12 Ayurvedic and Natural Constipation Remedies

It is normal and natural for the human body to have a bowel movement at least once per day.  If you find you are constipated (e.g., sometimes go a full day without a bowel movement), once per day is a good target to aim at.

While some sources claim that people should have two to three (or more!) bowel movements per day, everyone’s body is different, and this may not be feasible or normal for everyone.   One good substantial bowel movement per day should be enough.  Of course, if you have more, great job.

In Ayurveda, those of the Vata constitution will find themselves most likely to be constipated.  This is partly due to the cold and dry aspects of Vata.  Many Vata people will find that their stools are difficult to pass, hard, and smaller than expected.  They may also have serious problems with constipation.

Following these tips should help you to ease your constipation.  I personally used to have a lot of trouble going each day, but through use of these strategies and practices, I have become far more regular, and feel much better as a result.

1. Regular morning Routine  (wake up at same time, go through same routine, etc.)

This point is one that I see is not sufficiently emphasized by almost any sources.  Having a regular morning routine, waking up at a good time, and giving yourself a regular time and place (e.g. your bathroom, or even work bathroom etc.) to take your bowel movement, is extremely important.

The body finds it easiest to move the bowels at around 8:00 am, or in the hours preceding or following that.  So you will want to wake up before 8:00 am (in Ayurveda, they recommend waking up by 6:00 am or earlier, but obviously do whatever works best with your schedule), to give yourself time to target your bowel movement at the time your body feels most suited for it.

 

2. Triphala (Ayurvedic Supplement)

The Ayurvedic supplement known as Triphala is an extremely healthy, natural, and effective way to produce a bowel movement.  You should take it first thing in the morning with your warm water and lemon juice.

We find the most effective brand to be Organic India Triphala capsules.  At least 2 of these capsules per morning (possibly more, if needed) should make you regular, and make your stools much healthier and easier to pass.

A great thing about Triphala is that it is all natural, made from the extracts of three traditional herbs/fruits, and you can really take as much as you like without any negative effect on the body (unlike commercial laxatives which can be damaging in the long term).

 

3. Warm Water and Lemon Juice

First thing in the morning, before consuming anything else, you should prepare warm water and mix with the juice of a squeezed lemon, or you can simply buy packaged lemon juice (usually comes in little bottles or even larger bottles).  Make sure it is 100% real lemon juice, with no sugar added.  It should be very sour.  You will be mixing it with water, to whatever taste is comfortable for you.  You will want to consume several glasses of this lemon juice, at least 250 mL (one cup), but could be several cups if this is necessary for you.   With this lemon juice, you will want to take your Triphala capsules or powder (capsules are recommended, as the powder tastes very, very strong).

 

4. Spirulina

This is one that we do not often see recommended.  But it can be helpful for energy, vitamins, minerals, a protein source, and also for helping to move the bowels.  Take about 1 to 3 grams of spirulina, either in tablets or in powder, either with or directly after your warm water, lemon juice, and triphala.

5. Throughout the day:  Plenty of fiber

Eat plenty of fiber throughout the day.  High fibre foods include practically all vegetables, dried fruits (e.g. prunes), and things like bran.

6. Throughout the day: Plenty of water (not ice cold!)

Having plenty of water is very useful for keeping things moving through your digestion system.  Drink lots of water throughout the day.  Water with lemon is doubly effective, and even more effective is warm water.

If you routinely drink ice cold water, this may be a little-known source of your constipation.  Ice cold water has been found to temporarily paralyze the muscles responsible for peristalsis and colon emptying, and this stops your bowels from moving.

If you like cold water, try moving to room temperature water instead.  You are likely to immediately notice an improvement in your regularity.

 

7. Super-natural laxative:  Prunes

Prunes (or Prune juice) act as a kind of natural laxative, as they contain sorbitol, which helps absorb back water into the colon, to help with bowel movements.  Eating just 3 to 5 prunes over the course of the day (or more, if required), should definitely help your regularity.

Prunes may not be the solution to eat first thing, on an empty stomach, particularly for vata types or those with diabetes-like symptoms, as they are likely to spike your blood sugar.   Save first thing in the morning for that large amount of water with triphala, lemon, and possibly spirulina.

Save the prunes preferably until a bit later, until after you have consumed either a decent amount of spirulina, or preferably also some kind of protein, which will slow down their digestion and release the natural sugars of the prunes into your blood in a more slow and controlled manner.

8. Eat plenty of Fibre throughout the day, in the form of Vegetables.

Green Vegetables are the healthiest source of all the nutrients your body needs, including the fibre to keep you regular.  Eat plenty of these throughout the day to bulk up stools, making you more likely to pass a good stool easily the next morning.

9. Digestive Enzymes

These can be taken if you are experiencing indigestion after meals.  They will help your digestion to run more smoothly.  Supplements like Triphala can also be taken after meals to have a similar effect.   With good quality triphala, you should viscerally feel your body heating up and passing the food through your system more properly.

