A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. ~Oscar Wilde

Posts tagged ‘healthy choice’

Push, Pull, swirl

beautiful_teethI have done a few crazy things in my search for a holistic life, most of which, I am happy to report, have been successful,  While I have not reached out for a wholly alternative, completely (for the lack of a better term) new age-ey kind of lifestyle, I do try to learn and absorb habits that offer a more back to basics, back to nature style of life. I do still turn on the air conditioning, or eat a certain amount of pre processed food. On the whole, though, I have a very eager curiosity for the time tested, folk lore laden rituals and habits that offer safe and effective health and wellness options.

In this quest, I came upon the ancient technique of oil pulling, and perhaps this will finally make me less unhappy that raw neem twigs are not available in Sydney for brushing my teeth. I have used neem while in India, and some find it gross, and it can seem unhygienic to the uninitiated. To me, though, the steady munching of the twigs, the swirling of the strong bitter saliva laden juice, the brushing of the teeth with the chewed out bristles and the eventual spitting out, was a paradoxically enjoyable process. I had loved the fresh feeling that was left behind, and I had felt some sort of connection to this ancient form of cleaning my teeth that has lasted thousands of years.

Hence, when I learnt about oil pulling, part of the same treasure house of wisdom that has brought us neem twigs for dental hygiene, I was excited. Here was something I could do in Australia, and it could become my mouth’s new best friend. So in spite of not being instantly enamoured of the idea of swirling my mouth with a tablespoon of oil, (OIL????) or the idea of swishing for 20 whole minutes, I did some research, and decided to give it a try. I got my cold pressed organic coconut oil, I measured out a tablespoon, and I swished, and spat. I made it to 15 minutes of swishing.  Apparently twenty minutes is my goal. It is hard work, and maybe I pushed a little hard, as my tongue and chin felt sore afterwards. Do tongues have muscles? Next time I will have to be more gentle.

The strong taste of coconut receded quite quickly, and I even felt a few solid pieced of food debris slide out from behind nooks and crannies my toothbrush, and interdental brush had missed, and swirl around. It did leave a gross feeling after I had spat out the debris, and even though I rinsed my mouth out with warm water, it took a fair while before my mouth felt fresh. I did notice, though that, the next meal tasted more flavoursome, so something was working.

Now all I need to do, is pull some oil, once or twice a day, till my next dental visit, and see what the dentist says. I am hoping he will be quite impressed with the improvement he will notice.

Some information to start your own research with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL3NUJYycEw

http://authoritynutrition.com/oil-pulling-coconut-oil/

Here, I must confess, what really convinced me was the information that it has been practised in India since the ancient times. A lot of healthy advice has come from this source, which I tend to believe before I question.

Image credit: http://www.tapitwater.com/blog/2009/04/another-reason-to-drink-tap-water-beautiful-teeth.html

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Radiating the definitions

It is my belief that mediation works wonders for the individual, and by extension, to the community at large. I do believe that an ever increasing number of people taking time out their day to meditate, can only benefit the whole circle of existence. In the course of sharing my progress and responding to comments on my posts, I was reminded that meditation can mean different things to different people, as well as be a slightly confusing idea, in itself.

So I thought I needed to answer the question “what is meditation, really?” The first step was just to get on to Google. “The action or practice of meditating”. Right. That then took care of that, but left me in a circle not of my choosing.

Derived from the Latin verb “Meditari” which means to think, to contemplate, to ponder, the word is used these days to describe the act of quietening one’s mind and focussing on an idea or a thought. Or as is also commonly practised, emptying ones mind…

I believe that this sort of trance or contemplative state of mind can be more readily achieved by sitting down in a regular quiet place. If one sits down at the same time, at the same place, with the same candle lit, it is easier to slip into the mode. Hence most mediation classes advocate such a habit.

Most classes teach breathing techniques and relaxation techniques and lead the student down a well practised path of visualisation. My mother taught me to stare at the flame of a candle in a dark room, breathe slow and deep, and then close my eyes and hold the picture of the candle in my mind, and  visualise it come to the centre of my forehead, where the third eye is. She was very insistent that the mind had to be a blank and the image of the flame was all one was allowed to see. Needless to say that at the age of ten, such a feat was completely beyond me, and I did not even try. I just sat with my eyes closed until she said I could open them again. Even then, I knew that what she was trying to teach me had value, I did not realise that I was not attuned to her process. I ended feeling that meditating was for special, wise people.

