And by the way, don’t forget that Kazi’s Divine Light Sunday Morning 3-Part Series starts on March 14th at 9am EST and he’ll be going over some of his other advice on creating a sacred space and making good associations in the first session.
We appreciate the invitation from Redfin and their shining a little light on NCMC!
August is Wellness Month and we’ve put together an overview of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.
Consider designing your own wellness program for August with good planning and a goal to sustain and build on it!
We’ve also provided a fillable Wellness Month Calendar that you can print out to use and we created a month of daily suggestions to inspire you. There’s other tools described available for your use that might help too.
What are a few of the dimensions below that you might like to work on? How can you apply changes successfully on a daily or weekly basis in order to make a habit of them?
1. PHYSICAL WELLNESS
Move more and eat better.
Tips and suggestions:
• Exercise daily.
• Control your meal portions.
• Eat healthy foods/avoid processed and junk foods.
• Get adequate rest.
• Protect yourself against injuries.
• Learn to recognize early signs of illness.
• Use alcohol in moderation or not at all.
• Stop smoking and protect yourself from second-hand smoke.
Without physical health, it is more difficult to be mentally and emotionally healthy, so the two key components are to exercise and eat well. Improving physical wellness involves personal responsibility and often leads to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination, and a sense of purpose.
Another important element — we think very important in your wellness practice — is to use mindfulness to manage your compulsions and obsessions that drive bad habits. In fact, if you can’t necessarily add good behaviors during Wellness Month, start by mindfully trying to remove bad behaviors.
2. EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
Develop mindfulness and optimism skills.
Tips and suggestions:
• Tune-in to your thoughts and feelings.
• Cultivate an optimistic attitude.
• Seek and provide support.
• Learn time management skills.
• Learn meditation and mindfulness techniques.
• Learn stress management techniques.
• Deal with anger constructively.
• Accept and forgive yourself.
Emotional wellness is by nature a dynamic state that fluctuates along with your other six dimensions of wellness. It is important to develop a positive outlook on life and surround ourselves with positive people. Uniquely, time management is an important factor of emotional wellness, allowing time for ourselves and minimizing stress-induced situations.
Practicing mindfulness helps to really be present in the moment so you don’t jump onto the wrong emotional train. Expressing your feelings of love, gratitude, and other positive feelings can help alleviate alienation. During Wellness Month you might pick just a few negative habits to weaken, using your own daily prayers to reinforce your efforts.
3. INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS
Stimulate and inspire your brain.
Tips and suggestions:
• Take a course or workshop.
• Teach others.
• Learn or perfect a foreign language.
• Seek out people who challenge you intellectually.
• Read books and watch more educational programs.
• Attend museums, exhibits, and theater.
• Travel and explore other cultures.
The intellectual dimension encourages learning, growth, and creativity. An active and open mind leads to a life filled with curiosity, passion, and purpose. Just as our bodies need motivation and exercise, so too our minds. If we are not intellectually stimulated, life can be mundane and this can lead to depression and resentment.
Tied to our emotional wellness, it is easy to compare and judge ourselves if we don’t feel intellectually competent or aren’t comfortable with and made peace with our own capacity. To ensure our personal maximum intellectual wellness we can take advantages of available resources to find new hobbies, read, take a course — simply keep learning!
4. SOCIAL WELLNESS
Cultivate friendships and contribute to community.
Tips and suggestions:
• Cultivate healthy relationships.
• Contact old friends and make new friends.
• Get involved.
• Contribute to your community.
• Share your talents and skills.
• Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas.
Personal connections contribute to a long and fulfilling life — whether they are family, friends, community groups, or even global connections. When you nurture relationships you create healthy support networks, contribute to the greater good, and builds a sense of belonging.
This means practicing good communication skills and developing intimacy with others. Social wellness also includes showing respect for others as well as yourself. An active social life can be incredibly stimulating and conducive to positive changes in all seven dimensions of wellness.
5. SPIRITUAL WELLNESS
Nourish your soul and open your heart.
Tips and suggestions:
• Explore your spiritual core.
• Spend time alone to reflect.
• Meditate regularly.
• Take pauses to pay attention to your breath.
• Be inquisitive and curious.
• Try to be fully present in all you do.
• Listen with your heart and live by your principles.
• Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are.
• See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you.
When we develop a set of guiding beliefs and principles it gives a sense of meaning and purpose to our life. Keeping an open mind in a spirit-centered life may bring up thoughts of despair, fear, and doubt as we grow, but out of it can come joy, happiness, and wisdom.
It is important to spend quiet time each day, reflecting or meditating, or simply pausing to take a few minutes to breathe properly. Spiritual wellness includes developing a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces of the universe.
6. ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS
Love and care for the planet.
Tips and suggestions:
• Stop your junk mail.
• Conserve water and other resources.
• Minimize chemical use.
• Reduce, reuse, recycle.
• Rethink your living space.
To be environmentally well we need to be aware of the delicate state of the earth and the effects our daily habits have on the physical world. When we help to take responsibility for the health of the planet we can bring a sense of accomplishment and well-being into our own life.
It is also important to be aware of our home environment — how the materials and objects we choose to surround us have an effect on environmental wellness. The more we get out into nature mindfully the more we will understand this. We need to remember that we are an integral part of the environment and that caring for the environment is self-care.
7. VOCATIONAL WELLNESS
Use and give your skills.
Tips and suggestions:
• Explore a variety of vocation options.
• Create a vision for your future.
• Choose a career that suits your personality, interests and talents.
• Be open to change and learn new skills.
• Balance work with life.
• Learn to budget your lifestyle with your vocation compensation.
• Use unemployment or retirement to hone your skills or develop new ones.
• Volunteer your vocational skills if you aren’t fulfilled at work.
