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This is also true of our commitment to spreading the health and wellness message – that we are responsible for our own health and that of our dependent family members – and that preventative medicine is the only effective medicine. Natural health and nutritional medicine go hand in hand with a strong individual sense of self empowerment. A healthy mind makes a healthy body – deciding to eat a balanced diet containing 50% raw foods, organic where possible and avoiding processed food will support that intention.
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House Therapy & Rediscovering the Secrets of You in a Non-Contemplative World
By Sudha Hamilton
As adults in wealthy Western cultures what one material thing is valued more highly over all others? It is the home of course! A house or an apartment, of your very own, is seen as the great goal and or as an investment stepping stone to tremendous wealth, either way it is prized within our modern societies today. As many of us work frantically toward this Mount Olympus like achievement, paying off large bank loans with monthly repayments, often at the effect of capricious interest rates, we can lose sight of who we are and what makes us happy. The focus on the goal can overwhelm our sense of enjoyment in playing the game of life.
Why not use the very thing that taunts and teases us, the carrot dangling before us, the haloed home, as a device for getting to know ourselves and finding happiness? Discovering the secrets to what makes us happy, are found not in some exotic foreign clime or obscure ancient text but much closer to home. In fact the clues to who we are and what we truly want are all around us in every room of our living abodes. Welcome to what I call House Therapy.
Of course you do not have to own the home you live in to benefit from House Therapy, as your mere presence within your house or apartment defines it as yours. We all generally have some influence on the look and feel of the rooms within our home, and even for those uber minimalists out there your very non-doing defines your space just as much. There is a Taoist flavour to House Therapy, as it employs the ‘Isness of things’ principle being at work in our lives. The way things are – is the way things are – and that is for a reason, if you just take the time to look.
You do not need to be an architect or an interior designer, although if you are you may still benefit from the insights offered by House Therapy, indeed we are all to some degree designers of our own lives. If not you, who else is the most influential person in your life, and who knows you better? Who else, in your life, is defining themselves by every decision and choice made, as they make their way along their life pathway? Nobody but You!
There are several traditions, which employ some awareness about living circumstances and structures, Feng Shui is one from the Chinese culture, and Vastu Shastra is another from the Ayurvedic Indian tradition – these two philosophies share a concern with the lay-out and placement of your home in relation to the surrounding geography and the universe. I will be including some wisdom derived from both these sources in my House Therapy compendium, and this knowledge will be utilised in the form of things that you can do to help your situation. For example you may be advised to clear out old furniture which is connected to past relationships; or you might need to look at rearranging patterns and room functions within your home; and if all else fails where and what to move into, when creating a new home.
Your house, your home, is your castle not your prison and it is often wise to remember that you can move on if you need to. Mobility of energy is a very important aspect in our lives, if we are to be happy and free, and in some situations it is better to cut your losses and relocate. One of the most exhilarating and wonderful qualities we have as human beings is our ability to start again, to reinvent ourselves and feel the rush that comes with the new growth after a forest fire. In these circumstances you can turn around that ‘under siege’ mentality, which saps your energy as you feel like you have everything to lose, and discover the reborn refreshment available when we begin again. Life is an infinite cycle of beginnings and endings, so don’t get stuck in the middle.
Daniel Stern, one of the world’s foremost early developmental psychiatrists, explains in his research how we, as human beings, develop different senses of self or perspectives on our world. I would posit that we develop these multiple perspectives and maintain them as we grow and develop: and that they evolve with us and eventually coalesce into a our overriding identity.
Daniel Stern, infant psychologist and author of the acclaimed book, The Interpersonal World of the Infant, states in:
The Developmental Progression of the Sense of Self
“As new behaviours and capacities emerge, they are reorganised to form organising subjective perspectives on self and other. The result is the emergence, in quantum leaps, of different senses of the self. These will be outlined briefly here.
There is, for one, the physical self that is experienced as a coherent, wilful, physical entity with a unique affective life and history that belongs to it. This self generally operates outside of awareness. It is taken for granted, and even verbalising about it is difficult. It is an experiential sense of self that I call the sense of core self. The sense of a core self is a perspective that rests upon the working of many interpersonal capacities. And when this perspective forms, the subjective social world is altered and interpersonal experience operates in a different domain, a domain of core-relatedness. This developmental transformation or creation occurs somewhere between the second and sixth months of life, when infants sense that they and mother are quite separate physically, are different agents, have distinctive affective experiences, and have separate histories.
That is only one possible organising subjective perspective about the self-and-other. Sometime between the seventh and ninth months of life, infants start to develop a second organising subjective perspective. This happens when they “discover” that there are other minds out there as well as their own. Self and other are no longer only core entities of physical presence, action, affect, and continuity. They now include subjective mental states –feelings, motives, intentions-that lie behind the physical happenings in the domain of core-relatedness. The new organising subjective perspective defines a qualitatively different self and other who can “hold in mind” unseen bit inferable mental states, such as intentions or affects, that guide overt behaviour. The mental states now become the subject matter of relating. This new sense of subjective self opens up the possibility for intersubjectivity between infant and parent and operates in a new domain of relatedness-the domain of intersubjective relatedness-which is a quantum leap beyond the domain of core-relatedness.(cont)
At around fifteen to eighteen months, the infant develops yet a third organising subjective perspective about self and other, namely the sense that self (and other) has a storehouse of personal world knowledge and experience (“I know there is juice in the refrigerator, and I know that I am thirsty”). Furthermore, this knowledge cab be objectified and rendered as symbols that convey meanings to be communicated, shared, and even created by mutual negotiations permitted by language.” (10)
As you can see by this, we are already at home with multiple perspectives, and senses of self, from the earliest possible age; and it is indeed how we process the world and our perception of it. Having several perspectives is a formative experience, and I would suggest that we maintain these different viewpoints throughout our lives; and that they operate within a fairly loose hierarchical structure within us. I like Stern’s use of the word domain, meaning home of course, as he explains how we move various experiences into the houses, or areas of responsibility, of our newly emergent perspectives or senses of self. The infant is already a mansion of many rooms or domains and as his or her universe continues to expand, so too will the number of rooms within. We are housing our different voices within their own areas of influence and creating ourselves as multiverses, a hive of chambers under the auspices of the queen bee.