Through my on again off again yoga journey through the years, each teacher has taught a different way to meditate. Sitting in those classes amidst the calm, vibrant energy of a number of yoga students, I have found each method to be of value.

I have also read and heard about a number of people’s experience with meditation. Some people find their mediative state through some activity or the other, and some people swear by bodily stillness. Also, in monasteries, monks bring the meditative experience to their daily chores and if they are doing it, it must work!

So, it seems to me, that meditation is a process through which one experiences oneself.  To the lay person like me, its value lies in the effect of calm and peace it brings. The increased ability to concentrate, and the slowing down of the heartbeat fills me with an awareness of myself beyond the flesh I can see. It makes me feel, that, I might not be very wise, but I might be getting there!

Some more thoughts on meditation:

Deepak Chopra explains meditation:

What happens during meditation?

 

 

 

How would you define meditation? I am curious. As soon as I tried to define it, it became too broad a question for me.

Aside

First Impressions: The Circle Begins

After reading class 1 on my “learn meditation page” of choice, I decided to go ahead and incorporate the exercise in my own way.

Fresh from the resolve, and eager to get going, I hunkered down that night for my five minutes before bed. I looked at the time, set my intention for five minutes and settled down to the first of the first steps. Breathe in and out at least 7 times. I don’t really know how many times I actually did so, I was concentrating on breathing in the life force and love, and breathing out my frustrations and negativity. I noticed a slight tendency to hyper ventilate and adjusted my in breath to less long. Which then meant I had to shorten my out breath as I did not have enough air in me to breathe out. Sigh! Then, of course, there was the noise. The trucks rolling past on the highway, the last of the neighbours hunkering down for the nights, and finishing up in their kitchens, and a host of other noises that I normally do not notice.

Aha! I am supposed to notice them, and let them go, so I did. I did not think there was any reduction to the noise level, but my breath calmed down, and the tightness in my chest softened. And all of a sudden I thought, “That would be five minutes” and my eyes popped open. Feeling a little “hmm… need to learn a bit more”, I looked at the time, and what do you know? Exactly five minutes!  So I must be doing something right!

I had the heaviest, deepest sleep that night for a long time. My limbs felt heavy, and even in my sleep I was aware of a heaviness. Let us not forget the dreams! The dreams were vivid, and scary and adventurous. I had trouble waking up in the morning…

So my morning was rushed and chores grabbed me before I could settle down and meditate. But I got that bit done before that 7:20 am hit its mark and the need to madly rush out into the day manifested.

All through the day I felt removed. I had a standard 21st Century muddle of a day mixed with work, friends, family and chores, with its attendant pulls, pushes and drags.  But I did not feel like those things quite touched me. Not that I was unemotional, but it felt like the emotions were an outer part of me, and hence something that I observed and let go, rather than get gripped by them. It was a wonderful, liberating feeling.

I think I am going to love this. I think I am going to be able to carry this on.

Have you joined us on the Bodhi Circle yet?

PS: this morning, during the time I meditated, I did not notice any back ground noise at all. It was still. Quiet. Interesting. Time for Class 2.

The Locked Trolley

A regular day of shopping. Or so I thought it would be. Get some regular day to day clothes that always seem to reach end of life, get some food and ingredients that always seem to get eaten and head off back home. As I parked the car I realised that I was in the wrong spot for the supermarket, it would be a long trek back pushing a trolley. Shrugging off the thought with another, “It will do me good to push the trolley further” I went off to do my shopping.

140 minutes or so later, there I was pushing the trolley back, laden with groceries and figuring out how best to get to the car. Of course, it involved getting out on to the street and pushing it along the footpath, across a pedestrian
crossing and then across a set of lights further along. All the while within the bounds of the mall, I was just in between two buildings of Westfield, not away, just to a car park within the shopping bounds for this Westfield. Somewhere I have parked often before.

