Thursday, March 26, 2009

exercises for the back

Chronic pain is debilitating, both by making you feel terrible and by stopping you from doing other things: things which will generate energy and enthusiasm and are fun to do. If you have backache, you don’t feel like exercising and you’re not in a position to go for a jog or climb a mountain or go skiing or even play with your children. These fun pursuits give you energy and they create a social atmosphere of interaction that makes you feel good. Social, physical interaction in my opinion is a positive contributory factor for wellness.
As will be apparent on reading my other wellness posts - I strongly believe that there is a physical component to wellness; in feeling physically good, feeling strong, feeling healthy, having a positive body image … all these things can help promote a feeling of wellness. Note well that i am not saying these are prerequisites … only that they can contribute!
What then can we do about persistent backache?
These are the exercises given to me by an osteopath many years ago when I had back problems. I had an accident which put my back in a bad way; the hospital had given me a corset to wear (for the rest of my life they said) but the osteopath said "if you do these exercises every day for the rest of your life, you will never again have backache".
He was right.
I've added 4 exercises (the ones without numbers) to the original list. With one exception these added exercises are yoga exercises, which I found over the years. They feel particularly beneficial for me - perhaps they might also be beneficial for you, so leave them in or take them out? The exception is the chiropractor exercise (I call it this because it was recommended to me by a chiropractor); apparently helps to keep some of the bones of the lower back from becoming immobile.
Every day for the rest of your life - less than 10 minutes a day - no backache
Sounds like a good deal to me

Monday, March 23, 2009

until one is committed

Let me recount the story of how I got hold of this bit of wisdom. My daughter Karen and I were heading treeplanting and stopped at OceanIsland Backpackers Hostel in Victoria. Coming down to breakfast next morning, we found a sheet of paper with the photocopy of this quote from Goethe at each table in the kitchen area. I was gobsmacked by the quote, it made an tremendous impact on me - not only the quote but that someone would have the generosity of spirit to making all those copies and placing them on the tables. I wonder how many lives have been touched, enriched and perhaps improved by that single, simple action. So here it is for you to ponder:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative (and creation).

There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too - All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come his or her way.

Whatever you can or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Saturday, March 21, 2009

nutrition in a nutshell

this might sound trite ... to simplify something to this degree but when i came across this quote in this book i was gobsmacked at the beauty of it, the trueness of it and the utter simplicity of something that can be made to seem so complicated.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Note of explanation: The author explains that by ‘food’ he means basic foods, such as: fruit, wholemeal grains, meat, vegetables, potatoes, eggs, cheese, milk and the like, that we usually find around the perimeter of a supermarket and not the processed, prepared foods that we find in the centre isles.
Source: In Defense Of Food by Michael Pollan

this i believe

‘This I Believe’ is a CBC Radio project that engages Canadians in writing and sharing the core values and beliefs that guide their daily lives. It is no longer operating.
I wrote this essay within the guidelines of the CBC radio project. You may read the background information to This I Believe and the 50+ essays that have been submitted and broadcast by the CBC at the following links: Description of the project here Contributions broadcast by the CBC here
This is the essay written by me on the lines of the This I Belive project:

       I believe in the promise and the beauty of each new day!

I am sitting in the kitchen of my apartment, looking expectantly at the trees in the lane behind the houses. It’s early morning. The shadows are still deep among the green wall of leaves facing me but the sky is a clear blue vault overhead. The point where the sky meets the tree-line is about to explode into light. The golden orb of the sun is peeking out, sending yellow shafts flashing in my direction, bathing the plants on the windowsill in the palest lemon imaginable. I can already feel the warmth on my face and I breathe out, I relax. What shall I do - how shall I make this day, I ask myself?

For me, every sunrise offers a brand new start - like turning a notebook onto a clean page. Even if I messed up the previous pages, here and now I can start again. Something that I have neglected: perhaps to write a letter to one of my children rather than the usual quick email. A letter which is long overdue, to tell them how much I love them. Perhaps today I can try not to let the traffic get me down. Perhaps from today I will try to be more organized and have some friends round for dinner – something that I have been putting off for far too long.

I have learned over the years that so much of how the day goes is within my power to affect. Not all days start sunny; many seem very ordinary and humdrum, yet by focusing on little pleasures, even those days bring me joy. Noticing the pure colour of a tomato, or being conscious of the smell of ironing or the smooth texture of an avocado in my mouth, somehow revives my spirits and stops me from feeling depressed. There are so many moments of enjoyment in a day, if only we would look up from our busyness and make a habit of recognizing them.

