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Today I Rest ~Return to Sattva

Jul 14, 2019

There are times in our lives in which we feel completely depleted, emotionally drained.  With information overload coming at us at the break neck speed of the internet, or the click of the 'on' button of the remote, we can easily become so over stimulated that at times we feel our head is spinning out of control.  We lose our focus, our mental grounding and the earth seems to tilt.

If you are anything like me, when you feel this way, you make poor choices.  Choices to alleviate the discomfort with  immediate gratification.  Choices like overworking and expecting everyone else to do the same. Or deciding to spend what little downtime I have on a Netflix binge to dull my mind and avoid the issues I need to deal with.  If I go to the grocery store in this state of imbalance, hungry and depleted - mind, body and spirit empty, I will choose foods that will 'feed' this dangerous state.  Fore example instead of an apple or fruit to satiate my sweet craving I will grab the latest marshmallow moon Oreos (which I did last week) and instead of crunchy veggies, I will grab sea salted potato chips (my nemesis).  I will start to respond with knee jerk reactions to difficult or frustrating situations I encounter and therefore create an even more difficult and frustrating situation.  In this imbalance, I operate in a dangerous state of what Ayurveda calls Rajas.  Rajas is restlessness, perfectionism, impatient, competitive, critical and self serving thinking and unhealthy decisions for immediate gratification.  I like to think of it as a hole that has been opened and trying to fill it with all the wrong things.

Right now I know that I am in a state of Rajas, and have been operating in this state for several weeks.  So today, I rest.  I write.  I cook.  As I write, I smell my delicious Kitchari simmering in the kitchen.   This ritual is cathartic and healing for me. I share my writing, for my hopes are that my reflection will serve as healing, or at least a reminder to all of us the importance of returning to rest and rebooting the body, mind and spirit any time we need to. 

My doshic blueprint is Pitta/Vata.  I know that one of my earliest signs of imbalance starts in my mind.  I begin to view things thru a very narrow lens.  I become judgmental and critical.  I start to 'feel' that the world has gone mad and it's a mean, cold place to be.  I then start to 'feel' disconnected, different from everyone else.  The square peg trying to fit in the round hole.   Feelings can be dangerous. Be wary in trusting on "feelings" to guide you, for they are influenced by your balance and your imbalance. If I continue in my imbalance I will then turn my poor state of mind to how I treat my body.  I begin to reach for processed and convenient junk foods such as the Oreo's or the bag of chips. A quick bandaid of pleasure to fill the empty, uncomfortable hole.  As a result, I will feel achey, sore, bloated lethargic and foggy headed from the poor food I put into my body. This in turn starts a downward debilitating spiral.  I know.  I recognize it.  Yet I chose it anyway with a knowing that in the back of my mind I will fix it.  But for now, I waller in my misery and at times weirdly enjoy it.  A sleazy opportunity to indulge in feeling sorry for myself.  A very dangerous place for any of us to be, if left unattended there too long.  

The side effects and results of the choices I make during a period of imbalance is one that I have to be accountable for.  But before I can be accountable to them, I first have to recognize that I am in a state of rajasic imbalance and use my Ayurvedic tools to gently guide me back into a state of Sattva (peace).  According to the Bhagavad Gita, Sattva is a state of being pure, is illuminating and free from misery.  the Bible says in Romans 12:1 to 'present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship'. And Romans 12:2 'be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the constant renewal of the mind'.   I believe it is telling us to continually strive to live in a state of Sattva.   To fill the empty hole of imbalance with good and godly things.

So today, I give myself permission to rest.  So often, we do not give ourselves permission to rest.  Rest is important.  However, like everything else, rest can also become a state of imbalance.  Self love can also become a state of imbalance.  I see daily on social media, people who are self loving themselves into a dangerous state of imbalance.  The ultimate goal of self love is to nourish yourself, love yourself, see yourself as God sees you and then pay it forward into selfless service.  The later, is all too often missed.  There is no point in loving oneself if you have no intention in paying it forward.  We were all created to serve others and when we stop at the crucial point of self love and stay there, then we have crossed over into making ourselves our own idols and have therefore created a dangerous state of self serving egotistical rajasic imbalance.  High Pitta people such as myself are certainly prone to this.  We will express our self love by spending too much time on vanity endeavors such as working out too much at the gym, too much yoga, too much spirituality (yes, when used for egoic reasons you can create an imbalance in spirituality), no matter how good the endeavor is, anything that creates a false sense of superiority in us is an imbalance.  Walking the line of 'just enough' is an art.  An art that we all must learn to cultivate again and again.

If you know your doshic blueprint you can learn the early signs of imbalance and correct it quickly.  That is the key, "early" signs.  If we choose to ignore the early signs and we continue with destructive behaviors then the body will send us another sign, such as anxiety, depression, blood sugar issues, heart palpitations, joint and muscle aches etc.  And if we still choose to ignore the issue and we bandaid it with medication, then our imbalance will quickly escalate into chronic disease - a huge hole we can no longer fill with enough toxins.  As a nurse working many years with geriatric clients, I have seen this all too often.  And over time, this creates what we call poly-pharmacy.  Meaning, you will come to depend upon multiple, toxic chemical medications to function.    This is a state that we want to avoid at all cost.  Learning to recognize these early signs of imbalance, getting to the root cause of the imbalance, and then gently correcting lifestyle and spiritual changes to help prevent the imbalance, will prevent you from ending up that way and help keep you in a state of Sattva (peace) and optimal health and well being.  The perfect state that God intended for all of us to live in.

