Daily Nourishment

My Daily Nourishment event has been this week, where I invited people to slow down and be present with themselves and the meal or beverage they where consuming.  It was an opportunity to take part in and become present in the act of nourishing their body. Each day I posted on Face Book what I ate or drank and what I noticed during my time of nourishment.

What an amazing experience it was. I found at times I was able to be fully present with the meal, I tasted the sweetness of the peach and felt the texture of it’s skin on my tongue, which I don’t usually feel as I am distracted by other things as I am eating. I was aware of emotions siting under the surface, emotions that where not big enough to be obvious, yet because I was being present, observing myself, I was able to observe these emotions. It also meant that I was then able to connect with the emotion and honour myself as I let the emotion move through my body. One time it meant that I cried, not tears of sadness or joy, but of a gentle relief. Almost as if I had finally let go of the breath that I had been holding onto. I had not even been aware that that was how I felt.

OnIMG_5028 another occasion I realised I felt agitated. I found it hard to be fully present with my meal. I had to remind myself to set the fork down and to chew. I even reached for the phone to distract myself from this feeling. I was not able to be fully present that day, however by giving myself the space to be as present as I could be, I discovered something about myself. A belief that I had not realised was part of my makeup. What was agitating me I hear you ask? I had spent the morning with 3 amazing, uplifting and inspiring women. We had talked about a number of different topics and I had come away from the morning energised and with plans to move forward with some of the tasks in my business that I had been putting off. When I got home, I made lunch and decided I would be present with my lunch before I went into my office. It was then that I started to feel agitated. The belief that surfaced was around feeling that I had ‘wasted my morning’ as I could not quantify the time spent with these amazing women into dollars. I felt guilty. When had a started believing that every moment I spend on the business had to be quantified into dollars earned? We live in a culture of do, do, do and the making of money is valued however if we are still, if we are’ being’, then there is no value placed on this. When had I been brain washed into this belief? I am grateful that this has surfaced as I can now look into it further and replace this belief with one that values stillness with movement, doing with being. I am also grateful for this event because without this event I know that on that day I would have eaten quickly, without awareness, to get onto my to do list and so would not have had the space for this belief to surface. The event was holding me accountable and to be still.

I have learnt that it is in the subtle, slower times that an awareness can be achieved that can not be heard when we are busy. With this awareness I am able to see parts of myself that have been hidden due to my busyness. I am not wanting to push myself but gentle unfold and open the way a rose does. Slowly, beautifully and without urgency and with a knowingness that I am held by the Universe. Can you see your own beauty?

IMG_5029How can you nourish yourself daily? Take the time with one meal or beverage a day to be present. We have to eat. We have to fuel this body of ours. Why not also use this time to nourish the other parts of yourself. So with your meal or beverage I invite you to turn off the TV or computer, leave the phone in another room, push your papers to one side while you take part and become present in the act of nourishing your body.

Take a deep breath in and then slowly exhale. Look at the food on your plate. Notice the colours. What are the aromas entering your nose? With each mouthful, put down the knife and fork or spoon and chew your food. Really taste it. Can you detect the flavours of sweet, bitter, salty, sour or umami? How many times do you normally chew your food? Can you chew for 20 times? Does the flavour change the longer you chew. As you swallow can you notice the food leaving your mouth and making it’s way down to your stomach?

Auszeit SpaOnce you have finished your meal or beverage notice how you feel. Notice how the rest of your day is. Notice how you sleep. Is there any difference. This is a wonderful opportunity to slow down and ‘smell those roses’.

In good health, Vicki

Breathing and releasing stress

Can you believe that January is at a close. My kids started school last week and we are now getting back into the routine of up at a certain time, get ready and out the door by…. Oh I do love school holidays – no routines.

The lead up to school returning has been full on, both personally and professionally. Getting all that we needed for the kids to return to school, Jannine coming home for a flying visit during Australia Day (she has now returned to Adelaide for the next 2 months), finishing off the spring cleaning I had started, which will result in a garage sale in the next few weeks, receiving news I had been nominated for 3 awards with Women With Altitude, starting to video “how to video’s” for the different raw recipes, continuing studying with IIN and getting back into the clinic, seeing clients. It has felt a bit like someone has increased the speed on the treadmill I am on and I was not expecting it.

Stress, overwhelemd worriedI have started to notice what my signs are that I am on that treadmill –  my mind starts to run (my to do list, worries and thoughts that just keep circling) or I have been extra short with the kids or my sleeping has suffered as I try to fit all of ‘it’ into the day. I’ve over committed to the day and then feel anxious and annoyed that I have not completed everything and disappointed that I’m cranky. What has happened? I’ve stopped nourishing myself – taking the time to stop, breathe and connect with me. What are some of the things that I normally do to nourish myself:

  • be present while I eat a meal
  • sit and have a cup of tea and do nothing else
  • take a few moments to breath
  • get into the bush for a bush walk – being in nature

Young woman enjoying fresh air in autumn, intentionally toned.I remind clients to take time our for themselves – to nourish themselves. It doesn’t have to take the form of hours out of your day, just a few minutes here and there and the benefits are compounding. Over the last few weeks I have once again fallen into the busyness – go, go, go and do, do, do achieving mentality – “I don’t have time for me” or “I’ll take some time for me later today or tomorrow”. Does that happen? Not usually. So I spiral down feeling more and more out of control. Does this sound familiar? One thing I do know for sure is that as I become ‘busier’ my breathing changes. I’ve noticed that when I am feeling out of control, either completely or in the task I have set myself to do, then my breathing is quite shallow. I’ve also noticed on the days when I feel that I have all the time in the world and surprised at how much I have actually accomplished, my breathing has been slow, deep and regular. With this observation, I have been using my breath to help slow me down and put me back into the drivers seat. The fantastic thing about focusing on your breath is, that you can do it anywhere and at anytime. Here is a little breathing exercise that can bring you back to being present and can reset the ‘I’m feeling out of control’ button.

Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, your hands in your lap and your back straight. Close your eyes and notice your breathing. Connect with your breath as you breathe in and then breathe out. Continue to breathe in and out for a couple of breath cycles. Now I want you to breathe in for the count of 4, hold, breathe our for the count of 4, hold and continue again. The image I have while breathing, is an oval – up one side, over the top, down the other side, under the bottom and back up. Remember to breathe from your diaphragm (the base of your lungs – your belly will expand and decrease, like the way babies breathe).

I’m also practising the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercising which I learnt about in one of my subjects at Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). In the subject, Dr Weil explains the benefit of breathing and how it is the link between the conscious and unconscious mind and is the key to changing the function of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system regulates the bodily functions such as heart beat, breathing and digestion and is the control system behind our fight or flight response. Dr Weil also believes that improper breathing is the root of many of the health problems that we experience today. With this knowledge you can begin to see how important your breathing is. To find out more about 4-7-8 Breath.

Have you used breath work before to help reconnect with yourself? Have you noticed a difference in the way you breathe when you are stressed compared to when you are relaxed? I would love to hear about your experiences with breathing.

In good health, Vicki