In chiropractic we talk a lot of balance: balance to the nervous system, balance to the spine, balance to the body in general, and my thoughts today have been around finding balance throughout our lives. As a species, we are currently trying to find a way to live in balance with the earth. In our home life we know that balancing work and play makes us happier and healthier. As individuals most of us recognize that a balance between exercise, good nutrition and relaxation will help our bodies cope with stress and fend off sickness with more ease. The more I look around, the more I see that addressing the root causes of many problems today lies in finding a way to balance the areas of our lives that for some reason or another have fallen into disproportion.
This idea of “returning balance” to our lives, can be quite overwhelming and too broad to comprehend. So, instead of trying to change the world through restoring balance, why don’t we change the world through choosing one small, incremental change, that we can realistically make in our day to day lives. Barbara Kingsolver spoke eloquently of this on MPR this weekend, take a listen if you have a chance. So, I came up with some examples. Why not pick the area that is of most concern to you right now, and make on of these or one of your own changes for the month – they are very do-able, I promise:
• Buy 10 cloth napkins and use them at mealtimes instead of paper.
• Put one of those cloth napkins in your purse/bag for restaurant use.
• Keep 3 cloth bags in your car for the grocery store or any store that would give you a bag.
• Buy one pound of food grown locally (within 100 miles) each week.
• Ride your bike or walk to anyplace within 3 miles of your house.
• Park at the farthest spot away from the store and walk to the door.
• Take a walk each night with your family, partner, or alone – it’s beautiful outside!
• Bike or walk to anyplace within 3 miles of your house (counts for two changes!).
• Take the stairs, not the elevator.
• Have at least 2 pieces of fresh fruit each day – it’s the season for it!
• Switch to things sweetened without High Fructose Corn Syrup – regular sugar is better and honey is even better than that.
• Carry a bag of trail mix with you. Snack on the mix instead of cookies, candies or crackers.
• Add lemon, lime, or cucumber slices to water and commit to drinking more each day.
Hopefully you get the picture. Find the area in your life that is most out of balance and make one small change this month. Continue it next month, and the month after. After it becomes habit, think about another change – but not until then!
I attended a craniosacral seminar for pediatrics this past weekend with Dr. Benjamin Shield, and on of the things he said has been resonating around my mind so I thought I’d share. He said:
all healing takes place in the present
Now this may seem simplistic – of course it takes place in the present, we can’t time travel – but if we really ask ourselves how much of our day we spend in the actual present moment, I think we begin to have some insight into what he meant. Think about it, how much of our days are spent thinking, planning, preparing, anticipating or worrying about what might happen next. How often do our thoughts wander into a possible future conversation, activity or situation? Then think about how much of our time is spent reviewing and revisiting the past. Recalling and discussing an interaction, memory or occurrence. Repeatedly reliving something that happened a year, a month or a day ago.
Now think of how much time we spend in the actual present. That means that when we are walking somewhere, we are only thinking of our feet hitting the pavement and the feel of the breeze on our skin. When we are driving, we are thinking about the road and the other drivers – not the music or reliving our day in our head. When we are washing dishes or folding laundry, that is all we are thinking of and focusing on. Get the idea?
One of the wonderful benefits of craniosacral therapy is that it can bring us into the present moment. There are so many potential moments during the day that we can do this to ourselves, I propose that if we could all take a bit more time to practice being present, we would find that the healing Benjamin spoke of would follow. So, the next time you are eating lunch by yourself, why not try just eating. Feeling the food in your mouth and each of the flavors. If your mind pulls away into the future or past, just notice it and pull it back to the food. See what happens – and if you feel like it, let me know!