Tag Archives: Health

the four rooms

21 Jul

 

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There is an Indian proverb that says “everyone is a house with four rooms, a mental, a physical, an emotional, and a spiritual. It is said that most of us live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete person.” Interesting thought, don’t you agree? The idea is based on the principle that when our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves are in alignment – we can more fully manifest the life we desire. This idea resonates with me. I find that when one of my rooms is out of sorts it affects everything in my life. I feel unbalanced. Off kilter. Anxious. Reactive.

So how does one balance their four rooms?

I pulled some excerpts from the beautiful site The Intentional Workplace that explain how to tend to your four rooms. Again, not my words. Enjoy!

Room one- the mental room 

The power of thought is one of the most creative forces in the Universe. Some would say – the most powerful. We don’t usually give a second thought to thinking, but our thoughts are constantly creating our experiences.

The language we use – to think and speak – is the narrative of our inner and outer world . Look around the room you are sitting in now; in the purest sense, everything in it is the product of someone’s thought. Our thoughts are the domain in which we can exercise our greatest control. Not rigid or authoritarian control, but choice. In the moment to moment choices we make, we demonstrate the power of our thought.

The scope of our control over thought continues to be understood through neuroscience. According to a recent study discussed in Nature, researchers stated,“Individuals can rapidly, consciously and voluntarily control neurons deep inside their head.” While it is important not to underestimate the challenge of controlling our thinking (especially where there is history of emotional or physical trauma) the news from science is very encouraging.

We’re entering an era where we understand that our thoughts need not be victims to external influence, but are the epicenter of our own life force and behavioral direction.

Room two- the emotional room 

This is the room where our feelings reside. Neuroscience has shown that our feelings do not simply emanate from one part of our brain (the limbic system), so we can imagine that this room is vast. It encompasses our entire body. You have more neural networks for feeling in your stomach and heart than anywhere else in your body.

Some of us ignore this room. It’s like the extra back room, filled with clutter, that seems like just too much work to organize. Others spend way too much time in the emotional room, reacting on auto-pilot to life’s events, rather than using the knowledge of the mental room for balance.

The tools of emotional intelligence can give us a whole new level of freedom in which to explore this room. We tend to think of this room as a messy place filled with anger, anxiety, resentment, impatience and frustration. While there should be a welcome sign on this room’s door for all of our feelings, remember that this is also the room where calmness, confidence, contentment, satisfaction, love, joy, empathy and compassion live. There is room for all.

The way we breathe is an important clue to how we relate to our emotions. Feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, resentment and frustration are all emotions that contracts us physically (and mentally). These feelings pull us in, forcing our breathing to become very shallow, even halting. Yet, when we experience feelings of contentment, calmness, elation and gratitude, we feel a sense of breathing out – of expansion. Even emotions that some might think of as sad, such as empathy and compassion – provide us with a feeling of release.

I have long contended that every emotion has the potential to be a resource in our lives. Feelings are an exquisite source of information about our experience. They do not lie. They are a blueprint of the truth of our experience. They reliably chart whether we are living our values or not. They brilliantly point to how we are meeting our needs or not.

The emotional room is a powerful place to reflect on your truth. Visit it with curiosity (one of the “neutral” emotions) and leave your judgment by the door. You are there to listen, learn and be humbled by your humanness.

Room three- the physical room 

Being awake and alive requires many of us to basically shift our relationship to our bodies. Most of us are spending too much time “in our heads,” cut off from our senses and the messages from our bodies. Most of the time, we’re not listening – we’re pushing. Our miraculous bodies often take a beating from us and deserve more TLC.

More rest. Better nutrition. More movement. Better posture. More hydration. Less criticism. Less stress. More self-love. It all counts. The body serves us over and over even when we deny its basics needs. How often do we “thank you?”

The core of our being is our breath or Prana in Sanskrit, Ha in Hawaiian and Chi in Chinese. In order to regain our natural connection to our body’s life force, we need to change our relationship to how we breathe. It is the key that unlocks the door between the mind and the body.

As we race from one task to the other, we rarely given our bodies a thought. Too many of our bodies are anesthetized by busyness. The reclamation of our relationships to our bodies should be one of our highest priorities.

Enter the physical room often. Bring your appreciation. Bring your respect. Celebrate this glorious temple of your life.

