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Posts Tagged ‘kindness to self’

This material is copyrighted by M Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Thank you for visiting! You can visit http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what Kirby offers as far as Bodywork or Spiritual Astrology interpretations.

This post is about how the contours of harshness in our society / culture / family structures are pernicious and pervasive. You can find them everywhere. They even, or especially, come forward when we are looking to relax and move toward restful states of being.

What do I mean by contours of harshness? Think about all the euphemisms there are for working hard. “The only way to move forward is to push through.” Or “No pain, no gain.” Or “Gotta muscle through.” Or “No risk, no reward.” Or “The early bird gets the worm.” Our culture is chock full of these statements which reflect the rat race culture we live in.

I teach Zapchen Somatics – a system of simple exercises for getting back to well-being. There are basic moves for well-being, intermediate moves and advanced moves to well-being. But when I teach these to people (just the basics), I am shocked to discover that they try to push further and do more and more. Or they are most concerned with “doing it right,” rather than enjoying the new sensations or attempting something new in spite of possible “mistakes.” It really requires telling them several times, it truly is a somatic transmission – that sometimes requires hearing it / experiencing it several times.

I have to tell them, less is more. I must emphasize that. Seriously, just doing two or three of the intermediate or advanced techniques is enough. The I Ching, at least the interpretation I work with, also by the founder of Zapchen Somatics – Julie Henderson PhD, says, “better to stick with fullness, some people will encourage you to move to over-flowing, but fullness is just fine.”

And honestly… I feel myself speeding up just writing about this topic… time to create some space… to slow things down… to take some deep breaths… look out at nature… think of people who really support me and make me feel nourished…

This is a culture of extremes and pushing the envelope. If a little bit is good, then more must be better! Nope! The nervous system can only digest so much new information. And somatic information is often novel for most people. It needs to be enjoyable. If it seems like work, we are recapitulating the old patterns. Only do enough for it to be enjoyable. Even if that means I yawn twice and then have to take a nap – perfect!

Each month, I am realizing more and more how Zapchen is a somatic transmission. Being kind to yourself is a somatic transmission. We must work with someone who has done this work themselves. Someone who has spent years practicing compassion with themselves! Then we can get the somatic transmission from them. 🙂

And let me be exacting in my assessment of my own patterns, while on this complicated topic. I am seeing some contours of harshness creep in, even following me to my meditation cushion. When I don’t do “X” number of mantras in a day, I might get a little hard on myself. If I don’t do “X” prostrations daily or every other day, again a little harshness.

I am noticing though that the amount of screen time I log correlates to the amount of buoyancy in my nervous system. The more time I sit out on my porch staring at, listening to the song of the river, the more resiliency there is in my CNS. The more I walk down by its gentle gurgling rapids, the more resources are at my beck and call. It is very subtle, but I am starting to pick up on these things (as I sit here at my computer typing away…).

Therefore I am intending to take 7 – 10 days away from an miscellaneous screen time (no youtube, no prime video, no sports highlights, etc) and do an hour of Zapchen to start my day. Zapchen Somatics is almost exclusively designed to playfully, sneakily and gently eradicate harshness to self. Of course it has other benefits, but it is very difficult to be hard on yourself when you are lying in bed yawning (yawning is the first Zapchen exercise and it is extremely beneficial). At least at my stage, having been practicing Zapchen since 2005, and having some transmissions directly from Julie Henderson herself, I am going to be gentle on myself at least with some of its wonderful methods.

Hopefully this feeds me, moves me toward kind motivations, gentle intentions and softer concentration. 🙂

May all beings move toward enjoyment, ease-full abundance and having settled nervous systems which laugh at the mistakes we make because we are human! ❤

Thank you for reading!

KM

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.  To support Kirby in his business and blogging efforts, please visit Kirby’s website.  Thank you for visiting!

I write this post as I am presently in Florida, checking out the Tampa area to see how I feel about living here.  I want to be exploring the area more but I also feel pulled to go to retreat as well.

