Inner Renovations

Get Up to Get Over the Blahs

run to improve mood

I’m no cardio freak.  But there is something about going for a run (especially when I’m experiencing a depressed mood) that lifts my spirits.  I’ve decided that it’s the deep breathing and focus that comes along with it.  It’s therapeutic.  Aside from it now being evidenced-based that exercise and physical activity reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, I’d noticed early in life that I just feel better when I get up and get going.

Life is a beautiful place to be, but sometimes circumstances can be overwhelming, responsibilities can be intense, and people can be demanding.  I won’t even get into the pressure we put on OURSELVES – that’s a whole other story.  Even the toughest of minds and strongest of spirits go through periods that involve:

  • FATIGUE AND BLAHNESS
  • LOSS OF MOTIVATION
  • LACK OF CONFIDENCE
  • DECREASED INTEREST
  • JADEDNESS AND CYNICISM
  • AIMLESSNESS
  • [enter miscellaneous frustrating experience here]

It really is a challenge getting back on track once we find ourselves in that sort of space. But the show must go on, and find our way we must.  In my opinion, there is no better pick-me-up than to get more oxygen to the brain, get the blood flowing, get a boost of adrenaline and endorphins, and other fantastic features of getting a good workout on.  Yes, health and wellness, physical fitness, optimum body weight and all that.  But this is about feeling better.

Regardless of how much weight we lose (or don’t lose), or how many trophies we win (or not), it just feels good to get going.  Before we know it, we remember that we are blessed to be able to move our bodies.  And if there are parts of your body that don’t move so well, do what you can.  The goal is to overcome a momentary slump and working through inertia by working ourselves out.  It works our confidence out.  It works our go-get-it-ness out.  It works our mind, body and spirit out.

Dancing in the living room, going for a walk in the neighborhood, actually using that gym membership we pay for, running around with the kids, are all great ways to get ourselves into a better mood by getting up and going.

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Heart Be Healed. From Pain to Empowered.

Growth from Broken Heart
photo credit:  aseb.org

You are stronger now and you can choose not to hurt anymore. Whatever it is that you’ve been through doesn’t have power over you as of now. Decide that this is the moment that you will embrace the freshness of the day, and allow your heart, spirit and mind to be healed by a Power Greater Than yourself. There are no guarantees that you will never feel pain again. But there is the promise that if you keep your trust and faith in God, that you will be brought through that pain and make it safely to the other side. Alongside you will be newfound strength, deeper understanding, and compassion for others who you notice going through similar trials. The victory is the Lord’s and you are a living testimony that nothing can stop His work in progress because you are still here. You are still trying and you believe in something. If this were not so, you would have stopped by now. But your heart is strong, and your spirit wills you to continue putting one foot in front of the other as you allow your steps to be ordered by the Lord. In whatever way you perceive your Higher Power, and however you draw strength from Its love is more important than what others tell you to believe. At the end of the day, as it was in the beginning, it’s about YOUR relationship with your Creator. And at the end of this life, as it was in the beginning, it is still about the same relationship. You don’t have to hurt anymore. Because the sensations that you are feeling have advanced into power that propels you forward while keeping you grounded all at the same time. These are blessings. You have lived to love another day. You are blessed.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations

On My Mind Now: A Formula for Personal Peace

workout
photo credit:  gethealthyu.com

Right now I am thinking about peace. But not the world peace type. More of the being able to remain peaceful even while doing things I don’t really want to do type. See, I just finished working out. I didn’t like it. Some people get all pumped up about hitting the gym and are genuinely excited about sticking to their amazing workout regime (like the woman in the photo) – but not me. I do it because I love myself, I love my body, I’m over thirty and I like cookies a lot.

The good news is, that I am able to center myself and get to an internal space where I can experience a sense of calm even while doing things I’m really not enjoying at the moment – like working out, or interacting with people I’d rather not, or cleaning up, and any other less than fabulous task that is required of me.

When I remind myself that God has a plan for me that I don’t yet know about, and that I want to be ready to step into my destiny when the time arrives, that motivates me to calmly press through challenges knowing that something greater is on the other side of it. That’s a formula for personal peace.

I no longer expect my circumstances to always be favorable. I do expect that my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will stay in alignment with my purpose so that I can travel with the peace that comes from knowing I’m still headed in the right direction.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Therapeutic Yoga

Off The Mat Into The Fiery World

yoga elements

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is better to do something, anything – take some action, any action, rather than do nothing at all for too long. Yes, there are times when we need to listen to that inner voice and simply be still. But if we’re still all the time then we won’t get anything done. Let’s not allow our zen to highjack the work we must do to accomplish our destiny. It is so attractive to roll out the mat day after day, stretching and releasing the tension and just allowing ourselves to escape the drama of the day by sinking deeply into our space of personal peace and connection to All That Is. “Just leave me alone in my little world. Let me stay in my quietude in the private corners of my life – undisturbed by you.” But if that is ALL we do, we are quite literally defeating our own purpose.

