SLOW MOTION MORNING. Last night after homework, a bike ride, playtime with friends, outside until the fading light, and a slow-cooked beef for dinner… my son went to bed happy, and asked: “can you wake me up super-early and pretend we’re very late for school so I jump out of bed? And then we’ll be early. And then we’ll have more time. I like our slow mornings together.” Heck yeah! What a fun and silly way to shake things up this morning and to make room for JOY. Amazing what one small change can do. Go on, Good Girl, get your SLOW MO on!
We all know about Falling In Love, Falling Apart, Falling Over, Falling to Pieces, Falling Down but we're less familiar with Falling Still and that's probably because we're just not programmed to fall and we're definitely not very good at staying, doing, sitting or being still, let alone falling still.
Like a child who just can't stop wiggling, even as grown-ups we never really master the art of being still. We're human. We're made to move but these days, most of us move too much and it goes waaay beyond a wiggly kid.
On a deep cellular level we are in constant motion - even when we think we're just sitting there - watching t.v., talking on the phone, sending emails, checking social media - our systems are firing away, constantly sending out messages from one part of the body to another...so much so, that we're losing our ability to switch off and it's wreaking havoc on our biological imperatives.
Our bodies need a chance to rest and recover so that bio-chemical signals won’t get screwed up, but we’re not slowing down and we’re losing our ability to recharge. Our collective balance is now more diminished than it is fortified. As a result, many of us are developing chronic illness in the shape of freaky aches and pains, mood swings, anxiety and apathy and deeper systemic issues.
As part of an effort to make the biology of self-care a little easier to understand, Mark illustrates how the social and cultural context in which we now live has moved forward at lightning speed. Our genetic endowment and the survival edge it brings with it are still primitive, which means that our human design has maintained many of the Stone Age imperatives - but life in the fast lane has not. Our bodies are not well adapted for this disconnect and eventually break down.
In his lecture on Allostasis and Mind Body Balance, Mark further explains that Thoughts ["lost at sea"]; Behaviors [away from healthy choices]; and Emotions and Feelings [fear, sadness, anxiety] are all manifestations of fight:flight that increase blood pressure, insulin, sugar, and a fatty mid-section, while decreasing memory and resilience. But wait, there’s more…
We humans are driven by another neurobiological system - the reward-motivation response. We can’t get through life without experiences that inspire, motivate and reward us with meaning and feelings of optimism, hope and joy. Resilient individuals have cultivated a reward system that is resistant to setbacks, whether catastrophic or chronic. Life's difficulties do not diminish these individual's capacity to experience positive emotions.
The opposite holds true for individuals whose reward response is dampened. They are less likely to experience pleasure in their lives and are more prone to states of anxiety and depression and poor health. They are less resilient…and this is why Falling Still matters.
Falling Still is quite simply, a process. In order to re-capture our balance, we need to fine-tune our ability to switch off and allow our bodies to rest and recover. In order for us to enjoy healthy, vibrant lives, we must surrender – fall still. Falling Still permits our breath and all the power it holds to course through our bodies and nourish and strengthen every part of us. As we regain balance, the signals that were once muddled become clear and strong again.
Falling Still is more than a poetic way of saying CHILL THE HECK OUT. It’s an effective and essential part of Self-Care. We all need to learn and incorporate daily practices that allow our bodies to rest and to heal. If you’re at all like me, you probably need some help learning ways to create the space and time and indeed, - the breathing room - in your life and that’s just what Laura Jarvis does.
Laura [pictured here] started Pure Possibilities LLC so that she could offer services that nourish body, mind and spirit. She is a Certified Integrative Coach and RTA-Certified Facilitator and conducts workshops and retreats for women, women's groups and circles, children's yoga, mindfulness classes for adults and youth and personal life coaching.
On Sunday, September 25th Laura conducts Falling Still: A Women's Retreat. The day-long retreat takes place from 9am-4pm at White Gate Farm in East Lyme, CT and focuses on techniques that strengthen our daily practice and teach us to pause, breathe and re-connect with our inner balance. Snack and Lunch are provided. Cost is $95. To Register for Falling Still: Contact Laura: Pure Possibilities / 203-804-3129.
