When Chaos Creates Opportunity: Healthy Habits I Developed During the Lockdown (Part 2)
So much has changed over the few weeks since I crafted Part One of my recent blog about the positive habits I discovered or dialed up during the Covid-19 lockdown. Thankfully, most of the world is on a steady path of reopening and at a quickened pace, since the second quarter of 2021 began. When we experience (personally and collectively) an extended period of trauma it’s expected that we feel like tossing our troubles (and masks) into the air and jump headfirst into the fray of our previous lives.
I have two suggestions. First, remember we are not out of the pandemic woods yet, so remain mindful of protecting your health and the health of others. Please be respectful and use your discretion when making decisions relevant to emerging from the shutdown. Another helpful practice is to look inside to uncover any lessons we learned from our collective experience and individually that will help us live our best lives. Hopefully, this extended hardship also brought with it wisdom and opportunities for growth.
With that in mind, let’s get cracking with five more healthy practices I learned or ramped up during the lockdown that are now part of my daily routine. When I say daily routine, it means I do these practices every day. With this mindset and discipline, I get in a lot more work on myself, because we know how easy it is to make excuses for not showing up and doing the work. There will always be days when our schedules do not provide the time for our practices, so I do my work every day that I can with no excuses. This makes a difference in achieving the results I seek.
Bottom line: when we work hard and take care of ourselves, we’re better positioned to treat others well, too. And that’s a good thing.
Time to finally get started…drum roll please….
6. Dowsing – Last October I interviewed Raymon Grace, one of the world’s foremost dowsing experts for my Guy’s Guy Radio show. What is dowsing? It can be a simple technique that can be used to search for directional information or an answer via observing the direction a pendulum takes when the question is posed. For example, a forked stick can be used to find water. The method I use is working with a pendulum. The direction the pendulum swings in response to a question comes from a vibration, frequency, or intention.
Here’s how I got started and how I use my pendulum now. After purchasing a pendulum on a short chain, I greeted it and dangled it in front of me. I asked it to show me the direction it would take for “yes” or an affirmative response. It started spinning clockwise. Then I asked it to show me “no”, and it began spinning counterclockwise. I asked the pendulum if it was working with Spirit and my higher self. It spun clockwise. Each time I use the pendulum I begin with this same protocol.
When dowsing or working with energy in any practice, you need an open heart and mind. If you think what you are doing is silly, you will not get results. If you are unsure about how you feel but approach the practice with the attitude of “what if?” you have a good opportunity of receiving helpful information. Let me repeat myself. If you don’t believe in the possibility of dowsing sending an intention to the Universe or for receiving information via an energetic connection and a vibration running through the pendulum, don’t waste your time. This practice is not for everyone.
I’ve dowsed daily since October 2020 and I feel it has been helpful in two ways. Although I do not ask specific questions every day, when I do, I get an immediate reaction from the pendulum. If it begins spinning clockwise, the answer is affirmative. A negative response moves counterclockwise. And no, I don’t swing it the direction I want it to spin or intend it to move in a desired direction. I ask a question and the pendulum begins moving on its own. If I ask a question, I frame it by using the words, “what would be the result of …?”
The other way I use dowsing is for intending things I want, as if they are already happening. I begin by asking/commanding the release of any negativity in my body, mind, spirit, or affairs—diseases, toxins, pathogens, blockages, stored emotions, etc. As I do this, making a list of what I want to release, the pendulum starts swinging counterclockwise. After a few minutes, when I place my open palm under the pendulum it slows down and stops. Then I switch to asking/commanding positive, healing energy to address specific areas of my life I want to improve and the pendulum spins clockwise. Like many practices, it’s very simple, but provides clear information and results. Is it for you? You’ll have to ask yourself if you vibe with the concept.
7. Affirmations and Commands – Call it prayer, call it talking to Spirit or the Universe, call it whatever you want, but the practice of stating affirmations and commands works for me. Before Covid hit, I had been making affirmations in my mind for years. During the early days of the shutdown my spiritual teacher, Jeanette Meek, who transitioned in late 2020, suggested that we verbalize our affirmations. I began doing this and believe verbalizing the affirmations, even softly, made a difference in my communication with Spirit and Universal Consciousness. During her last class before her transition, Jeannette stressed that it was important to think of our affirmations as commands or invocations, not simply our hopes and dreams. She was uncharacteristically emphatic about this, so it stayed top of mind. I followed her teaching and now feel a deeper connection with Spirit and more power in my invocations.
Based on this experience, my suggestion for creating or “manifesting” is to drop into a meditative state and tell Spirit exactly what you want—knowing that we ultimately end up receiving what is best for us and others. It might be exactly what you asked for. Or It might be something even better and what you really need. Be open to outcomes and try not to be controlling when working with energy. After you have expressed your desire, feel it’s presence as something that exists in the present. Then let go and move on about your day. If you believe the Universe works with your vibration, then open your heart and allow the Universe to serve you. Doubts and negative thinking dampen the process, so stay positive and know you are being heard loud and clear.
