When change happens harshly and abruptly, life can quickly feel imbalanced. In an instant, financial security can erode, a job can be lost, a family can go through upheaval, and healthy habits can be strained. All of these things recently happened to me as a result of the September 11 terrorists attacks, even though I live thousands of miles away, on the other side of the country!
Personal Impact of September 11
With the ensuing recession, I lost a full-time job. I had just collaborated with my mother (who only weeks earlier had sold her own house) to help her buy a house down the street from me. Facing the spectre of unemployment, my recent financial commitment with her seemed jeopardized. The fear of the unknown put a strain on my close relationships. The search for work and the disruption of my daily routine gathered strength to erode my sense of confidence and well-being.
It is times like these when we truly need daily habits and practices to sustain our health and wellness. Ironically, during my own time of personal upheaval and change, it was the release of my new book, Ayurvedic Balancing, which has helped me focus on the abundance I may always create, rather than getting side-tracked by the deprivation I can feel with life's ups and downs.
Often unaware of what change means in our lives, we meander unconsciously from incident to incident, trying to make sense of our circumstances. Searching for my own identity, I graduated from the University of Texas and earned a Master's degree in Modern Social History from Lancaster University in England. Continuing to meander, I moved to San Francisco to find meaningful work, and ended up applying my passion for health to an eighteen-year career working in health clubs. As a general manager, sales director, personal trainer, and competitive athlete (I was on the first ESPN broadcast of an amateur body-building competition!), I not only witnessed my own struggle for health and balance, but saw hundreds of people search for a better way to manage weight, reduce stress, and create a sense of well-being.
More Unexpected Changes
I grounded my own search for well-being in my fitness routine and career, but in a bizarre accident during a business meeting at a restaurant, I injured my neck and was forced to give up bodybuilding and managing health clubs. It was, once again, a painful time with abrupt and harsh changes, and my world was turned upside down as I searched for stability and meaning.
I turned to Yoga, Ayurveda, and other Eastern wellness practices as a way to repair my health and regain my balance. As I slowly began to realize that my search for health needed to include fitness at all levels of my being, I began to see that feeling well is an active pursuit, built on small steps and fundamental principles.
But I was not always so eager to embrace Eastern wellness. Like many of the participants of my subsequent workshops on Ayurvedic Balancing, I too felt that some of the more esoteric aspects of Yoga and Ayurveda were just too weird, culturally different, or impractical for a modern lifestyle. And yet, the ideas persisted, because the fundamental principles of Yoga and Ayurveda are principles which, given time and personal inquiry, make sense in our modern, hectic world of unexpected change.
The simple act of sitting quietly in meditation has, with daily practice, given me a way to still my thoughts and acknowledge my fears and hopes. Regular performance of Yoga postures has given me greater flexibility of both body and mind, as I learn to move with focused effort rather than willful struggle. Ayurvedic nutrition has helped me lay to rest the hungry ghosts of anorexia and deprivation dieting, remnants of a youthful self-image fraught with low self-esteem and isolation. And introducing the notion of creating abundance (rather than willfully controlling my fears) has helped me integrate my years of self-help inquiry, allowing me to transition from a "no pain, no gain" approach to a steady, accumulative process of conscious, balanced change.
What changes are you going through? Where is your sense of balance and well-being anchored? Through Ayurvedic Balancing, you may come to know that the inevitable invitation to change, whether anticipated or disruptive, can be a productive, transformative process to personal well-being and balance. Take some time to understand yourself, and use your changes well.