losing yourself means accepting what others think of you
in your bad dreams
in your worst nightmares
in dark desolate loneliness
when all seems lost and hopeless
be yourself because there is no one else
in the starry, starry night
be yourself ~ there is nobody else
Through meditation the higher self is experienced.
True health and fitness can only be experienced and enjoyed when the body, mind, and spirit are all in balance. You cannot be healthy in one part of your being, if you are not healthy in all.
You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body. ~ Juvenal
To be truly fit and healthy one must exercise, take care of, and nurture all aspects of our being. Although physical health is deeply connected to mental and emotional health, I believe there is little point in just ‘hitting the gym’ because all that is likely to do is strengthen our body at the expense of our mind and spirit. I firmly believe that to balance our body, mind, and soul we need to incorporate an integrated health regime into the totality of our lives.
When people tell me they can’t afford to join a gym, I tell them to go outside; planet Earth is a gym and we’re already members. Walk, run, climb, sweat, and enjoy all of the natural wonder that is available to you. ~ Steve Maraboli.
One of the activities I use to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual parts of my being is to get out into the sunshine and fresh air for a couple of hours brisk walk every day. Walking is excellent exercise, but more than that I can also practice walking meditation.
When I was much younger I thought that meditation was weird, nonsensical, even ‘girly’. But back then I also thought that prayer, self-discovery, spirituality, and yoga were also distinctly odd. These days I embrace all of these good practices ~ although I still don’t consciously pray to a ‘God’. With maturity I have begun to understand that these are methods by which I can know myself and become an emotionally healthy man. To be truly healthy we all need to get outdoors for at least an hour every day. We all need to exercise our own mind and spirit if we are going to escape from the fortress prison we have built for ourselves.
If there was a mature and peaceful woodland nearby I would take my daily walks there, enjoying forest bathing, what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku. This is a meditative and spiritual activity that is known to improve one’s mindfulness. Trees are well-known to possess healing powers.
However, in the here and now of my life it is more appropriate that I take my daily walk by the sea, under the open and ever-changing sky. Both the sea and the clouds are peaceful, they help me to experience serenity and mindfulness. The clouds fire my imagination. The sea is a primeval and primordial force of nature, a part of the Mother Goddess to which all things return at the end of days.
Walking meditation is an easy thing to do ~ providing one is not distracted by everyday activities. I don’t use my cell-phone on my meditative walks, I don’t use my camera when I’m in a meditative state, I walk alone, and I don’t talk with anyone ~ as a matter of fact I don’t even notice other people. Walking meditation is a peaceful part of my life where I can be in touch with the more enlightened part of myself. Time and space cease to exist in the normal way, the world becomes fully open for me to explore in my mind, I become open to appreciate all things with acceptance and understanding.
The secret to walking meditation is to get outside, on your own, and walk in nature for a while ~ an hour or more is good. Empty your mind of all immediate concerns. But most of all, walk.
Even if you have to walk fast for 30 minutes, five days a week, by all means do so. Never make excuses to why you don’t have time to work out. Your body deserves to enjoy the taste of a good health. Never settle for less. ~ Edmond Mbiaka.
Obviously, just taking a walk each day isn’t enough exercise to keep me fit and healthy. Walking does little for strength and mobility. For that I practice yoga. I used to believe that yoga was the sole preserve of incredibly fit and supple young women, but then I learned that yoga is also for men like me. Done properly, yoga will improve your health and fitness in body, mind, and spirit. Done properly, yoga for men hurts a little bit. If it feels right, you can incorporate yoga into your daily walk.
We can experience so much, appreciate so much, and understand so much, if we are brave enough to open our minds to the wonders of the Cosmos.
I enjoin you; get outside into the fresh air, and walk.
Sense Of Self ~ Low Self Esteem ~ Social Isolation
My counsellor has suggested that I have a poor sense of self. If you read my post Borderline Personality Disorder, you will know that I didn’t really know what that means. So, I did what I do, and undertook a little research.
It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story. ~ Patrick Rothfuss
In psychology the sense of self is defined as the way a person thinks about and views his or her traits, beliefs, and purpose within the world. Then the people in white coats talk about self-image and self-esteem. Do I have a poor self-image and low self-esteem? Some psychologists say the characteristics of genuinely poor self-image and low self-esteem are;
- Social withdrawal
- Anxiety and emotional turmoil
- Lack of confidence, depression or bouts of sadness
- Less social conformity
- Eating disorders / alcohol and or drug abuse
- Inability to accept compliments
- Being unfair to oneself
- Focusing on negativity
- Exaggerated concern over what others think
- Self neglect
- Treating oneself badly, but not treating others badly
- Worrying if you have treated others badly
- Reluctance to put yourself first
- Reluctance to trust one’s own opinion
- Expecting little out of life
It doesn’t feel like I have low self-esteem, in fact I often feel exactly the opposite, but from time to time I have probably done stupid things that tick all of those 15 bullet points.
How do I recover from this? I am not going to stay on this dismal road to the dark end of the swamp for much longer. I know the root cause of my problem, I wrote about some of this in Sometimes I Act Insane, and I am taking steps to address the underlying trauma. But what about some short-term fixes?
There is nothing better in life than commitment to personal development and lifelong learning. ~ Lailah Gifty Akita
After a little bit of research, it turns out there are some self-help techniques I can use, and these basically boil down to learning, changing, and doing. To recover from chronic low self-esteem is basically making oneself do good stuff:
- I need to take good care of myself. Stay sober, eat well, avoid excesses, (too much coffee for example), get plenty of sleep, fresh air, and exercise.
- Stop comparing myself with others, and with things that happened in the past. I can’t fix the past.
- Learn how to say ‘No’ I can be a people-pleaser at times.
- Forgive my stupid mistakes. Instead focus on my abilities, skills, and accomplishments.
- Avoid and ignore negative feelings, thoughts, places, people, and things.
Sounds easy. I bet. If it was easy there wouldn’t be such a huge range of organisations, therapies, and medication to help one deal with, and recover from a poor sense of self, low self-esteem, and social isolation.
I will let you know what happens next.