365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Love is a verb

Day 45

Love is a basic need.

We know that – but why then, is love sometimes so difficult to comprehend, feel and experience?

Children are biologically wired to unconditionally love their parents, as they are dependent on them for survival.

As children mature and enter pre-teen/teenage years they no longer spontaneously live from their hearts. Their mind takes on a bigger role in order to evaluate various situations, and they develop a critical mind mostly to stay safe.

Comparison and judgment take up a greater part of their consciousness and sometimes – at the expense of their caring sweetness.

During this transition and ‘developmental’ time, they begin to look at their parents, friends and siblings with new eyes. They begin comparing and seeing their flaws, and often find their parents embarrassing. Many parents experience that their sweet and loving child appears to have changed personality – sometimes over night – and they are left wondering “where this monster suddenly came from.”

A critical mind cannot operate simultaneously with a loving heart. Being critical and being loving are opposites.

Luckily, the mind of an early teen balances over the years, and towards the end of their teenage years they become less critical. They begin learning about the delicate balance between using their mind to serve them (judging, analyzing, problem solving etc) and still being connected to their heart and emotions.

Some are better at finding that mind – heart balance – and much is dependent on the modelling of love that they have witnessed and experienced growing up.

People are biologically wired to evaluate and judge good from bad in order to stay safe. However, many of these natural tendencies do not serve us in our modern lives.

Like teenagers, if we are not aware, our critical mind can easily overshadow our heart and prevent us from living with love. According to Marianne Williamson “the highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgments.”

Most people enjoy the warmth, joy and peace that love can bring. Many are in search of love. How many love songs and romantic love novels testify to this?

Love may appear difficult and sometimes even unreachable. Love can seem like an intangible feeling that just appears, that we have no control over.

Here is what I have learned about love:

I have learned that the wellbeing of our body – being rested, nourished and energized is important for our capacity to feel and give love. If we are not well, all our attention goes to healing our body.

I have learned that a mind that is “off guard,” that is at peace, open, has a positive outlook on life, and is grateful, has a greater capacity to experience love.

I have learned that the more we appreciate and love ourselves, the more authentic we are in our relationships. We can then express ourselves in a relaxed, warm, childlike and spontaneous way.

I have also learned that we are responsible for our own fulfilment and happiness.

Finally, I have learned about living with the idea that love is a verb: That the feeling of love accompanies the generous loving actions we take. When we consider love a verb, we experience the sweetness of love – more than if we wait for the feeling to appear like it does for those newly “in love.”

When we are “in love” – there is a chemical reaction operating in our brain biologically serves to create a bond between two people in order for them to re-create and have children. After the first 1-2 years, this infatuated feeling of love fades, but that does not mean there is something wrong with our partner, which we may assume since we have fallen out of love. Love just takes on a new dimension after the first few years. Let’s call it mature love, which is based on mutual respect, understanding, appreciation and generosity.

We all have the opportunity to learn to live with love. There are few things more rewarding than experiencing the joy and inner peace that come from loving ourselves and the people closest to us.

The greater our capacity to stay connected with our heart – the more we can even learn to extend our loving heart further by accepting and appreciating strangers. This is where peace in the world has a chance.


Intuitive eating – what on earth is that…?

Day 27Intuitive eating – what on earth is that…?

Last night I had a wow experience – related to food and eating.

I organize events in Geneva where I promote expat talents and skills within the community. Yesterday, Hiba Giacolletto, food coach, psychologist and blogger in the Huffington Post were one of the presenters, and she provided us an aha-experience.

Hiba asked the question: Is it possible to love food too much? In her family, this had been the case – where everything was celebrated and happened around meals. I understood that I also perhaps have loved food too much, but realize now, that I perhaps have loved eating even more.

I eat fast. I know it is not good for me, or my digestion, and that it is not good manners to finish before others, but I have not had it in me to stop this behavior. Until now!

What shifted for me yesterday was the sensory experience of eating along with understanding better how the body and digestion works. Hiba reminded us that digestion starts through our senses before we put anything into our mouth. First through our eyes, which is why it is important to serve the food in an appealing way. By truly taking in the food with our eyes we can already sense our mouth watering. If we in addition smell the food a little before putting it into out mouth, the saliva increases further.

If we prepare the stomach for the food coming this way, it will aid the digestion, and the food also tastes better. For me, it was a real AHA experience to prepare the eating with my senses. Try it!

Also – It takes 20 minutes for our body to assimilate the food we have eaten and to tell us if we are full. It is easy to eat too much when we eat too quickly.

If you find that you have a hard time slowing down your eating like me, put on some music and dance a little before a meal or try another way to connect with your body.

The philosophy of intuitive eating really speaks to me. When we learn to tune into our body, it will tell us what it needs. By simply being more present to our meals, we can reduce overeating by up to 30%, eliminate cravings, and boost metabolism and nutrient absorption. I like that!

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The Power of Commitment

Day 17

Are you off to a good start with your New Year resolutions? Have you been consistent with implementing the changes that you want to make? Perhaps you are feeling that it is harder to keep your goals alive now, after a few weeks into the New Year. Isn’t it frustrating that it is so hard to create change!? What does it take, you may ask yourself? Why do I keep on failing? What needs to happen in order for me to make the change I long for?

My answer in short to these questions: You need to understand what really drives you, and you need to commit! The true drivers of your commitments are your underlying values and beliefs, which can be conscious and unconscious. If you really want to make that leap that you have talked about and longed for, perhaps for years, you need to become consciously aware of the values and beliefs that are running your life. To make lasting change, you have to know why you want to change and you need to truly believe that your life will benefit from the change. Also, achievement will most likely be more important than inner peace, at least for the time being. Making a change requires focused energy that comes from really putting your foot down and claim to the world: I have had enough! I will stop what I am currently doing and begin living my dream, or else…! (You most often have to say NO to something, in order to say YES to your DREAM). When you are seriously committed, you will feel supported by a force inside of you that is strongly empowering and gets you into motion. When you are committed with your body, heart and mind, it leads you to act differently and in the direction of your dream. Your conscious or unconscious commitments are running your life whether you like it or not. Too often, we are more committed to being comfortable than going through the challenging process of creating a change. Are you longing for more meaning and to make a difference with your life?