This dimension of wellness focuses on enriching your life and that of others by sharing your special gifts, skills, and talents. Our job may not fulfill us, we may be unemployed or retired, but there are always ways to use our skills, knowledge, and passion in other meaningful ways to serve our family and society, and to enhance our self-esteem.
Vocational wellness also involves preparing, planning, and creating a positive attitude to reshape your personal goals at work. Whether through work, parenting, or volunteering, you can make a strong impact and reap the health benefits of adding purpose to your life.
Are you inspired yet? Ready to fill out your Wellness Calendar? Let’s get started together!
If these tools, tips, and teachings we’ve compiled are helpful to you, would you consider making a small donation to Newark Center for Meditative Culture? We are a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax-deductible donations make it possible for us to continue delivering life-changing programs to the Greater Newark community and beyond.
In the afternoon of October 10th on World Mental Health Day, NCMC provided a meditation workshop for Audible in Newark. Facilitating this program for about 20 employees were Javier Cruz and Andrea Lee of NCMC. Javier provided guided meditation in mindfulness of body, breath, and mental states, while Andrea made the program introduction and led the mindful movement session.
The coordinator at Audible mentioned that the workshop was well received and that the employees attending were excited about an opportunity to de-stress, clear their minds, and practice mindfulness. We appreciate the second opportunity that this Newark-based corporation gave us to help bring mindfulness and develop happiness in the workplace.
This weekend’s Women’s Retreat was a multi-generational gathering of nearly 50 women of diverse backgrounds and from all different walks of life. The retreat was mindfully and lovingly guided by five women who are leaders in their own fields. We kicked off the retreat with a moving spoken word opening by TaNisha Fordham who brought nine teen-aged students to the retreat. Jillian Faulks-Majuta lead a Kemetic Yoga session that physically grounded guests in the power of self-care. The day continued with passionate workshops about caring for mind, body and spirit.
Kamilah Crawley, who organized and emceed the event, offered sessions about the intersection of mindfulness and women’s self-care and lead discussion groups on the complex and nuanced notions of the modern Superwoman. Michelle Beadle Holder explored mindful eating and the frequent everyday choices we make about how we nourish our bodies and helped us become more mindful of the environments where we break our bread and buy our food. Her presentation was followed by a nutritious and soulful lunch provided by Arelis Hernandez and Rabbit Hole Farm.
Aleah Gathings presented on the power of words and affirmations and guided retreatants in a symbolic ceremony to release unconstructive thought patterns. Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi facilitated a process to help participants “Stop the Story”, release narratives that hold us back and re-narrate our current truth. We ended the retreat by writing self-care letters to our future selves — to be mailed and opened just when we most need the reminder.
Throughout the day retreatants were encouraged to hold a non-judgmental space for everyone’s opinions and experiences and to self-reflect through conversation and journaling. Participants readily shared their own resources and several lists were compiled with books, websites, and places of interest for people to visit to continue the deep work that was initiated at this retreat.
It’s a wonderful line-up for the day. You can register for full-day or part-day. Here’s a quick listing of bio-notes of your presenters:
Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi is a trauma informed, evidence-based pastoral and spiritual counselor, wellness coach, and equity, diversity, and inclusion trainer. She is certified in mindfulness, yoga, and multiple somatic traditions. She received her training from Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Walden University, The New Seminary, and many teachers.
Michelle Beadle Holder, PhD, President and CEO, Food at the Center, Inc. is a medical sociologist dedicated to doing her part to improve the social and physical health of black families. Her research has appeared in the Journal of African American Studies, Substance Use and Misuse, and American Journal of Health Behavior. In 2018, Dr. Holder founded Food at the Center, Inc., an educational and research social enterprise that uses food to build meaningful connections, improve health, and celebrate the culinary genius of people of African descent.
Kamilah Crawley, MPH,CHES is a public health professional who has provided health education workshops and trainings for various populations. She currently focuses on the intersection of public health, mindfulness and meditation as a tool for healing and healthy living. Kamilah was born and raised in Newark and is an alumni of University High School. Her degrees are from Temple University and the Rutgers School of Public Health.
Aleah A. Gathings, JD, MPH is an advocate for children and a proponent of the medical-legal partnership model. Aleah believes in the power of hope, love, and the ongoing fight for social and health justice.
Jillian Faulks-Majuta, Founder and CEO of Majuta Wellness, is committed to bringing wellness to individuals, groups and communities who are interested in living their most fulfilling lives possible. Through journaling, Kemetic Yoga™ and Holistic Health Coaching (July 2019). Jillian creates spaces for people to feel safe enough to challenge their bodies, thoughts and habits.
To all things there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
— Ecclesiastes 3
Hippocrates, in teaching the doctors of his day, said, “Consider the seasons of the year and what each of them produces.” When you respect the seasons you will respect your body, mind, and spirit and their needs.
Based on chinese medicine the fall is the season of the element of metal and lung and the lungs are associated with sadness and grief. We move from the external, expansive nature of summer to the internal, contracting nature of fall.
What does this have to do with meditation?
Through specific meditation and mindfulness skills — stationary, movement, eating, sound, and all our sense organs — we can learn season-specific techniques and tools for self-care: stress resilience, immunity boosting, health promotion, and methods to boost your creativity and mental sharpness.
We can also develop insight into the constantly changing, impermanent nature of our bodies and minds and learn to let go. In fact the energy of the lungs is related to “letting go” — first remembering our breath, using our breath, relaxing our breath — then becoming aware and allowing the elements and nourishment to inform us.
The northeast Autumn with it’s cool temperatures and warmly-colored leaves is a good time to:
• eat hot foods
• eat gourd foods
• supplement with mullein
• get to bed early
• sweat in a sauna
• socialize locally.