Friday, February 4, 2011

Practicing Living Whole by guest blogger Amy Eden (Part III of Raise Yourself Up!)


Amy Eden of Guess What Normal Is
Today the conclusion of guest blogger Amy Edens introduction to the 4 Practices of learning to live whole in Raise Yourself Up! Part III...

But first you can hcatch up on Part I here

And Part II here...

Today Part III....

4 Practices for Raising Yourself Up

Practice at Learning Who You Are & What Happened
Practice at Doing Therapeutic Work 
Practice at Taking Care of Yourself & Making Changes
Practice at Being Present in the Happiness you Create

3. Practice at Taking Care of Yourself and Making Changes

As you sort your past, you’ll come to have a clearer picture of how you want to lead your life, your interests, values, and goals. 

Practicing taking care of yourself is all about exploring new interests, creating healthy relationships, and establishing a routine in your daily life that supports your happiness and goals.  In this practice, you have the chance to learn about how to live a fully conscious life in which you take care of yourself completely in the way you discover suits you best.  And that encompasses all aspects of your life:

Eating and nutrition
Health and doctor visits
Grooming and personal habits
Work life
Time management
Bills and finances
Household tasks
Future planning
Personal goals
Family relationships
Romantic relationships
Personal boundaries and action plans for protecting them
Taking trips
Developing personal interests
Socializing and networking
Your spiritual life and how to be idle
Feeling and honoring your feelings
Cultivating your relationship with your Self

That’s a long list!  Tackling it will involve reading books on various topics, talking through action plans with your therapist and trusted friends—and a lot of trial and error!

Truly, this is the rewarding part of growing yourself up.

We all come to self-growth and healing work with lives already in-progress. So, while you might find yourself wishing that you could just start all over, fresh, the beauty of implementing change into a life in motion is that even the smallest changes you make will have immediate impact. You’ll feel the results quickly.  You’ll feel the change in how others react to you as well.  Each change will inspire the next,  and your change muscles will become strong and an inner sense of “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” will build.  You’ll naturally be attracted to healthier people, healthier interactions—in your personal life and on the job, you won’t be curious about people’s dramas anymore, and you’ll expect to be treated fairly (and you’ll have discovered your own, new definition of “fairly”).  Making change in your in-progress life, which might be a “messy” life right now, means you’ll get to see the impact on your primary relationships right away.

The therapist you work with may suggest, or discuss, antidepressant medication with you.  Ultimately, it’s your decision whether or not to medicate.  Depending on the life events that preceded your doing this work, it may be beneficial.  My own rule of thumb is to be sure that I’m doing three things before utilizing an antidepressant tool:  that I’m getting daily (or every other day) exercise, even if that exercise is a brisk, thirty-minute walk, that I am eating fresh, organic, healthy foods (broccoli in particular, fruit, protein, and ample water) and that I’m not abusing sugar, and, third, that I’m getting plenty of sleep.  While I do these before considering medication, I know some of you may want to medicate first, so that you can attend to those three fundamental lifestyle elements. 

I’ve written about depression and treatments on GWNI. This piece is about the similarities between being the child of child-like parents and depression, and this one’s about chronic or ‘mild’ depression 

4 Practices for Raising Yourself Up

Practice at Learning Who You Are & What Happened
Practice at Doing Therapeutic Work 
Practice at Taking Care of Yourself & Making Changes
Practice at Being Present in the Happiness you Create

4. Practice Being Present in the Happiness that You Create

Finally, be sure to enjoy your good life!

If you do a Google search on mindfulness, you’ll find a lot of resources as well as a lot of compelling research about the power—both spiritual and medical—of mindfulness practices.  Mindfulness is essential the practice of being present in the present moment—not distracted by thoughts, but truly at-attention and calm and focused in the present moment. 

This practice is simple, really:  when you’re mindful, you know how you feel, you notice colors, shapes, tastes, smells, sounds—everything. You’re in tune with your Self, your surroundings, and the universe.

And you’re OK.

Remember, these 4 Practices are not steps to take in order, nor to ‘complete’; instead, these practices are active, living stages. We’ll move between them, starting from the first, to the last, for life. 

At first you’ll spend more time going back and forth between 1, 2, and 3, but as you heal you’ll spend more and more time with 3 and 4, using 2 to keep your emotional, psychological, and spiritual mechanics tuned-up, as needed.

Be kind to yourself.

Thank you for reading along with us this week!

Your comments are always welcome; please share your notes, thoughts or "aha" moments in the comments below and please consider dropping by Amy's blog Guess What Normal Is.

Amy Eden, writer of fiction and creative nonfiction, has been studying and writing about issues of children of alcoholics for over fifteen years.  She has worked in book publishing and magazine publishing since 1994, and is currently an editor for a San Francisco-based book publisher. She has published nonfiction articles in city and national magazines, for educational publishers, and for the Web, and earned a BA in English and an MFA in creative writing.  Amy Eden’s inspiration for her self-improvement blog, “Guess What Normal Is” is to “help people trade armor for courage.”
 Thank you for reading today! Please visit Amy's blog Guess What Normal Is and let her know you found her via A Journey!

This post is property of its author; its publication here in no way implies endorsement nor should it be construed as medical or therapeutic advice. 

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