We all face times beyond our control when life doesn’t follow our designs and we’re asked to work with life and not fight, curse or hide from it. When insisting on our way, we can get so tangled in our will that we can’t find or feel the wind of Spirit. During these times—when we fear there is no meaning and it seems there’s nothing holding us up—our will can puff, snap and flap about in a desperate attempt to fill what looms as an empty life.
Nonviolent self-defense is akin to the dynamics of bullfighting. “The matador never matches his strength with the enormous animal; rather, he redirects the energy of the bull with simple and precise movements—counterbalancing—and letting the bull’s energy move past him,” explains Rose. He’s trained everyday people of all ages and walks of life in this approach, in the U.S., UK, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
“As they train, students begin to feel more secure wherever they go, because they are learning how to be safe even in the midst of physical confrontation,” says Rose. “They wind up feeling more empowered as they learn how to neutralize aggression simply and effectively.”
Being past their working years, grandparents are often more accepting and peaceful themselves, which can be inspiring for younger generations, adds Salem. For Moon, it’s vital to be mindful of the image of aging that’s projected; “I try to model that old age isn’t tragic, and show the joy in this stage of life,” she says.
“Regular exercise brings more energy, better sleep, reduced stress, higher spirits, better odds of an easy labor, faster post-delivery recovery and reduced risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy,” Bregman finds. She recommends a prenatal yoga practice that includes breathing and visualizations. This restorative form of yoga offers gentle stretching, promotes good circulation and naturally supports relief or healing of many possible pregnancy ailments.
In the Ivory Coast, where I recently visited, many poor rural people grow cocoa. One way to expand its economy is to produce more cocoa at the expense of tropical rain forests, which ultimately destroys the economy because forests are a major source of rainfall. Extended droughts caused by deforestation reveal that kind of growth is self-defeating. We need a more sophisticated approach, with the economy becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ecology, not the other way around.
Meditation master Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, in Halifax, Canada, teaches an online course, The Art of Mindful Running. He points out that running, or doing any physical activity, in a meditative state can deepen, train and enhance the mind. “Within 20 to 30 minutes, you have an opportunity to work with your mind. Instead of just spacing out or trying to get exercise, you can actually say, ‘I am going to be present, I am going to relate to my breathing and my movement a little bit,’” says Mipham. “This is healthy both for the mind and the body.”
Creating a personal myth is a fundamental way we find meaning. We are always the protagonist, with supporting characters providing love and assistance and antagonists posing challenges that push us beyond our comfort zones. Rather than narcissism or navel-gazing, the more intimate we become with our own story, the more we realize that everyone has an equally valid and vital narrative in which they are the central character. Understanding that everyone is on their own story journey can help us establish connection and empathy.
participating in his production.
“I appealed to classmates by asking, ‘How do you want to be remembered? Why not choose to be viewed positively, as leaders?’” says Gregory, who later became a spokesperson for NO BULL Challenge. To date, the challenge has received 600 submissions, garnering 23 million impressions through digital and social media, the vehicles of cyberbullies. A recent graduate of Dayton, Ohio’s Wright State University, Gregory has spoken to about 45,000 students in 27 states in school assemblies.
Many experts agree on at least one underlying cause behind the trend—a widely studied condition called leaky gut, characterized by intestinal permeability. Microscopic pinholes in an unhealthy small intestine can allow undigested nutrients to pass through intestinal walls, triggering mild immune responses, inflammation and, potentially, the onset of some diseases.