Friday, March 11, 2011

Easier said than done

Yesterday’s daily dose of inspiration from was this quotation from Bulgarian philosopher and mystic Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov:
“If you see to it each day that your conduct is impeccable, the following day will be completely clear, and you will be free to carry out your plans, always vigilant that you leave no loose ends. In this way, each new day will find you free and well disposed.”
That’s an inspirational quote? was my initial reaction. It struck me as more of a tautology, or even perhaps a particularly eloquent truism, since to me it translates roughly as “If you can just be perfect, you’ll have nothing to regret.” Well, of course. It’s all easy, if you can just get past that enormous “If” starting things off there.

But in a way it’s just a fancier revisiting of the universally applicable “One day at a time.” “Do things right today, and you’ll have less to worry about tomorrow,” it seems to say. Again, undeniably true if not quite so easy to execute, but still worth keeping in mind.

The general idea behind this somewhat murky quotation reminded me of a list of holistic tips I received recently from a yoga instructor. These were the first two:
1. Every morning before getting out of bed, notice what first thoughts rush in. Are they about the past? The future and what needs to be done that day? Has your mind jumped ahead to next week, next year, retirement?

2. When you get out of bed and go about your morning routine, notice your energy level. Aside from the amount of sleep you got, what did you eat the day before? Be conscious of what foods and drinks leave you feeling sluggish and unhappy in the morning, and what foods energize you for the new day.
Over the course of last summer, I became aware of how often I awoke to a sense of grinding anxiety. There were some specific reasons for this, and there were also some non-specific reasons, but even knowing I was to some degree justified in my anxiety, it bothered me a lot to think that just when I should be appreciatively greeting the new day, my first unbidden reaction was one of moderate panic, day after day. I would think about some of the other women I know and wonder if any of them woke to a sense of panic. I suspected they didn’t, at least not always, at least in the middle of summer. It just felt wrong to me, a clear indication that I needed to be doing something differently.

And it seems to me the same seems to hold true with digestive health as emotional well-being. As the yoga instructor says, what you eat one day should help you to wake with a sense of well-being and wellness the next. I am not always as vigilant about sensible eating as I should be and often wake with a sense that I didn’t make quite the best nutritional choices the day before. Yet indeed, like Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov says, just do things right one day and all will be well the next.

It’s a fairly steep requirement, but it’s also simple. Avoiding the urge to eat ten or twelve marshmallows after dinner, as I so often choose to do, sounds easy compared to making sure everything I say is kind and well-meaning. But it’s a wise guideline nonetheless, whether you use the words of Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov or of the yoga instructor as a compass. I will try to eat well. I will try to behave well. And I will gauge my success in both areas by how I feel the next morning.

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