10. Probiotics

Many of the good bacteria in our gut may have been depleted by antibiotics taken in years long past, or overwhelmed by an excess of starchy or yeasty foods or sugars that are not good for gut bacteria.  Taking probiotic supplements daily should help with this, bringing gut bacteria back into proper alignment, and ultimately improving regularity.

11. Exercise

If you find you are constipated, you may need more exercise.  Physical activity helps clean toxins from the body, and get circulation, digestion, and all bodily functions moving properly.   Go for a run, ride a bike, do weight training, yoga, play sports, or whatever you prefer to get moving and get your excretion moving as well.

12.  Reduce Stress

This is a major one that is often overlooked.  Many people experience constipation as a result of stress, anxiety, or overwork or over-busyness in their lives.   Try toning down your schedule if possible, schedule some personal time to yourself, or try relaxation techniques like meditation or going for gentle walks, when you have time.

 

 

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21 Empath-friendly Movies (good movies for HSPs and Empaths)

This post was inspired by a search on Google for “Good movies for Empaths” and the surprising discovery that a list like this, did not really yet exist.

So I would like to begin suggesting certain films that I feel are suitable for Highly Sensitive Persons (HSP) and Empaths.

Empaths will tend to find that movies with a lot of negativity, hatred, violence, and (to a point) stupidity, will tend to rub them the wrong way.  Often the negativity, violence, etc., will be taken (rather involuntarily) into the Empath’s energy field, and lodging there, become yet more weight for the Empath to energetically “carry around”, in addition to the general burden the Empath tends to pick up from the suffering/pain/sadness in the world around them.

So it is generally advisable, most Empaths find, to reduce their consumption of gratuitous violence, negative films, etc., for their own psychological, energetic, indeed even physical well-being.

Maybe more details should come on this later.  We would like to begin suggesting some movies.

This should be an ongoing project that should be added to frequently.  Please also suggest your own in the comments.   I look forward to us putting together perhaps some kind of library or reference list (bibliography) of  Films Good for Empaths:

1.  Life is Beautiful  (1997):  

life is beautiful poster

Dir.  Robert Benigni     http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/

In a list of “empath friendly films”, it may seem counter-intuitive to begin with a movie that is set in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.     But Life is Beautiful is about one man who somehow finds ways to make this singularly cruel and terrible backdrop into something, dare we say, rather fun and lighthearted.

The central character, played by Benigni, is devoted to keeping his son from feeling depressed or scared in the camp, through treating the entire situation as one great game, that nobody can let on they are playing.

While that may sound absurd and a rather tenuous premise, Benigni pulls it off brilliantly, making this one of the most heart-warming and beautiful films of all time, in my opinion (and many Empaths may feel something of the same way).

The final scene may make you cry, if you are an Empath (it never fails to for me).  But they are tears not of sadness, but somewhat in awe of the great and terrible beauty, the incredible beauty and generosity human beings can show.    In any case, just a wonderful movie that everyone, (especially Empaths perhaps), should see at least once.

We may also take it as a commentary on the techniques Empaths can master to “make a heaven out of” what often seems a bit more like a hell, a world that may be difficult for them.   If Benigni’s character can make such a hell into a lighthearted place, perhaps we Empaths can perform a similar transformation on the more mundane hells and purgatories of our lives.

2.  Adam (2009)

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Adam, the title character, has Asperger’s syndrome.  He is not an empath, as while Empaths viscerally pick up on the emotions and energies around them,  those on the Asperger’s-Autistic spectrum have something of an opposite problem, generally having difficulty understanding the emotions of others.

However, those with Autism-Asperger’s do have certain things in common with Sensitive Persons (HSPs) and Empaths, which is that they tend to be far more sensitive to stimuli.  Like HSPs and Empaths, they tend to feel that “the world is too much with them,”  and it is a difficult place for them to live in and to interact with others.

 

This is a beautiful story about one man with Asperger’s, trying to make his way in the world.   Many Empaths and HSPs have been mistakenly described as having Asperger’s tendencies perhaps by parents or those close to us,  and it is touching to see someone with this psychological makeup getting by in the world.

Also a beautiful film and a touching story.  Highly recommended.

3. Truman  (2015)

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3754940/

“Julián receives an unexpected visit from his friend Tomás, who lives in Canada. The two men, accompanied by Julián’s faithful dog, Truman, will share emotional and surprising moments prompted by Julián’s complicated situation.”

This Spanish film is one of the most touching and real portraits of friendship, life, and the issue of death, that has come out in a long time.  Truly a powerful story you will never forget.    Has received excellent reviews for very good reason.  This is one that will stick with you.  In a good way.

As one reviewer said, “See it with a friend.  You will be closer because of it.”  I couldn’t agree more.  But if no friend is available, see it yourself.  You may find it brings you closer to humanity in general. 

