My interpretation and understanding of what Mary calls the "spiritual immune system" refers to your mind, body and spirit's ability to withstand and THRIVE in life, through all its ups and downs, and to connect more deeply to yourself, your community, Mother Earth, and our purpose here on her soil. The tips below serve to support your diet and movement practices and will help to deeply nourish you on a soul level to find more joy, self love, gratitude, and vitality.
I am a firm believer health does not exist in isolation of diet, exercise, or spiritual practices. They must all be integrated, and the seven tips she offers here are an excellent way to fully round out your mind-body-spirit health.
- Intergenerational Interaction: From the youngest to the oldest, humans are meant to interact across all generations. As a 34-year-old single female working in the health and wellness industry, I am around a lot of people just like me in age and skill sets. We can relate to one another, but there is so much to learn from those outside of our own life expereince. Incorporating children to remind us of the beauty of life, to play, laugh, and slow down to wonder, explore and be curious. In addition, the elderly and middle-aged have so much wisdom and wealth of expereince to offer. Expanding your community outside of your friend group and immediate family is like adding a new seasoning to your cooking. It's totally good without it, but adds so much more flavor and complexity. One of my goals this year is to connect with older women. Since losing my mom as a young teenager this has defintely been something lacking in my life. Is there a human connection you are lacking or could learn from? Seek it out! It's probably seeking you too.
- Creative Discourse: Whether or not anyone else would ever appreciate the final product, we're all creative and meant to create in one form or another. I recently did a couple blind contour drawings with a friend. There was no expectation or pressure for them to be good. Our eyes were not even looking at the paper. But they turned out awesome! We had so much fun doing it we posted them up on the refrigerator like your mom would do when you were a kid. For you, maybe it's writing, painting, sculpture, pottery, sewing, playing an instrument, DIY crafting, cooking, nail art, fire dancing, furniture restoration. Whatever it is take time to connect with your creative self. Take that class that you've been thinking about for years. Join a meet up group. Invest in your creativity!
- Work With The Earth: Nothing is more primal than getting your hands in the dirt. Connecting with the Earth and building a relationship with her creation. Everything from gathering wild herbs, to growing a garden, planting flowers, or doing yard work. I don't know what it is, but there is something so therapeutic in just pulling weeds! Not to mention just being outside, sweating, and getting dirty. Having a closer connection to the Earth also draws us closer to ourselves, heart and soul.
- Procure Your Own Sustenance: Grow or Harvest What You Can - No backyard garden? No problem! Plant some herbs in a pot. Something even that small that you can add to your meals, like herbs or edible flowers, will make all the difference. Connecting to the procurement of your food will deepen your relationship to food, give more significance to mealtime, and help you to eat more consciously.
- Solitude: "Be alone. Eat alone, take yourself on dates, sleep alone. In the midst of this you will learn about yourself. You will grow, you will figure out what inspires you, you will curate your own dreams, your own beliefs, your own stunning clarity, and when you do meet the person who makes your cells dance, you will be sure of it, because you are sure of yourself." At 34 and single I've never felt so empowered, so embodied, so confident in myself and that no matter what happens to me I'm going to be more than Ok. Not to mention so well travelled, mostly all done alone! Maybe it comes with age, but I do strongly believe that time alone with yourself strengthens the mind, spirit, and mostly love for yourself which feeds into every aspect of life. Having deep love and respect for yourself makes it a lot easier to let go of (or even avoid completely) things and people who don't serve you. I'd also like to add that spending time in solitude can just mean disconnecting from your devices, social media, friends and family for a fews hours to just take some time for self care. Take yourself on a date! Go to your favorite restaurant, go to yoga, for a walk, or on a vacation.
- Deepen Your Walk: However your connect to your spiritual center whether it be in meditation, yoga, church, dance, or a walk in nature. Go there. Make it a weekly, if not daily, practice to disconnect from work, to do lists, and devices to pause and go inward. This will be distinct in practice for everyone, but it doesn't matter the way in which you get there. Just make it a point to go.
- Give Thanks For Your Food: Whether plant or animal, something was sacrificed for your meals and sustenance. Pausing to give thanks to Mother Earth who created your food, for the life & resources that sustained its life, and the hands that procured and prepared it deepens your relationship to your meals and also helps you to eat more consciously. For a deeper dive on this topic read my blog from the goat farm HERE.
- Eat at Home - Prepared home cooked meals and eat with those you love as much as possible. I try to eat at home at least 5-6 nights a week and share a meal with friends or family at least twice a week.
- Buy From People You Like & Trust - Build relationship with Food - Find your local farmer's market and get to know the farmers and ranchers. Make buying your produce, eggs, and even meat a weekly ritual there.
- Cook Fresh Daily - Even if it's just a smoothie. Make something fresh for yourself at home every day and savor the moment!
- Build Food Stability - Keep a stocked pantry with shelf-stable dry goods. Never get stuck in a bind, blood sugar crashing, friends pop in to say hello, and no food to be found. Keep your pantry stocked with bulk items such as: nuts, dried fruit, quinoa, rice, coconut and olive oils, vinegars, dried beans, teas, dried herbs & spices, and fermented veggies. These things you can have on hand at all times and they will stay fresh for months. Having some frozen veggies, fruit and meat on hand is an added bonus, if not a necessity.
- Laugh - Feed Your Spirit
- Breathe - Slow dow and calm your nervous system with deep inhales and exhales. Try breathing in for the count of three and exhaling for the count of four. I use this technique a lot while in traffic or when I am trying to calm down after getting emotionally worked up.
- Visit Your Ancestral Foods - Research your ancestry. Talk to your parents and grandparents, and ask for them to pass down family recipes. Also connect with the local and traditional foods your ancestors prepared. These are likely the foods your body assimilates and digests the best too!
- Honor The Seasons - The human body was made to eat seasonally. This is made easy if you shop at your local farmer's market, because they are only selling what is growing in season! Another way to eat with the seasons is to consume traditional Ayurvedic cooling foods like cucumber, broccoli, asparagus, celery, and zucchini in the warmer months and warming foods like ginger, turmeric, beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes in the cooler months. In general these are going to be foods that are in season anyway! You can also honor the seasons with your movement & activity. Slowing down in the winter and revving up your activity in spring and summer.
- Stay Hydrated - Water. Water. Pure quality water. I recommend everyone invest in a Berkey water filtration system for their home.
- Build A Legacy - Create a positive reason for people to be with you. Give with a heart of joy and gratitude.
Keep smiling and sharing your joyous presence with everyone you meet.
I wish you all the love & light life has to offer.