8. Evolving to a more Plant-Based Diet – Although for years I favored a perfectly grilled porterhouse steak with a glass of red wine over most things in life, over time I realized that my body was working overtime digesting all that meat I was consuming. I read about addressing our body’s need for protein from sources other than meat and it got me thinking.
This led to the inciting incident when I met my wife thirteen years ago. We met on Match.com. When I read her profile, she mentioned being vegetarian. After we were seated at the Boat Basin Café on West 79th Street in Manhattan, I was hankering for a juicy, bloody cheeseburger. But when my new date ordered a grilled portobello mushroom, it gave me pause. I ordered a veggie burger and that was the end of beef for me. My wife-to-be did not encourage or deter my choice. I simply stopped eating beef and pork. A year later I gave up poultry and although I still eat fish, I’ve never looked back. I ate my fill of meat and do not preach to anyone who chooses to eat meat. It’s not my business.
What about the lockdown, Guy’s Guy? During the long months, I began replacing the remnants of my non-plant-based food choices. After a dozen years without eating meat, I still had some work to do cleaning up my diet. Now that I live in SoCal, it’s easy being a pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, organic, gluten-free, keto, lactose intolerant, whatever… Out here, there are abundant choices available to suit any meal preference and lifestyle. Now I indulge in the occasional plant-based cream sandwich cookies, frozen desserts, burgers, hotdogs, and bacon, while also curbing my intake of primarily animal-based foods like milk, pizza, and ice cream. Over time, my taste buds have adapted, and I’m satisfied with the trade-off between giving up all that tasty animal-based food and easing the workload on my digestive system. I no longer miss eating meat, and the lockdown gave me the time to focus on eliminating foods that no longer served my needs and desires.
Is this for everyone? It works for me and that’s all that counts. Everyone is ultimately headed in the same direction, but we’re all on different paths with different timetables. Eventually, there will be a seismic shift to a more plant-based diet, but for now, people need to do what works for them.
9. Stretching – Let’s face it. For many guys, bench presses and curls are workout mainstays. Stretching is not fun. Over time, though, pushing weights can get tedious and often overwork our aging joints and tendons. If only we could remain twenty-five forever. Since that’s not happening, we need to adapt. For men, one of the best ways to shake up the old fitness routines, if we even have one, is to incorporate stretching and core work into our routines.
At this stage of the game, I prefer doing exercises using my body weight versus pumping iron. I have been doing push-ups daily for over forty years and still crank out 75 in one set every morning. And yes, I deploy good form. It works my entire upper body and it’s a great way to check how I am feeling every morning.
I make sure I am awake for an hour prior to doing push-ups. Before I do, I always perform Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior Workout for upper and lower body stretching, along with a set of tailored floor exercises and yoga mudras to strengthen my core, aid balance, and get my brainwaves firing in sync.
These poses and positions include the bridge, tabletop, upward dog and child’s poses, and a few minutes of holding a full body plank. The benefits are many. My spine feels more supple than it has in decades, my core is stronger, and my brain functioning is on point. Even without lifting free weights, my upper body is more sculpted than it has been in years.
10. Getting more Rest and Sleep – Saving the best for last, who doesn’t want more sleep? Studies show that up to ninety percent of Americans do not feel fully rested after a night of sleep. I am thankfully one of the ten percent of those lucky folks who sleep well. But it was not always this way. During my years living in New York City, long nights of partying, business-related stress, too much late-night television, and screen time played havoc with my sleep patterns. Early on during the shutdown, I decided to address this issue and I am pleased with the results.
The first change I made after moving to SoCal was to start waking up and getting to bed earlier. I began meditating daily at sunrise and have maintained the practice over the past seven months. It’s a peaceful way to center myself and begin the day. Not being able to do much outside the house during the lockdown provided me with an opportunity to make the change to an earlier bedtime. Now I am often in bed before 10PM and wake up between 5 and 6AM. I like to do my work-work in the morning when my mind is clear and my body feels strong, so this change has been a good one. The calming effect of meditating first thing in the morning helps me fall asleep more easily at night. Most nights I’m asleep within a few minutes from when my head hits the pillow. When I sleep from 10PM to 5 or 6AM, I get a solid seven hours of shut eye, which is very helpful.
On nights that I have too much monkey chatter in my head at bedtime, I say a phrase, Jeannette taught us in our spiritual unfoldment class – “I command my body to adjust to this space and this place”. Give it a try the next time you are having trouble falling asleep and you may get a pleasant surprise.
Looking back over the time of the lockdown, I’m now acutely aware how these ten simple, positive behavioral changes made such a difference. This in no way marginalizes the illnesses and losses so many families experienced due to Covid. The point I’m making here is that when chaos crashes the party, opportunities can arise. We learn to take the good with the bad. It’s the ying-yang way the universe works. When we seek the lessons and look for the good in any situation, we often find the power to make a difference.
In closing, I kindly ask that you take a moment to ask yourself what positive changes you made during the shutdown. I’ll bet you’ll uncover a few helpful nuggets you can build on for a better, healthier future. Good luck!