Pilgrimages in far off places can bring spiritual and physical benefits, but we don't need to necessarily go far away to experience those moments of healing and inspiration.
Always ready for an adventure, a close friend of mine, Beth, decided to walk part of the famous pilgrimage walk, El Camino de Santiago in Spain.
“For the first few days I thought I might have to give up!” she said, explaining how physically and mentally unprepared she was for the challenging walk. But she didn’t! She committed to the pilgrimage. Gradually she found a rhythm to her day....
As it turns out, you really can forget how to ride a bike. All it takes is a little effort. About eight months, to be exact.
At least that’s how long it took Destin Sandlin. As a joke, some friends at work gave him a bike specially designed to veer left when the handlebars were turned right, and right when turned left. In order to ride it, he had to first unlearn all he’d been taught as a kid before he could successfully and (somewhat) gracefully navigate his way down the sidewalk.
If only I lost those extra pounds, If only so-and-so wasn't in my life, If only I got a raise, If only I was younger, If only I hadn't said that...
These refrains can seem as solid as a concrete wall. They have a way of putting off happiness and health in the present, making them seem like only a remote possibility in the future.
I've found that if I can detect these sneaky thoughts quickly, and do something about them, they lose their foothold. Take grudges, for example. There are plenty of studies that show how holding onto past wrongs is a negative influence on health.
“Spirituality should be considered one of the vital signs in the care and treatment of patients,” said Christina M. Puchalski, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish). She was speaking to over 400 chaplains, physicians, nurses, and researchers from all around the world who were attending the second annual HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) Caring for the Human Spirit Conference held in Orlando in late April. The attendees participated in various workshops and several of them focused on integrating spirituality into care for those suffering from mental illness.
I often talk about 'love' in my writing, and find that this word 'love' is the word that is most often misunderstood in the human language.
We seem to want to categorise it by psychological terms, such as emotional, platonic, parental or romantic. Some just want to question its existence at all, by replacing it with its opposites - dependency, manipulation or lust. But the very essence of us is pure, unconditional love; love for ourselves and love for each other.
Fasting has long been considered a religious practice that focuses on abstaining from food and drinks for periods. The purpose is to free oneself from materialism through cultivating a closer connection to the divine.
However, as religious life fades and food becomes increasingly abundant and accessible in Western culture, fasting as a religious practice is on the decline in our more secular society. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the so-called ‘lifestyle’ diseases-diabetes, some cancers and heart disease-which studies indicate have their origin largely in the quantity and type of food we eat.
Sitting at my desk, I look at a painting which depicts a young Lakota daughter leading her horse out of the trees into a clearing. It speaks to me of the spiritually innate nature of love, which we each possess, that can help lead the lost out of darkness.
This article was published on Arizona Silver Belt (subscription only paper - link above is to Arizona Committee blog) on April 22, 2015
LOOK IN A NEW DIRECTION FOR HEALTH/HAPPINESS?
By Donald Ingwerson
As a former public school educator, I’ve often wondered why parents consistently rated their children’s schools better than schools that other children attended. It turns out that first-hand experience matters in how we perceive things.
I still recall the moment decades ago that my faith made a U-turn. It wasn’t so much a carefully thought-through turnaround as it was a desperate one. And it marked the end of weeks of periodic migraine headaches.
Almost daily I would experience those headaches and they’d bring to a halt whatever I was doing. When they happened during the workday I shut the office door and put my head down on the desk. I wasn’t inclined to use medication, and a friend of mine who struggled with the same problem, but who had tried several medications, said they brought him no relief.