life. It’s a magnificent tribute to my body and mind, to everything that I am. But I also find balance and beauty in the many hikes I do in the national park, through the comforting voices of the majestic trees and the many opportunities to lose myself in daydreams while watching the birds of prey. However it is not only in solitude I ground myself, its also in the true meetings with people that lead with their hearts. In the many warm words that lingers within my mind for years, sometimes outliving the individual that once formed the conversation in perfect balance with his or her very essence. Its in the appreciations and abundant gratitudes, in the many thank you’s and I love you’s that forever flows within me, around me and out of me. And perhaps most of all, I find life-balance in my training routine. In the many runs, in the sometimes heavy legs, in the featherlight legs, in the bouncing feet and in the never-ending deep all-encompassing breaths cheered on by my beating heart. The immense inner peace that exercise brings forth is my biggest love of them all, and I am in absolute awe of how my mind so effortlessly controls my body. How it all just finds its balance if I simply let it, despite starting every day anew. I love how easy and relaxed life feels when its just me and the path ahead, and I cannot help but want to gently pull the earth around me, enveloping my entire being in its utter balance and inner peace.