Room four- the spiritual room 

This room isn’t about doing – it’s about being. It’s doesn’t have to be about religion or ideology. It is the room where your spirit comes alive – where it feels free. It is the room that reflects and shares the immensity of YOU. So many wonderful gifts live in this room – too many untouched.

The gifts in this room don’t have to be marketable, branded, explained, justified or perfect. They simply need the space to go where your intuitive sense takes them.

Living in this room requires that we more closely define what inspires and brings us joy. Whatever the experience – being in nature, working with passion, being with those we love, sharing ideas, caring for those in need, painting a picture, creating a wonderful meal, traveling to places we love – bring us into alignment with the spiritual room.

Whenever we visit this room, we integrate all four rooms in harmony. In this room, we find new sources of creativity, energy and peace. Here we discover what truly feeds us – the source of the real needs behind the endless quest for self-expression.

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project 30- chelsea

25 Sep

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Chelsea, 31 of Fresh Steps

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Don’t look sideways. Comparing yourself to others is a total waste of time and energy. Life is long and everyone will have highs and lows. Carve your own path and don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way – those mistakes are a good thing and will shape who you become. Spend time with your girlfriends now – relationships and families will happen and suddenly you won’t have as much time for each other. Open a savings account.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

I wish I took MYSELF more seriously. I was so focused on what I thought others wanted me to do, I forgot to ask what I wanted.

Health and fitness. I had a horrible insomnia problem for most of my 20s which I assumed was genetic. I learned later it was easily fixable with a change in eating and fitness habits.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

What other people thought of me. It truly did not (and does not) matter.

Romantic relationships. Every memory I have of being heartbroken is now a big, giant #whatwasithinking.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Spending a year travelling solo in Australia produced enough memories for a lifetime, but if I have to pick one – it is a memory where I suffered more than I ever have – the one that sticks in my mind was finishing my first ultramarathon at 28. Finding ultrarunning in my late 20s completely transformed my life. Physically I shed pounds, but the most important changes were mental. I let go of uncertainty, doubt, worry (and insomnia)! I gained confidence, strength, and the ability to work my way through anything. You don’t know perseverance until you’ve forced yourself to run 100 miles. Ultrarunning boosted all aspects of my life: my career, my personal relationships, my mental well-being. It became my catalyst to understanding the importance of goals.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I would be living in New York hosting a music show on MTV. I was going to marry a John F. Kennedy Jr look-alike so I could get a green card to work in America. And a loft on the upper east side so I could run in Central Park every morning. I cringe when I think of the time I spent daydreaming (time I should have spent planning, running, working…anything).

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Turning 30 was a huge sigh of relief for me. I was completely lost in my mid-20s. By my late 20s I wrote down what I wanted, and what I valued. I realized Vancouver was the place for me – a big enough city with easy access to both the ocean and (the most essential piece) mountains to run in. Once I knew my goal I aggressively chased it. I arrived in Vancouver a week before my 30th birthday and felt like I was finally living my best life (thanks for that phrase, Oprah).

Life is taking shape in Vancouver and I feel comfortable in my skin. I live with my boyfriend Dom and his son and we have access to the best mountain trails in the world. I’ve found a peer group of smart, intelligent women that I’m proud to call friends. After struggling in a job I didn’t like for a year, I have an awesome Senior position working on digital and social strategy with Canada’s national broadcaster (shout out to CBC fans). Most surprising of all, I have completed 7 ultramarathons, 2 of them being 100 miles long. I could barely finish a road marathon a few years ago. It’s remarkable what you can jam into your late 20s when the number 30 is looming.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Yes, all I did was worry! That was the problem – worrying didn’t get my anywhere. Once I wrote down achievable goals & gave myself deadlines, the worry went away. I know I’m intelligent and I I work hard. There will be bumps along the way but I feel prepared to take them on – and enjoy the ride along the way.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Confidence. Independence. The ability to detect (and not take) bullshit.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope I maintain physical and mental health. Running is not something everyone can do forever, but I hope I can take care of my legs and body enough so I can continue well into (and past) my 40s. I want to chase career and financial goals. I plan to check some more countries off my travel list and experience running trails around the world with my boyfriend. I hope we see his son continue to grow up happy and healthy. I hope to share what I’ve learned with those younger than me – I had some very helpful people give me a hand up after college and I look forward to paying it forward. I hope I get the opportunity to run the Hardrock Hundred in Colorado. And I hope no one will be able to tell when I cave and get botox.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Only make moves when you’re heart’s in it. And live by the phrase “sky’s the limit.” — Notorious B.I.G.

