HOW A PAIR OF BIRDS TAUGHT ME HOW TO LOVE MYSELF

Some days I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. Some days, I do. On those days when I do, I feel like I’m on top of the world. Even then, all it takes is for me to step outside and get side eyed by some random stranger, and suddenly the belief that I’m ugly and not good enough comes rushing right back in. All it takes is one look of disgust. For some reason I seem to get these looks from people all of the time. What I find strange is that I get these looks much less when I’m covered up from head to toe in an over-sized sweat shirt and sweatpants. Instead, it’s when I try to dress up even remotely girly and sexy, that I’m quickly reminded by everyone around me that I’m anything but. Or so it would seem. Why does it seem like everyone’s always judging me on my appearance?

I get it. I really do. You think I’m hideous. How dare I have the nerve to try and dress up to make myself feel good. You obviously think that everyone who doesn’t fit in with the conventional standards of beauty should just go sit in a corner somewhere and die. Instead of drawing attention to ourselves, we should try to blend in with the crowd. After-all, nobody wants to see our ugly face or disgusting bodies. Got it. The thing is though, by my very nature and personality, I’m bound to draw attention from people. For god sakes I’m almost 30 years old, I dress predominantly in all black, I ride around on a massive unconventional fat tired bike, and I’m usually sporting a pair of animal ears on my crazy haired head. 

The thing that I don’t understand is, though, is that if me being my unconventional self makes me happy, then why can’t you just be happy for me?The truth is. It’s not even your fault. It’s mine. The law of vibration and energy applies to EVERYTHING, and not just experiences that I pick and choose whenever I don’t feel like taking responsibility for my own vibes. In other words, if I’m attracting experiences in my life where I feel like I’m always being judged by other people, then I really need to take a look at my own beliefs and ask myself why that is. What am I doing to create these negative unwanted experiences in my life? I think I might have found the answer to this question over the weekend. The other day the universe reminded me of a very valuable lesson, and it came in the form of birds…

So I was at the park doing what I normally do. I was practicing my daily qigong flow, doing my acupressure points, deep breathing in some fresh air, sunbathing, and just taking in the beautiful views of nature all around me. As I was laying on my blanket, two birds began to inch closer and closer over to me. It was kind of cute at first glance, but I really didn’t take much interest because in my mind they were just your standard typical pigeons, and nothing special. Not only were they “just pigeons”, they were making some jerky neck movements that kind of creeped me out, and honestly after awhile I just wanted them to get away from me.

Just as I was harshly judging these birds, a cute little brown bird appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the midst of this sea of black pigeons. Everything about this bird from the way that it looked all the way down to the way that it hopped around like a cute little bunny was just adorable, and before I knew it the oo’s and the awes came pouring out and I instantly wanted this cute little bird to hop on over my way. In that moment, suddenly I had realized what I had done. I had judged those poor little birds solely based off of their physical appearance. I DID TO THOSE BIRDS EXACTLY WHAT I CLAIMED THAT OTHER PEOPLE DO TO ME. 

That’s when I began to realize that I was the one who was judging everything. Not only do I sometimes judge things in my environment harshly, but what’s even worse is that I also sometimes judge myself just as harsh. Just like the jerky neck movements of the pigeons, if there’s any flaw that I perceive on myself on any given day, I quickly start to feel like I’m not good enough. A valuable lesson was reinforced in me that day. Firstly that our experiences are always just a reflection of our own beliefs. The universal law of like attracts like always stands, and we do in fact create our own reality through our own perception. The bottom-line is, if I want to stop being judged by other people, then I need to stop judging myself and everything around me. After all, who says that the butterfly is better than the moth? Who says that the butterfly should be set free while the moth needs to be smashed with a shoe, simply because of its appearance? Every being is worthy no matter what they look like or no matter their perceived flaws.

We’re all living, breathing creatures of god and we’re all beautiful. Yes, everyone has their own preferences and that’s fine. Still, everyone deserves love and respect. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful, to be happy, and to be treated with love and kindness, even if they’re not to your preference. Most of all, before we can accept love, we must first show that same love to ourselves. We must believe that we deserve respect, that we are worthy, lovable, beautiful and awesome. Those birds, they taught me a lot that day. Best of all, they taught me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my uniqueness. They taught me that I shouldn’t care about blending in with the crowd and that I should just be me, Courtney. They taught me to love myself and all beings unconditionally, and that harsh judgments only keep us from seeing the unique beauty that lies in everyone and in everything.

