Yesterday in a discussion with my instructor after painting class, we were speaking about the issues of the day (imagine that!), sharing our frustrations and concerns, and I found myself on the usual emotional rollercoaster ride that accompanies these discussions. The conversation started with him asking why I had missed class last week. I was ill with the awful stomach virus that has been making the rounds everywhere and had to leave class abruptly to get myself home to bed. The virus took over my life for about a week and had me quite concerned when it seemed to be back with a vengeance four days after it began. My concern took me to the doctor on Monday who ordered some tests which, I’m happy to say, showed nothing of any significance and we concluded that it is just a very unpleasant virus that seems to like hanging around for a long time.

Back to my conversation with my instructor, we were noticing that this winter seems to be effecting people’s health dramatically; more than any winter in recent memory. As a holistic health practitioner, this observation has me thinking that the phenomenon is the result of extreme stress most people have been experiencing for many months. Stress is a notorious culprit in compromising the immune system. My theory is that stress has made many people more vulnerable to whatever cooties are floating about.

In thinking about the stress our current climate has created and how it has effected health, specifically mine, I have concluded that I need to take some measures to coax my immune system back to its optimal state.

1. I am meditating – that’s my first step. I am stopping myself from moving, from thinking (well, as best I can anyway), from doing, and I’m allowing myself to be still.
2. Now that I can eat normally again (that was fun) I am eating a clean and conscious diet and drinking a lot of water and healthy teas.
3. I am limiting exposure to the toxicity of our current environment (something we’ve discussed before) and I’m paying attention to simple things that give me joy.
4. I’m also taking some herbs and supplements designed for managing stress,
5. Using essential oils,
6. Having massage and energy work,
7. Getting outdoors and taking walks,
8. Watching my thoughts and shifting them as soon as I realize they’ve meandered once again to the “dark side” – wearing my red “Thoughts Become Things” bracelet that reminds me to “Choose The Good Ones”.
9. I’m reading a great book that is tremendously uplifting,
10.And anything else I can find that will help me shift my perspective from stress to rest.

By no means does this mean I am disengaging from my own brand of staying awake and aware. It means that I am making it my business to manage my day in ways that keep me healthy as well. It takes practice.

This morning I awoke after a much needed and very rare night of long deep sleep. My first thought was “Thank You” and I took the moment to speak with Creator and offer gratitude for the rest I so needed. I made my way downstairs to start the coffee and as it began to drip and the aroma filled my kitchen I stopped and breathed in the simple pleasure of appreciating the rich smell that I love so much – the smell that means home, and safety, and comfort. I allowed myself to enjoy that simple pleasure and I will do the same when I take that first delicious sip. I am setting the intention to pay close attention to these simple pleasures. When I do I feel present, my breathing is easy, my heartrate is smooth, my senses are alive and my awareness is sharpened. My immune system likes it and right now it needs all the loving de-stressing it can get.

At this moment, my dog is curling up beside me making her little “nest”. I can feel the warmth of her sweet little body next to mine and that makes me feel happy. I’m going to cuddle Sophie and take my first sip of coffee, the taste of which I will savor and enjoy to the fullest. I will notice all the gifts embedded in the simplicity of those things. Then I will move into my day bringing the intention of good health, vitality, and peace along with me. I invite you to do the same.

STRETCH: Where are the simple pleasures in your life? What gives you a feeling of comfort, of home, of safety, of peace? An aroma, a vision, a song, a favorite piece of clothing, a hug – it can be anything that feels good. Pay attention. Look for the simple pleasures that enrich your day. Breathe into them and allow yourself the simplicity of enjoyment.

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