I am writing this post because I grew up in America – Hawaii for a seven plus years and then Virginia for more than 25 years.  In being raised in the West (and actually, many “Eastern” cultures are now using a Western paradigm, so this post may apply to a varied demographic), I developed a tendency to feel like I always need to be doing something.  I always need to be working toward some goal.  A day spent not accomplishing anything is a wasted day, a day to feel guilty about…  I could go on, but you know how this ends.  The rat race continues, but I am consciously stepping out of it.  This is not an easy process.  It is messy and there are not many examples to follow to see if I am “doing it right.”  In previous posts, you may have noticed how I have studied with a Western teacher named Julie Henderson (PhD) who coaches that kindness to self is more than just taking an hour or two a day for self care needs.  She mentions that we need to be extra vigilant about the ways in which we are hard on ourselves, especially if we are the anxious, pleaser, hyper vigilant, or depressed sort of individual.  It is time to slow down and truly track what our bodies are trying desperately to communicate.  Do not wait for the nasty crisis to indicate that it is time to change jobs and create an easier lifestyle!  If you are wondering, she created or gathered a set of playful, creative, mischievous exercises (breath, sound & movement) which she calls Zapchen Somatics which helps to come down out of our heads and land comfortably in our bodies.

With this context in place, I am a Buddhist practitioner.  Or at least, I do my best.  However, my rat-race-conditioned-mind makes it difficult to claim a Buddhist lineage when I “do so little practice” in a day.  In other words, all I have to do is think the words, “I am a Buddhist practitioner” and guilt instantly arises.  Why is this?

One reason is that when the Buddhist texts were written, it was in a different culture and a different age.  In ancient India, or Nepal, or Tibet, there were no radios, TV’s, videos, face books, twitters, cell phones, etc.  So their pace of life was much different from our Puritan-work-ethic-influenced lifestyles.  I am confident that there were some days or even weeks when there was no grain to plant or harvest, there were no wars to fight, and people either could not read or grew tired of it.  So that left nothing to do except sit around and drink tea or smoke pipes, etc.  The key words here are sitting around doing very little.

This point was brought home to me as I listened to a Dharma talk by Dr. Hun Lye, the president of Urban Dharma center in Asheville, N.C.  He reiterated that applying the Western work ethic and self-deprecation to the ancient Dharma texts will only lead to trouble.  Here is why – realizing that there were days or weeks in ancient India where people just sat around literally accomplishing nothing, the Dharma texts (sutras and commentaries) state explicitly that one should not be lazy, that one should apply oneself day and night to right action.  Not a single second should be wasted!  Those words are meant for “lazy” ancient cultures.  They are not meant for our frenetic, buzzing, high-speed brains.

Fast forward to today when we have every technological convenience imaginable (and every type of technological distraction available!), then we suddenly have busy busy minds and lifestyles where we desperately need to slow down.  But we don’t know how to slow down.  We don’t think it is okay to slow down.  We feel guilty when someone suggests that we take a vacation because we are working too hard.  Generally it takes some sort of crisis to jolt us out of this horrifyingly brutal pattern of self-flaggilation.  To answer my question above – how is it that I am being kind to myself and slowing down, and yet I have this deep-seated need to be finishing as much accumulation of Buddhist practice as possible – RIGHT NOW.  This dynamic leads to a very complex (and time and energy wasting) inner dialogue.  Some days I set off with the sky as my goal and of course I am disappointed when I fall short.  Luckily, these days I notice faster and faster the ways in which I am biting off way more than I can chew.  But I still have guilt around this topic.

I am presently “attending” a Buddhist retreat where we are accumulating Amitayus mantras.  Amitayus is a manifestation of Buddha Amitabha and Amitayus is one of the long life granting manifestations of enlightened mind.  We “should” do Amitayus practice before starting a major practice to ensure we have the vitality and strength to complete said major practice.  In this practice, we are aiming for 100,000 mantras each.