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower  (2012)

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Very meaningful film especially for anyone who ever felt “out of place” in high school.  Ah, the weirdos, the misfits–these are the people many Empaths can relate to, since they may often have felt that way themselves growing up.

While Empaths may have been popular or well-liked people, they undoubtedly have often felt themselves, to be people who were a little odd.    The beautiful young characters of this film,  are also certainly outcasts and misfits in that regard.

Many people have commented that they do not want this movie to end, since they feel like they get to know the characters so well.    A very touching film.

 

5. Amazing Grace (2006)

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Provides a good piece of history for understanding the background to the abolition of slavery in Britain…   The main character is certainly portrayed as an idealist, dare we say perhaps an Empath  (he has to stop his cart every time he sees a horse being beaten, getting out in the rain to rebuke and stop the perpetrator of the violence).

 

6. My Left Foot (1989)

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis

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Christy Brown, born with cerebral palsy, learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb – his left foot.  (This is a biopic telling the true story of Christy Brown)

Deeply inspiring picture, brilliantly acted by Day-Lewis (one of his earlier films) about being able to surmount the unique difficulties one may be born with, to live a novel life.  Christy Brown is no saint-like Helen Keller, but his story is remarkable.

7. Gandhi (1984)

IMDB:  Gandhi’s character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent.

Every Empath should see this.  One of the most beautiful biographical films ever produced, on one of the most incredible souls to walk this earth on our century.  Probably the most famous Highly Sensitive Empath in human history (well… perhaps besides Buddha, Jesus, and a couple of others.  Perhaps we should say, one of the most famous in “modern” history).Gandhi-independence-day-673x1024

Gandhi’s story is an incredible one about how a man who was once too afraid to even speak to a table of people (feeling dizzy, stuttering and stumbling, and not able to get his words out), eventually became among the most respected moral leaders on Earth, helping a nation of over 400 million people in humanity’s first ever successful large-scale nonviolence independence movement.

A truly incredible life and accomplishment, and an incredible film.

I hope to produce some articles or books on Gandhi as Sensitive person in the future.  He is really perhaps among the most accomplished and inspirational Empaths of our time.

8. Sensitive: The Untold Story (Documentary) (2015)

A groundbreaking documentary about the temperament trait of high sensitivity found in 20% of the population in both men and women. Based on the findings of bestselling author-psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron (“The Highly Sensitive Person”) (IMDB)MV5BODA4NTc0YzYtNzQ5NC00MDI1LTkyOGYtNDg3MWQ5ZTU5ZTVmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQ0MzMwNQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

Documentary based on the work of Dr. Elaine Aron, the pioneering psychologist who first defined the trait of “High Sensitivity” (or “Highly Sensitive Persons,” and now referred to in the academic Psychology literature stemming from her work as “Sensory Processing Sensitivity”)

Elaine Aron brought scientific and public awareness to the reality of “Highly Sensitive Persons” with her groundbreaking book (The Highly Sensitive Person) published in 1996.   Since then, awareness of High Sensitivity (HSP) has taken off both in public consciousness, and in respected scientific research in the field of Psychology.

High Sensitivity is an innate psychophysical trait found in about 15-20% of humans, and over one hundred species of higher animals.  You can read more about it here at Dr. Aron’s official website.

We all owe a great deal of gratitude to Dr. Aron for bringing awareness to this trait.  Now this feature-length documentary goes further in being the first moving picture devoted to the trait of HSP.   As someone very concerned with issues facing HSPs, I was eager to see this movie, and referred the members of the groups I organize also to see it.  I was not entirely satisfied with the execution (there are some things I may have done differently), but it received generally positive reviews, for good reason, and this is one of the most important, the first, and hopefully the first of many, documentaries made about HSP in our time.

A very important film for all HSPs, Sensitives, Empaths, as well as their families and friends and all people curious about this trait.

9. The End of the Tour (2015)   d359278326b8b0d42da6cc62f3558c54--movieposter-david-lipsky

The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’   

A sweet and rather powerful movie about an interviewer spending time with the writer David Foster Wallace.  DFW is most certainly a sensitive man (and a misunderstood, rather unusual, rather brilliant one),  and one would think, very probably an Empath.

10. Peaceful Warrior (2006)

“A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast.”

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(IMDB): Dan Millman has it all: good grades, a shot at the Olympic team on the rings and girls lining up for the handsome Berkely college athlete all teams mates look up to with envy. Only one man shakes his confidence, an anonymous night gas station attendant, who like Socrates, keeps questioning every assumption in his life. Then a traffic crash shatters Dan’s legs, and his bright future. Now Socrates’s life coaching is to make or break Dan’s revised ambition.

Not a high-budget or very slick or polished film.  But certainly an uplifting and inspirational, could we say “spiritual” film, that reminds one to live in the moment, follow one’s dreams, etc.

