Only Negative Responses
I’ve been thinking about emotions lately. How we’re quick to call some good (positive) and others bad (negative). I’ve done my best to keep the “negative” emotions out of my life. Like hate, rage, sadness or depression. Aren’t these the bad emotions we shouldn’t have? And so I pursue the “good” emotions of love, peace and contentment. But they don’t come without a fight.
Without a resolution of the less popular emotions, I find I cannot respond authentically. My realisation: there are no negative emotions. Only negative responses. There will be times when you and I are called to love, or to hate, to feel anger or to express peace. Emotions (e=motion) mobilise us to action. It’s HOW we react that determines the outcome. An ancient biblical proverb says, “When you are angry, do not sin.” It’s guaranteed that you and I will feel anger. It’s in how I respond that makes my anger positive or negative. Here’s an example: We need to get angry about things that are wrong; about injustice, about someone abusing us or someone else, or even our own failings. When we are positively angry, we do something constructive about the problem. If we don’t get angry, we don’t do anything. If we do get angry, and decide to resolve the anger negatively e.g. blaming someone else, pretending the problem doesn’t exist, we bring the opposite of life – death – into our lives. And our heart is shaped by this.
So I’ve been digging deeper. I’ve been asking myself, “What determines how I respond to life?” I’m sure most people know this, but I need to be reminded. The answer: It’s my values. What I believe. What I hold as most important. Values sit deep inside of me, hardly speaking at all, until there’s a challenge, and I need to choose. I’ve realised that I don’t know all of my values. Values are very deep. Some are thoughts; some are convictions. Others, we’ve simply taken on. What I’ve learned from this recent season is that I can choose my values and know them. They help me navigate powerful emotions according to my conscience and my true self. This means I grow, mature and become a safe person. Know your values. Know your heart. Live your values. Become the person you’d like to know.
There’s a great sense of hurry, of stress and anxiety wherever I drive. People I see are rushing on the roads, shopping in a hurry and trying to pile as much activity into one day as possible. I see unhappy faces and families living past each other. Groups of people sit together but are on their phones and might as well be miles away from each other. “What is going on here?” I ask myself. Well, it is stress, that I know. That I can see but it’s also choices. The choice to spend time social networking when your wife or child is right there, longing for real interaction. The choice to treat every day like an emergency with an impossible deadline. The choice to be a slave to your work and not free to do your calling. I see choices in food, health, recreation, relationships. I see and make choices everyday. Leaders, politicians, business people, parents… everyone is making choices and they count. They affect them and those around them. The stress and anxiety is a choice too. We don’t need all the things we think we do. We need more love than luxury and less food than we need peace. Take a good look at your choice cupboard and see what is really hanging there. Is this what you really need? Do these things make you whole, happy and excited to do life? Or have your choices left you numb, empty, isolated and in despair? Make good choices. Choose life!
I’ve been listening to the sounds of a vacuum cleaner next door. My neighbour’s really getting into the dust and dirt! Cleaning. It’s a vivid picture for me of how my life gets dirty and dusty quickly, and I need it cleaned – inside-out. My tendency is to leave the dirt. Go another day or two before I really can’t ignore it anymore. What struck me is that a house is always needing cleaning. A little here. A little there. Then everything stays ordered and pleasant to live in. It’s the same for my health and my moment by moment life. We need to remain motivated to look after our health. Interestingly, if we are clean on the inside it will show on the outside. Eat right and you’ll see it immediately on your skin. You will feel it in your body.
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I was sitting with a friend, doing what we all need to do (have a picnic!) and we were speaking about health. The pressure of trying to stay happy and healthy in an unhealthy world came up. My friend is starting her health journey and she knows there will be challenges to face. “How do you get it right, all the time?” she asked. Well there are two things I live by:
- I only live one day at a time and actually, only one moment at a time. Each moment well-lived adds up to a day. And it’s a day well-lived that adds up to a life.
- There’s grace. And it helps me on the days I fall and miss it. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Getting 100% of what’s needed right 70% of the time is enough. It’s not perfection that matters. It’s steady faithfulness to the best you can do with what you have.
There is an undeniable connection between the body, mind and spirit. All three facets need to be considered for true health to be a reality. A wellness programme must regard the key facets of a person and address ways to restore health to each part. Effective changes occur within the reality of each person’s life. And sometimes, a lifestyle needs to be changed itself. If a vocation or field of work is creating real unhappiness and disjuncture in the soul and spirit, no amount of organically grown food or specialist health supplements will restore joy. Only a change in work will. So in everything, all needs to be considered.
As a practical example, It is not enough to look at our food, but disregard the quality of our sleep. Or consider our weight, but only focus on calories and ignore nutrition. Ultimately, every decision that we make should consider that we think, feel and connect spiritually. For all parts to become well, we focus on all of our parts as a whole, not in isolation. We are mind, body and spirit. True change needs to address the way we think, feel, and connect.
So, are you going away… Do you have an exotic December planned? Saving all your hard-earned coppers for a wonderful time in Cape Town, North Coast or Zanzibar? I’m sincerely proud of you, and encourage you to plan your trip thoroughly and get all your road worthy checks done. Also make sure you’re going with people you genuinely enjoy. This will make your holiday a real HOLY-day – no stress, no tension and no fuss.
