It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
Just as I was getting ready to write this, my daughter reminded me of one of the most inspiring videos I have ever watched. It is a story about Arthur, who transformed his body, his health, and his life. You might want to watch this as a primer for my message on health, your body, and spirituality.
I wrote earlier this week that I learned in the book Bodymind Code that wounds from our past can manifest as health challenges and/or a block in our willingness and ability to take excellent care of ourselves and to make our health a priority. For anyone who dishonors her or his body, this might be a clue. If woundedness is not in your vocabulary, think of it as an assault to our core; a judgment, betrayal, abandonment, or isolation that left its mark in our perception of our own right to be alive, to be loved, and to matter.
Recently I have been observing that my clients who receive health coaching exhibit spiritual transformation. Since I was not expecting that, and since it occurs consistently, I knew I needed to examine this phenomenon. The ideas in the two paragraphs above are connected.
In psychotherapy, a trained therapist will guide the patient or client to understand his or her past as a tool for healing in the present. Having worked with one particularly brilliant psychotherapist, I appreciate and respect this process very much. I did experience transformation and I am a believer in this approach.
When it comes to unfinished business as evidenced by persistent health issues, the simplest way for me to explain this is to describe what I see: when people adjust their choices and their habits, when they go from abusing their bodies to loving their bodies, it appears that they become more whole spiritually. In other words, whatever was between them and honoring their bodies appears to be resolved retroactively without digging around in their past. Hence the spiritual healing in present time. The wound is mended as the body becomes more vibrant and strong.
One way to understand this is to consider what mechanisms would prompt someone to eat enough junk food to make him feel lethargic, exhausted, and undernourished. Or to become sedentary, or smoke. These are simplistic, I realize. But the causes of the so-called obesity/diabetes/heart disease epidemic from a behavior perspective are routine bad habits and poor choices. Understanding how a person must feel about himself to perpetuate these habits points to this unresolved woundedness to which I referred.
As a person begins to feel the rewards of making adjustments in food, exercise, hydration, and sleep, and as she begins to feel much better, her perception of her own worthiness begins to unfold. She wakes up to her potential as someone who counts, who deserves to be alive, and to feel good. Again, these appear simplistic, but are actually clinically significant and in real-life quite profound. As one client told me recently, his wife said he has become much nicer and much less self-absorbed since he started taking better care of himself. In his own words, he said that he feels freer to focus on and connect with other people rather than merely satisfying his own needs. Another client said that even when the stress hits the fan at life and at work, she still makes pro-health choices because she realized that she can honor her body regardless of the surrounding circumstances. The spirituality of these transformations suggests faith in oneself.
Here are four areas where this healing occurs:
- Resources. Being sick requires a tremendous amount of energy. Whether it is the immune system working overtime, or the heart pumping to beyond capacity in a system of clogged arteries, our bodies get zapped when we are unwell. Conversely, when these resources are now available, one place where they can be directed is to others.
- Feeling alive. Imagine an undertow that draws one’s life force away from its full potential. Not sleeping, not exercising, eating poorly, and storing massive amounts of weight are examples of an environment where our bodies might be partially out of touch with life itself. When these issues are reversed, people wake up, literally and figuratively to a whole new set of possibilities. Life is now more fun and more exciting. This is why people who feel alive can’t wait to start each new day.
- Giving back. Tony Robbins says, Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more. Having a body that loves you back, where you enjoy living and breathing, and that provides you with strength, vitality, and confidence opens new doors for you that were previously closed. In all of my workshops and seminars I ask. What doors would open for you if you made your own health a priority? Who might you inspire by your own decision to be alive and well?
- Balance is key. As an entrepreneur, I love working with professional people. They are often high achievers and high producers. You may be one if you are reading this. There is nothing in the world more magical to compliment a life of business and financial success than the feelings of peace and happiness. I have earned the right to make this assertion because I chose to haul myself back from the brink of serious self-inflicted disease many years ago. Getting my body to love me back was what was missing in my quest to do good work and be well-compensated.
Picture someone who leads a company, or who has a top-tiered position in a corporate structure. If his work life is stellar, but he neglects his body, than his life is out of balance. Period. If someone can make a lot of money and earn lots of accolades, but remains addicted to food that zaps her energy and puts her body at risk for serious disease, what’s the point
When Tony Robbins interviewed Sir John Templeton (which he wrote about in his new book on money) Sir John said that success and spirituality go hand-in-hand. I suggest that health be added to that equation. People who are successful throughout their lives, honor their bodies. When someone wakes up to his own worthiness, the feeling of I deserve to feel and look great, that person can now do more meaningful work. Whether it is a sense of wanting to live longer with a mission or purpose to help others and make the world a better place, or simply embracing the peace and joy that comes from resolving unfinished business that used to be an impediment to feeling happy and alive, this is awakening to one’s spirit.
Like I mentioned, I used to be fat and sick. Eventually I learned to choose optimal health and living with vitality in my body. Before this occurred I always felt like I was lugging something around that made everything I did much harder. From the outside, it may have appeared like an eating disorder. From the inside, it was my spirit trapped behind insidious self-destructive habits. Learning to be free, like what is happening with my clients, meant liberation. With that freedom comes an entire set of new choices that go beyond our own indulgences. Whether it is to become a role model for our families or to be an emissary of global peace and harmony and anything in between getting your body to love you back is spiritual wealth that will be counted among your greatest achievements and most precious assets.
With love and encouragement,
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
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