Breathe, Eat, Flow, Grow, Thrive!
In a nutshell, they are simple words that have an amazing impact on your life and take you from a life of just going through the day to day motions to living a life of vitality. I have begun this journey, and it is one that is unstoppable. Every day I wake up, I want to know how to Thrive more in my own being. Ayurveda means “ayus” life and “veda” knowledge, but ultimately it means living in tune with nature and with your mind, body, and soul. The only way to truly know the soul is through meditation – to hear the whispers of the heart. If we go through our day to day motions without listening to our heart then we are missing out on the true meaning of life.
Meditation, taking the time to just breathe, doesn’t come easy to me by any means. In fact, to take the time to sit with myself in silence is one of the hardest things to take the time to do. I recently set a timer on my phone after lunch to meditate because without this set time, I will skip it and run onto the next thing. Mornings are too rushed and hectic in the household trying to get the kids out the door. By evening I am so exhausted from the day that some nights I just want to crawl in bed, or finally read the book or article that I have been dying to read all day. It’s a time when I create stillness of the mind through my other Ayurvedic practices, which include sometimes a few yoga stretches and Abhyanga, a daily massage used with Ayurvedic oils. And if I am lucky, I can have some time with Evan, my husband, to recap on the events of the day. As a Vata constitution, I want to stay on the move and sitting down and grounding is the opposite of my nature, which craves movement, but grounding is what I need the most.
It has taken me a lifetime of digestive issues to find a practice that is just beginning to help me heal. In Ayurveda, what we eat matters as it is the building block of our entire body. If you think about our body as an ecosystem then it matters what you put into it. And how we eat matters just as much as what we eat. If we dump Frankenstein foods into our body, then we are plugging up the channels of our body. If we eat too fast, then our body is under stress, if we over eat our body is under stress, if we are in the wrong state of mind whether it be sadness, anger, frustration, etc. then we will digest our food poorly. Being the youngest in my family, everyone cooked for me. I never had to cook for myself, and my mother never taught me although through osmosis her love of food is probably what planted the seeds in me to be on the journey I am on today. Taking the time to plan meals is not my forte. However, when I play and dream up a wonderful dish, I feel so much love because I know that I am nourishing the heart and soul of my family, and there is nothing more beautiful then knowing that it is an act of pure love.
And what is flow, well you can find flow through your yoga practice, but your yoga practice should be symbolic for the rest of your life. My high school sweet heart once said to me, “Paige you cannot fight the waves of the ocean, they will always knock you down, rather you have to learn to swim with the waves.” Sadly, these words were spoken when we broke up, but he knew I was in college and I shouldn’t spend my college years holding onto a relationship of the past as we were trying to sustain a long-distance relationship on different coasts. Those simple words are a reminder that if I am not flowing with the rhythms of my life then I am working against myself. When we are in a state of flow, then everything comes naturally to us. The universe provides for us, and while we might have a plan that we think is the right plan, the universe will bring us what we need. In the book, “The Universe Has Your Back,” Gabrielle Bernstein teaches to transform your life from a state of fear to faith. In confession, I am an anxious person, but it is my faith in God and a greater power that guides me to be in the flow of life – not always but when I am at my best. Honestly, most of my life I have fought this flow, and it is through daily reminders bringing me back to my faith that I am exactly where my life should be and where my life is going because this is the journey that will bring me to higher states of consciousness.
Around 18 or so we quit physically growing, but our whole life we should strive to grow internally. When my dad died 2.5 years ago, I came to the realization that we are either growing or we are dying. If we are not living our life to the fullest, then we are slowly dying inside. There is a Harvard study that has proven that we age or grow old based on our mental picture of how old we are. If you are say 40, but you mentally feel older than your body will age as if you are older. My dad was a ticking time bomb. He always said he didn’t want to live past 70, and he died just after he turned 68. He said he never wanted to grow old and see his body waste away, and yet he did nothing to stay young like exercise, eat mindfully, and know that his physical age didn’t have to age him to the point that he truly wasted away. I so wish that my dad had a different mental image of his life as he would be around today to see my children grow older. His last words to me the day before he died was, “I would like to live 5 more years to see my grandchildren grow up.” He died of a massive stroke the next morning.
What does it mean to Thrive? I believe the ultimate form of Thriving is living a life of pure bliss – “Satchitananda.” This is a compounded word in Sanskrit. Sat meaning being, lasting, enduring, true, and wise. Chit meaning to understand, comprehend, know be conscious of, and reflect on. Ananda means happiness and joy. I cannot say that I have fully comprehended Satchitananda. I know that one day I’ll look back on my life and that it won’t matter what I owned or even did day in and day out that will matter. What will matter the most is the love in my heart and the love that I give. For me this very morning, my moment of bliss was watching my daughter walk up to her friends at school and smile. I have no idea what put a smile on her face, but the love I have for her, my darling Sugs, will fuel the smile on my face the rest of the day. I felt a moment of pure love and bliss for this darling angel in my life.
Breathe. Eat. Flow. Grow. Thrive.