Speaks to the transience of some of the things in life we take for granted, and the importance of appreciating what we have and living in the present moment.  This empath, watching this film, found himself often being “brought back to presence” by moments in the film, which is certainly an appreciated effect of seeing a movie.  Keep in mind that it is a low-budget piece, with some of the acting being very B- or C-level at times, but this film is one that may inspire any empath to remember the importance of living in the present moment.

Present moment awareness, of course, being so important for those of the Empathic temperament, who have a tendency to be drawn “up” into the higher chakras or energy levels we could say, into thinking and spacey intuition, which may have a negative effect on them and lead to their “ungrounding” from their own power.  Remaining present and grounding is so much more vital for Sensitives and Empaths than for anyone else.

 

11. Ram Dass: Fierce Grace (2001 Documentary) MV5BMTY4MTg5MzI2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTU5NDkxMQ@@._V1_UY1200_CR109,0,630,1200_AL_

After Richard Alpert was fired from Harvard in 1963 for conducting psychedelic drug research, he journeyed to India, found a guru and was renamed Ram Dass (“Servant of God”). Soon, Ram Dass became a spiritual inspiration to people across the globe. Interspersing archival footage with intimate glimpses of Ram Dass today, RAM DASS FIERCE GRACE is a poignant meditation on hippiedom and spirituality.  (IMDB)

A lesser-known (perhaps hard to find) documentary,  on the spiritual teacher Ram Dass.  Inspiring for anyone with interest in spirituality, the 1960’s, or the a piece of spiritual history.    A very beautiful film in which we see the transformation of Ram Dass himself, his survival of a stroke and learning to deal with it, and the transformation of others along the way.

 

12. The Celestine Prophecy (2006) the-celestine-prophecy-movie-poster-2006-1020480870

An adaptation of James Redfield’s novel about the search for a sacred manuscript in the Peruvian rain forest.” (IMDB)

“Disillusioned and temporarily rudderless, John Woodson is about to experience a dramatic and profound metamorphosis. Through a mysterious set of coincidences, he finds himself on an adventure to Peru in search of ancient scrolls, known as the Celestine Prophecy. The prophecy and its nine key insights, predict a new awakening that redefines human life and provides a glimpse into a completely spiritual culture on earth. Resistant at first, skeptical and unsure, John finds that each step he takes, each person he encounters leads him to a new awakening. It is only in this letting go that he finds his destiny and comes to understand the meaning that had escaped him when his adventure began.”  – James Redfield

Keyword:  Synchronicity.  If you are into Synchronicity, and the seeing of energies, auras, etc., this movie may speak to you.  Warning: this movie was reviewed very poorly by critics (feel free to check), but may be enjoyed (not cinematically, necessarily), by Empaths and Sensitives for it’s voicing of a message that may resonate with their truth.

Incredibly corny at times, and certainly not a candidate to win any film awards.  That said, if one can look past the rather clumsy acting and execution (which, frankly, reminded me of the rather clunky dialogue of the book),   the message of one interconnected world, being open to synchronicity, and so on, is something that many Empaths may feel they resonate with, and can be rather inspirational.

13. Avatar (2009)32f11b88771756b748a427428565afdd--hd-wallpaper-iphone-avatar-movie

OK, OK.  Yes, it is very mainstream, very big-budget,  and the ending is rather disappointingly formulaic.   But…  Could we leave out a film featuring “blue people” who are so reminiscent of weird extraterrestrial Empaths?  (counselling their human friend to “feel the energy,” trying to live in peaceful harmony with their environments, etc.).

A very beautiful movie, in terms of setting, story, and everything.   As noted, the end is rather disappointingly predictable (the blue people defeat the bad guys in battle! Great.)   But still a wonderful movie that everyone may as well see at least once.

14. Good Will Hunting (1997) Good_Will_Hunting_theatrical_poster

“Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.”  (IMDB)    Starring:  Robin Williams, Matt Damon.

A feel-good movie about a young man realizing his potential with the help of a mentor.  A nice movie that will bring your energy up into a more positive state, rather than down. 

15. The Big Short (2015)  The_Big_Short_teaser_poster

“Four denizens in the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight.” (IMDB)

An enjoyable lighthearted look, full of plenty of comedy, into the rather serious subject of the deception that led to the Financial Crisis.   A rather silly film, but can satisfy Empaths’ interests in serious topics, while at the same time making us laugh and genuinely enjoy the movie.

16. Catch Me If You Can  (2002) 

The story of Frank Abagnale Jr., before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars’ worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and legal prosecutor as a seasoned and dedicated FBI agent pursues him.MV5BMTY5MzYzNjc5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTUyNTc2._V1_

New Rochelle, the 1960s. High schooler Frank Abagnale Jr. idolizes his father, who’s in trouble with the IRS. When his parents separate, Frank runs away to Manhattan with $25 in his checking account, vowing to regain dad’s losses and get his parents back together. Just a few years later, the FBI tracks him down in France; he’s extradited, tried, and jailed for passing more than $4,000,000 in bad checks. Along the way, he’s posed as a Pan Am pilot, a pediatrician, and an attorney. And, from nearly the beginning of this life of crime, he’s been pursued by a dour FBI agent, Carl Hanratty. What starts as cat and mouse becomes something akin to father and son.  (IMDB)

Another lighthearted piece that is fun all the way through, without any heavy energy for the Empath. Quite enjoyable to watch in its completeness, and a very empath-friendly choice.