What if this is unrealistic for me?  Then I would be going against my root lama’s wishes, right?  What if I am truly listening to my heart?  I have spent years doing psychological-astrology analysis of my chart, years receiving process-oriented bodywork and further years of embodying forms of bodywork and yoga.  I am about as grounded and embodied right now as I have ever been.  I am aware of most of my gross psychological fallacies (misunderstandings, conditioned habits, etc).  If there is an inner lama, perhaps I am just starting to hear “his” words of wisdom.  I don’t know.  I definitely do not make this arrogance-inducing claim.  I just wonder if I am starting to hear “his” faint whispers which are urging me to listen to my body, to listen to my heart and to let the old tapes of guilt and ensuing confusion drop away.

Anyway, on the first day of the retreat, I noticed many layers of resistance and frustration arising.  I tried to lie down and then return to the practice.  This simply led to a pause and then further frustration.  So I left early.  And do you know how guilty I felt for departing prematurely?  I actually wondered if I would make it home safely because perhaps the wisdom beings might be upset with me (although in reality it is my own karma which determines this).  So when I returned yesterday, I felt humiliation, guilt and sadness among other less than savory emotions.  But I kept most of this to myself.  When I worked up the courage to approach my teacher, he was joyful and equanimous as usual – as if nothing had happened!  I’m not even sure he was aware of my having left early.  Ooph!  Good grief – all that self-deprecation for nothing 🙂

So I pushed myself yesterday.  There were some occasional pangs of pain as my post-shingles neuralgia pain came and went.  There were one or two contractions in my belly.  But overall I pushed through these on purpose.  I had a dream which indicated I would benefit profoundly from returning to retreat.  That is why I pushed forward.  I did a lot of mantras in six hours.  I am very proud of myself.  I rejoice at my accomplishment.  But who knows what I stirred up in the process.

I say that because today I woke up and my sinuses have decided that a dam has crumbled – they are draining like I have a winter-time cold.  So I threw the I Ching to be clearer about my situation.  Do I go to retreat ASAP?  No – that would be unkind.  Ah ha!  Do I do one session today only and rest before and after?  Yes, that is good.  Ahhhh….  Having that reassurance, I can relax deeper and feel good about missing the morning retreat sessions.  Things change, impermanence is guaranteed.  What can I control?  My reactions to that change.  Just do my best, let go just a little bit more.  And check in every day – am I being as kind to myself as possible?  And perhaps kindness will take many different forms – one day I will do 10,000 mantras and another day I will purposely accomplish very little, allowing my mind and body to rest down and relax deeper.  I don’t promise to feel good about accomplishing very little, but I am coming around!

Thank you for reading!

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.  Thanks for visiting.

Honestly, I’m not sure any longer if I can treat my own rare bouts of “insomnia.”  At least, I believe that term is what our Western culture would call lying awake in bed for an hour or two before being able to unwind and go to bed.  I have noticed though that the more media I watch / listen to during the day, the longer it takes me to rest down into sleep.  Plus being emotionally charged tends to keep me up longer as well.

With that said however, if I were to recommend something, and you wanted to hear about it…  but first a little disclaimer: And you, as reader, must keep in mind that I am neither a doctor, nor a registered dietician, so take all of these suggestions with a grain of salt.  They are purely for educational or entertainment purposes only.  Do not change your lifestyle without consulting a licensed medical practitioner.

Homeopathic medicine can work, in fact, if I were needing to be dependent on anything for a long period of time, it would have to be homeopathic remedies, essential oils or flower essences.  No use damaging our liver or kidneys with heavy over the counter / prescription sleep meds when there is little need to do so.

Honestly though, I wonder if changing our lifestyle or late evening habits would be best overall.  Adding exercise seems to be the prescription to many of life’s ailments.  Some cycling, walking, hiking or swimming would at least help to process our “stuff” through the body and not to mention cause the body to become more tired.

For me, what has worked off and on in the past, is one of several things.  Valerian or kava kava or other herbal sleep remedies (the Tazo tea “Calm” does it for me too) are good.  Although if you are really sensitive, Valerian might make you wake up feeling a little woozy, especially if you need to wake up in less than 8 hours.  Taking some rescue remedy (flower essence) is a good way to cut any edge you might be feeling.  And definitely take rescue remedy for emotional shocks as well as physical ones, as it helps the body relax a little bit more.  Not sure though about rescue remedy for sleeping.

