(This article consists of edited excerpts from the Sunday night meeting of May 3, 1992.)
Building on a Firm Foundation
One of the things that I don’t like to do is to encourage you by saying, “All right, here is what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to do this and this and this and this, and if you do these four things all the time, then you’re going to be happy and healthy and wealthy and wise.” And yet, there are certain things you can do that really will make a difference. Remember that you are in charge of which—if any—of these are right for you. It’s never “wrong” to give yourself the opportunity to make choices. It’s only wrong when you believe that, if you do not follow that choice, there are no other chances; and wrong when you think that if you don’t follow that choice something will befall you that is unpleasant. My message has been, repeatedly, one of balance. Accept who you are; stretch for that which is new. You have the opportunity to start over—do it! What I have been hearing, essentially, is “What can I do to claim this ascendancy that you say is coming? What is different from the last eight years of teaching, which says, ‘Do the best you can where you are with what you have?’ I don’t feel very different, and, in fact, in very many ways I feel a whole lot less connected. What can I do?”A very powerful act of mindfulness is to bring awareness to your actions. Do things on purpose, even when what you’re doing on purpose is choosing not to do. “I choose to just sit in this chair and sip water and read magazines”—but choosing to do that makes it an act of awareness. That sort of conscious living begins to change you.
With that in mind, I want to talk to you about things you can do physically and mentally to allow yourself to become more prepared, more ready. The physical expresses itself through two major outlets: the actual working of the physical body and the working of the physical mind. You can increase the working of the mind by particular changes in what you do with your body. Every one of you, every day, should be taking a half-hour walk outdoors. You may be doing bouncy-bouncy [aerobics], but there are things you cannot get indoors with a group of sweating people. You cannot receive the stimulation that comes to your body from sunlight—even when it’s a cloudy day—from the air that you breathe and—hear this—the distractions that come your way. When you are taking a walk, you are in a world that is constantly changing. You are allowing yourself the opportunity to ground from the feet up. You are also allowing yourself the opportunity to begin the second part of the exercise that makes a big difference: practicing awareness. Awareness means making yourself attuned to what is going on around you. Now and again, do sensory checks: “What am I seeing right now? What are all the colors? What are all the shapes, what are all the smells? What am I hearing?”
Then go one step farther. “What am I feeling right now?” As you do that, push yourself. “Let me change how I’m feeling. Can I get excited? What can I do to just make myself feel really good?” Pay attention, as you do that, to what it is that you do. “Am I increasing my pace? Am I putting a bounce into it? Am I changing my breathing pattern? Am I moving my arms differently? What am I doing?” Make yourself aware of this process. Begin playing with your mind; by consciously recreating emotional states, you are preparing yourself for the opportunity to take part in the merging of energy at a greater level for some of the higher healing techniques. If you’re not going to have time for it, break it up into two pieces—fifteen minutes and fifteen minutes. Every day a walk.
Every day take a good stretch. If you are familiar with the Salute to the Sun, it is a very good full body stretch. Five minutes will have you warm and stretched and feeling very, very good. If yoga doesn’t appeal to you, that’s all right. Essentially what I’m wanting you to do is this: stand up, take a very deep breath; feel yourself expanding from the solar plexus; exhale—push your diaphragm all the way in; then do a few pants just to get your body limbered up a bit; then breathe in; as you’re breathing in, stretch your arms up and then bend back as far as you can go; hold; as you release very gently, slowly move your body forward and down to your feet. When you’ve got your head down, raise your hands up again behind you, and then get back up. Again, I recommend Salute to the Sun, but if you’re not going to do that, then at least do the breathing and stretching exercise I described.
Your diet. Here it is, as clear as I can be: the choice is yours—however, eating flesh doesn’t help you. Eliminating flesh and flesh by-products from your diet will make a powerful change not only in how you feel, but in how you think. And for those of you who are smugly saying, “I already am a vegetarian,” let me remind you that being a non-meat eater does not necessarily mean that you have a good diet. Clean your diet up. This is the season in which you are able to grow your own, or at least purchase some very live food; maybe you can get it locally. Get as much live food—or just barely dead—into your diet as possible. Right now, that means eat your vegetables. Don’t kill them before you eat them by cooking them to death. I recommend that you give yourself one day a week of raw food; that can be juice, it can be pureed. Just don’t cook it.