A nice movie for any night of the week, entertaining and highly enjoyable.

17. Promised Land  (2012) MV5BMTQxNDYzNzgyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTU0NTI1OA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_

A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.

Empath friendly film with environmental themes.

18. Groundhog Day (1993)MV5BZWIxNzM5YzQtY2FmMS00Yjc3LWI1ZjUtNGVjMjMzZTIxZTIxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU0OTQ0OTY@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,671,1000_AL_

A weather man is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting “rat” (as he calls it). This is his fourth year on the story, and he makes no effort to hide his frustration. On awaking the ‘following’ day he discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. First he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realisation that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day.  – Rob Hartill (IMDB)

A great and genuinely funny (and in certain respects, definitely philosophical) film starring Bill Murray.    A certified classic.   One can take from this messages about learning to live in the moment, take the positives rather than the negatives from life, etc.  Just an all-around feel good and at times hilarious film.     Bill Murray at his best.   Feel good all the way through.

19. Juno (2007)MV5BMTIwMDgwODc5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjQzMDM4._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

Starring:  Ellen Page, Michael Cera.

Another film about young people (kind of like The Perks of Being a Wallflower) who are out of place misfits in this world.   A good feeling film.

Ellen Page and Michael Cera are also two very unique actors who we think are likely also Highly Sensitive People.

20.  Silver Linings Playbook (2012)MV5BMTM2MTI5NzA3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODExNTc0OA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_

Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Solatano Sr., caring Dolores Solatano discharges her adult son, Pat Solatano Jr., from a Maryland mental health institution after his minimum eight month court ordered stint. The condition of the release includes Pat Jr. moving back in with his parents in their Philadelphia home. Although Pat Jr.’s institutionalization was due to him beating up the lover of his wife Nikki, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nikki has since left him and has received a restraining order against him. Although he is on medication (which he doesn’t take because of the way it makes him feel) and has mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr. feels like he can manage on the outside solely by healthy living and looking for the “silver linings” in his life. His goals are to get his old job back as a substitute teacher, but more importantly reunite with Nikki. . . . (Huggo, IMDB)

They may not exactly be Empaths, but these people are definitely psychologically different.  An enjoyable film all the way through.

21. The Dhamma Brothers (2008)  Poster_of_the_movie_The_Dhamma_Brothers

“Gives you hope for the human race.”  – Sister Helen Prejean

IMDB:  East meets West in the Deep South. An overcrowded maximum-security prison-the end of the line in Alabama’s correctional system-is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence dwells a host of convicts who will never see the light of day. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting ten days. The Dhamma Brothers tells a dramatic tale of human potential and transformation as it closely follows and documents the stories of the prison inmates at Donaldson Correction Facility who enter into this arduous and intensive program.

Inspirational and uplifting documentary about the introduction of Vipassana meditation into a maximum-security prison environment.   Many of the prisoners find themselves transformed by the practice, and eventually are seen coming together to try to keep the program from being cancelled.

Any movie that “gives one hope for the human race,” is surely one that needs to be seen by Empaths and Sensitives,  since they seem to be the involuntarily chosen healers and absorbers of anger, hatred, negativity, on our planet, and it is we Empaths and Sensitives who are most in need of remaining hopeful for our race and planet.

 

 

The Counter-intuitive importance for Vata Dosha of *Scheduling*

Hi friends,

It is an interesting principle of Ayurveda that, the doshas inherently tend to have preferences, or to take action in directions that,  are often contrary to what might actually contribute best to the good or well-being of that dosha.

 

So for that reason, Vata dosha always seeks freedom, movement, being unfettered by all bonds of space and time, including very prominently, restrictions of Schedules.

 

Vatas love a free and unhindered schedule! (for the most part).   Very Vata people will want to have the whole day open and free, so they can freely explore various options and make use of their time in the way that they feel is best in that moment.

 

Brief Illustrative Contrast with Pitta (Love of Schedules)

This contrasts largely with the Pitta temperament, which is inherently metabolic (likes breaking things, or events, or appointments, or plans) down into small and digestible pieces, to be completed and carried through in a rational, scheduled way.

People of strongly Pitta temperament with respect to mind and scheduling, tend to be those who love to block off their day-timers,  to have things set,  to eat lunch and dinner at precisely the same times every day, and to know what will come next and what has been completed.

 

According to Ayurveda, Pitta people could actually gain a bit more balance by loosening up this rigidity of schedule.

 

Vata is aided by “Schedules”

But Vata people may actually be aided by bringing a bit more scheduling into their lives.

