No matter what side of the political divide you fall on these days, our inability to control the outcome and the anxiety of living in uncertainty has become the backdrop for the culture. At risk of stating the obvious, we each face what feels like a precipice within only the relatively small acts of life that we can actually control.
Of all the things that bind us, perhaps this is the most profound – the realization that most of the biggest things in life are out of our control and that the ways we most deeply impact what is happening to and around us are rooted in how we move in our bodies.
Surrendering to the fact that all of our best efforts might not lead us to where we thought we were heading is at once disconcerting and a breath of fresh air.
As we come to see just how many moving parts are involved in even the smallest of our success or failure, we get that it is not personal, it is not our shortcomings or even our golden gifts that drive the outcomes, but something so much bigger than us.
When we embrace what is truly left in our control, that’s when choice comes alive. So much more freedom and agency emerge in how we deal with what life throws at us, rather than getting stuck in the mind warp of forcing what we want to happen. This reckoning should be visceral – not as thoughts in our head, but rather how we connect to life in our bodies.
How Our Physical Wellbeing Impacts Our Emotional State
In truth, our entire life hinges not on what we want, but on how we are. Our physical and mental well-being is everything. Literally everything. All it takes is a good case of the flu or, of late, COVID-19, to know that we cannot move forward with anything when we are unwell. With every serious bout of illness I have ever experienced, I remember with an acute longing how much I had taken my health for granted. While laying in bed hardly able to feel the edges of my body, what I most missed was my ability to move.
Strengthening the Body
True embodiment is borne in our capacity for motion. And while directed and conscious movement as exercise is curative for the body’s longevity, it is perhaps even more foundational for the mind. Movement focuses our attention on the present and when we release and stretch our muscles, some part of our emotions let go too.
Making yourself stronger physically translates into more emotional stability and mental clarity. Building your physical endurance makes you more able to hold emotional discomfort and refresh your thinking when faced with problem-solving.
Nourishing with Nutrient-Rich Foods
Your body is the real temple; one that houses the mind and the will. Like movement, how we nourish our body has direct and causal impact on how we experience what happens to us. By raising the integrity of the food you consume you strengthen your capacity for physical activity and emotional steadfastness. Consuming food that you can digest well and efficiently changes how you feel even more than the political uncertainty swirling around you.
Start small, even with one really nutritious meal a day and notice how your body feels, notice how your emotions rest, notice how your thinking clears when you are nourished. Cravings are asking to be witnessed, not fed. And even these change of their own accord when you nourish yourself.
Although it might seem trite and small, I believe that pursuing our own wellbeing as a response to great unrest is the only route to rediscover what unity might look like some time in the future we cannot yet see. It must begin with each of us finding ourselves in our bodies and living with consciousness in the things we actually control. How we move and how we eat are the foundations for how we feel and think – not the other way around.