So how do we live in a state of Sattva?  We first make sure to learn the early signs of our doshic blueprint imbalance.  For me, the very first sign is irritability.  The next sign is judgmental thinking.  The next, is knee jerk responses and it slides quickly downhill from there.  My initial triggers are poor food choices and overstimulation caused by TV and my phone.  

So how do I correct an imbalance quickly?

  • First thing I need to do is decrease and eliminate my initial triggers.
  • The second thing I need to do is recognize the first sign of imbalance that manifest.  Mine presents itself as irritation.  
  • The third thing I need to do is take the time to stop, journal and ask 'why'.  If I do these simple things then I can correct my imbalance quickly before I damage anyone other than myself and make the correct decisions to guide me back to a state of Sattva.
  •  Fourth is to give myself permission to rest. This is crucial, and for me one of the most hardest things to do.  I feel guilty if I am not 'doing something'.   However, if I choose to ignore the first sign and it escalates to the second, then the third, then unfortunately everyone around me has to suffer the consequences of my imbalance.  At some point, I need to be accountable for the damage I have done and go about correcting.  The key, is to stop the damage before it has a chance to begin.  The last thing the world needs right now is me out there damaging the people around me even more, and God knows I have done enough of that.  So I must continue to make it a priority to take care of myself and do my best to live sattvicly.  This, I believe, is the way God intended for all of us to live.

I often say to my students after I have taught a  yoga class,  "As a result of doing your practice today, you have now created a better vibe in the universe and therefore adding to the positive and perfect harmony that God intended for us all to walk in. " That all beautiful vibration that we yogi's call the 'OM'.  The perfect, harmonic sound of God that reminds us that we are all connected and needed to add our unique vibration in order for the world to be complete.

Here are some pointers to living Sattva:

Know your Doshic Blueprint

  • Find out through a qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner what your original blueprint (Prakriti) and your current blueprint (vikriti) is.  
  • Learn the first signs of your imbalance for your make-up.
  • learn how to treat your doshic blueprint and eat your doshic blueprint food guides as closely as possible.

Feed your Spirit

  • Pray - pray often.  3 times a day.  Connect to God so much so that at some point you feel continual communion with the Divine. 
  • Meditate - take the time to listen.  Really listen.  Listen to your body, the sounds around you, the vibrations, the feelings, everything.  Listen without 'thinking'.

Feed your body

  • Yoga - take the time to stretch the body.  Move the body and listen to what it says.  Your body tells you everything you need to know on how to care for it.  While on the mat, listen to it.
  • Sattvic foods - eat Whole Foods that are good and nourishing for the body.   Eat only real foods.  Eat vegan if that is what your body truly needs and you are not sold on dogma.  Make sure you question why you eat the way you do.  Is it dogmatic teaching that you have bought into?  Or is it truly what feels right for your body?  It is important to know the difference.  There are times in my life when I am vegan, other times vegetarian and yet times when I eat meat.  It all depends on how my body is feeling and what it needs at the time.  The most important takeaway is eat sattvicly.  This means peaceful foods.  Incorporate local fresh, seasonal vegetables.  Make sure you lightly steam or cook your veggies for optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrients.  Choose whole grains like oats and basmati rice.  If you eat meat, make sure the animal lived a good animal life.  You consume and absorb the energies of the food you eat so it is important that the energy you put into your body is pure, clean and happy energy.  We truly do become what we eat.  According to Corinthians our bodies are our temples.  The body is the house that holds the holy spirit and therefore we must honor our temples to honor God.  Feed your temple well!

Feed your mind

  • Turn off all media.  
  • Read a book - a good, happy informative book
  • Create something - do art, dance and write such as in my case writing this blog -whatever makes you happy, do that for that is what God created you to do so do it with joy!
  • Learn the art of cooking.  Read about how important it is to cook.  When we cook a nourishing meal for our family this is one of the ultimate acts of sacrifice.  An offering of love.  The energetics that we put into a meal is one that we will directly be putting into our family.  When you cook, listen to beautiful music, smell the beautiful aromas and if you love to sing, sing with all your heart while you cook.  Praying or mantra recitation is a wonderful way of infusing beautiful and nourishing energy into the food for your loved ones.  Then enjoy and reap the benefits of your effort and know that your family is nourished deeply because of it.

So take today.  Take today to rest.  Cook a nourishing meal. Re-calibrate.  Re-think.  Re-new.  Re-fresh.  Give yourself permission.  Give yourself a week, a month.  Whatever you need.  Then, get back out there and give.  Share your innate God given gifts with others and then return again to rest and renew when you feel the first sign of imbalance. This is Sattva.  Perfect peace.  Perfect way of living and being.  Our heaven on earth.  It is all up to us to create this.  We are the owners of our bodies and minds.  All the answers are there.  They always have been.  We just need to remember what the scriptures tell us... 'be still and know.'  Return to Sattva.

Namaste'

Annette

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