 

Why?  As many Vata-dominant people have told me,  they tend to lose all bearing, and often wind up getting less things done, rather than more (as they initially hoped) from a totally free and open schedule.

 

This may be expressed physiologically also as anxiety, uncertainty, and bowel issues (diarrhea, or much much more commonly for Vata, constipation).

 

Many Vata people have had this experience of Constipation, seemingly chronically in their lives,  and know not precisely from whence it comes….

 

But many of them find, seemingly miraculous, that when they are forced into, say, a kind of Day-job where they have to wake up in the morning, eat something, and go into work at the same time each day,  that miraculously their elimination/excretive processes are fixed up, and they find themselves having a (mostly) regular bowel movement ever single morning,  just as “clockwork” as the Pitta person.

 

(Indeed, the phrase, “like clockwork” might be revealing in this sense — it denotes regularity, and the Vata person who is forced onto the clock, may find that their Physiology responds very well to this scheduling, in the form of (not only getting more things done),  but also a reduction of Anxiety,  frazzled-ness, and a remedy of constipation/digestion/ elimination problems).

 

Now, this should be taken in moderation — of course, the Vata person will still find it useful (and important) to maintain some good degree of freedom in their lives (especially doing work that they find not a Drudgery but something personally Meaningful.)

But on the scheduling side of it, it is often advisable for Vata people to try to set themselves a good schedule, some way some how,  usually against their own original intuition/will,  and see if this brings their physiology and digestion into better alignment.

 

Summary of The Key Point:

  • If you are of the Vata dosha, and find yourself frequently unmoored, or suffering from a lack of direction in your life (very common for Vata), or having Constipation/Digestion issues (extremely common for Vata!),  then a strong recommendation of some Ayurvedic practitioners is to try to develop a Schedule and stick to it.

 

Final note —  This may seem difficult at first, but search online for various methods to make and keep schedules.  You need not be rigid as a board,  but at least having some positive scheduling in your life, to have appointments a bit more clearly delineated, is very likely to help your physiology and psychology as a whole.    Try it and see.  Good luck  🙂

South Korea: Hagwon vs. International Schools

On a totally different topic from what is usually covered in this blog, just thought I would write a bit about my current experience, teaching at an International Elementary School here in Korea,  and  comparison of this kind of work with a standard “Hagwon”/”Hakwon”  (Private academy).

While “Private Academy” sounds rather prestigious in many countries, those familiar with English learning in South Korea will understand that Private Hagwons are “a dime a dozen,”  and often not very prestigious institutions,  though of course they range in quality,  being privately run.

In comparison,  “Public School” jobs are rather more difficult to obtain in Korea (though not particularly hard,  the remaining positions are generally done through GEPIK or similar programs),   but are  far more sparse these days, due to government cutbacks in hiring of Native English instructors.

An  “International School,”  like the one I teach at now,  is generally privately run (like a hagwon),  but is generally far more reputable,  and the primary difference is that this school is the Primary/Main  school for it’s students (they attend in the daytime),  as compared with hagwons which are usually afterschool academies.

So whereas in a Hagwon position I was working afternoon/evening hours  (from about 1:30 pm to about 9:30 pm, though I often stayed a bit later, till around 10, voluntarily),   now at my present International elementary school,  I work in the daytime,  from about 7:50 am to 4:10 pm.

These hours are actually far preferable for me, though all people are different.   I know some people actually enjoy being able to sleep in very late, and work late.

For me, I enjoy the natural aspect of being able to wake up in the morning, (with the sun and most of the animals), and being finished by the afternoon, giving me the evening free.   But again, everyone has different preferences.     (and to be sure, I actually wouldn’t mind sleeping in an extra hour or so).

The biggest differences are probably in the details of instruction.

Hagwons often use largely “pre-packaged” lessons, out of textbook, etc.

At my hagwon (an academy for students all the way from Elementary grade 1, to first year high school),  we primarily worked basically straight out of English textbooks.  (actually, rather low-quality  Korean-produced English textbooks,  occasionally with  typos  or slightly awkward Konglish constructions).

For this hagwon work, there was little preparation necessary (though I always went through the pages in advance), as teachers (I was the only Native English teacher there actually),  were expected to stick very closely to the curriculum, and make sure pages were completed.

Though this saved prep time, it certainly left something to be desired in terms of a feeling of autonomy or control over lesson planning,  or the ability to be more creative with how we did things in class.   That was certainly lacking at the hagwon.

(though at my hagwon, this was partly made up for by a demand to make “activities” (often silly games and things), for the younger students.   I personally found this to be often a burden and a chore, though some teachers who love making up games, etc., might actually enjoy this aspect).

International School:  More Freedom and Creativity Involved in Lesson Planning

In contrast, at my International School,  there are fewer class hours,  but more prep time,  but I must make all my own lesson plans,  and design my lessons with some creativity.

