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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Axioms for Life

Here I go again writing about subjects other than pure skin care. But please understand, all of these unrelated subjects are related to health, and therefore, ultimately, the condition of your skin. I make no apologies for including what I consider to be useful information for you to take into your life that will hopefully help bring about change (if its needed), or at the very least give you a bit of peace in your day (if its needed).

I created the following axioms years ago to help me get through hard times or simply a bad day. If you havent already, I encourage you to develop your own words and phrases with ideas that mean something special to you. You can refer to them whenever and wherever you are having trouble in your life, or when you are having an off day. If you use axioms, they can help give you a lift anytime. Use some or all of my axioms, find sayings from books or movies, even use words taken from conversations you have with friends—or even strangers.

For much of my life I have been in the habit of writing down things that pop into my head or words of wisdom I hear; wherever and whenever something clicks inside of me, I jot it down. I write these things down because I know I will not remember—verbatim—the wise and heartfelt remarks that come out during conversations or inspiring words that I read somewhere. So, write down the creative and motivating words that cross your path, and refer to them often. 

Here are the axioms I rely on the most. They are presented here in the same way I originally wrote them (back in the 90s) and then put up on my refrigerator to see every day:
  • RELAX
  • Put it in God’s hands
  • Look at the Big Picture
  • Be strong
  • Don’t act on your weakness
  • Be kind to yourself
  • NUTRITION
RELAX. Simply breathe, get in touch with your body, and relax. Find things throughout the day that can help your body and mind relax. For me, sitting in a bubble bath is very relaxing. I can let the thoughts flow out of my head and into the hot, steamy water, giving my mind a rest for a little while. You may find reading a book brings you relaxation. I recommend uplifting, inspirational books, where you may find some pearls of wisdom that help you cope with the stress.

Walking outside in the park may help you to relax. Being in nature, for many people, automatically relieves stress and helps them to think through their problems in a relaxed manner. When my father died unexpectedly in 2008, just after I moved to Boulder, I would go walking in the foothillsmany times going off trailand sit on a boulder and just look at the beauty around me. It was very healing for me; this atmosphere gave me a place to unload a lot of the mixed up feelings I was experiencing. (See Moving Through Loss for what is hopefully a helpful article on grieving.)

Do whatever you need to do to relax your mind and body, then seek out these activities throughout the day (every day if possible). Usually when you’re relaxed, inspiration finds a way in.

Put it in God’s hands. I realize sometimes people get hung up on the word “God. It has so many connotations and meanings to different people and religions. I dont actually think of “God as what I am giving my issue(s) to; I think of giving it over to love instead. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, even if you dont have any, mentally allow that source, energy, person, place, or thing to accept the problem and take it off your shoulders for now. (You might even think of it as simply the stronger part of yourself vs. something outside of you.)

Once you sincerely release the conflict from your body, you will have better energy within to tackle the road ahead. Releasing things in this way helps me to clear my mind and my heart, giving me room to see things from a different (hopefully more objective) perspective. For a simple but (for me and others) effective mantra, read Prayer I. Warning: the word “God is used in this as well. Substitute as needed!

Look at the Big Picture. Can you take your awareness out of this moment and look at your life maybe five years from now? In the big picture of your entire life, how does the current problem rate—really? Most likely it looks smaller and less ominous if you can take yourself out of the now.
A new perspective can change how you view this or any problem. Of course, perspective is relative, but try this exercise to literally rise above your current issue at hand:
  • Close your eyes
  • Picture yourself lifting up off the ground, rising above yourself and looking down at you
  • Then keep rising, up above your house (or wherever you are), and seeing the city or rural surroundings as you lift off further and further away from where you are sitting
  • Keep rising above until you can see the earth from way above
If you try to locate yourself in your house or office, you are so small and inconsequential, you are hard to find. And in the big picture of your life, perhaps the stress you are going through is not as important as you are making it. I am certainly not trying to demean nor diminish the importance of events that may be occurring in your life that are of great or even severe consequence. But for the day-to-day stresses that we tend to make into more than they are, try rising above to decrease the impact the stresser has on you.

Want a little perspective? Read a book on physics. When you see things through the eyes of an entire universe, it can lighten the load you may be carrying in this minute, on this planet, at this particular time in the history of the world. If that doesnt work for you, an anatomy book usually helps me put things in perspective. How can all these systems in our bodies function so perfectly? Its magic!

Be strong. Know that you truly can handle anythingyou just may not want to have to. The adage that “we are not given more than we can handle” has probably been proven to you at some time in your life. Go to that place within yourself, that strong place, and look at your problem head on and know you can conquer anything.

Don’t act on your weakness. For me this means don’t recede into negative behaviors, whether it is drinking, eating bad foods, not exercising, or cutting off the world when a problem seems insurmountable. If I don’t act from this weakened place, in the long run I will be much better off. Acting on weakness and displaying what I consider to be negative behaviors only makes things worse. The problem will right itself, someday, somehow, but if I am not a clear and healthy vessel, having to fix my body is simply another challenge I will have to face and conquer. Why multiply the problem? Don’t allow those weak parts of you to win.

Be kind to yourself. This is so important. Being kind to myself means letting go of the rules sometimes. It means not blaming or berating myself for the position I find myself in. It means being my own best friend. When you go to a friend for comfort, do they rake you over the coals for getting yourself into a pickle? No, a best friend will love and support you through thick and thin, without judgment, just understanding. I’m not suggesting enabling inappropriate behavior, but when someone is in the midst of a crisis, it is not the appropriate time to offer a critical analysis of the hows and whys; it’s a time to lend a hand and offer a shoulder to cry on. Be this friend for yourself. Be kind to yourself, it will help keep you on track.

NUTRITION. Many times when were under stress, we tend to go toward comfort, and many times this includes food. I am all for bending the rules and allowing things into your life that you normally wouldn’t under normal circumstances. But with that said, your body is what is taking you through your day, every day. And if your machineyour bodyis unsound, all that is contained in it (including your mind) will suffer. So if you truly need to reach for “bad” foods along your path, balance it out with good food and perhaps even supplements too. And if you do indulge, limit your intake. Give yourself the permission, but don’t overdo it. A healthy body will help ensure a healthier mind as you go through a stressful time. Eat well, be well.

There are a few other thoughts and phrases I like to ponder from time to time, such asTo know and not to do is not to know.(The ancient Buddhist proverb says “To know and not do is not yet to know, but I use this version, which is fairly popular.) Although I don’t have this on my personal axiom list, it is one of my favorite sayings and one I use frequently in life. I think it fits in perfectly with many of my personal philosophies because it has so many implications. For instance, if you know sugar doesn’t agree with you and you say, “I know, I know, I shouldn’t eat it,” but you eat it anyway, it truly is as though you don’t know it is bad for you. If you are not doing anything with the information, then you don’t really know the information—deep down, in a convicted way.

The only way out is through. I love this thought, along with the addition of Time heals all wounds.These help me realize that I need to go through the experience to get to the other side and that I probably can’t bypass the path in order to alleviate feeling pain. Then, as is always true, time takes over and eases the pain and uncomfortableness of any situation.

Perhaps you already have (and use) your own axioms in your day to day life. If notor even if sotake from mine, come up with others. No matter where they come from, axioms can really help put life in perspective when stress or seemingly unmanageable situations arise.

Also see: