Thank you to all of you who expressed concern after my recent post about not feeling well. Happily, I am at full energy again. These days, a week or two of my healing diet, good sleep and regular exercise always bring me back to full power. I am so grateful for that.
We all have healthy habits that we either know help us feel better or think might. But, it’s hard to do them regularly. I was not using mine for a couple of months last year and paid the price. I was feeling pretty rotten by January 1 and I knew I needed to find my way back. So, I thought I would write a few posts about ways to make it easier to get back to old healthy habits or adopt new ones. I used all of these this month to get healthier. Here’s the first one.
We all have different sources of wisdom and inspiration in our lives. They could be a lot of different things, including:
• Religion: No matter what your faith background is, your tradition could be a real source for strength.
• Art: If you love theater, poetry, art, dance or music, you can look to your favorite works for inspiration.
• 12-Step Programs: The support available here can do wonders to further your healing.
• Meditation & Exercise: These can be great energizers and offer you important “me” time to focus on health goals.
• Political Activism and Social Movements: Watching speeches and reading the works of great political leaders like Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luter King or Rachel Carson can inspire you to carry on in the most difficult of circumstances.
While I have many sources of inspiration, my primary one is Jewish tradition. I called on that for some wisdom to get healthy this month. It turns out that, in addition to being the first month of the Gregorian New Year and a traditional time for resolutions, January also usually coincides with the Hebrew month of Shvat.
Shvat is said to be a Divinely-appointed chance to re-create our lives and begin again. It heralds springtime and a season of renewal and rebirth. Tu b’shvat, a holiday which occurs on the fifteenth of Shvat, is the “New Year” of the trees, the day from which they begin the process of being “reborn” after the winter, in Israel.
Rebirth? Isn’t that exactly what getting healthy is all about? A chance to be reborn as a healthier, more energetic and more centered self? Yes!
On top of all that renewing and rejuvenating energy, Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, teaches that Shvat is also an auspicious time for fixing one’s eating habits. Kabbalists hold special meals (seders) on Tu B’Shvat. One kabbalistic idea is that it is possible to connect into the mystical energy of the month of Shvat to begin to heal one’s relationship to food.
What would that mean?
It would mean that we could really appreciate the divine essence in all food and savor it for the life-giving force it is, rather than use food to avoid tough emotions, pass the time when we are bored or connect in dicey social situations, just to name a few of the ways that we use food in unhealthy ways.
So, after re-learning about the month of Shvat a few weeks ago, I wasn’t just cleaning up my eating habits so I would feel better. I was tapping into a two-thousand year-old tradition with others around the world to renew ourselves and fix our relationship to food, all for the greater good of being our best selves and connecting more deeply to others and to the Divine. That was inspiring. It helped me get on board with my clean-eating goals this month and feel good about keeping my eating commitments.
I am very grateful to have a spiritual path in Judaism. It is an endless source of inspiration and wisdom. At its best, it challenges me to be my finest self and supports me to take on tough choices. From where do you seek inspiration when you need it? If you don’t have a ready answer, where might you look? It is almost always easier and more satisfying to pursue a goal when it is connected to some greater meaning; when you feel that you are part of something bigger than yourself. What is that for you?
As always, I’d love to hear what you think. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
To your health,