Attention Must Be Paid To Connect Our Minds, Bodies And Spirits

Think back to a time in your childhood when you felt gleeful, when you felt like you could stay in that place forever.

Was it making angels in the snow, smelling cookies baking, when you came home from school, hearing a special story re-read to you by one of the most wonderful people in your life?
Or, perhaps, was it when you picked a perfect flower or a vegetable you'd planted as a seed, or when you sold your last cup of lemonade at your curbside lemonade stand, or was it holding your brand-new puppy for the first time or getting the exact gift you wanted for your birthday? How about when you were lying on the grass cloud-watching and wondering why they were moving like they did or who was moving them?

Or, maybe, you have your own special memories tucked away.

Can you feel right now like you felt back then? Memories like these make us feel good, satisfied, content, calm and connected to ourselves. When we take the time to recall them, they can change a day for us. When we share them at special times, we can enrich a relationship.

We're all searching for connections to ourselves and others, whether visual, physical, social or even ones we can just sense. Each of us individually is truly the only one who really knows what we need to feel complete and whole. When we speak about the mind, body and spirit connection, I think we are talking about aligning all parts of ourselves to be the very best we can be; perhaps, this also means we call in a higher power, or believe in something that we cannot see and, yet, we know is there. The miracles that show up in my life are, I believe, to show me that there is a spiritual component in my life. When I discover that the Universe is with me, I am excited and have to pay attention to that.

The other night I drove into my garage and soon realized that I did not have my house keys. They were not in the drawer of my car where I usually keep them. I could neither get into the building nor into my apartment. I was stunned; it was after 11 pm. I certainly didn't want to bother Lily, our manager, who is a wonderful, vital 86 year old. So I called a neighbor, who wasn't home. Now, I had no choice. Feeling desperate, I dialed Lily's number. Luckily, she was still up, reading. She graciously let me in, asked if my keys had any identification, which they didn't and told me not to worry.

I honestly couldn't remember putting them in the usual place, but somehow I just knew I'd dropped those keys in the grass, before I'd gotten in my car. I realized I had not been paying attention; I'd disconnected from my mind and body.

I went out at 2 am with a flash light to check. No keys. I started to imagine all the places they could have fallen out of my car.

I even began to make a new key ring for myself, before I finally went to bed.

The next morning at 10:30 Lily called with "good news." A woman who lives in the building next to ours had picked my keys up in the grass the night before and had just brought them over. I thanked the Universe with a deep feeling of gratitude and acknowledged that I'd had another miracle in my life.

Some people believe that they can manifest what they want. That definitely involves paying attention to how they direct their thoughts and connect to their knowingness.

I know that some call attention by another name, mindfulness. I could say that before I drove away, I had been out of my mind. But before I went to bed, I was present again; I knew that my keys were somewhere in the grass. I know that our attention is the most powerful personal tool we have. Only when we pay positive, quality attention to something or someone do we create a connection.

When we pay attention and stay in our minds and bodies, we have less drama and stress in our lives. We find more opportunities to feel good, joyful, content and whole. And we find more time to create new memories full of glee and wonder.

Reconnect Your Mind, Body and Spirit

In many of my Stress Relief articles I advise doing 'absolutely nothing' ie deep breathing and a simple 5 minute meditation. The purpose isn't only to de-stress, although it does a great job of relaxing you, but it is also to reconnect us with our bodies and our energy, something that we often lose in our busy, stressful lives. When we are doing; watching, listening, talking or touching, we are concentrating on everything except ourselves.

When was the last time that you walking into a room and didn't switch on the tv, radio, computer, use the phone or read a newspaper?

Do you ever just sit, have a quick cup of tea and think?

We do it when we need to do a shopping list or a 'to do' list, but we hardly ever do this process to think about ourselves, our ambitions, our job or a relationship. In fact, we probably spend more time organising our shopping list than we spend organising our life!

Getting back in touch with your needs

If you often ignore or suppress your daily needs, which we often do when we have families that we are responsible for, you will find that this is a simple way of getting you back in touch with your emotions and needs.

Try this 5 minute simple exercise once a week, or once a month if you prefer, which will reconnect your mind body and spirit;

Sit quietly at the kitchen table, have a cup of tea or coffee if you like but just sit and think. Think about what you want to do, either now or at some point in the near future. It could be that you think 'I would love to go for a walk in the country this weekend' or it could be 'I really want to do that OU course next year'. It doesn't really matter what you think about, as long as you are thinking about you and your needs.

If you haven't done this before and don't know where to start, you could start by answering these 3 simple questions

I want ____________

I really wish I could _______________

I would love to ________________

Notice that I have purposely kept the tone positive, this is a time for figuring out your needs and this should be based on positive things, not the things that you don't want. For example; if you hate your job, think about positive ways that you can change it and find a more suitable job or you may even want to consider starting a whole new career and what you need to do to achieve that.

Once you start doing this exercise on a regular basis, you will find that the more you practice, the easier it will become and ideas will pop into your head much easier - a sure sign that you are back in touch with your needs and your mind body and spirit is reconnected.

