a time where technology and science are second nature (pun very much intended), we often forget our connection to the natural world.  In our efforts for fortune or fame, we can ignore our bodies’ cries for rest or exercise, proper nutrition, creative expression, relationships, or spiritual growth and pay the price with chronic illnesses, imbalances and general dissatisfaction.  We can also utilize the wisdom found in nature where balance and proper timing produce success, abundant health, quality of life and experience, longevity and satisfaction.

Nature provides everything we need right when we need it.  It reminds us when to rest and when to be active, when to eat and when to cleanse, when to build and when to tear down. The greatest challenge comes with the choice to go with the proverbial flow or resist it at every turn because we think somehow we know better than nature does.   Its energy is constant, but constantly evolving inside/out, expanding/contracting, living/dying and so on.

Energy can only be changed, but never destroyed.  Jacob Atabet states, “Unused evolutionary energy is the matrix of pain.”  Put another way, what we nourish and nurture yields growth.  What we neglect and ignore yields growth also, but often in undesirable form (e.g. cancer, etc.).   Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and more specifically the application of its Five Phase Theory is a wonderful embodiment of this principle as it reveals through observation of nature and seasons information about what to do and when to do it.  We will look more closely in upcoming articles at seasons as they come, what energy they hold, herbs, foods and activities necessary to achieve balance and health.

For now, as we say goodbye to Winter and pry Spring from its cold dead fingers, we must give thanks for the time of necessary rest and stillness our bodies and earth have needed in preparation for the seeds of change and newness to come.


Holistic Goal Setting

February 9, 2011

For many of us, a new year brings new resolutions and, while ambitious or admirable, they usually succumb to a lack of time, energy and other valuable resources.  Tim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, coauthors of The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, examine four main areas that when managed equally and effectively, bring more balance and productivity than the “marathon mentality”, which leaves most of us burned out and unfulfilled.  Establishing goals in each of these four areas can contribute to a life of balance.

These four areas and their subsequent values according to the authors listed above include: Physical or amount of energy, Emotional or quality of energy, Mental or focus of energy, and Spiritual or purpose of energy.  Physical goals may include the usual – decrease weight or cholesterol, manage stress, run a marathon, floss.  Emotional goals may include some kind of artistic or other self-expression like writing in a journal or taking up a musical instrument as well as investing in personal relationships (e.g. more time with friends or date night with one’s spouse).  Mental goals are those that improve the mind, for example, learning a new language, improving a skill, reading more, or staying on top of one’s professional industry, etc.  Spiritual goals may range from the obvious – going to church, meditation, reading scriptures from one’s personal spiritual practice – to contributing one’s resources to a greater good.

Setting goals that feed each of these areas creates more energy than it drains.  Priority determines capacity.  For more information on these concepts and to take a personal inventory, go to co-founded by Tony Schwartz.