Stuckness

I encounter a plethora of people in our society, perhaps a growing majority, whom suffer the maladies of heaviness, excess weight, chronic depression both mental and physical, chronic back issues, frequent illness, stuckness, and general to intense lack of vitality. These people struggle a lot and I feel for them. A good many, probably more than I realize are on antidepressants and the like. Yet, without passing judgment I witness again and again habits and life style patterns that don’t merely contribute but cause these experiences of dis-ease. The most common of these habits, in no particular order, are:
• Sitting for extended periods and for hours a day
• A diet high in starches, sugars, high glycemic and processed foods, wheat, and milk products, and  alcohol while scarce in vegetables, lean protein, fiber, omega 3’s, Vit D, B vitamins.
• Inadequate daily sunlight and fresh air
• Insufficient and appropriate sleep patterns out of balance with circadian rhythms
• Excessive amount of time in front of computer and tv screens (usually combined with sitting, staying  up late, and eating junk)
• Inadequate if any regular daily exercise and training.
Now any one of these by themselves could and likely will cause the symptoms above. More than one and the experience of dis-ease including increasing the likelihood of more serious disease in the long term, is compounded. This is in fact the exact protocol I’d prescribe for such a disaster! Frankly though they have a valuable place I don’t think taking meds or antidepressants are going to correct things unless there is also lifestyle correction.. you can’t overcome the negative effects of such habits with any medication.

In contrast, to reverse course and reverse it radically so as to become a person of vitality, health, with a positive experience of life the following is prescribed:
• Limit sitting for extended periods, taking regular movement ‘breaks’ when one is required by work or school to sit. Adopt a moving rather than sedentary life.
• Reduce and eliminate sugar, starch, processed, wheat based foods, and alcohol from the diet and replace with vegetables, fiber, high nutrient foods, lean protein, omega 3’s, regular intake of filtered water, and Vit D and B vitamin supplements if necessary. 
• Each day get outside for at least one hour of daylight. This not only enables Vit D production during the warmer months but even in the dead of winter affects neural and hormonal function reversing the affects of S.A.D. Note S.A.D. can occur even summer to those whom shut themselves inside for the bulk of the day.
• Make a practice of not only getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night but in tune with circadian cycles by getting to bed by ten more than not and getting up by 6 more than not. 
• Limit exposure beyond work and regulated recreational time to computer and tv screens as not only does this affect brain chemistry and circadian rhythms but is too often combined with staying up late, sitting, and inadequate movement, generating disruptions on all fronts. Experts suggest no computer past 8PM at night and or within 2 hours of intended bedtime.
• Make a discipline of daily exercise for your appropriate level of fitness. Outside is even better. 

Any single one of these disciplines will empower and heal. Combine them and the total response will be profound in regathering a life of well-being. 

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Grace

This Food is the Gift of the whole universe:
The earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it.
May we transform our unskillful states of mind, live with compassion, and eat in moderation.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food so that we may realize the path of understanding and love.


Beautiful, meaningful, mindful…a celelbration of all between Mother Earth and Father Sky. Yet without any bow to the supernatural or any dieties. No invocation or petitions (except to our own higher nature)…simply generating a posture towards the universe, towards all that is. 

~ Zen Buddhist Five Contemplations. TNH

Pain

Concerning Pain in training (and life): Pain is only a sensation.. and one must differentiate between hurting damaging pain (punitive) and the pain that comes with exertion and effort (purifying) . They might both be wholly uncomfortable but are completely different in origin and effect. Most people who struggle in their training and competition are doing so because they confuse these two and secondly because of the enormous amount of resistance they generate against the ‘pain’. With mindfulness you learn to differentiate and with courage you learn to stop fearfully resisting and transcend the discomfort of exertion…effortless effort. Its like moving from a head wind to a tail wind. Tension evaporates replaced with speed, strength, clarity, flow.