I have more leeway to complete the curriculum as I see fit (though there are still arbitrary requirements to fill all the pages, etc., etc.),  but there is much more autonomy to design my own lessons,  ability to show relevant videos in class,  discuss things in a more open-ended manner, etc.

In this respect, I far prefer the International School format, (and can see why they are more discerning with the teachers they hire),  because frankly,  having some autonomy over how one does one’s job is a major aspect of job satisfaction,  and this makes my work far more interesting and fulfilling, where I can design and plan my own lessons how I like.

Have any experiences with hagwons / Public schools / International Schools in Korea?  If so, leave a comment and let me know.  Thanks for the feedback.  Until next time, warm wishes.

Feeling Lightness of Heart

I would love to start a complete blog entitled something like,  “Beautiful Things to Make You Feel Good.”

Imagine that:  a whole compilation of beautiful things, ideas, etc., to bring joy into people’s hearts, etc.

Today was a bit of a hard day.  But, there was one thing that made me feel extraordinarily wonderful.

I was listening to something upon first waking up, a kind of audio on the “Insight Timer” app,  and it exhorted me to “… Feel freedom.  Feel a lightness in your heart, a lightness in your body, and know that you are free…”

This incredible idea:  — “A lightness in my heart?”  I thought,  “What on earth does that feel like?”   I could imagine feeling light in my body, but not feeling “lightness” in my heart.    (Maybe warmth of heart… heaviness of heart… but for some reason I could not remember ever feeling “light” of heart)

In any case, I tried then to viscerally feel what it would feel like to feel a lightness in my heart…

And, lo and behold,  what an incredible feeling!  And what an accompanying Memory!  I HAD felt this way before!   

Indeed, it brought me back to when I was in Dharamsala in 2013,  a beautiful town (home of the Dalai Lama, etc.,) in the foothills of the Himalayas (India).

That Lightness of Heart!  That was something I used to feel almost continuously and every day while I was living in India at certain times,  relatively free (studying, not working in a kind of daily grind as a teacher day in, day out).     It brought back that lightness and I felt —  I hoped, I felt, I was sure, that I could get back to there and feel that lightness again.

I hope to be recommitted.  (shall I be committed for writing this post?)    I hope to be recommitted to go back to India and to feel that lightness again.   To get out of the daily grind, and get back to a life of study and writing (more or less) at my own pace.

To be Free (again) is a goal I have.   What a blessing to be reminded, that it is possible to Feel Light of Body and Light at Heart.    Thank you.  

Highly Sensitive People (HSPs), Introverts, and Feelings of Loneliness

I want to write about Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs), and feelings of deep, profound, gutting, “loneliness” that they often find themselves having to deal with.

To begin with, the majority of HSPs would probably describe themselves as “Introverts”, in the sense that they recharge energy not through being in a group of people, but rather by having some time to themselves.

For that reason, HSPs will find it inevitably important to schedule sufficient periods of “downtime” into their lives.  Whether that means breaks from work, from friends and family even, etc.    It is important for them to have enough time for themselves to recharge, for their own mental and even physical health.

That said, from speaking with and working with many HSPs (and also from personal experience), I have found that HSPs are still likely to have dealt with (sometimes very acutely), at certain times in their lives (or for extended periods, or chronically even), feelings of “loneliness,”  “aloneness,”  wanting companionship, or just feeling a bit too alone.

It is interesting, because on one hand as HSP’s, we demand and crave aloneness — yet on the other hand, we can feel acutely separated and alone at times.

Part of this may have to do with our natural differences from others — as a minority of the population (say, 15-20% it is often estimated),  HSPs are outnumbered by those who think and feel perhaps not to the same degree of depth, or in the same way,  so they may isolate themselves,  consciously or unconsciously, from the grunting and mawing of regular society, which can be so exhausting, and often unfulfilling.

So why then should HSP’s also complain of feeling “too lonely” at times?   Are HSP’s just complainers?   Do they just want to have everything “just right”?

There may be something to that last suggesting — of everything needing to be “Just Right.”  We might call this the “Goldilocks Syndrome” (can’t be too hot, too cold, needs to be just perfect, or one feels uncomfortable).    Many of us as HSP’s may have been criticized, mocked, or blamed for seemingly being so hard to please — though we may be reluctant frankly to make demands on others,  others may see that we are made uncomfortable by anything outside of a specific range.

That is to say, that while HSP’s are more sensitive to goodness, joy, and beauty, they are also equally more sensitive to pain, sadness, and suffering.   There is a quote from Alan Watts to the effect that,  “One cannot become more sensitive to joy without correspondingly becoming more sensitive to precisely the same degree to suffering.”

Thus, while HSP’s may be able to derive tremendous joy, a wonderful feeling of serenity, calm, and fulfillment from just sitting alone quietly, perhaps by a river somewhere doing nothing  (one recalls Ram Dass saying, that after all of his years of spiritual practice, he is perfectly happy just to sit and look at a wall all day long — it brings him great joy);   at the same time,  they are also more sensitive to the negative feelings that may be associated with being a bit “too” alone.

