Unforgiveness is the most prolific cause of disease
– Florence Scovel Shinn
If I had to choose one thing I believe to be the most important to wellness it would be this: our mental and emotional outlook on life. Or simplified to a single word – forgive. The first time encountering this concept was in a book called The Disappearance of the Universe but I didn’t really ‘get it’ initially. At first I thought it meant that I had to forgive everyone in my life, which of course does not mean condoning their actions, only letting go of the negative feelings towards others for my own mental/emotional health.
It was later on my journey of learning to manage my emotions and my reactions to life that the meaning became clear. Forgive everything. What does this infer? It essentially means letting life roll off your back without getting upset or trying to control every aspect, and following what you feel inside is right for you.
How does one do that? Begin here:
Be in Gratitude – Focusing on the things in your life that you appreciate and make life enjoyable is one of the easiest ways to begin to make the shift towards happiness and fulfillment. There are always people, circumstances or other elements in our life for which to be grateful. Remember to practice an ‘attitude of gratitude’.
Meditation – Do you meditate regularly, or are you one of those people who just can’t meditate? If you are the former, well done! If you are the latter, it’s time to realize anyone can learn to meditate and that the health benefits are too important and numerous to ignore. I won’t list all the positive physiological effects that have been documented. How about this: subjects who meditated regularly for 5 years or more had a biological age, on average, that was 12 years younger than their chronological age (see Quantum Healing). Regular meditation slowly transforms you into a new person; one who is not only healthier but calmer, more focused, more intuitive… the list goes on and on. Just try it for a month or two and decide for yourself.
Align Yourself with a Higher Power – After my husband passed, I said to the Powers That Be: “Do whatever you want with me”. So began the most incredible journey of discovering myself and my purpose, as well as understanding that something greater was supporting and guiding me. As I trusted in this and continued to meditate and seek meaning in my life, I became more peaceful and happy. Even if religion has left a bad taste in your mouth, what I encourage you to do is seek the god of your own understanding and see where life takes you.
Find your Purpose – Do you know what your purpose is and where you fit in? Very few do but for those living their charisma – a divinely conferred power or talent – the satisfaction it brings is incomparable. To gain more insight, begin with these two questions: 1) What are my strongest qualities, the ones that come naturally to me, and 2) What is it that excites me, that are my passions in life? The second is the harder to discover; one approach is to notice the little moments in life when you feel happy, fulfilled, enriched. What is it about these moments that nurtures your spirit? Begin to make a mental list of what fulfills you, and also what is not for you. And know that there is no one exact ‘job title’ you came here to have, rather, you can express your gifts and hearts-desire in a multitude of ways according to the particular path that excites you.
Do Your Soul Work – Those on the spiritual path may have heard it said that if there is something that annoys you about another person, it is because he/she is reflecting an issue within you. What fear, insecurity or limiting thought is at the basis of your reaction? Take a good, honest look at yourself and begin to acknowledge, face and change those ‘shadow’ aspects of your character. Strive to be self-aware of what is really going on inside you at any moment in time so you can appropriately respond, instead of react, to life.
Follow Your Heart – Do you trust and honour your heart (or gut’s) direction, regardless of what society says or what others pressure you to do? Often we don’t even realize that the values we are upholding do not truly belong to us and we have never consciously questioned them. Instead, we have absorbed attitudes from parents or the media. Consciously ask yourself if and WHY you believe something and don’t be afraid to change your perspective in order to live your truth, even if those closest to you don’t understand. For inspiration in this area I suggest the books or audiobooks of Wayne Dyer, and The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Speak Your Truth – This is one of the hardest pieces. Finding the words and courage to express what you believe and is closest to your heart is scary – what if you offend, are dismissed or laughed at? Even saying No is a challenge for many. Often the message can be received better than we expect, particularly if we take time to frame and explain our thinking and position. There is nothing that makes you feel quite so good in your own skin and soul as when you stay true to who you are and express this without reservation throughout your daily life.
Balance Your Life – In our fast-paced society where we find ourselves holding down a job, raising children, taking care of ailing parents and other such responsibilities, it is common that life begins to overwhelm and drain us. Taking time to nurture yourself may seem like a luxury but it should be your foundation. When you are rested and centred in your thoughts and emotions you can be the most effective in your own life and for others.