Are You Living Well?

Are You Living Well?

13 January 2012

So, it’s a new year. And, as I do every January, I find myself looking back over the past twelve months and forward to those ahead. How has life been of late? What do I anticipate for the future? What lessons do I take with me into the unknown? Yet, the further I look, the more obscure it gets, so I find myself focussing on the now: today, this week, this month…and I search around for some inspiration.

The changes that I’ve made over the past few months, returning to my Craniosacral practice and re-launching Natural Health have drawn me to asking questions about what it really means to be healthy. What is this good health lark all about? What is wellbeing? Do they matter and how much? To begin to answer these questions, I started by asking those around me what they believe good health to be, and unsurprisingly, I received a really good snap shot of the variety in our collective experience of health.

For some, being healthy seemed like a mantra that they should practice; eat well, get enough sleep, don’t over do it, etc. Yet others didn’t even think about their health until they were already in imbalance, only really appreciating how good things had been when they developed a cold, a sore muscle, or felt run-down.

Then a few days ago I read a great article by Nic Marks in the December edition of Resurgence, a wonderful magazine all about “earth, art and spirit”. Entitled, “Creating a Wellbeing Society”, it helped me consolidate a few thoughts.

Whilst the article concentrates on much of the politics of wellbeing, there are some simple, yet sound suggestions for ‘living well’ in the form of “five ways to wellbeing” that are “all common sense”, but can act as a great reminder of how our attitude can make all the difference. And although they are certainly relevant to our relationships with those around us – our family, friends and the wider community – they can also be readily applied to the relationship we have with our own self.

The five are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give

I am so often asked by my clients, “what can I do for myself, in between sessions, or after my course of treatment?” Whilst all of the five can certainly be of help, there are two that stand out to me as particularly relevant to personal development and healing: Take Notice and Give.

By ‘take notice’ I mean paying attention to our inner life; our feelings, intuition and most essentially, bodily sensations. Our everyday lives are generally lived in the mind, thinking, organising, worrying (in the traditional sense) and our responsibilities encourage us to ignore and dismiss what our body tells us. Yet, our mind and body always coexist and both experience the same situations, although often in very different ways. So the aches, twitches, gurgles and tightnesses gets side-lined, building up and only finally being acknowledged when we’re tipped into illness.

Our bodies have developed fantastic ways of letting us know when we’ve been overworked or pushed too far and by taking notice, paying attention and acknowledging the messages our body sends us, we open the door for a true ‘wellbeing dialogue’. I’d go so far as to say that your body can be without doubt the best friend your mind will ever have and by treating it as such, by listening and then giving when it asks for something it needs, well…who knows what you could do..?

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead!

John A