One thing we know for sure is that change is certain. Progress is not. Progress depends on the choices we make today for tomorrow. — Hilary Clinton

Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action. — John Muir

connect with Chelsea : twitter / instagram @chelssees / blog

 

project 30 – marta

28 Aug

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Marta, 34   / London, United Kingdom / founder of the coffee bird

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Fuck Yeah Lifestyle

Embrace a “Fuck Yeah” approach to life.

Be ruthless with your time. It is the most valuable asset you have in your life, don’t give it away easily. You should only allow people and activities into your life that you feel “FUCK YEAH” about.

If you’re not fuck yeah about it, get rid of it. Life so much better when you are surrounded by inspiring people and activities that your “FUCK YEAH” about.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Being more mindful. Listen to your body, and don’t torture it. Listen to what your heart says. It’s always right.

Its you and yourself until the day you die, be as KIND and NICE and nourish yourself.   Being crazy about being “skinny” is a waste of time. It’s all about health.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Other people’s expectations. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Snorkeling in the Caribbean through out various trips. I must have been a mermaid in a previous life.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I would be living in Paris, married to a hot French guy with a few kids, going to my castle on the weekends.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I was a partner for the firm I was working for in London.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Of course, but I learned that nothing ever seems to work when you spend your energy worrying. Surrendering in the moment and trusting that you are just where you need to be in this particular moment in time kind of catapults you over this.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

I am the best version of myself today.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope to be the best version of myself at that moment in time. I do hope to surf properly by then.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“Bend my heart, to your will Oh Lord. “ Prayer I learned from the Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago. You will never be happy until your on the path you weren’t meant to be.

“Freedom comes through 100% commitment” Indecision actually wastes a lot of energy and time. Only when one is 100% committed are we ever free.

“In a gentle way you can change the world”

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connect with Marta – website / instagram @ thecoffeebird / work twitter  / personal twitter /

inspiration, gratitude & surprises

22 Aug

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Hello weekend! I’ve been waiting for you since Monday. I’m only kidding…well kinda. The truth is I see so little of Brian during the week with his crazy work schedule that I cherish the weekends with him. Although, we have been implementing a Wednesday date night to try to change that. Our weekend is going to be pretty mellow. Tonight we are going to see a movie- maybe Lucy? Has anyone seen it? Tomorrow morning I will most likely go to a yoga class- I haven’t gone to a class all week.! I’ve been naughty. Tomorrow afternoon we are meeting an old friend and her fiance for happy hour drinks. I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with her. Sunday we have absolutely nothing on the books- my favorite! I’m thinking maybe another yoga class then I might tackle a new recipe. I have been pinning vegetarian recipes on pinterest like a mad woman. I think it might be time to actually make one. What do you guys have planned for the weekend??

what inspired me this week?

the project 30 q&a’s on the blog this week- both Amber and Jadis are such interesting and inspiring women. I’m lucky they said yes to participating!

the connectivity of project 30. When I first started the project all the women answering the questions were people I personally knew. But in the last few months it has grown to include fabulous women I’ve never even met. This week one was even from the UK! Each one of these ladies has truly inspired me.

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it”– Eckhart Tolle

“If you gotta force it, just leave it alone. Relationships, friendships, ponytails…just leave it.” – Reyna Biddy

how to avoid the comparison game 

what am I grateful for this week?

 CityDog Club– I stumbled upon this amazing dog day care near us and it is a total game changer. They even have webcams set up so you can watch your dog play! When Frank got home from his day there he went straight to bed. I can’t even remember the last time Brian and I sat through dinner without Frank obnoxiously rubbing his beloved tennis ball on our feet.

my relationship with my “little sister” Briana. I plan on sharing more about her/us next week. I think the Big Brother Big Sister program is pretty amazing. I’m so grateful I followed through with it because she has been an incredible addition to my world.

what surprised me this week?

how much I enjoy eating vegetarian. I thought I would be bored but I’m not at all! The love I now have for vegetarian burritos knows no limits.