To me, each day is filled with promise; each morning gives me the chance to start afresh. To start with new enthusiasm, new energy and do what I have vowed to do before but never got round to. To be open to new ideas; to be on the lookout for something brand new to add some spice and excitement to my life. Each sunrise not only bathes me in golden light but also reassures me that this beautiful earth is here to enjoy, and I have been given yet another day to do just that – to enjoy my life, to smile at someone, to feel the wind in my hair.

And if for some reason I did not do everything that I should have, and the day is ending; well then, I always have tomorrow. That’s one of the most wonderful things - knowing it’s never too late; I can start again with each sunrise and ask myself yet again – how shall I make this day?

For This I believe, I’m János Varga in Montreal.

about me

I've been thinking about wellness and trying to live in a way to promote my own wellness for a long time. Been collecting snippets of information, links, quotes and wisdom for years. 
Sometimes when I found something, it would just hit me … that particular time was the right time for me to find it and then and only then did the meaning come through. Have you heard of the saying ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will come’? I might have seen it before but it had just passed me by. 
Many quotes, bits of wisdom that I’m reproducing here or offering a link, can be found elsewhere on the internet. I clearly show the source of all material and it is not my intention to use other peoples thoughts as my own. If i quote something here, it is because I found it significant for me, 
I found that it helped me in my life and who knows, you also might find it significant in your life. I would like to share these snippets of wisdom with you. 
As Barack Obama would say ... yes, we can :-) … I believe wellness is within our grasp

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the secret

This is the secret. 
THE secret: De-automatize. 
Walking, walk slowly, watchfully. Looking, look watchfully, and you will see threes are greener than they have ever been and roses are rosier than they have ever been! 
Somebody is talking, gossiping: listen, listen attentively. When you are talking, talk attentively. 
Let your whole waking activity become de-automatized. 
Source: The Orange Book, The Meditation Techniques of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Sunday, March 8, 2009


are you starting to read this with a frown ... wondering what kind of disclaimer i am putting here? what could i be disclaiming? well you need not frown. i want to tell you a simple but important thing - i am not a guru. 

i don't know a lot of things and most of what i write in this blog are things that have worked for me. no training in ... well, let's say little training but lots of experience. my writing here is spontaneous - i am not doing drafts and revisions, so if there’s a mistake of some kind, please go ahead and let me know. i foresee me adding to, changing, revising most of what is here on an ongoing basis. 

my thoughts change with time, maybe my thoughts are not so clear in one area they often only crystallize as i'm putting them down, as i am talking with someone. i am only stumbling through all of this myself.

and no, i’ve not reached any destination, i too am on a journey

defining wellness

what is wellness?

such a difficult thing to define … is it the way we think? - yes, partially.

is it affected by the way we look? - can be.

do beautiful people possess wellness? - not necessarily.

can a poor person possess wellness? - yes.

what about a rich person, someone with loads of cabbage ... are they automatically in the club? – no!

so it is nothing to do with money? – well now … this is a difficult one … let’s say that there is a threshold above which money has nothing to do with wellness. but let me also add that this threshold is pretty low and it varies from country to country and we (i count myself here too) in the more fortunate, wealthier part of the world place this threshold much too high … much too high.

can a person who is really old and in poor health possess wellness? - yes.

can a youthful person in good shape feel that they do not possess it? - yes.

so it has nothing to do with age! - that’s correct.

what about being sick … can i possess wellness if i am sick? - yes.

so we tell the doctor we are not well but can still possess wellness? - yes … as crazy as that sounds, the answer is yes.

nothing to do with beauty, little to do with whether we are rich or poor, nothing to do with age, nothing to do with the health of our bodies … sure is an elusive thing to define … this wellness.

to complicate matters, the english language does’nt make it easier for us. some words are used interchangeably and we have to be clear that being well or unwell (as we would tell our doctor) is not the same as possessing wellness. and i don’t for the life of me know what the opposite of wellness is … it’s not ‘unwellness’ that’s for sure.

do we have to define it right now? - not really. why not just read the notes, go to the links, look at the things other people have said and perhaps the meaning will reveal itself for you.

each of us define our own wellness. what wellness is for me, is not wellness for you. each of us have different ways of being well, so don’t think i am providing a blueprint for it in this blog. no!

i’m providing ideas for you to think about; ideas which you will either ignore or incorporate into your life. ideas that might provide answers or provoke actions. but please remember that these not just wishful ideas – they’ve been proved. they’re tried and tested. they’ve worked for me and they might work for you.

i really believe wellness is within our grasp.