Finding the Calm

This might seem a tad off topic from nutrition or optimal performance at first blush, but in actuality, how calm (or not) we are plays a large role not only in how our overall stress is, but how capable we are of digesting and assimilating our foods.

Given the current challenge we’re faced with, one thing we all have in common is an unexpected stress to add to the proverbial stress bucket.

It’s been an interesting series of observations over the past week in the few times we’ve left our home;  from shoppers at last week’s farmer’s market, some wearing gloves and masks and others doing their weekly gather as though nothing at all was remotely different to the plethora of families out for walks in the middle of the day.

The grocery store was a fascinating experience all on it’s own; some customers looking like frightened deer in headlights, frozen while others were stockpiling (hoarding?) whatever frozen, prepared as well as boxed and canned provisions they could find.

Undoubtedly, it’s a strange state of affairs, to say the least.

And all we can each do about it is be prepared, have a plan and then choose how we will each handle our response to it.

I’m quite happy to share my own experience; I’ve written before that I’ve dealt with anxiety in my past, on and off for years and at its worst, a time period about three years ago when it reached such depths that I was unable to sleep for a full three weeks.

I don’t hate anyone and even if I did, I would not wish that experience upon anyone as it was sheer hell.

What does that have to do with what we’re currently experiencing?

The fact that I chose to take the bull by the horns and address it proactively.  

For me, that meant working closely with a life coach, for whom I’m eternally grateful, and learning to meditate.

That process, which began a good 15 years after healing my gut (leaky gut is hugely correlated with anxiety), was my path; whether it was chosen or planned is a moot point.

Taking prescription medications was not the answer for me so I chose the only other path I was aware of.

I learned to be present in how I was feeling and to begin to unwire thoughts and patterns that I’d subconsciously hard wired into my mind from a very early age.

It was crucial for me to do this before I even thought about becoming pregnant and a key reason, I believe, that I had smooth and incredibly joyful pregnancy, continuing along to the present day in life with a 10 month old son and my own business.

By no means am I an expert at meditating, nor would I claim to be able to teach it, but what I can do is to share the message that right now, more than ever, we are all capable of choosing how we think and therefore how we react to things beyond our control.

I chose the path of meditation through TM (Transcendental Meditation) after years of struggling to learn other methods, all of which I felt I had failed at, once I thought a thought during about a minute of an attempted practice. 

This route, for me, made sense because, as our teacher (my husband and I learned together) explained, “your mantra and your thoughts are your friends.  When you think a thought, just gently guide yourself back to your mantra and resume”.   

In other words, I couldn’t fail or be ‘bad at meditation’.

In addition, I was introduced to the work of Joe Dispenza, an expert in the neuroscience of change and epigenetics.

Granted, now as a new mom, I’m not diligently doing the recommended twice daily 23 minute sessions, but I’ve done it for long enough to know that even fitting in little snippets when Yves is asleep or if my husband can look after him is better than nothing as a means to continue to train that stubborn brain of mind that I can choose to feel calm despite what is going on in the world outside.

By no means am I underplaying the magnitude of what’s going on; I get it.  It’s serious and some are being affected in ways grander than I can only imagine.

Which is another reason I’m sitting in a space of gratitude.

There are those who are very ill.  There are those who suddenly have no job.  There are those who are suddenly at-home school teachers to one or more children.

We have a lot and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to focus on the positive in order to stay in the right headspace.

And when we slip, the best thing we can do is step outside ourselves and ask how we can help others.

If we are already going out to buy groceries and we have a neighbor who’s unable to get out, perhaps previously ill, why not offer to bring back whatever they need?

If a friend suddenly finds herself out of work, why not offer to drop off some essentials at her doorstep to help her and her family carry through until we’re on the other side of this?

It’s in times like these that we need to pay it forward more so than any other.  

We can choose to panic and put ourselves in fight or flight 24/7… or we can chose to find our calm.

The more of us who choose the latter, the more positive the collective energy can become.

We can choose to find unity in this and come through it stronger as a whole.

Sending love + light …