After years of practice and lots of “acting as if”, I finally figured it out. The zen of the mind-body connection. It has literally changed my perspective and my life.
It’s not perfect, but it works for me.
To me it means introspection. Allowing myself to hear the voice in not only my head, but my heart. I think for everyone it should mean finding something you love to do and actually doing it. Allowing yourself the absolute joy of doing something only for your wellness. It doesn’t have to be done to perfection, it just has to be done. For example, I learned to inline skate in my mid 30’s, I started drum lessons in my early 40’s and started doing hiking, biking and skating trips instead of just sightseeing, in my late 40’s and early 50’s. None of those I do really well. I just do them well enough to not embarrass myself.
I met with a shaman in Peru for my 50th birthday and the greatest lesson I learned that day was to be quiet. This was after days of hiking the Inca trail and happily exploring Cusco, the city that is the heart and soul of the Inca’s. This was after I quietly asked for mental guidance about something else, but got another answer. I have a note taped to my closet wall, Sit the “F” down and Shut the “F” up! It’s a reminder to listen more than I speak. I learned to quiet my inside voice and to hear others fully. This lesson has stayed with me and has gotten me through many rough times.
Here are my practical ideas for making your mind-body connection a daily thing.
1) Recognize that taking time for you is a selfless thing to do, not selfish. If you are a better person to yourself, you will be better to others. I always remind myself and others that we should act and speak as kindly to ourselves as we would our most treasured loved ones and friends.
2) Take 5-10 minutes a day to be quiet and do absolutely nothing. Yes, music can be playing, but it should be calming music, with no words, so as not to distract from the total bliss and peace of the moment. It feels so damn good to reconnect with yourself. Lives can get so hectic and tumultuous that by allowing a solid mind-body connection, on a regular basis, you are giving your entire self inside and out a boost.
3) Drink warm lemon water. It is so delicious and it’s so healthy for your digestion, immune system and skin. It’s also a great way for your body and mind to exhale and relax. Feel the liquid as it goes from your lips, down your throat, nice and warm, into your stomach. It calms and soothes and allows you to be in the moment.
4) Stretch. Really, really stretch and let your muscles gain the oxygen they need. This should be done daily. I wish I practiced what I preached, but I am getting better. The days I do take the time for myself to stretch from head to toe, I feel better from head to toe. I take Pilates 2x a week and boy oh boy, those days, I am loose as can be. Your muscles are always working and they need a long, delicious stretch. Do this and I promise, your mind and body will thank you.
5) Do something for your brain. Reading, crafts, puzzles, etc. When you challenge yourself mentally, it offers an all over great feeling that you did something positive. Think about the last time you did a crossword puzzle. How great did it feel when you answered the clues? When you figured things out. When you finished. So good, right? Because you accomplished something positive. This makes your mind-body connection really emotional and physical, because your body will release endorphins when you have these feel good experiences.
6) Never stop learning. Why? Because it is the best way to stay young in mind and spirit, too. It keeps you believing in yourself. It reminds you that you are never too old. It ensures you’ll never be boring. But the best mind-body connection about learning is that you will continue to morph and change and blossom, even as you age.
So what do you do to connect to your inner self?