What we learn on the mat, and in meditation we must take off the mat and into the world to put our wisdom to use. The peace that we’ve cultivated isn’t simply so that we can drift off into our private heavens while ignoring our reality, but to go out and be able to face the challenges of our reality while using our skill to work through the tension and return to harmony.

I only write things that I have to remind myself of. As a counselor, I do have the opportunity to share with others insights and skills developed, not only through clinical training, but also through the intuition and increased awareness that comes in meditation as you learn to listen to the voice within and experience the multiple ways that people communicate with each other – even when they’re not talking. I remind myself that all of our wisdom and understanding is only of use if we are contributing to the progress of our spirits and healing of hearts as a human family. I hope that you remind yourself of this too. To close the books sometimes and take what you’ve learned and teach someone. And to come out of your sanctuary and go into the streets to share what the Lord has been speaking to you. It is so attractive to stay comfortable in our personal spaces, experiencing the peace and balance that often comes with solitude, but the real test of our growth and balance is when we can maintain that state while interacting with our brothers and sisters in this fiery world.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations

Juice Cleanse and Detox: Mind, Spirit, and Body Refresher

It’s amazing the clarity that comes during a juice cleanse and detox. Today is the final day, and although it was a brief detox, a lot happened over the past three days. There were plenty of times that I thought I was hungry (since there is no solid food during this time). Then I realized that I was actually getting all of the nutrients that I need, so it wasn’t that I was physically hungry – I’m just in the habit of eating.

Juice Cleanse and Detox

My 13 Top Reasons for Eating (none of which are hunger)

I eat to cheer myself up.

I eat to calm myself down.

I eat to celebrate.

I eat because other people are eating.

I eat because something looks good.

I eat because something smells good.

I eat because it’s offered to me.

I eat because it just seems like it’s time to eat.

I eat when I’m bored.

I eat to keep my hands busy while I’m watching T.V.

I eat to keep from falling asleep.

I eat to wake myself up.

I – JUST – EAT.

Luckily, I am a health and wellness enthusiast, so I exercise regularly and try to make wise choices about what I eat (most of the time). If I didn’t, there’s no telling what sort of health concerns I’d be facing right now.

Benefits to Mental Health and Physical Health

The experience has helped me to develop a better a relationship with my body and an understanding of the areas that I need I need more discipline in. While I attended a cookout, accompanied people enjoying their great-smelling fastfood breakfast, and turned down the most delicious chocolate chip cookie-dough cupcakes I’ve ever seen (all while guzzling down my beet, carrot, and kale blend juices), I realized that the level of discipline that I am cultivating will optimize my behaviors in more than just the health realm but in several other areas of my life too.

In general, making smart food choices and focusing more on wellness has many other benefits:

  • Improves decision-making skills
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Increases self-awareness and body-awareness
  • Improves ability to stay present in the moment
  • Develops ability to set goals and accomplish with birds eye view
  • Helps spiritual cultivation through fasting and prayer (to name a few).

This Is About More Than Food

What I realized during VIVA-RAW’S 3-DAY RAW FOOD JUICE CLEANSE is that RARELY DO I EAT BECAUSE I’M SIMPLY HUNGRY. My patterns and reasons for eating teetered more on the social and psychological side than the physical. Though I have practiced mindfulness regularly for many years, during this detox I realized that I also need to be practicing mindful eating.

I thought the idea of applying mindfulness methods to my food choices and eating patterns was revolutionary and original – but as I googled the concept, I quickly realized that it was not. Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers has built her body of work around the subject and offers some amazing ideas and resources to Eating Mindfully (which consequently is the actual name of her website and project).  The Awareness Checklist and other great resources are available on her site.  Works out great for me because it’s less I have to research and write about and more that I can just learn and apply. Find out more about what the doctor has to say on the subject. I know I will be!

From Dr. Susan Anders www.eatingmindfully.com

A holistic approach to wellness requires that we address all aspects of our being, meaning that we are engaging in activities and behaviors that foster great health on all levels of our multidimensional selves.  Just as we learn to choose wisely what we take into our bodies, we learn to do the same with what we accept into our hearts, spirits, and minds.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

youth.

It was under there the whole time.

I took it for dead, not looking past the wooden casing that symbolized

that its work had been done, its battle had been won. But not the war.

Maybe a part of me wanted it to be over, to lay it to rest.

I was exhausted and so was my youth.

But no sooner had I made peace with our last days together,

did the thunder clap a rhythm that brought us back to life

like a cosmic defibrillator.

It wasn’t over. There was still more to love. Still more to war.

I’ll mistake you for dead again, my youth.

I’ll believe the murmuring of the crowd and the mirror’s lies,

long enough to accept it as truth.

But you won’t let me.

For another hundred years tiny rocks will sneak into my sandals

as my calves ache and my thighs burn from the climb.

And you’ll tell me that I love it.

I’ll vehemently deny you, and bury you

and attempt to prove that I can’t take another step.

Until I am waking up to us dancing to that eternal rhythm,

telling you that I love it.

Grateful that you are always there.