Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I’ve just been away to the Drakensberg and KZN midlands for a week.
The break was welcome and needed. Getting away from the regular routine and especially getting out into nature is always hugely restorative for me.
I did a lot of hiking on my own while Pierre photographed birds, a much slower and painstaking occupation although not quite as taxing on the cardiovascular system.
I generally feel much better at the coast and find exercising at altitude quite difficult but those beautiful mountains with their contour paths and the sounds of the river in the background seemed to make the hiking feel almost effortless. That is, until I got back to the chalet. By that time I could certainly feel my feet and legs had had a workout.
I thought I would use the time away to think about my work, my life purpose and my health but I found myself walking and not thinking. The walking became an exercise in being routed in my body, focusing on my breathing, watching my step and following where the path led. Little thinking was done and that in itself was wonderful and amazing.
At one stage I wondered if I was walking/hiking in order to avoid my anxiety and uncertainty about where I’m going relative to my purpose but after a day or two I realised that it wasn’t an avoidance measure but was more like a reconnection to myself; an appreciation of the joy of being connected to my body and moving with freedom. Each hike allowed me to appreciate the gift of great health, physical fitness and strength.
Before I left I had a coaching session with a mentor and during this session she took me through an intuitive process to connect with my inner creative power. During this process I had a ‘vision’ of myself as a light bearer showing people how to experience the joy and freedom of being in a physical body.
So often, we focus on the limitations and restrictions we feel that are placed on us by our physical bodies, especially when we’re in pain. We also focus on the parts that don’t look the way we desire and even those of us who have a good health and high vitality are always looking to improve, thus focus on what needs improving. All of this inhibits joy.
In order to experience joy, we have to choose it. We have to admit that we want it, even if we don’t believe we can have it. We have to do things that bring joy to ourselves and others. Otherwise we spend out lives waiting for circumstances to change in order for us to feel that way. We become powerless rather than powerful.
In the same way, that we can make a fundamental choice to bring more joy to ourselves and others, we can also make a fundamental choice to experience optimal health. We have to choose to have it, admit we want it, even if we don’t believe we can have it. Only once we’re clear on the truth of where we are – not in good shape, for example and not believing that we can have optimal health – and be honest about what we want – optimal health and to be at our ideal body weight maybe?- can we worry about the process of getting there (I know the grammar and punctuation in that sentence is bad but it is what it is!)
We, and I definitely include myself in this, have been going about things in the reverse order; focusing on the processes (the ‘how’) rather than keeping what we would love to manifest in the forefront of our thoughts. That’s why we can have some success but then tend to revert back to where we started and that’s also why we’re always after the next shiny new thing that’s miraculously going to give us what we want this time! When we focus on the processes we’re going to follow and fixing our discomfort, then we focus on the discomfort more than the health. So the consequence is that we tend to end up with more discomfort and less health.
When I put together my Ditch Diets for Good program, my goal was to put together a process that allowed people to connect to the signals from their bodies in such a way that they developed their own, unique path to health. One that was specifically tailored to their unique needs. I knew this would lead to them being inspired rather than having to be motivated by me or someone else. Inspiration is infinite and so leads to lasting habits.
Right at the beginning of the workshop there is an exercise around working out why we want what we want. In other words, finding the ‘why’ of why we want to Ditch Diets for Good.
I always allocated less time to that exercise and got impatient when it took too long to complete because I wanted to get to the method! The actual ‘how’. Now I realise that I’ve been doing it the wrong way around! The process that you follow to reach your goal will unfold once you’re clear on your goal and can stay focused on it.