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find me elsewhere : facebook / instagram / twitter / pinterest

starting the day off right…

7 Jul

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I’ve recently decided to make some changes to my morning routine. Inspired by my friend Rachel who recently cancelled her FB account because she was tired of being a slave to it, I began to think about how social media in general plays a role in my daily life. My typical weekday morning routine would usually go something like this…Brian’s alarm goes off and he gets out of bed, makes us coffee and then brings Frank and coffee to bed for a morning snuggle. All of this is great and I wouldn’t change a thing but once Brian gets up to take a shower I would invariably find myself finishing my coffee while scrolling through Facebook, instagram & CNN (the last one isn’t bad) on my phone. It dawned on me that spending this precious early morning time focusing on everybody else’s world instead of spending it in my own head space was creating a very unfocused, drained and unsettled energy in me. I really think this early morning time before you step out into the buzz of the world is sacred. I go through phases where I have had a healthier morning routine and I always notice such a difference in my life when I do.

There are three different tools I have used in the past that have always helped me connect and get centered with myself at the start of each day. There was a period I wrote “morning pages” everyday with my coffee. The basic concept is to write three longhand, stream of consciousness pages every day, first thing in the morning, no matter what. Writing these pages requires you to be honest with yourself. It’s challenging to write every day about the things that are bothering you and what’s going on. You recognize the truth about what’s working or not working in your life.

The next is reading my “I am so happy and grateful” list each morning. This list is a list of things I want to manifest in my life which I write from the present tense every few months as if they have already happened.

“I am so happy and grateful that _________”

In doing so I let myself imagine and experience these things being a reality. Writing this list also helps me get very clear about what I want my world to look and feel like rather than just letting life happen to me.

Lastly, reading a list of affirmations every morning. My current list….

nothing can upset my peace of mind unless I allow it

I am healthy, happy and hopeful with every person I meet

Everyone who comes in contact with me today will feel that there is something good and beautiful in them

I see the benefit in everything. No obstacles just opportunities

I think only about creating value

I am just as happy about the success of others as I am about my own

A “from this moment onward…” spirit in all that I do today

I give so much time to my own improvement that I have no time to criticize others

I am too strong for fear, too kind for anger, and too happy for worry

Everything changes

I’m going to aim to do all three exercises every morning but I know that If I do at least one that I will feel the difference. So I am saying goodbye to social media in the mornings and I am going to instead spend some quiet time with my head.

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What are some of your morning routines? Tools for a better head space? I’d love to hear!

project 30 – diana

1 Oct

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What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

You are going to look like a total fool/asshole sometimes – but COMPLETELY keep doing exactly that because you will learn soooo much.
Stand up for what you think is right and wrong.
Be afraid but don’t let fear stop you.
Trust your instincts.
I’m so excited for you!!

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

You don’t have to be obsessed but try a lil harder to organize the business side of your life – choosing a health care plan, getting life insurance, saving people’s addresses and phone numbers…it may not seem like the most pressing thing when fueled by the passion of 20s youth – but you have to take care of those things to support the passion of your 30s youth 🙂
Also I would have been more interested in politics (especially locally) – because being educated about who is representing your beliefs and interests is a giant part of your future.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” That pretty much sums it up.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

This is really hard for me because A TON of wonderful shit happened in my 20s.
I moved from NYC to LA without ever even visiting it.
I met my amazing husband at age 21 and married him (on my farm in Iowa surrounded by love) at age 24.
We bought a house and made a home.
I adopted my first pet ever – a bunny (Chester) – then added 2 more cats – now we have a dog too…
I opened a successful business with one of my best friends.
I went topless with my size A boobies in a ridiculous sex scene in a feature film…and felt utterly liberated because I never liked my breasts before that moment.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I was a mess in my early 20’s – naive, destructive, full of self-doubt, and to trusting of people who would take advantage of a pure heart.  I don’t think I was capable of imagining a full and happy life for myself.  I was mostly avoiding thoughts of the future and acting pretty reckless…30 wasn’t even on my radar.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I didn’t have the normal anxiety around turning 30 that most people experience – I was really fortunate to feel accomplished in my career and safe and happy in a healthy relationship. My wonderful husband threw me a giant fabulous party, we trip planned to China, and I was training for half marathon….AND THAT’S WHEN LIFE PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE. I got suddenly diagnosed with a crazy rare symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis that attacks the eyes – my immune system started to “melt” my Cornea by forming an ulcer that could cause me to go blind. No warning signs… I went from being utterly healthy – to taking a zillion medications a day, having IV infusions at the hospital, surgery, endless doctor appointments, ENORMOUS bills, and decisions to face about my fertility (relating to the medications). Just when you think you have it all figured out – life throws you some shit so you can grow even more.
So 30 looks challenging so far – but luckily in my 20’s – through exploration and failure I learned how to cope when things get rough. I learned gratitude for all the other spectacular things in my life and I let them shine brighter than the shadows.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Yes – especially when I figured out what I really wanted.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

