Every month the task of writing a new column returns, and I face an empty sheet of virtual paper and try to fill it with meaningful words. I feel humbled by the responsibility of sharing thoughts with you that might make your day a little brighter or shed some light on a darker side of your soul. The truth is my little column is just a small part of the energy that emanates from these pages, thanks to the terrific writers who help me produce each new issue. We’re a force to be reckoned with!
I’ve been thinking a lot about energy lately, and this month you’ll discover a few articles that reflect my blossoming awareness of how energy can be an awesome tool to bring about great change in both our inner and outer worlds. The challenge becomes harnessing the energy and focusing it on the positive aspects of life.
First, however, you have to be aware of the energy that’s within you. Yeah, right. I know what you’re thinking. Energy? What’s that? Most of us barely find enough energy to make dinner, do laundry, and help kids with homework, much less go to a yoga class or meet a friend for some socializing. Perhaps the problem is not that we don’t have energy—because we all do—but that we’re spending our energy on the wrong things.
For example, do you get steamed up in traffic? I do. I’m trying hard to develop a more Zen-like acceptance of the things I cannot change, like slowpokes who drive 10 mph under the speed limit—but it’s hard. When I do lose my temper, however, I find that it sucks the energy right out of me, leaving me depleted and angry. Hmmm. Not a good way to start (or end) the day.
So how do we train ourselves to be positive and to focus our energy on the good things in life? Well, it takes practice and intention. I recently met my friend, Monique, for our weekly run in First Landing State Park. For whatever reason, my body was not into running that particular day. I stumbled through a couple of miles, but then I told Monique to run ahead while I walked a bit. It was a warm, sunny morning, and the humidity was creeping up. Walking was a treat compared to running, so I decided to really focus on the moment while I strolled through the woods.
It was an amazing experience. I breathed in and out and paid attention to the smells and sounds and sensations all around me. I heard birds singing, wind whistling in the pines, frogs croaking, and the soft padding of my footsteps and those of the runners and hikers who passed me. I smelled the distinctive herbal scent of the woods mingled with occasional wafts of funky swamp smell to remind me that nature is always in the process of renewal. I saw butterflies and little tiny white flowers, and above me blue sky shimmered beyond the glistening green leaves. Once a dove flew across the path in front of me, cooing and rustling and so close I could have touched her. As people passed by, I smiled and greeted them, sensing a connection to these other seekers who have discovered the energy in nature.
That’s right. There’s energy all around us, and when we need a fix, it’s easy to find. Go outside! Once someone told me about the positive and negative ions in our environment. Turns out that all electronic devices (like this computer I’m sitting in front of), fluorescent lights, chemical products, etc. produce positive ions, which tend to make you feel tired and lethargic. But in nature negative ions dominate. That’s why you feel so alive outdoors. And why we need to get away from our manmade environments—even our cell phones and iPods—and let our bodies absorb the natural energy found in the real world.
Simply eating local food helps increase our connection to nature’s energy. I’m no expert, but when I eat strawberries grown in my garden, not only do they taste heavenly, but the fresh food contains more of the goodness and nutrition that food is meant to have. On the other hand, when you eat processed food, it seems the energy got left behind at the factory, and what remains lacks vitality.
We make many choices every day about what we buy and what we eat and the environments we choose to be in. I believe if energy seems to be lacking in our lives, we can up the ante by making wholesome choices. Whether it’s getting out and enjoying the great outdoors or eating local food, we can create our own energy. It’s not only healthy for our bodies; it’s healthy for our minds, too. No one likes to go through the day feeling sluggish, so make a point of consciously seeking the energy that’s out there.
Then you can spread it around. How? It’s easy. Be kind to strangers, hug your loved ones, and think about the positive things in life instead of dwelling on the negative. Create your own energy. It’s as simple as that.
Peggy Sijswerda is editor & publisher of Tidewater Women.