BY DR MARC HALPERN - CAL COLLEGE OF AYURVEDA
Often the path to health and wellness seems daunting. If you were to look at a list of how many things you could do to improve our health and well-being, the thought of implementing all of them could make you sick! After all, how many things do you already know that would help you to feel healthier but you are not doing them? If your list is like mine, it’s pretty long and I’ve been implementing change in my life for the past 23 years!
How many of you know that you would feel better if you would go to bed earlier but sometimes stay up too late? How many of you know that you would feel better if you woke up earlier and had a relaxed morning, perhaps went for a walk or did some yoga and yet just don’t do it. I know, it’s a long list. Do you only eat organic? Do you only eat whole foods? Do you use herbs to heal yourself first before going to the medical doctor for drugs? Have you given up toxic behaviors like cigarettes and alcohol? What about stimulants like coffee? I know, it’s a long list. And if we look at the list for too long or too closely we tend to start feeling bad. We feel guilty about our indulgences and our lack of self control. One student told me today that being so good was “boring”. Indeed, it can seem that way. So then what do we do? How do we become empowered to attain optimum health and well-being?
Here are a few tips that my patients and students have found useful.
1. Go slow. Make just one small change in your life at a time. When that one change is established. Then take on another. It’s amazing how one small change at the level of consciousness will positively impact your physical and emotional well-being.
2. Don’t worry about those things you are not working on right now. That’s right. If you are not working on transcending alcohol or cigarettes, then completely enjoy the moment when you are indulging. Life is too short to feel guilty.
3. Keep moving forward. Don’t get discouraged. Pick just one thing to focus on. Keep it simple.
4. When you get overwhelmed back off, don’t give up. That’s right; it’s OK to reduce the number of healthy life changes you are making. When you do, you will go back to your core positive habits and focus on those. These are the habits already ingrained in your consciousness. Once you settle down, you guessed it. Choose just one new habit to work on.
5. You don’t have to be perfect. If you measure yourself against perfection you will always fall short. Just do your best, stay focused.
Be kind to yourself. It’s a long journey. Throughout our lives, we will strive to improve ourselves. Some say we have just one life to perfect our nature. If so, chances are, you still have a few more years or decades to work on yourself. Others say we have lifetimes to perfect ourselves. I’m with that group. So, there is plenty of time. Start by accepting where you are today and loving yourself NOW. It’s ok not being perfect. Ayurveda is about being perfect. It is about being conscious and mindful of where you are, and where you are going. Then the journey is walked one step at a time.