Taking a small amount of magnesium powder, which claims to also balance calcium intake helps me if I am feeling both depleted and a-buzz with nervous energy.  I would say that at this time, this is the most helpful of all.  I warm up water and then pour in some Mag. powder, which fizzes and spits for a second, letting me know that the magnesium citrate is being created.  Then I slowly drink it down.  It is nice now, as my body lets me know when it has had enough.  I get a strong distaste for it once I have had enough, so I occasionally need to dump out what is left.

Coffea cruda (homeopathic) supposedly helps to eliminate caffeine from the system and also can help us to unwind.  I’m not so sure anymore.  If I am alert and awake, the slight softening it provides no longer does what it used to.

So I guess what I am trying to get across is be gentle and try natural remedies first before going for who-knows-exactly-how-they-will-affect-your-body prescription drugs for sleep.  Yes they do many studies before the FDA gives it the green light, but we are all unique individuals.  If you have not gone through the study, do you think the scientists and doctors will know exactly how their drugs will affect you?  I’m just asking, I’m not saying anything one way or another.

Maybe it is a good idea first to try unwinding earlier in the evening – having some calming tea, turning off the TV, staying away from media late in the evening, etc.  And adding exercise or sport would probably help us fall asleep faster.  And if none of the above work, then perhaps it would be good to try one of two things: an authentic spiritual path (I find doing the Refuge practice from Tibetan Buddhist Ngondro to both help me sleep and it improves my dream-awareness) and / or receive massage or other forms of bodywork, where your body will actually be able to process some of things on your mind.

And remember, trust your intuition, trust your sensations.  Do not take my word for anything.  Consult your doctor or other licensed health care provider and get on with it.

Thanks for reading.

Cofea Cruda, other homeopathics, Magnesium, herbal teas, pace of life? consciously slowing down, diet, caffeine reduction, eating late?, slowing down after 8 pm, benefits of lying down for kidneys after 10 pm,

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Thanks for reading!  You can visit Kirby’s website at www.mkirbymoore.com to see what he offers in terms of Spiritual Astrology or Resource bodywork.

This is a continuation of a series of posts on a recent visit to some senior apartments in Nelson County, where I taught some simple exercises for well-being. By the way, I am simply describing what occurred in the most objective way possible. I do not intend to be demeaning or to make fun of anyone’s suffering. Because good Lord, we all know that there is too much of that to go around without adding to it! With that in mind, please enjoy.

So Beth was sitting opposite me in the circle of chairs. I decided to go with a circle. I believe that is Montessori style (is that right?), in that there is no way for any individual to hide. Even if they want to (or need to). Also, that way, we are all equals in a sense. There is no position known as “teacher” which has everyone else’s attention focused on it. By sitting in a “round table” form, we all can have an equal say, hopefully.

Beth was chatting with her neighbor and I was barely following her conversation, considering I was checking in with my body, attempting to relax and trying to rest in equanimity as best as I could. I should mention for the record that I learned, quite rapidly, that Beth’s condition of hearing loss was advanced.

So Beth’s neighbor, a cute little, older black woman says, holding a can of unopened Mountain Dew, “I need to hide my soda so Barbara doesn’t take it away from me.”

And of course Beth chimes in with, “Oh you hurt your shoulder? I’m sorry…”

Beth’s neighbor corrected her and Beth noticed me watching this and she blurts out, looking at me, “Just wait til you get old Cody!” It was really the tone of voice she used. So confident and direct and lacking any care about what others might think about it. I had rarely encountered it before, not in other hearing-impaired friends or really anywhere else. What was that mysterious trait about that tone? Anger? Indifference? Bitterness? It made me chuckle though as I appreciated the directness.

I zoned out for a while, at least from their conversation, as I was meeting newcomers. Soon though, Beth looks at me and makes my brain start sizzling as she produces, “Older women are so much more fun than younger women Cody! You should spend more time with older women.” Uhhhh… What did I miss?