Mark Pettus and John Bagnulo discuss the role mitochondria play in health, in quality of life and in disease. They review some nutritional and lifestyle guidelines to diminish mitochondrial disruption and to promote mitochondrial health.
This podcast packs some power, just like the mighty mitochondria in every cell of our body. Mitochondria are our body’s powerhouses and necessary for healthy myelination. Myelination occurs when a fatty layer, called myelin, accumulates around neurons and enables nerve cells to transmit information faster and allows for more complex brain processes and central nervous system functioning.
Just like household electrical wires, cells need a thick layer of insulation to buffer “shocks” and allow electrical impulses and messages to travel through the body freely. It takes significant energy for a neuron to maintain the high level of order required for myelination. If mitochondria become sick or diseased [aka “leaky”] then the neuron will lack the energy it needs to maintain the high levels of order necessary to messaging and fluid movement.
Research on mitochondria is a HOT area of research as it relates to the growing number of cases of chronic complex diseases that are historically progressive and difficult to treat - Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Disease. Diseased mitochondria are at the helm of the growing number of neurological problems that are triggered by infectious agents, chronic inflammation, high levels of free radicals and oxidative stress. What can we do to resuscitate our mitochondria? Healthy life style and dietary choices can reduce the symptoms caused by sick mitochondria [fatigue, brain fog, pain, depression]. In addition, Mark and John offer up a list of beneficial dietary supplements that will keep your mitochondria mighty mighty.
A long winter is pro-inflammatory. In this podcast Dr. Mark Pettus explains why and how to dig yourself out of a long, cold season.
Inflammation is at the center of many chronic, complex diseases e.g. diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, autoimmunity, and depression. Dr. Mark Pettus has some science-based and really helpful self-care tips to approach inflammation. In this podcast, he teaches us some ways to take the N=1 [that’s uniquely you!] and turn an “inflammatory burden” into an “Anti-inflammatory garden”.
Be your own gardener and landscape architect and learn new methods of self-care that change the “soil” of your health. When we redesign and reconstruct our life structure and fill our lives with mindful, healthy choices, we make our lives better.
Lifestyle strategies are greatly under-utilized yet simple lifestyle considerations are mighty effective in reducing Inflammation and allowing the body to regain its Health Edge.
There’s A LOT of health and wellness information out there. It can be pretty overwhelming, particularly if you are looking for a quick fix or a silver bullet, but there is no quick fix. Committing to your good health and to your self-care is part of a life-long journey. Why not enjoy it?
Good health and wellness doesn’t mean turning your life upside down. Developing a neurosis around food and exercise and "suffering" day in and day out is NOT the way to get healthy. Getting healthy is more about creating the time and space to look at your health differently and then setting up new patterns of self-care that work for you, not against you.
THERE IS NO ONE SIZE THAT FITS ALL when it comes to self-care. Slow down and Take the time to figure out what is right for you. Everyone is different. What works for another doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Try to look at healthy choices as positive changes that you are in control of and not as punishments. Healthy choices come loaded with rewards - like happiness and energy and all sorts of warm fuzzies - that keep you pointed in the right direction, towards Healthy and Happy and Strong.
It’s always a little rough-going at the start as you get used to changes but don’t worry, those "early days" soon pass. Once you get in to the rhythm of it, feeling good is a whole lot of fun.
If you're not exactly sure why you aren't feeling so good, then “press pause,” assess your life, and make some realistic changes where you know you can succeed. Did you know you can make yourself healthier in a matter of seconds? Yep, just by making that first positive choice. From there on, it’s just one healthy, happy choice after another. SMALL changes lead to HUGE improvements in your health and happiness, one step at a time. Take the slow road and enjoy the journey.
The slow approach to your health will give you time to monitor the impact of changes and figure out what works best for you. Only you know what makes you feel good and strong. Below are some “Slow Road” tips on how to "JUST UN-DO IT" from Good Girl Go.
Give yourself the gift of Time. You deserve it. Good Health is not a quick fix so make sure to keep your expectations in check.
