2012 is almost there...knocking at our doors. We are at the threshold of a brand new year... It’s time for new beginnings, revivals and renewals.
Looking back at 2011, one has to admit that it goes in India’s history as a year that saw us slipping into the stigma of a corrupt nation, for scams galore benumbed us. We also saw the Anna phenomenon unfold! Thanks to social and online networking, we hope the political class will be a lot wearier of us – common people!
Notwithstanding these turmoils, how can we make the year one with a difference? I am going to tread these nurturing paths so that each day, I become a better individual.
Invest 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes just before going to bed on Meditation. In the first week of December 2011, I got access to a wonderful meditation that has kept me sane and healthy amid the frenetically paced life. I am resolute about continuing this in 2012 as I find myself rooted in peace (amid the chaos around!) and my pre-hypertension reading have stabilized to a healthy 120/70. Meditation has long been considered one of the finest practices to gain peace & clarity of mind along with its other therapeutic benefits. What ancient rishis and seers practiced ages ago has been confirmed by modern science to be a potent tool in quietening the mind and its constant chatter. To those of you who would like to start the New Year with the remarkable benefits one can offer oneself, please visit http://www.ishafoundation.org/Ishakriya. The tagline of the free meditation cannot be more apt: Be, Breathe, Blossom!
Keep a Gratitude Journal. It is always easy to find fault with everything around us. Pause and ponder... we are sure to find countless blessings that have come our way. In fact the most difficult people in our lives happen to also be our best teachers, in retrospection. Today’s obstacles will no doubt seem to us as fine opportunities, five years from now. So instead of focussing on the troubles and imaginary fears, let us focus on the bounties we have. It would be a great idea to write down in a note pad 5 blessings of the day, before we go to sleep. This has manifold effects as the subconscious mind registers the gratefulness. Researchers have found that when we think about someone or something we really appreciate and experience the feeling that goes with the thought, the parasympathetic – calming-branch of the autonomic nervous system – is triggered. This pattern when repeated bestows a protective effect on the heart.
Smile a lot. A smile induces warmth in the beholder’s heart. Frequent smiling is indeed therapeutic in its effect on the body & mind. Besides it is so contagious that it can even uplift the overwhelmed and depressed. It improves appearances and makes people look younger & attractive. It is mood changing and is an instant stress buster. Research has shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good and therefore happier. Smiling therefore is a natural drug.
Seize the moment – Carpe diem, they say. Being mindful is focusing on the present moment. Many a time we are engulfed in the ruminations & regrets of the past and worries & anxieties of the future. Hence we are unable to live in the present. When you are mindful, you look at yourself in a non judgemental way. You realize that you are not your thoughts. You become an observer of your thoughts – you neither grasp them nor push them away. Thankfully, the meditation that I do is aiding me superbly in this process. The venerable Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh advocates practicing mindfulness of ourselves and others – mindful acts cultivate understanding, love, compassion, and joy. In our strife ridden world this is a panacea.
Forgive others and more importantly yourself. Many a time we make mistakes. Others make mistakes. Push comes to shove, we are easy on forgiving others but quite harsh on ourselves. We need to let go of our grudges and bitterness, and embrace peace, hope, gratitude & joy. Embracing forgiveness is a clear way forward. If we probe further, it is the perfectionist in us that wants us never to make mistakes. Weed out this disease. It can cause guilt, rigidity, pessimism, low self esteem and obsessive compulsive behaviour in us. To overcome this we need to acknowledge that we are liable to make mistakes. We need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Backsliding is just not the end of the world – we can always pick ourselves up and start all over again. In this sense every mistake is a profound learning experience.
Go for walks. Do back stretches to ward off aches & pains. I aim to go for a 30-minute walk everyday plus do the stretches recommended by my orthopaedist. I have the benefit of a huge park nearby where I stay. So there is no reason why I should be lax on these, given the benefits of one of the most inexpensive yet easiest & effective of exercises. Besides making me physically fit, it will also promote better sleep.
Drink lots of water. In fact I start my day by drinking 3-4 glasses of water. The elixir of life is by far the best liquid to intake. Dr. Batmanghelidj who is the author of “Water for Health, for Healing, for Life” is also the founder of the National Association for Honesty in Medicine and author of, “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water”, in his interview with Mike Adams speaks eloquently about the healing power of water. I find drinking 8-10 glasses of water everyday very energising.
These and other good practices that I indulge in like doing Reiki, reading plenty of inspirational literature and regular prayers will also keep me in good stead through 2012.
Do you have any nurturing practice to share???