“My name is Kirby.”

“What?” Her neighbor explained what my name was. Writing it down helped.

I was told to start, despite the fact that there would be several people arriving late. So I get started, using the skillful beginning of, “Before we get started…” to delay any tension arising. I told them all to take a deep breath and to let go of any physical tension, any emotional stress.

Then I decided to do a little warm up exercise where we would each say our name and one thing we were grateful for. This was to be one of the first of many lessons for me. I said my name and said that I was grateful for all the spring flowers blooming, in particular the forsythia. Then, nearly everyone else around the circle proceeded to thank god for having one more day to live… or for having given them breath that morning. Wow! It was like I was the ignorant leader of a powerful church.

I learned that one woman had an extremely green thumb – she said she could heal any plant. She was actually full of healing wisdom as I would find out throughout the afternoon.

Then I mentioned my guidelines. I said that it was my intention for us all to be just a little more kind to ourselves and that way, we could be a little more kind to others as a result. This would actually be a theme throughout the day.

Several people arrived late. One person, who tried to sit outside the circle but I directed her to the only chair available, right next to me, said, “I’m late.” Okay… I introduced myself and told her my only guidelines for the class – that you only do exercises that are comfortable / easy for you and that you try to have fun doing them. I said if something is uncomfortable, don’t do it, and at least object or raise your hand before forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to. I suspected that this was a new paradigm as these seniors were kind of at the whim of their apartment manager.

Oh, Barbara introduced me, saying that I did Craniosacral Therapy and that I recently got my BA from UVa. Good… Someone asked me about Craniosacral work and for some reason, I went in the direction of the this-is-actually-a-church-meeting and answered her with, “Craniosacral work is unique in that it believes the individual has the power and the ability to heal themselves.” (So I was actually talking about Craniosacral Biodynamics here.) I continued with, “As a Craniosacral practitioner, I try to get in touch with that natural, innate healing ability of individuals, which we call the Christ-Light or the Breath of Life (which are both terms from Christianity). I try to balance that energy and make sure that it is flowing smoothly and as fully as possible. Sometimes if we get injured, or hit our heads, or due to conditioning from when we were young, or other traumatic events, we can lose touch with the Breath of Life. So I simply try to get my client back in touch with their potential to heal themselves.” Wow! Pat yourself on the back Kirby – these God-fearing seniors drank it up, although I think they did not expect it.

When someone in the audience tried to reflect back what I had just said, he did a good job. But that is when I realized I had not mentioned any of the actual scientific research and information about CST. So after he reflected about the energy coming from his heart and his spirit getting involved, which was great, I continued, “Also, in addition to everything I just mentioned about Craniosacral Therapy, if I were to take out any religious terms from my description, I could also say that Craniosacral works with the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and that science has actually shown that practitioners can palpate this subtle fluid and feel where it is stuck or where it is flowing smoothly. The CSF nourishes and lubricates the central nervous system and brain and if it is not flowing well, then issues can arise. So as a practitioner, I also work with balancing the CSF.” That may have been a bit long winded but it was good to explain it in those terms…

See my next post (Part III) for the next installment of this fantastic afternoon. Thanks for reading!

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Thanks for reading!

By the way, I am now offering self-care coaching. I have a website which is still under development (but I launched it anyway), so if you visit, pardon the mess! It still needs a lot of work, so I anticipate it being several weeks before it looks moderately solid. On the site you can purchase coaching sessions. It is at http://www.mkirbymoore.com You can also click on the link at the top of the list to the right.

In this post, practicing self care by consciously taking the time to notice what our pace of life actually is. Show of hands: Who works at a fast paced job? I kind of expect most of my few readers’ hands to go up, and just to let you know, my hand would have to go up in answer to that. With that in mind, what is the pace of your life outside of work?

If we have never taken the time to slow down, whether through spending time in nature, gardening, meditating, volunteering with animals or children (this might not seem like going slow, but our egos are forced to slow down to meet these beings where they are), receiving process-oriented bodywork, doing yoga, etc etc… then how could we possibly expect to work at a fast paced job and somehow lead a peaceful, serene life at home? To steal a line from the movie The Princess Bride: “Inconceivable!”

