For many, many years; a lot of my eating and exercising choices have been made on how I presume them to make me look, not always putting the value on how I feel. Have your ever been more concerned about what you look like versus how you feel?!
Yes, I’ve had to eat and exercise to help the condition of Crohn’s which can sometimes raise it’s head and put me in hospital, or worried I’d need to go there again but still; it’s only just now with some more experiences and therapies that I can see more of the motivation behind many of my basic but essential life choices.
Having had food poisoning, alcohol poisoning, tannin reactions, stress reactions (generally this aggravates the special cells in my intestines the worst) lead to many ill feelings and skin conditions; I would do just enough in the ‘right’ direction to help me to feel better but wasn’t fully getting the WHY of these feelings and reactions from my body. Call it a blessing or a curse, I seem to have a very fine tuned body which can either work tremendously well or go the other way pretty quickly too.
Eating too healthily, avoiding this type of food, trying this type of diet (not necessarily one for keeping trim but to be ‘healthy’ for my guts too, which if I’m honest, always wound up with me at least not gaining any weight through fat); do this exercise, run a 10KM to get fit (photo left, 2008, possibly my worst year), do that training plan, this class.. It’s not been easy to regain my energy, full strength and vitality, whilst having my skin and hair express the same clarity but what I’ve learnt recently makes it all seem that much more simple..
The one thing (which was initially driven by my ego too, in order to get stronger than the other people in the class) which I have been consistent with as a way to FEEL good in my body and mind has been yoga. Since my first class in London (I had done it before but was more into Pilates) about 6 years ago I was hooked; also very close to another hospital stay for my guts but it made me feel about a million times better each time, despite still hobbling out of class in some amount of pains.
Even yoga I’ve used as a tool to look muscular, or slim, or cool doing ‘the’ poses. Which is probably why it bugs me so much to see all the instagram bollocks with selfies, self-promotion, expensive clothing brands to help you ‘look good’, and basic shameless bastardisation of this amazing science/art which has done so much in the making of me being alive and well today!..
So what’s changed now!? I listen. I listen to my body, not just my head telling me, don’t have that it’ll make you fat; do that work out it’ll make you look more strong and muscular, train, workout, eat less, eat ‘healthy’; that’s bad for you, you need to do this to sculpt you.. My head, has many threads of pressure to ‘perform’ (work, life, love, play..), but this October (after the excessive tannin induced stint of winding up again with symptoms of system intoxication through ignoring the subtle messages of my body) I’ve gifted myself with enough space and time to sit back and listen. Not forcing myself to work as much, or keep busy training or something during the quiet times. Taking education from different diets (like the GAPS, Paleo, low tannin, anti-inflammatory, alkalising) to help give me the tools to understand how to nourish myself based on how I feel, to help clear the cloud of confusion walking into a shop or a cafe and not have to just walk out hungry coz I didn’t know what I felt like.. To not train so much, to let my fast twitch muscle fibres slow down a little bit and LET my body relax; to do more of the movements I can hear my body singing to! To let myself self-regulate more on this internal compass rather than what I see around me.
I hear and see that for many people, it’s not about taking more time to relax but more time to energise; I see that some people have a different issue to this, but the answer is still the same; is what you’re doing (or not doing) feeling good? Do you feel good in your body? If not, change something, try something new which does feel good!..
For some people, this listening in has always been present; for others, we’ve needed to undo or are still undoing a LOT of interfering from the outside world. Listening in takes time, and out of the confusion is where we can blossom into OUR truest nature, rather than the expectations of our surrounds.. And after all that, when you feel good, it oozes out of you and your face will radiate amazingness!