There are 3 pillars of holistic health, the physical (eating right, exercising), the emotional (the desire to change, the willpower it takes to make that change) and the spiritual. The latter is often overlooked, but it is a pillar because it is vital. I’m not talking about going to church; I’m not talking about praying five times a day. I’m talking about taking a minute out of your day to think about how grateful you are. I’m talking about running barefoot through the grass. I’m talking about taking a walk without headphones on in the sunshine and listening to the birds instead.
Getting in tune with nature is much more then hugging a tree. We are part of nature, after all, and our bodies are constantly telling us what it needs, or in some cases, what it doesn’t need. Chronic pain is the bodies way of telling you it is over taxed, and possibly toxic. The same goes for hunger, cravings, acne, mood swings, stress. All of these things come with being connected, or “spiritual”. When we realize that our bodies and our minds are just extensions of the outside world, or the universe, giving us subtle hints to our inner most wants and hidden desires, then we are truly on the road to health.
- Cravings can tell us about our addictions. If you are constantly thinking about food, its probably because you are addicted to a substance (like sugar or additives). They can also be indicative of nutrient deficiencies.
- If you are stressed, it is a desire to change your situation, or to flee. It is a reaction to outside forces.
- If you suffer from depression, anxiety, mood swings, it often times is a lack of proper nutrients, lack of exercise, or caused by bad relationships.
One must look at all aspects of their life. Health is more then what you eat, it is more then what you do. It is the company you keep, the thoughts you have, and your reaction to the world around you. It is about letting go. We must let go of old habits, we must let go of negative people and negative thoughts. Are we eating to fill a void? To compensate for boredom? Are we afraid of change? Afraid of failure? Health comes from taking a good long look at ourselves and becoming our own teacher. It might involve stepping out of our comfort zone, trying new foods, attempting a 5k. It is about becoming our own Guru. The mind, the body and the spirit are all one being, YOU.
When I walk barefoot through the grass I feel one with the earth. When I sit under a tree and look up at the sunlight shining through, I feel happy. Here are just two articles illustrating the positive effects of connecting with nature: 5 minutes outside can boost mood, and Stepping Outdoors Boosts Mood, Self-Esteem.
In this blog post I weave between talking about nature, and talking about our own personal health . There is no difference between the two. We are part of nature and nature is part of us. When I listen to my body, I know what my hunger means, I understand what my cravings are telling me, and I recognize when my body needs to move and stretch. I also notice my stress, and I can do something about it instead of letting it build up. When I connect, I am powerful.
Atheist or devout Christian, being spiritual is not about finding the creator. It’s about finding a cure for our own personal suffering. It’s about being connected; to nature, to our friends and family, to our own mind and body.
Your spiritual path is uniquely yours. No one can tell you exactly how to do it. However, there is no true health without all three pillars. Meditation, mindfulness, and yoga have all proved to be effective at releasing stress, lowering blood pressure, and helping people focus their minds. It has even taken over where religion has failed, giving people the spiritual connection they were previously lacking. I do not speak for everyone, but I know what has worked for me. I only hope that through my experience I can open a door for someone who is also looking for answers, for without the spiritual aspect of life, you can never truly be healthy.