So if you are reading this… yes, you knew this was coming… pause. Right now. Take a deep breath. Notice your body, take another breath. notice your posture, take another pause, are you hydrated or not? All of this takes time and effort and awareness. So just noticing is the beginning of excellent self-care! Now pat yourself on the back for a job well done! And if just this is making your head swim or giving you a funny sensation in your head (like a potential head ache) or something else unusual is happening, then it is a time for a nap. Come back and read the rest of this post later. If after practicing these little suggestions, your head is still clear, then please continue reading.

What are some ways that we can slow down, even if our jobs are demanding and stressful? Well, first, we must make time to do so. Okay, so our jobs are a drag. Well, what are going to do about it? It is what it is. I love how the I Ching tells me that I have two choices when I encounter natural, unavoidable phenomena – I can either sit there, moaning and groaning; or I can put on the music and dance in spite of everything. What do I want to cultivate within myself?

If we have any free time at all, or maybe just five minutes after we get home from whatever stressful activities we are “forced” to partake in, then take a few minutes to take stock of your life. Where are we distracted easily? Where are we really mindful, if at all? Where are we rushing around at a frenetic pace? Where are we numbing out, avoiding all of the above?

If we feel comfortable at home, maybe just this once, we can delay turning on the TV or computer (Facebook is mighty appealing sometimes!), and instead, we can contemplate our day, and contemplate our pace throughout that day. Where could we easily slow down? Where do we need to slow down? No judgment here! Be gentle. Be kind. Simply notice.

Just this noticing will start to create a shift. Just by noticing our breath, we will start to move toward states of relaxed awareness. So if we work at a hectic job, or have to spend time with people who really stress us out, then where is our sanctuary? Where do we really feel comfortable to let go and just relax? If nothing comes to mind, how can we create this space?

In the very least, perhaps we can take three or five minutes after getting home from work and just sit down. Don’t do much else besides consciously slowing down. Maybe brew some relaxing tea (probably non-caffeinated herbal tea would fit this description) or drink some delicious, pure water. I’m not saying you need to meditate. I’m not suggesting that you do anything at all really besides contemplate the pace of life. And then decide what, if anything, needs to change. And try to be as gentle as possible.

If you are like me and your mind desires distractions and wants to move at a fast pace all the time, then make the choice of the more calming, the more relaxing of two options. For instance, do I read an informative magazine or check my email (for the 8th time that day)? Should I watch this soccer game or read the Wall Street Journal? Do I watch TV or go for a walk on a nice nature trail? Do I eat one Twinkie or three? 🙂

We have to start somewhere. And it might as well be with ourselves. But above all else, please remember to go slow, to be as gentle as possible with yourself without beating yourself up and to recognize that changing any kind of habit at all takes lots of time.

I hope you have enjoyed this post.

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to check out other posts in this category.

Disclaimer: The author of this post is not a licensed medical practitioner. If anything is suggested about changing one’s lifestyle, please do not make any changes yourself until you speak with your doctor, nurse practitioner or registered dietician, etc. This info is presented primarily for entertainment / educational purposes only.

I was speaking with a friend recently, a practitioner of Polarity Therapy (among other modalities) and he articulated what I have been thinking for quite some time now, but I was not sure I had ever said it like that. So, just in case this is a review for some people, I think it might be worth reading again.

In my previous post on Preventing Cold Sores, I mentioned that it would take many words to elaborate on quality self-care, and all its multifaceted levels. So to begin, one little chunk at a time:

My friend said, to paraphrase, “When we offer bodywork to people, we offer them the chance to see what balance [and alignment] looks like. We bring them toward a space of healing and ease. Now, the question however is, what do they do when they get off the table?… People have so many toxic habits – whether their diet, their choice of friends, stress at work, etc. So when they get off the massage table, what are they going back to? And how can they hope to maintain the balance they have just discovered with us if they are going back to toxic habits [and environments]? The answer is that they have got to do the work themselves – the real work begins when they get off the table.”

