I have not posted for six weeks. The sense of making each day count has been the driving motivation for me lately. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I made a chart for my refrigerator. On the chart are those things which are most supportive of my well being, in other words the care of my body.
At the top of the list is drinking water. From all that I have read, getting enough water can offer immense support for the “plant.” Inflammation is a response which must be avoided. Inflammation damages the body, creates stress and can lead to a cancer response. Drinking enough water also keeps the body from signaling “hungry, hungry,” when in fact it is dehydrated. Toxins are also carried through with water. Honoponopono practice which is traditional Hawaiian spiritual practice has as its core drinking water. A blue bottle is placed in the sun (try that in the Okanagan winter). As the sun goes through the water, it is believed it activates it to heal. The thought that the practitioner is supposed to hold is that all past “scripts” are washing through the body. What happened to me when I was two or twenty or sixty is now flushed out. Now. That brings to you now. Without a story, a bag of past grievances slung over the shoulder. Just you, the ground, the breath and the flow of water washing through the body.
Sleep is the next item on my chart. Getting eight hours sleep can pull down the inflammation response very efficiently. When the body is rested, it feels strong and calm. The daily attacks: bills, broken appliances, family disasters, angry people are inevitable. But if the body feels strong and rested, a person is in a more capable state. Solutions are easier to discover. I also find that it is easier for me to not attach to the difficulty with an emotional state that strangely enough usually outlasts the problem. So often in the past I start to out run the tiger long after it has retreated to the dark forest again. The sound of my own hyperventilation and pounding anxiety would accompany me long after the threat had passed.
And friends are extremely important. In scientific experiments of people under stress, it was discovered that their telemeres shorted. These are the “shoelace” like tips of DNA strands. The longer they are, the longer your life span. Stress will shorter the telemeres whose job it is to repair cellular damage. So women under stress raising handi-capped children who formed into a support group had a slowing down of the telemere damage and in some cases actual repair to the repair kit.
My goal is to make contact with old friends or to meet new friends every day. As with all activities, it becomes easier the longer I do it. At first, going through the door after my long retreat was like breaking through one of those aluminum foil barriers on a jar… only it was over the door. One evening I went out just because I didn’t feel like going on.
These simple items top my list on my happiness project chart. Another part of the process, is to realize that it is a process. When I misstep or don’t have an X to put in the box, I realize that I am changing myself for the better. I celebrate that and treat myself with compassion because I am my friend as well. Right?