The greatest gift of being in my 30’s is that I have perspective.  I used to put a ridiculous amount of pressure/emphasis on events (good and bad) that made everything feel extreme.  I’ve discovered an evenness with the awareness that life is brilliant, unpredictable , challenging, and magical. I try not to anticipate/weight the experiences and just enjoy or endure the moments knowing so much more is ahead.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

Watch out 40 – seriously.  I’m going to be healthy.  I’m going to LOVE even bigger than before.  I’m going to dominate in business, travel, and probably be raising a pack of kids.  I’m going to be a force.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

My dad used to sing Neil Young to me when I was a kid – and play it for me when I was an adult. When things get rough I call him and he reminds me of one songs mantra…

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning,
Find someone who’s turning
And you will come around.

The most important thing in life is the people you surround yourself with – who you love and who loves you – that love is the key to happiness.

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connect with Diana elsewhere: website / fitmix

surrender

2 Apr

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Monday was a particularly anxious day. Not impossibly hard, believe me I’ve had worse but still an “off” day. It started off just fine. Strangely enough I find myself more anxious in the afternoons. I still haven’t been able to figure that one out. By the time I got home from work around 5pm all I wanted to do was crawl in bed with a cup of tea and be done with the day. But I had an acupuncture appointment at 6pm and I decided it would have been rude to cancel on her so late.

I also realized how crazy my thinking was. I mean, I go to acupuncture for my issues with anxiety and now I wanted to skip out on the appointment because of my anxiety? Silliness. With that I dragged myself out of the house and down the street to Yo San. I walked in the office, checked in and waited patiently for my name to be called. Why was it so hot in here? Stuffy actually. Huh, nobody else seems hot. That woman is even drinking tea.  I peeled off my sweatshirt and took a sip of my cold water. A few minutes later my acupuncturist called my name.

She led me to the same room she does every week and she asked me the same questions she does every week.

How was my week? Have I been feeling better of worse after last weeks session? Any changes in sleep? Anxiety? Night sweats? Was I on my cycle? Did I feel any changes with the new herbs I was taking? 

I told her that overall I felt much calmer this week (because really I have!) although I was having an anxious day for no apparent reason. She took my pulse. Looked at my tongue. Asked me a few more questions and decided that we would do the same points we did last time but add in a few extra for calmness.

She left the room while I undressed, put on the robe and laid down on the table. My head was moving at a million miles an hour. The thoughts moved so quickly. One leading me to the next in a millisecond. I couldn’t stop running through my day. My heart felt fast and I felt hot. I thought about the weekend. It was filled with so many activities. Each one I enjoyed but I was more exhausted by everything then relaxed by it. I hate when that happens. Maybe that’s why today felt hard? I didn’t have any quiet time the last few days and I’m horrible with out quiet time. I really have to make a point of carving out time for myself and putting what I need first sometimes. It’s ok to do that, right? I need to learn how to say no. I need to set better boundaries. I thought about an upsetting phone call I had over the weekend and began to feel more wound up. I hadn’t really addressed the conversation yet. Maybe that’s why I was feeling anxious. That call hurt my feelings. Did I put the check in the mail for the wedding planner? I think I did. I hope I did because then I don’t know where I put it. I need to write tonight. I had no time to write this weekend. Maybe that’s why I feel off?

Faint music played in the background. I hadn’t even noticed it before. I figured it was supposed to be relaxing, so I tried to tune out the noise in my head and listen to the music.

My acupuncturist walked in. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. She began to softly place the needles in various parts of my body; between my eyes, on my ears, on my skull, between my knuckles, on my hands, my wrists, my legs, feet and toes. Once they were all in she turned off the lights and left me alone to lie there for what usually ends up being 40 minutes. I took another deep breath and settled into my body. I stared at the wall ahead of me. The sun was setting and warm light poured through the holes in the blinds, making what looked like a bunch of strings of pearls on the wall. I smiled. How pretty. I listened to my breath. My breathing slowed. There was nothing else to do or figure out in that moment. I could just be. I felt a wave of gratitude sweep through me. I simply watched the sunlight dance against the wall. My head had finally stopped running.

I had finally surrendered to the moment. 

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“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”
Walt Whitman