Of all the modern vampires, I have a real soft spot for the Cullen family in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. Their "coven" reminds me of that quote from Richard Bach "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life."
My brother-in-law is family both ways. On the surface, he seems like a happy-go-lucky athlete. Every now and then, you catch a glimpse of the deeply thoughtful, loving intellect that lies beneath. During this summer's visit, he said something amazing.
He's quitting smoking. Thank goodness...cigarettes will kill you, and I'd like the dude to hang around for a while. This time he said he is "at peace" with the idea of quitting. There is no doubt in my mind that he will quit this time. There is an ocean of profound under that one statement. It's a deep idea that applies here too.
It is so easy to fall into the mainstream diet trap...to focus on food & exercise while forgetting about the mind and spirit. This blog has been taking that turn lately too. Time to throw some esoterica at you.
You can argue that being happy will bring a healthy weight from a purely physical standpoint. If you reduce stress, there is less adrenal gland interplay with insulin production, glucose metabolism, and fat deposition.
You can make the same case from a mental-emotional standpoint. Mind and body are utterly connected. A contented outlook, combined with good information and a sprinkle of self-awareness, can find the non-physical connections to what we choose to eat. If you figure out why comfort foods comfort you, or discover why you don't pay attention to what / how much you eat, then you can go a long way toward making a healthy change. That doesn't even touch the way mood, appetite, and brain biochemistry are connected.
But then there are the spiritual aspects that diet books, nutritionists and mainstream fitness 'gurus' seem to avoid. Being at peace with your decision to live a healthier lifestyle is truly important. In tarot, the 9 of Wands card is often associated with the idea of "acceptance". But not the way you might think. Like I tell my tarot clients, acceptance doesn't have to mean acquiescence. This isn't about giving up or giving in. It is about taking off the rose colored glasses and dealing with the reality of a situation - to accept it for what it is so you can deal with it...calmly, peacefully.
This card, and my brother-in-laws realization, is also very close to Dharma Drum Mountain's "Four Steps for Dealing With a Problem": face it, accept it, deal with it, let go of it. Being at peace with what is makes it easier to be at peace with what we need to do.
It is so easy to drop into a fearful, defensive stance when it comes to losing weight or quitting smoking. I told my brother (you can skip the in-law stuff as far as I'm concerned) that I was trying to cut out sugar. Later on he didn't offer me a sweet dessert when he offered it to everyone else. It's a small thing, but to me it was huge. It was quiet, peaceful acceptance of what I'm doing. I wish there was something more I could do to support and encourage him in his efforts. A little peaceful acceptance can go a long way.
That's where a family-of-heart, like the Cullens, give us a good role model. They have a accept what they are, and solve the problem through an ongoing lifestyle choice. Except for the occasional adventure with humans, hunters, werewolves and Volturi, they are pretty much at peace with themselves.
We welcome our heart-family into our lives, and the same spirit can help with our physical health. Instead of fighting obesity, we can welcome weight loss and fitness. Instead of fighting cigarettes, we can welcome smokeless health. It's a subtle attitude difference, but an important one. Marc helped me learn that.
Thanks man. I appreciate it.
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