Be sure to keep the focus of these sessions on you and your life - we spend more than enough time worrying about everyone else during our daily lives, this is time to spend focusing on your needs.

The Mind, Body and Spirit Approach to Lasting Weight Loss

"Every New Year I start a new diet. What suggestions do you have for helping me stick to the diet this year?" Despite our best intentions, many of us never make it past January with our declarations. Here's the pattern: initial excitement, great expectations, and grandiose promises to get in shape, followed by procrastination, guilt, and disappointment. If you are one of the people who set the same goal every year, this time it is your turn to succeed! Follow these tips to help you set yourself up for positive outcomes and make your weight loss dreams a reality.

1. Change is a Process

True change is never effortless! There is no secret formula, and no instant weight-dissolving pill. There may be people out there who promise these things but I have yet to see one that lasts for the long-term. Of course, there is liposuction and various gastric surgery processes, but even then you still have to adjust your lifestyle to maintain your results. Weight loss is a process that you learn. You make mistakes and you learn from those mistakes. In the process, you learn to believe in yourself, you gain confidence, and you decide to give yourself success. The key is this - the process you go through is even more important then the end goal itself. Because who you become in the process is your most important reward.

2. Know What You are Moving Toward

Many weight loss declarations are made out of frustration and in response to a negative pattern or habit that you want to change or end. Examples include, "I don't want to be fat" or "I don't want to be thinking about food all the time." However, it is difficult to develop momentum from a negative desire. Successful goals need drive and passion! Define what you want in positive terms and allow yourself a positive attitude to keep your motivation powerful for the long haul.

3. Develop a Relationship with Food

The return to healthy, peaceful, and successful eating starts by replacing the strict rules of dieting with the goal of developing an intimate relationship with food. A good relationship with food involves choosing foods that make you feel more alive and vibrant. This means selecting foods that increase your levels of energy, health, pleasure, and motivation. This is not about being "good" or eating "the right" foods, but about eating foods that make you feel satisfied on both the physical and the joy levels. Your goal is to feel fulfilled and content after eating in a holistic mind, body, and spirit manner, not sick, uncomfortable, deprived, or guilt ridden.

4. Food Is an Extension of Self-Love

Eating in relationship to hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and joy is about beginning to know your self on an intimate level. It is about feeling entitled to take care of your physical body and your emotional well-being. Notice how you feel and before eating ask yourself, "Is this really what I want?" Then decide. By treating your mind, body, and spirit with respect, you eat less not because of rigid rules, but because you have made a decision that it is important to feel good. Connect with your body and eat foods that satisfy on many levels, including health, energy, taste, and contentment. Eat in a manner that allows a sense of feeling good, both now and later.

5. Give up Guilt

Believing that you have "cheated" on your diet and then telling yourself that you have ruined any chance of success produces guilt and feelings of failure. If you overeat, acknowledge your behaviors with truth and compassion. Become curious about why you do what you do, and leave your criticism and judgment behind. Accept the choice that you made, learn from your experience, and then tell yourself you are capable of making news choices. Refocus on your goal immediately, and don't wait until Monday or next week to take action.

6. Think "Management" Instead Of "Control"

Control implies an adversarial relationship with food. Control tends to mean that you are in a constant battle to have power over weight, eating, or your body. Instead of using force to have power over something, consider using a more loving style of management. When you manage something, you work with it to achieve your desired results. You unite with your desire or goal. Rather than forbidding yourself to eat certain foods, manage the situation. If what you love happens to be cake or cheeseburgers, then consider creative ways to eat what you want.

7. Avoid Getting Too Hungry

Skipping meals and snacks is a set up to binge or overeat. When most people get too hungry, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating fly out the window. The problem with ignoring feelings of hunger is that you also start ignoring feelings of fullness. Soon your body isn't in charge of eating - your diet plan is. Try to tune into hunger and eat shortly after noticing hunger. Provide all of the foods the body craves for health and pleasure.

8. Put Your Mind In Touch With Your Body

Regular physical movement - whether gardening, walking, lifting weights, or practicing playing ball - helps you connect with your body. Physical movement provides a sense of well-being, confidence, and body awareness. Include regular movement in a way that feels positive. Healthy, beautiful bodies come in all shapes and sizes.

9. Make Your Food Taste Good

If you need to add a little sugar, fat, salt, herbs, or seasonings to make your foods taste better, then do it. Also, be sure to keep an abundance of good food around and plenty of variety. Reward yourself with nutritious food choices which leave you feeling energized and alive. Fill your house with all sorts of enjoyable fresh foods - fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish and dairy products. Being able to choose the foods you want to eat is the beginning of a new, healthy relationship with food.

If you have set weight loss as your goal once again, congratulate yourself for holding tight to your dream! Start fresh, focus on the positive aspects of your courage, and give yourself credit for your determination. In your journey of successful weight loss, consider utilizing the tips above to build enthusiasm, confidence, and steady momentum. Never give up on your dream!