Can you learn to love exercise? Can you learn to be happier through spiritual practice? Will meditation and mindfulness make me calmer? Can you learn to love healthy food and not just endure it?
These are the questions I set out to answer with my foray into blogging at Mindfood Magpie. The short answer, to all four, I’m delighted to say, is yes! Getting to that answer took me a bit longer than typing it, though…
Growing up I always had a relatively healthy lifestyle – if I exclude the fact I ‘treated’ myself to a huge slice of deep fried pizza and chips for lunch every single day of my high school life and never said no to a slice-or-ten of cake, but that aside, I ticked off my daily fruit and veg, drank litres of water and I danced for hours, multiple times a week and walked the length of the town I lived in daily – only sometimes eating more chips! And I certainly knew the value of “me” time and broadening my mind, spiritually. I started with pouring over the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and graduated to Eckhart Tolle.
Firstly, my desire to be spiritual manifested in my vowing to become a nun aged 7 and then as I got older, a religious education teacher. I am neither a nun, nor an RE teacher so you see these were short lived aspirations. An interest in spiritual learning and self-help wasn’t a passing phase, though. It’s the most enduring of all the phases I’ve had – and I’ve had an incredible number of phases!
But like half the women I know, I’ve always had a love-hate (often hate-hate) relationship with exercise and healthy eating and like many women I know, spiritual enlightenment took on new guises over the years – changing from pure Catholicism to associating with a blended family of religions and spiritual principles.
With regards to health and fitness: I love the idea of being fit, but finding the time, energy and enthusiasm to commit to an activity is another story. I might have given up the chippies of my teen years, but I had also given up the daily exercise. Perversely I can always find time to watch any big world sporting event or final. I am addicted to living vicariously through athletes and will get up at 3am to watch them exercise on the world stage! My real issue, of course, isn’t “finding time”, anyway – it’s that everything I’d been trying didn’t quite work out for some reason. Rollerblading was fun until I came screaming down a hill and ploughed into a brick wall of a café. I saw Tweety Birds flying around my head as lovely old ladies peeled me off the pavement. Tennis showed potential..at least for my partner. Perhaps if i could have hit the ball to him, rather than the adjoining court, I would have stuck with it…
The list goes on, and includes flings with swimming, cycling, scootering (which isn’t the technical term – and ended in an operation at the first and only attempt), cricket (well… rounders, which cricket is often compared to in Scotland… I’m not sure many people play cricket drunk, mind you…), marching (OK, it was majorettes but marching sounds so much funnier). I tried Pilates, netball, karate (yes, I was eight but I still tried it!) and so on….
The recent years and months have really changed my outlook, though. My friends and I made it our mission to find exercises to suit everyone and to make healthy living enjoyable, not a chore. We endeavoured to find peace-inducing activities and spiritual books for every kind of magpie – no matter what your preference for mindfood may be. I’ll collaborate with experts on food and nutrition, as well as fitness experts and spiritual advisors, so that you (and I) benefit from a wide and varied array of expert views across the health and wellness terrain.
For me, it eventually took some help from a personal trainer to realise that my biggest problem with exercise is boredom. Honestly, I do think it’s followed closely with sheer laziness but boredom sounds much nicer! I now love exercise, but only if I mix it up and only if I give myself permission to hate it sometimes too, without guilt. I focus on the end result of feeling energised and happy, rather than feeling bad because I’ve not caught this brilliant exercise love bug. For food and nutrition, I do the opposite. I no longer focus on my previous end result of weight loss and instead I am trying to focus on creating and eating tasty healthy foods that I actually enjoy devouring. Check out the Mindfood Munchies section of the blog for recipes and more.
It also took a wonderful course in mindfulness to realise I didn’t always have to do the twenty minute twice a day meditation to be doing it right.
For you, however, I hope to make it a little easier to find spiritual practices, books, meditations, recipes, spiritual leaders, and spiritual exercises you’ll love. I’ll try to cover every point of wellness, from exercise and food, to health, relationships and your inner self, with one soul purpose – to help you live a happier, more fulfilled, healthier and well-balanced life. Because isn’t that what every human the world over wants deep down?
I hope you get as much enjoyment out of my Mindfood Magpie venture as I do creating it; it’s been an absolute life-changing joy. I hope to continue to learn and teach and to use this as an outlet to channel my joint passions of writing and spiritual psychology and growth.
I’ll be posting at least three times per week – on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s – so please ‘fly’ by again to see how Mindfood Magpie is evolving and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything you’d like me to explore or discuss. I’d be delighted to hear from you, my fellow Mindfood Magpie!
P.S. I am all for a holistic approach to living, and being happy in your own skin but I’m still in favour of a bit of fabulous makeup and skincare , too. So over time you’ll also be introduced to my passions for these things too. A true enlightened being, probably has no need for these superficial things but I’m far from that and I’m also happy to embrace the contradictory nature of my passions… because that’s who I am ; a person with contradictions and varied interests, and hopefully it might be who you are, too. And if you are, please do check out the Makeup Magpie and Skinfood Magpie areas of the blog!