Well, now that we are well into January, many of us are probably finding that some of our New Year’s resolutions are beginning to wane. That kale-veggie-super-antioxidant smoothie I intended to have every morning is now down to five days a week …and the prospect of keeping that up beyond January is a little daunting!
So even though I’ve slipped a little– which I fully expected– I am gentle with myself and pretty pleased with my choices, so far. Of course, I still have chocolate every day! 🙂
I have to say that my uber motivation came out of glimpsing my future in my 89-year-old parents over Christmas, which had me placing the responsibility for my health squarely back on my own shoulders. Rather than expecting/hoping that my naturopath, GP or physio would anticipate what I needed– in the form of supplements, exercises, etc.– it hit me that that no one else is really going to take care of me. As Zauberman and Lynch (2005) deduced, I had fallen prey to thinking that I’d have more time at some future point than I do right now. I can start eating better, exercising more and meditating more next month.
That holiday was some kind of wake-up call. I could see all my parents’ health issues just waiting in the wings for me. (To my mother’s credit, she attends a three-times-a-week exercise class and is at least 20 years older than all the other participants!!)
At a retreat last year, meditation teacher Phillip Moffitt shared one of his tools for differentiating our values, intentions and goals. After choosing our five core values, he asked us to identify our essential intentions.
No surprise that as a meditator, values of inner authority, open-mindedness, creativity, kindness, health and equanimity would be at the top of the list.(Okay, that’s six and that’s not even counting relationships!)
According to Phillip, “an important distinction between values and intentions is that you can have values that lack commitment, whereas intentions are active in the moment and focused on being a certain way right now. Intentions are where the “rubber meets the road,” where your values are reconciled with your goals and where you give witness to what is essential to you as you dance with life.” (Life Balance Institute, 2012)
Huh, that’s interesting. Even though I knew I valued health, my commitment to consistently acting on it waxed and waned. Now, it seems that the good feelings I get from making those smoothies in fact arise precisely from acting out of my values; the intention to become more of an inner authority on my health, to value myself and be kind to my body, to be open-minded as to what my body needs and to be creative as I try ever-changing weird and wonderful combinations of superfoods. Our intentions help us to clarify our actions in each moment, making it more likely that we will act in accordance with our deeper values..
Ah well, it’s still only January and lucky for me, kale won’t always be in season!
(To see more on Phillip’s work, see www.lifebalanceinstitute.com)
Thanks and be well,
Marian & Brett