Because of the pandemic and other 2020 stressors, it seems many folks I talk with in recent days, are experiencing more than usual anxiety. There is no shortage of causes whipping us into frenzy, and tying our bodies in knots.
A few years ago, a company I worked for, gifted several employees with a special day, which has considerably changed my life.
On that day, we were to board a bus, and be taken to a surprise destination, for a day of fun. I was fighting to get myself together to make this trip. And on that morning, I wasn't feeling very enthusiastic because of some stress and a headache. However, I managed to make my way to the bus, and board with the rest of the group. Within a couple of hours, we arrived at a wonderful place called The Claremont in Berkeley, California.
Linda Prout, the Claremont's fitness guru, was the facilitator for the day.
No sooner had we arrived there, when Linda had us to place our chairs in a large circle.
Linda explained that many of us hold on to more tension than we realize, and that there was a technique for releasing that tension from our bodies.
She prompted us to put feet on the floor, hands palm up in our laps, while instructing us to close our eyes.
The next step had us rotating our shoulders in an upward and over motion. Linda explained that we were a nation of shallow breathers. She prompted - "breathe deeply in - then deeply out."
It was at this point that she walked over to me, and reached in her pocket and pulled out a little gauze pad, which had a few drops of Peppermint oil on it. She gently waved this in front of my face, and shortly thereafter, I noticed my headache was beginning to disappear.
With our eyes still closed, she continued to prompt, "Starting at the top of your head - If it is tight - then loosen."
Continuing, "If your forehead is tight - then loosen. If your eyes are tight - then loosen."
This same prompt was continued on down the body - the jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, legs, knees, feet, etc.
What I learned so quickly from that exercise, was that I had no idea how much tension and pain, I had been holding onto, which could be surrendered or consciously released or dismissed.
After lunch that day, Linda went on to discuss diet. And it has been the building upon what I learned that day, which I feel has contributed greatly to my restoration of health.
There are several truths out there, which I've made my own, which have served me well. . .If I can't gather it, fish it, or hunt it - then I don't eat it. There are exceptions to this of course, and I'm not without opening an occasional can of something to eat. But, I have significantly reduced the amount of processed foods that I consume.
At some point I realized all the cans in my recycle bin were from one kind of soda pop, or another. The labels on those cans, clearly demonstrated, there wasn't a thing in those cans which were benefiting my body. And there were a number of ingredients physically harming me. Eating fresh is vitally important.
From my own fitness journey I have come to understand, that it isn't really wise to pop large mega amounts of vitamins, minerals, wonder elixirs, that are marketed as being some miraculous cure for this or for that. After all, our bodies are often quite challenged from the chemicals, which were contained in the environment. LESS may be far more, when it comes to vitamin supplements.
Personally, the only supplement I take is the recommended dose of Calcium, which my doctor recommends. All other vitamins and minerals come from that trusted juicer on my counter top, and ALL those fruits and vegetables I continue to bring home from the market place each week. I know what’s in the produce, and the quality it bears. This isn't always true, when we purchase various pills and tablets, from wherever.
I joined a local health center, and began swimming laps, and I spend time "marinating" in the Jacuzzi.
One evening, I was swimming back and forth in the pool. It had turned a bit cooler here in Sacramento, so the pool looked something out of Dante's Inferno, or maybe a witch-and wizard's convention in Yellowstone Park. The temperature of the air was much cooler; than the 82° warmth, of the pool. And, this was generating mists swirling up about thirty feet. The only illumination came from below, from the underwater lights, and through the mists, it looked something like hell. The swimmers struggled back and forth - often two in each lane, of the lap pool. They were barely visible and gave me the impression of tortured souls in purgatory - Flitting about from one group of tortured souls to another in their section of the pool.
And there I was with them - but with one very defining realization. I was not in stress or pain, and as I looked downward in the pool, as I stroked through the water, the illumination of the lights, made me realize I was beginning to see a very bright and real light at the end of a tunnel. And, that is what a journey to stress free wellness is all about!