About Frankl, Sherlock and a mind palace.

I was 17 years old when I had the privilege of attending a convention where Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, gave a wonderful lecture. There were many important people speaking that day and the one afterwards, but I only remember Frankl. He influenced not only my choice of profession but also introduced me to the idea that no matter what is happening around me, no matter where I am or what I’m going through, I am responsible for my attitude. The only thing I’m in control of is myself, my thoughts and my perspective in life.

In his book “A Man’s Search for Meaning” he wrote: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offered sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

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On the other hand, a couple of years ago my oldest daughter urged me to watch this new TV version of Sherlock. I refused at first, arguing that I thought of Benedict Cumberbatch as being too young a Sherlock for my taste. Later, when I gave it a try, I was instantly hooked, completely “Sherlocked” (fans will understand). This show, in my opinion, has been the best representation of the famous detective in years and I consider it a masterpiece with excellent cinematography, story adaptation and performances.

I don’t have the memory I wish I had. I read and read and forget most of it but this show made me remember what an amazing work of literature Sherlock’s stories are. Now, after my fandom outburst, I should confess I only mentioned Sherlock mainly to redirect towards the “mind palace” or memory palace term. This technique for memory appears to be a very ancient one which I could certainly use and practice. Instead, I choose for my mind palace to be a healing experience where I work daily upon recalling good memories and discarding the bad. After all, bad memories are but weeds in a garden and, if I don’t pluck them, they will end suffocating the beauty of it all.

In the end, both these events (one from long ago and a recent one), intertwine among other life experiences to enrich my daily living. I choose my way, on a daily basis, to be a positive one filled with hope and good memories (not easy by the way). I choose to have a healing mind palace, the place where my dearest memories are kept alive and contribute to my health and vitality. What do you choose every day?

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet

An opinion on “healthy living”.

What is “healthy living” anyway? Well, healthy living is not equal to just a “good diet and exercise”, at least not for me. I am not discarding the importance of good nutrition and body movement; I just think the equation is incomplete.

Aren’t we all in the search for health and happiness?  Of course, health and happiness are not goals per se but a road to travel in, by embracing every moment and looking for balance as much as possible. Indeed this road is definitively not linear and will always have ups and downs. We may think that by being healthy we will be happier but on the contrary, it is by learning to be happy that we become healthier.  In our attempt to live life to its fullest we need to understand that there is not one magic (physical) solution that will keep us healthy and happy in a sustainable- permanent way if we do not take mind and spirit into account.

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A person can be eating the healthiest organic foods and over exercising but if emotions are out of sync,  stress prevails and the spirit is lost somewhere, it is all for nothing. We need a balance between mind, body and spirit. I’m definitively not an expert on the disciplines that teach profound mindfulness, but I know the importance of taking care of our emotional and spiritual needs in order to have health.

What happens when we feel unhealthy, unhappy, and uncomfortable is that we aim at healing the physical without taking into consideration that the symptoms we feel are often a sign of lack of balance in our lives and/or a sign of excess stress. We want to fix the physical first and so we may use all sorts of meds, then diet and exercise. When these attempts fail or the healing results end up being short-lived, then the time for us to accept that we must address the other areas is finally here.

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We are spiritual beings temporarily living in a body, therefore, we may feel better for a while using meds, diet and exercise, but if we don’t attend worry, anxiety, fear and a higher purpose in life, we cannot completely heal or function. On the other hand, if we want to attend other areas without good nutrition and exercise, it is not possible to heal completely too. So, healthy living cannot be reduced to just what we work, eat and how we exercise. We need balance in life (physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual).

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web

 

 

 

 

 

 

The magic behind –allowing-

To allow means to give permission to do something. Its antonym is to deny.

Of course we should not allow abuse or disrespect. However, we should be careful because- “It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows”.

‘Allowing’ is living. There is magic behind ‘allowing’and there is also hope, peace and freedom:

Allowing God to do, even if we don’t understand his ways.

Allowing imperfection to exist.

Allowing life to be.

Allowing nourishment.

Allowing patience.

Allowing the heart to forgive.

Allowing the body to breathe.

Allowing nature to caress the soul.

Allowing acceptance.

Allowing time.

Allowing respect.

Allowing emotions to flow and be.

Allowing gratefulness.

Allowing the heart to trust.

Allowing the body and the soul to heal.

Allowing authenticity.

Allowing joy over simple things.

Allowing sadness to go.

Allowing others to be.

Allowing growth.

Allowing rest.

Allowing body wisdom to speak.

Allowing help.

Allowing compliments.

Allowing happiness.

Allowing pain to pass through.

Allowing fulfillment.

Allowing things to evolve and change.

Allowing…… letting go…..

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet.

About forgiving ourselves and its silent effect on metabolism.

Let me start by saying that I know a lot of people are having trouble with their metabolism these days (myself included). Symptoms are so diverse, like unpleasant digestive issues, inability to lose weight, chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune diseases, constipation, and chronic migraines, to name a few. If you’ve been tested and there’s nothing “wrong” with you, then you might want a try an alternative approach by working on finding your very own metabolism-wreckers, by which I mean taking a dive within you to search for the cause of such ailments instead of just treating the effects.

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Stress… an overused word these days. But alas, it’s not without just cause since stress is the official byproduct of all metabolism-wreckers. An ever-present disease precursor, stress makes itself at home in us without invitation. Sometimes we get so used to it we no longer detect it, or worse, choose to ignore its presence.

There are infinite metabolism-wreckers but today I would like to address one in particular: Not forgiving ourselves. Note that this isn’t about forgiving others, which believe it or not, is easier than forgiving ourselves (I mean really forgiving, not just denying). Last week, this topic came to my attention by means of a most dear mentor’s class. As always, my mind started roaming and analyzing immediately, a process I not always enjoy but have learned to embrace as a valuable part of who I am and the work I do.

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Next is a tiny summary of my mind’s wanderings and explorations as I listened to my mentor’s words: Have you forgiven all your past mistakes, errors in judgment, bad decisions which affected other people, decisions which produced shame within you, your ignorance, your lack of action, all temperament issues and bad habits? Believe me, I even asked myself about forgiving myself for not being able to forgive as fast…. It was an interesting moment to say the least.

So, just in case all this resonates with you I want to emphasize this: Please realize you did the best you could at the time. Because the way we act, the decisions we take, the way we think and the way we respond depends on the skills we have, the frame of mind we’re in, and how we perceive the situation at that moment. Maybe we didn’t have as much objectivity, maturity, knowledge, tools or life experience, and the fact that you are realizing that now means that you‘ve grown, matured and learned…and that is a very good thing. A great thing!

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One word: compassion. In case you find things which you have not forgiven yourself for, please stop beating yourself up about it. If we can learn to think of ourselves as our best friend, to speak to ourselves with love and kindness we can heal and by healing our metabolism will start to regulate itself. As you feel the weight lifting and the stress produced by bottled up emotions inside you leaving… then there will be room to heal, nourish yourself, and improve health. Remember to always be a work in progress, which means you’ll get there a little at a time, not all at once. It is a great thing to look for metabolism-wreckers and start to exterminate anything that depletes you from enjoying life. New behavior and thinking patterns are both skills. So, cut yourself some slack while you’re on a new learning curve. Realize that you’re going to make mistakes. We all do.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web.