If you have been reading HuffPost's Living page for any amount of time, you will have gleaned a great wealth of information for improving your health and well-being.
What is the difference between having good information, and acting upon it? How often do we know what is good for us, and then fail to follow through? As creatures of habit, how can we choose to practice what really serves us?
Love is a resource we all share that can motivate our heartfelt intentions. Here are some suggestions for loving best practices:
1. LOVE YOURSELF
Why? And perhaps more to the point, how? And how does love make a difference?
Loving yourself shows that you value yourself. You act in ways that reflect that love. A loving relationship with yourself will guide you to do that which supports your best life. This love is not a narcissistic one but that which honours the human spirit that you are -- that accepts what you might label as "imperfect." That is tender, kind and compassionate and knows when and where to set boundaries.
Last week, I met the devoted mother of a 29-year-old autistic son. She is about to marry for the third (and final, she assured me) time. I am officiating her wedding. Vital for her is that her so dependent son is included and valued in the ceremony. Love and value go together.
Recently, I talked with a friend who generously gives to others, works long hours and is seeking a serene life. There is no way she can make a radical personality change, but may decide to reduce her hours through delegation. In the time she creates for herself, she could treat herself to walking in nature, meditation or whatever will promote her serenity. These are loving choices. Serenity grows from the inside out.
The love you demonstrate to and for yourself has a way of touching and benefitting those you love and care for. Love has its own cycle of return.
Value yourself and build your immune system. When you are taking care of your self with a good diet, restorative sleep and enjoyable regular exercise you have a much better chance of maintaining good health, even when those around you are getting sick. If you meet ill-health, you can more easily recover.
In getting to know ourselves, we must come to love ourselves --
not just the part we consider positive, but all of it:
good, bad, light, dark, our strengths as well as our weaknesses.
In fact, self acceptance is essential to our health.
John-Roger with Paul Kaye , What's It Like Being You?, p. 53
2. ... WITH MORE LOVE
Complete what you start to do, or declare it finished. The books you have been reading, but now bore you. Close them up, give them away. Projects lying dormant. Action them or let them go. The things around you -- paintings, furniture, ornaments -- that no longer give you pleasure move them on and allow space for that which gives you joy. Good health is good circulation. As without, so within.
Many years ago, I heard about a family who three years after moving to a new house, still had full packing cases in one room and piles of unused stuff in the garage. They had been suffering from colds and various congestive illnesses. They were advised to clear the clutter, and when they did, with it went their bad health.
Engage with others. Circulate your love. Be open to receive. A friend uses a mantra when she goes out: How may I serve? When you open a door to giving, more love can come in to you.
The love of your friends will comfort you deeply if you are unwell. Kind words, a warm hug, timely encouragement will keep you going while you are healing. I have known people who, when terminally ill, have radiated health to their visitors because they were at peace with themselves and their condition.
Many years ago, I was in a road accident which left me in hospital a few hundred miles from home. My step-daughter then in her early teens, made the journey by train to bring me some needed toiletries and other gifts. She would never call herself a "healer." By profession, she is now a sheep farmer. The afternoon she spent by my side in the hospital were profoundly healing to me. She literally radiated a comfort and reassurance.
3. ... AND YET MORE LOVE
Your human spirit is rich with love. This spirit in you is a part of that which is beyond your immediate self. Whether you relate to God, Divine Spirit, the Universe or just life, get connected to that which is beyond, to greater sources of healing, joy and understanding.
Take a little time each day to awaken to the beauty and joy in you by choosing to focus on the beauty in the world around you: nature unfolding its colours and fresh growth in spring; infants discovering and exploring their surroundings; wise smiles in old eyes.
The spirit of love in you is in everything. Practise looking for love. What you seek will be what you find. With love comes wisdom and integrity. The world is a friendly place, when you look at it that way. Whether you are in the process of healing a condition, or improving some aspect of your health, love will help to guide and keep you on track.
Our greatest challenge? To keep the doors of your heart open to love. The next challenge? To see everything that comes to you as being for you. And the third? To step up into the power of loving that you are: to repair the damage, heal the hurts and move forward to contribute your magnificence to make a difference to someone, somewhere.
Do you ever have difficulty keeping to a health regime? How do you stay on track when you are tempted off it? How have you experienced love healing you?
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