It takes a long time to get UN-healthy. Getting healthy can take a long time, too, but don’t be put off by a timeline: you really can enjoy the journey to wellness, especially when you take the slow road.
Savor the practice of getting to know your body, and indeed your soul better - one step at a time.
CHIP AWAY AT THINGS TO BUILD THEM UP
Focus on possible root causes, one at a time – your diet, your stress levels, your sleep patterns, your spiritual practices and your exercise routines. Don't overwhelm yourself by making too many changes all at once. Focus on one area and “JUST UNDO IT.” Experiment by adding or taking things away. Keep a journal and note what you eat and when; how you sleep and when; how you feel physically and emotionally...and don't forget to write about your poops, too. ;)
POWER UP and POWER DOWN
TOO MUCH STRESS or NO STRESS AT ALL? Balance your ‘power ups’ with your ‘power downs’ so your body can stay aligned with a natural rhythm. You might love your go-go-go non-stop rhythm because it’s so thrilling. You might not even feel stressed-out because you totally love what you’re doing…and that’s a great thing. Don’t ever give that up. Having a passion for whatever you’re doing is soooo important, but it’s equally important to balance that passion with some UN-wind time every single day of your life. You’ll still get everything done - probably even more - because you've given your brain a chance to re-charge so that it isn't in a constant state of overload.
No Mojo? Stress build up is often a leading cause of No-Mojo. If you've lost passion for what you are doing in your life and you can't find your get up and go-go-go, then don’t beat yourself up. Just take a deep breath and dive in! Start chipping away at possible causes with the aim to figure out what's bringing you down. From there, you can talk to your doctor about what you need to put the go-go-go back in to your spirit.
JUST UN-DO IT
Find some things you love to UN-do and enjoy giving your body and brain a chance to re-boot and balance out while making room for Meaning and Joy and Gratitude to grow in your life.
JUST UN-DO IT with Good Girl and try to UN-do with some of these things:
- Get on up! Get away from your computer and shake it up, baby! Allow for some wiggle room for your legs and butt every hour throughout the whole day. This can be done alone, with friends or with your dogs - see below for inspiration ;)
- Take a breather from your mobile phone. Turn off your mobile, leave it in the car or in your desk or in your purse for a few hours. Check your messages every 1-2-3 hours, whatever you can manage without going into withdrawal. Anything is better than touching it, poking it, and staring at it every 5 minutes. Go and get some work done, already!!
- Go for a walk. Every day. Look up at the sky. Spin around slowly and see what’s all around you.
- Cook your own dinners in one big pot. There will be less clean up and more left-overs.
- Bring your own lunch to work – this is one of the healthiest changes you could ever make in your life. Know what you are eating, and enjoy the act of nourishing your body and soul.
- Bake something – everyone loves the smell and taste of home-baked anything. If you haven’t graduated beyond Duncan Hines, don’t stress over it, but it’s probably time to push yourself a little further and discover how easy it is to make a home-made muffin or brownie from scratch with organic ingredients [and not so much sugar]
- Turn off ALL screens well before bed-time – 3 hours before going to bed would be a great goal to work towards. If you can’t do it in one go, don’t stress out over it – just take it in small bites. Start by turning off all screens 30 minutes before you usually would for one week and then gradually increase each week with half-hour segments until you’re totally turned off by 8-9pm... and keep those electronic devices OUT of the bedroom. Sweet dreams, baby!
- While you’re turning all those screens off earlier and earlier each night, do something... nice...take an Epsom salt bath; make muffin batter for the next morning; or read something that is not work-related, something that will either "take you away" or "bring you closer to home." Just taking a step back from it all can give you a broader, refreshed perspective on your life and your family's.
- End the day with happy thoughts and hand-write a card to someone you have been thinking about but haven’t stopped to let them know. DO NOT send a text or an email or an instant message – just take the time to choose a card and pour all those lovely thoughts you have about another human being on to paper and get into the practice of holding a pen and writing, yes, writing – not typing - and go on, Good Girl, lick that stamp!!
Go on, Good Girl, sometimes you've just got to UNDO IT TO DO IT!
photos courtesy of PDN