I appreciate these sentiments and I agree for the most part. Personally I try to be careful about calling myself a healer or saying that I do anything to the client (without them participating completely in their own healing process) – I’d rather have the client empowered from the moment they step through my door – but otherwise, I love this information! And I believe this fits in well with my thoughts on Practicing Quality Self-Care.

So when he mentioned the part about the toxic habits, that is a strong way of putting it – another way of saying it, with less negative connotation, would be to call them “temporary compensations” (from Julie Henderson). Yes, we all have various habits and we make choices each moment. And not all of these choices serve our highest good – which is fine! That’s why they are called choices! If we need to rest somewhere for a while, that is okay. When we are ready to get to work and move on, we will. No use badgering the little guys in the process!

With that said, if you want to improve yourself, to gain a deeper awareness of your health and your body / mind system, then continue reading. If you are happy where you are, and if you will be provoked by my words and react in defensiveness and disapprobation, then you may want to stop reading now. 🙂

I want to emphasize that physical, emotional, mental (psychological) and spiritual well-being are interconnected. I doubt we can say, “this month I’m going to work on my physical health only! I don’t want anything to do with emotions right now.” Sure, we can SAY that… but do we really have that choice? In other words, when we truly start to slow down in order to refine our patterns, at that point, we might begin to confront whatever underlying (subconscious) issues were keeping us moving at that hectic, break-neck pace to begin with. We will then be face-to-face with emotional, psychological and other issues. So when we are ready to take the step toward greater self-awareness and therefore increased self-care, then we should go for it. Get support, get our help and get on with our lives, if we want to, when we are ready.

With that said, just to reiterate, when we start to slow down just to analyze our life, just by asking the question, “what, if anything, needs to change in my life?” we have already begun moving toward quality self-care. Pat yourself on the back baby!

And now we should be aware that this process will go so much smoother if we have good support. We have many many blind-spots. Our egos are so deeply entrenched that they don’t want to change. Therefore, the mind will conceive of many ways to keep us distracted in the long run. That is why it is good to have quality and appropriate support. If we try to fix ourselves without a mirror to look in from time to time, how will we know we are making any actual progress at all? Sometimes, our self-care may simply be inflating our ego! (Ever been in a yoga class where egos are running rampant? I’m just saying…)

So be aware that just consciously slowing down a little is to practice self-care. Sure, there are times when the body / mind does not give us a choice. When we injure ourselves, sprain an ankle or throw out our back, what do we think that means? I guarantee that we will be slowing down no matter what else happens! But let’s prevent such gross pleas for slowing down and get started now.

To wrap up what I am saying in this post is that we cannot divorce physical needs from emotional, mental, psychological or spiritual needs. Ever eat a sugary, caffeinated treat and feel the blood sugar spike? Does that elicit any changes in our mental functioning? Does it elicit any additional emotions? Pay attention next time. I say “yes,” to both. Therefore, as the cliché goes, START WHERE YOU ARE.

I am going to begin the next post with physical self-care, but if you are ready to tackle emotional or psychological issues, then start there. I will get to them soon, wisdom beings willing and the creek don’t rise.

Thanks for reading.

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Disclaimer: The author of this post is not a licensed health care provider, so he does not profess to be able to cure, treat, diagnose or prevent any health issues. If you have a medical question or concern, you should speak with a licensed practitioner. Now enjoy this post! 🙂

Okay, again, good to get that out of the way. So in this post: preventing cold sores and fever blisters before they ever get started. Which of course, prevents any need to treat them if they ain’t ever coming up.

Like I mentioned in the previous post, there are some supplements that help the immune system (Vitamin C, Zinc, Lysine, etc). [Speak to your doctor or a licensed dietician before changing your diet and / or supplement intake.] But again, those are just supplements, it would be ideal if we can practice self-care on a regular basis such that we don’t need many supplements. So how can we prevent cold sores from forming? By practicing self-care. So what is self-care?