For the rest of us who are staying, JHB will be nicer, quieter and happier. So don’t slump into envious depression or disappointment. Rest HERE. In your home, your neighbourhood and special places you’ve been wanting to visit all year, that are just up the road.
- Take day trips to places like Magaliesberg, the Free State, Rustenberg – they’re filled with wonderful side-road and onside cafes, tea gardens, places of interest and history.
- Find hiking and recreation areas close to you or within a day’s drive e.g. Emmerentia, local Botanical Gardens, Heidelberg Suikerbosrand. Pack a picnic, take a friend or two, and go and enjoy the BEAUTY of nature.
- Sit outside your home and read and doodle. Listen. Enjoy the privilege of doing absolutely nothing. BE. Prepare a delicious fruit juice blends. Serve yourself. Lie on your outside armchair or take the inside coach outside and transform surburbia into paradise.
- Book local shows at local theatres. Laugh. Share. Unburden your heart.
- Journal. Share the year and its highlights and lowlights with yourself. You’ll want to remember this. Someone will want to know. It matters that you reflect. As one famous person once said, reflection = direction.
People often ask me, “What happened to make you so healthy?” It can be awkward to reply honestly. “Well, it helped not dying.” When we get to such a desperate point in our lives, there’s no way out but up. That’s what happened to me. And I knew it would change the rest of my life, if I was given it to live. My humble response to choose life became a response to live ALIVE every day.
I’ve experienced how the body will attack itself if left in suppressed immunity and stress, and neglect for too long. I’ve also lived through chaos of the mind when I lost my now well-known ability to speak. When simple things stop working, we wake up to the gravity of death. And of life. I care, because it matters. And my health, and your health now goes beyond physical factors. It’s how we rest. Who we call friend. What we read. What we consume, and we produce every day. Healthy people are heal-thy. People who heal and bring healing.
I offer holistic wellness coaching. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s that time of the year when we’re aching all over. Feet, joints, necks, shoulders. There’s also a water crisis and we are very aware of our low dam levels. Well, at least I hope we are! Baths have become a luxury. Yet, how our bodies still need a long, relaxing soak. My solution: Magnesium foot baths. Super easy, super affordable and water-wise, green eco friendly. Take ¼ cup food grade (high quality) magnesium chloride (Epsom salts). Add it to a foot-sized container filled with hot water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to dissolve. Add candles, soothing music and a good book. Soak for 15-30 minutes. You can also a add few drops of essential oils (contact me to check which ones are best for you). Epsom salts are an easy, affordable source of magnesium – arguably the most important mineral in the body. Feel the tension drain away and enjoy a better night’s rest.
So I want to take my hat off to all the couples and specifically, women, who are pregnant this November. I know your body temperature is soaring with the higher temperatures, and the dry air can dehydrate you much faster. Please look after yourself. Care starts at home. Avoid heavy lifting and tight clothing. Wear natural, loose fabrics as much as you can. Don’t be a hero. You’re already one carrying another life. Oh, and avoid beauty magazines. They present false pictures that lie and make you feel less than you are. Ease your aching feet with castor oil and a few drops of lavender oil. Take regular epsom-salts foot baths. Stock up on preg-safe herbal teas e.g lemon balm, chamomile and milk thistle. Above all, breathe. Breathe. Breathe. You’re doing fine. You’re doing well. We salute you!
Better4Life Pregnancy Coaching: contact email@example.com
In a time when our country needs rain and our hearts need change, we can forget we are loved and made for a purpose. Today, I sit and look at my to-do list. My iPad is dead. I forgot to charge it. My knee is bust – I fell and slipped over the weekend. And my heart? It’s craving rest. The end of the year is nearing. There’s still so much to do. We can feel the pressure and the time running out. Our work, our studies, our goals. “How am I ever going to finish everything?” “When can I rest?” “Is there still hope for our country, for me?” These are some of the questions I can see us asking. They’re everywhere. In everyone’s hearts.
Today, I sit quietly. I sip my tea. I connect with my heart. I breathe. As I sit, I can feel my heart come back to me. It’s been somewhere else, waiting for me to listen, to miss it. Our heart is deeply affected by what we think. It controls the vitality and energy of our lives. It can be alive and vibrant in the middle of a storm. Or it can be dead and apathetic on an island paradise.
Quietly, I remember WHY I am here. Deadlines are still here. Christmas is still around the corner and my country still needs miracles. But I’m okay. I’m alive. My heart is beating and it’s connected. I’m loved. You are loved. We are made for a purpose. Your hearts needs you. Join me and build up your heart today and those around you.
BOOST YOUR HEART HEALTH
- Repeat: “ I love you” as you look in the mirror and get ready for the day. If this is too intense, state “you are loved.” State it till you believe it.
- Recall some of the beautiful, encouraging things that have been said about you. Make a quick happy box from an old shoebox or container and whenever you get a sincere compliment, write it down on a pop it in there. Read the contents regularly to remind yourself of who you are and what you mean to others.
- Go out of your way to give sincere compliments today. At least 7 are needed to offset 1 negative statement. As we compliment, we will see the value and worth in others. And amazingly, we will see it in ourselves too!