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HOW POOR DIGESTION CAN AFFECT MENTAL HEALTH| AN EASTERN MEDICINE PERSPECTIVE

The foods that we put into our bodies can either nourish or deplete us of our energy. Make no mistakes. What we feed our bodies can have a huge affect on how well we feel in our minds. I can’t count how many times eating too much junk foods has led to a depressive episode for me. And it wasn’t just because of the guilt of my poor food choices, but because junk foods actually have a negative physiological impact on the body. This impact in Eastern Medicine is known as energy stagnation. Firstly, good health always begins with good digestion. Under optimal conditions our bodies are great at digesting real foods found in nature that contain real nutrition. On the other hand, junk foods that contain excess sugar and unhealthy ingredients like propylene glycol, sodium nitrates, high fructose corn syrup, msg, artificial colors, and other harmful chemicals, are hard for our bodies to digest, if they even digest them at all. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE BODY CANNOT PROCESS SOMETHING, AND IT’S STILL BEING FED MORE AND MORE STUFF THAT IT CANT PROCESS?

Well, let’s ask ourselves what happens when a drain gets clogged, and we’ve got our answer. Too much junk gets backed up in the drain and it begins to impede the proper flow of liquid throughout the drain. Likewise, when toxins build up in the body, they begin to impede the proper flow of energy throughout the body. This blockage of energy also extends to the mind since the mind and the body are both intricately connected. Energy stagnation is ultimately the root cause behind all illness in the body and in the mind. In other words, if our energy was allowed to flow freely like how it was meant to, we would be free from all pain and disease. Unfortunately, most people today suffer from energy stagnation to one degree or another. The most common cause of energy stagnation, and the most simplest one to fix, is poor digestion.

The experts were really onto something when they said that good health begins with good digestion. They also weren’t far off when they figured out that gut health has a lot to do with brain health. So much so that some experts have now dubbed our gut as our second brain. I can’t even count how many times I’ve spiraled into a depression, seemingly out of nowhere, only to realize that prior to my downfall my digestion was impaired because I was eating the wrong types of foods. I’m sure we’ve all felt down before, with no apparent rhyme or reason as to the cause of our blues. The next time we feel this way, we should think back to what we’ve been putting into our bodies, and maybe we’ll begin to realize a connection. There have actually been studies done on mentally ill people that have proven that eating certain foods like wheat, dairy, too much sugar, and junk foods have produced a worsening in their symptoms. It’s no coincidence!

Eastern Medicine has a vastly different view of our digestive system as opposed to Western medicine. In particular, in Eastern medicine, our spleen system is responsible for our digestion. But since Eastern Medicine recognizes the connection between the mind and the body,  they’ve realized that not only is the spleen responsible for the digestion of our foods, but also the digestion of our emotions, and in fact, our digestive organs are responsible for digesting ALL stimulus that we take in from our environment. In other words, when we eat foods that are hard for our bodies to process, we also make it harder for our minds to digest and process our emotions. This is one reason why Eastern Medicine strongly discourages eating while having strong emotions like anger, sadness, and anxiety. Our bodies simply cannot process the foods and the strong emotions at the same time, and so digestion will inevitably become impaired.

If we want our energy to flow, if we want to digest our emotions well by letting in the good thoughts that nourish us, while letting go of the thoughts that do not, then we must implore that same attitude to our bodies by allowing in whats nourishing for our bodies and keeping out what’s not. It’s that simple. Eating foods that promote digestion instead of hindering it, in addition to practicing good eating habits, will have a positive effect on not only the body but also the mind. Ultimately, digestion is digestion. Whether we’re trying to digest our food or our emotions. Likewise, indigestion in one system (the body) is indigestion in another system (the mind). If we want free free flowing energy and better health in mind, body, and spirit, then a good place to start is by eating the right types of foods for our bodies. And let’s be honest, junk foods or foods with suspect ingredients are rarely ever the right types of foods. Just saying! We are what we eat! Or better yet, we are what we digest. 

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