What happened? You guessed it, my trolley decided I was a Bad Woman, trying to run away with it. Down descended the yellow lock and my trolley would not budge. Right as I was going across a driveway from a car park where other, more clever parkers of cars had parked close to Coles.

So here I was, dragging my trolley back to safety and poking underneath it to see why it had locked itself.

A pretty girl asked “Whoa! What happened?”

Giving the trolley a scientific jerk, I said, “the trolley won’t move!”

Her male companion said ”You have to push it.”

!*@!*%! Really?

I decided against answering, and the girl helped me by lifting the trolley and the guy offered helpful hints “it’s locked” “I don’t know” “it’s locked”…

They strolled off after a while.

As I dragged the trolley along to the short distance to the car park, I assumed that something had gone wrong, and that I was unable to unlock it because I am not clever enough. Until another helpful person walked by. “That is locked,” he said. “They do it on purpose. You cannot unlock it, I got caught just like this the other day on the other side.”

“I am just trying to get to the car park!” I wailed. He shrugged and turned away.

Thoroughly disgruntled, I jerked, pushed and pulled the three wheeled and one locked trolley back to close to my car, and then took my things and went home.

Mr Coles, and Mrs. Woolworths, and all the other giant markets who feel the need to protect your trolleys from the big bad gang of trolley thieves please be assured that we are not ALL out to get your trolleys. And we might need to park a little distance away, probably because the car park near the supermarket is full. Probably because we have to go to other shops as well which are a fair distance away from your end of the supermarket. So while you invent ingenuous new ways to stop trolley theft, spare a thought for the vast majority of us who are innocent and honest and desperately want to do some legitimate shopping.

HO! HO! HO!

In the meantime please enjoy the Christmas tree from Darwin.

~~Love

Sonelina

Consider a Different Choice

There is a plethora of information available to the seeker. What to eat, what not to. How to exercise, how not to. What is good for us, what is not. Most of us know most of it. But knowing is a very different thing to doing.

We know that skim milk in our coffee is better than full cream milk. We know that walking for 30 minutes to an hour everyday would improve our health by leaps and bounds. We know that turning off the TV and playing a board game with our children would make us happier.

But all  of this does not always fit in to our lives. Skim milk does not taste as good as full cream milk, it is so difficult to find 30 minutes to walk every week, let alone every day, the news on TV is so riveting and the little one should really be in bed, anyway!

So we put it all into the too hard basket and lope off to the Doctor get our medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, back ache, diabetes, and a host of other chronic and preventable diseases. Many of these medications are expensive, have too many side effects and do not do much more than temporarily relieve the symptoms. But we get dependent on them. We would rather pop a few pharmaceutical drugs than a few supplements, and just blame our whole life’s problems on living in the 21st century.

How about we take a step back? How about we take responsibility for strengthening our bones, and improving our cholesterol level? How about we consider that we are not living in the 21st century, the 21st century exists because of us, and we are really just living?

How about we just recognize when we can make it a shorter work day, and leave work earlier? How about we turn off the late night news, most of which we have watched during the evening anyway, and go to bed earlier? How about we get up half an hour earlier and get on that treadmill we bought last year for Christmas? How about we walk to the train station instead of taking our car? How about we just pack our lunch to take to work?

See  – we all know it. We know that each change that will improve our lives by a large multiplicand is actually just a tiny shift in our perception of who we are. A really tiny shift in perception. Instead of viewing ourselves as a generation of overworked, underpaid, stressed out, stretched for time, overburdened by war and mayhem, unloved and unappreciated billion lives, we can see ourselves as loving, loved individuals, who make the happiest choices for themselves.  It is just a slight shift, does not take much at all.

There are millions of people who already live this life. They exercise, and eat well, they make responsible choices for themselves and for their families and that extends out to the whole world. All we need to do is believe that we are not really that different from them.

So the next time our colleague / friend/ chance met in the coffee queue says “I love waking up at the crack of dawn, and going for a swim”, let us consider not turning up your eyeballs and saying “Oh you are so lucky, I simply could NEVER do that”. Consider instead “Oh, how lovely! Maybe  tomorrow I can come with you!”

And maybe the next day, we will!

One step at a time!

Love

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