There are several layers of self-care in my opinion: physical, energetic, emotional / psychological / mental, spiritual.

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Depending on where we are on our individual (spiritual) paths, each of these levels may be slightly more or slightly less important than the others. And sorry to do this so abruptly, but I just realized that it might take many words to elaborate on these various self-care subjects, so look forward to further posts. In the rest of this post, I will continue on the topic at hand (fever blister prevention).

What is the fastest way to get a cold sore? To allow the immune system to get run down and then have a trigger occur. What does trigger mean in this case? Different triggers are: getting a lot of extra sun (sun burns can do it), having a cold or flu, being shocked by a new situation or circumstance, in other words, stress can do it too. For example, one trigger can be eating extra sugar (cheesecake / cookies / ice cream) – because sugar wears down the immune system, so if we are already taxed or stressed, and we go to a get-together and indulge in the many lovely desserts… well don’t be surprised if, the next morning, there is a little visitor on your lip. Then you want to see my previous post 🙂

How are other ways that we get run down? And this will tie in to my next posts on self-care by the way. One of the fastest ways to run down our immune system is to not listen to messages from our body. In other words, by doing an activity which is depleting, and then continuing in that activity long after it was healthy to do so, will sap the immune system. If we are tired, we should try to rest as soon as possible. Even just a five to ten minute power “nap” can help to restore tissue tonicity and optimal function.

What are some ways that we deplete ourselves? Being on the computer for too many hours – I’m pretty sure (don’t quote me or take my word for it) that being on the computer for many hours on end causes the body to become more acidic (Ph issues). Being more alkaline is healthier, where as being more acidic allows viruses and other “baddies” to grow and thrive. [See my next post on physical self-care techniques] What if we can’t help it? Well break up the computer time – go for a walk once or twice a day in the healthy sunshine, take a short yoga or stretching break, take a five minute pause to sit and just rest the eyes and the body.

Are there other ways that we deplete our selves? Drinking alcohol on occasion can be good for us (apparently). However, drinking on a regular basis depletes the system – the liver (and kidneys) never has time to rest and restore itself if it is constantly stressed by needing to clear toxins from the blood. Another way that we deplete ourselves, if we are in a male body, is by too frequent ejaculation. The definition of “too frequent” here is very subjective and it has to do with age, diet, constitution, etc, but there are definitely times when the body says, “Hey man, we need to rest these gonads!” Ejaculation lowers the kidney jing (that would be the subtle energy of the kidneys from a Chinese medicine perspective). [Again see my next post on physical self-care techniques] So it would be good to determine a healthy balance here, or figure out how to enjoy sex without ejaculating. See books by David Deida or books on Taoist sex secrets, etc for more on this complex and it-will-take-some-effort-and-diligence subject.

We can also deplete ourselves by sticking with a toxic relationship. Yes, there are some people we must be around occasionally – whether at work, in our family, housemates, etc. But take time to establish appropriate boundaries and speak your truth and your needs (psychological self-care). We don’t want to allow ourselves to be sapped. And don’t try to blame the other person either as this just continues the chains of suffering – rather, figure out how we are judging them, or how are we letting them get to us, or how we can relax just a little bit more in their presence, such that they no longer tax us. This can take years, so do be gentle (spiritual / psychological self-care).

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And of course, there are many many ways in which we allow ourselves to become depleted. And yes, there are circumstances where cannot help it. That is okay! If we are stuck in a toxic job or a long-term situation that is very stressful, then we are stuck! No use spending lots of time wishing things were different when they can’t be. But how can we work to find equanimity even in the midst of stress? Where can we lighten up just a little bit more? How can we introduce more playfulness and humor into our lives?

So, back to the title of this post, how do we prevent cold sores? By attempting to take good care of ourselves. How do we start this process? By determining where in our lives we need to relieve some pressure – where in our life are we allowing ourselves to become depleted? First work to “fix” the grossest levels of self-care violation, and then slowly slowly work to ease in new techniques for all-round self-care.

If I have time, I will elaborate on further levels of self-care. Stay tuned. Thank you for reading.

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