Drink six to eight glasses of distilled water a day. Drink your water. It helps you. And until you are in the habit of drinking six or eight glasses of water, drink water until your urine is clear.
Pay attention to those foods that affect you emotionally. There are emotional allergies, and they are absolutely as powerful in your system as physical ones, but you’ve got to be more sensitive in order to be aware that you have them. Start cutting out some acid foods like tomatoes. You may find you start liking people again. You might find they start liking you.
How many of you have been having allergy problems—the pollens and the mold so awful your body just can’t take it, and you’re all stopped up? Sweet ones, you are probably not allergic to this planet that you chose to come onto, that is designed to nurture your life force. You have probably so stressed your physical vehicle that any tap pushes you over the cliff. If you take dairy and acid foods out of your diet, you are likely to find a one-hundred-percent improvement. So, give it a try.
I want to remind you that certain stimulants and depressants really aren’t good for you: caffeine, alcohol, the good stuff, you know. Your body can’t experience its own natural high and low while you are messing with it. You make the choices here—I am simply saying, you will find a difference.
The alternative six months ago is not the same as it is now. Although you knew what it was like to stop drinking a month ago, that’s not who you are now, so do the process again.
Finish all of your showers with a blast of cold water. The reason is threefold. The first is that it’s an absolute act of courage—and it’s so good for you to express yourself in small, simple acts of courage. It’s also an easy discipline that will you allow you consistent successes. The third effect is that it actually starts teaching the fright/flight portion of your brain that there are a lot of surprises in life, but you tend to live through them. For the last three months people’s lives have been so unpredictable that they have been always in flight mode. Begin teaching yourself, on a subtle level, to learn to relax with what hits you. Sometimes it might only be cold water!
Consciously choose friendships with those who feed you, with whom you laugh, where you feel happier, that bring out the best in you. What types of activity are signals that a relationship might not be feeding you? Perhaps it’s boring or you never laugh or don’t feel happy. Perhaps it’s a complainer’s group. All of your issues come up all of the time with these people. See if you can change it by refusing to play by the rules. Don’t gripe; don’t gossip; don’t slow down and give second best. Be the best you can where you are with what you have. Bring yourself up to a high and happy level. If it doesn’t work, then maybe they’re not going to feed your mind, and you should look for that outlet elsewhere. Think of somebody who really loves you, and be around that person more.
Give five compliments each day. And count them off; be sure you’ve done it. A compliment is an act of completion, so it’s not just, “Oh, you look so nice!” It’s making a statement from the heart.
End your day with a conscious spoken awareness. Put this in your journal or speak it out loud, if only to yourself—the good things that happened to you that day. Putting your mind to beauty, to harmony, to love, to what works instead of what doesn’t work. Go to sleep with the angels instead of the demons.
Every day, choose God alternately with Goddess. Some of you, in your over-compensation for so many years of patriarchal energy, are only talking to goddess energy. That doesn’t quite fit, either. Choose—perhaps on even days god energy, on odd days goddess energy; and specifically, through the day, talk appropriately—stream of consciousness, continually talk to god, to goddess. Communicate; talk, constantly.
God energy has to do most specifically with the outer form and the active, and the goddess with the creative aspect, the inner. So when you’re talking more to the goddess energy, you might appropriately say, “I have such a lovely time, Goddess, when I see my friend. You know, her creative self is such a powerful reminder of your creative energy, and I become more aware of this world, it’s so beautiful.” God day, same thing: “Thank you that my friend is here and in form. Thank you that she is in my life and making changes.”
And finally, learn to be thankful for everything—you learn from the hard times, too. I want you to see the other side of things, and you do that by pure thankfulness.