That what others, the majority of the population, may feel as vague boredom,  for the Sensitive Person it may be a feeling of being struck from the depth of their heart, with a profound aloneness, sadness, lack of love, etc.    Even if they are not alone chronically!  Even if I was with my partner, best friend, or at work yesterday, if today I am suddenly all alone with nobody to turn to, this feeling may sneak up like a snake through the weeds!

It can certainly be surprising, for those of us who love solitude so much, to suddenly feel afflicted by our solitude.  Who saw it coming?   But it may help, at least a little bit, just to know that this is entirely a natural phenomenon, it is part of our being more sensitive to both the good things and the unpleasant in life;  we need not be ashamed of it;  and at the same time we need not (though we surely know this already!)  make a big deal of it either.    We can remember,  the most important words on the signet ring in the well-known story:   This Too Shall Pass. 

God Bless and Love to all Sensitive Persons who have felt loneliness, and who may even be feeling it now.   Here are some particular ways to deal with loneliness, as an HSP  (OK, just one overall suggestion, but perhaps more to come later:   )

  1.  Go Out for a Walk or Bike Ride (or some similar exercise) in a Natural Place

Nature and Exercise are two profoundly healthy and healing stimuli for the body, especially  for the Highly Sensitive Body.    Studies have found that people dealing with depression, may receive the same mood life they got by taking an anti-depressant pill, from simply going for a brisk walk.  Just 5-10 minutes of exercise (just tell yourself that, and you are likely to start enjoying yourself so much after 5-10 minutes, that you will want to stay out for 30 minutes or more — the whole day even),  has been to shown to lift one’s mood immensely.

If you want a longer term plan,  pack up some water bottles, a snack or two, etc., whatever makes you feel comfortable, maybe bring a book to read or something interesting to look at,  put them in a backpack,  and head out for a long bike ride somewhere.   Make a day of it.  Make your own picnic.   If it is a nice day, you are sure to end up having a glorious day on your own.

There is a quote from Emerson to the effect that, the Oyster becomes more beautiful through healing it’s own shell with Pearl.

That is, when you can learn to deal with your emotions yourself, and to sit with (or bike with, walk with, run with, exercise with), what you are feeling, you become stronger, more beautiful, a more real person.    All the best people are the people who have struggled with physical or emotional pain or difficulty.    All the most meaningful people’s lives have been fraught with tough times of varying degrees.

So perhaps we should celebrate our loneliness or feelings of pain, no?   It makes us deeper, more compassionate, more beautiful people in the end.  Even if you can’t tell that that is happening now.

Miracle of Awareness

Reflections on a Quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn, teacher of “Mindfulness”:

 it’s the attending itself. We are so seduced by thinking and emotion and we don’t realize that awareness is at least as powerful of a function. It can hold any emotion, no matter how destructive, any thought, no matter how gigantic.

That’s where the transformative power lies, that you’re adding a measure of deep introspection and perception to ordinary experience. And then realizing: There is no such thing as ‘ordinary experience.’ Everything is extraordinary.

     This to me is a beautiful quote:Board_Zinn_NEW

We are so seduced by thinking and emotion and we don’t realize that awareness is at least as powerful of a function. It can hold any emotion, no matter how destructive, any thought, no matter how gigantic.

And when I read this, It occurs to me that it applies not merely as a simple private act of introspection, but on a larger, inter-human, societal level.

Our society and our lives are so filled with knee-jerk reactions.  With instant hate, instant retribution.

A measure of awareness there, an Awareness that can hold “any emotion, no matter how destructive, any thought, no matter how gigantic” — is the transformative force that allows us to move beyond reactionary-ism and violence.

It is what allows us to see others as human beings too — as lights of consciousness.

When we follow the discourse of (to take a terrifying and unwholesome example), U.S. politics —  When we see that hate and reaction there:  Stop the terrorists, Kill the Bad Guys,  Fight the Other — Ban them, Build the Wall, Fight those bad guys, Stop them all —

And compare it with what some other attitudes —  having a space of forgiveness and inclusivity,  seeing the others as ourselves, embracing those who are different.

It occurs to me that it is this Awareness that is the possibly catalyst — the missing enzyme without with knee-jerk reactions can be transformed — the only way for hearts and minds to change of their own.  (For, as we know, (when we truly reflect and know,) that we cannot change others.  It is just not possible.  That has to come from themselves….)

That all the shouting and argumentation of politics and societies will be but heavy waves of thick viscous liquid smashing on the granite-hard rocks of pre-conceived notions, deep-rooted, long-lived inner beliefs, fears, and identities.

That the only true transformation would be as a baby chick, somehow cracking open these granite rocks from inside.  

Miraculous — that all along there was a Pure Awareness, A glowing baby bird, fully inhabiting that rock, its body extending all the way out to the truly skin-thin walls.  Those walls thin as gossamer and ready to be cracked, should one access the glowing truth that we all are.