Tag Archives: walking

Health: We need a paradigm shift

May your body be blessed. May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.“

– John O‘Donohue

You could be feeling a little „battle weary” by now from the daily dosage of Covid-related news. We wish it to be finally over but the pandemic still has many lessons in store for us mankind.

For one thing the issue of public health, and our integral role in a fragile environment has moved into the mainstream.

However, most mass media continues to be fear-based, propagating a one-dimensional perspective, and deflecting from the real underlying challenges. When fear rules the game our vision becomes clouded and our senses become susceptible to mind control and manipulation.

The elephant in the room

The elephant in the room is that two-thirds of Covid victims have had a medical precondition such as obesity, diabetes or stress-related problems that weaken the immune system. Young people with obesity appear to be particularly at risk.

Between a quarter to a half of nurses and health care workers suffer from obesity with experts pinpointing understaffing, stress and bad working hours as some of the reasons. An estimated 115 000 health care workers lost their lives to Covid.

Vaccines are a short-term necessity but not a long term cure. Covid has only highlighted to what extent a large portion of people in the industrialized countries suffer from medical preconditions that will keep on impacting entire economies.

A lifestyle feeding the epidemic

Our modern lifestyle contradicts the very way our bodies have evolved over thousands of generations. Poor exercise, a diet of mainly processed foods and high stress levels cause havoc to the body‘s natural defense systems. Its the perfect feeding ground for a virus that keeps attacking in different mutations.

The „health industry“ is largely in the vice grip of the pharmaceutical industy that is interested in longevity but not quality of life. The processed food industry‘s primary interest is not your health. It is to increase profits by boosting the shelf life of its products with artificial additives that flood the body with toxins, causing a multitude of health problems.

Covid will not be the last virus so we had better start looking at ways of how we can motivate ourselves and others in looking after our body, mind and spirit.

The discipline of maintaining a vibrant body and mind is that bridge toward becoming who you are truly meant to be.

If you don‘t take the time to look after your health, your body will soon force you to take the time to do so.

Just take a walk

Walking is one of the easiest and best ways of how you can start improving your body metabolism. Its one of the most underrated and best ways possible to exercise your body. We have literally been hard-wired by evolution to walk. I go into more detail on this in my book: Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

What you feed your mind and your body with is what you become. If you are addicted to news channels and social media propagating fear and anxiety you will start feeling emotionally drained and stressed.

Your brain and body need the essential nutrients from foods our ancestors have always eaten, mostly freshly harvested from the ground and the trees without pesticides. Meat was from animals that ate grasses and herbs. Fish came fresh from a clean ocean and river waters.

Photo by Wings Of Freedom on Pexels.com

Aligning body, mind and spirit

Its a no-brainer but we need a real paradigm shift when it comes to personal health and self-care.

By getting enough sleep and exercise, eating the right foods and surrounding yourself with positively-minded people you will have taken the first step to making yourself more resilient in coping with life‘s up-and-down cycles.

When you feel strong in body and mind you become centered and empowered. You will be more resilient to the constant pull of such toxic emotions as anger, hate, fear, envy and frustration.

Reino Gevers – Author – MentorSpeaker

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Are you a “do-one-day” person?

I remember a family friend from my childhood who had spent most of his life working and saving every penny for “a rainy day”. Only months prior to his planned retirement he died in his sleep with the heirs showing little appreciation for what had been saved with such sacrifice.

Almost on a daily basis people are telling me about all the things they “will do one day” with the bucket list staying in the bucket as the miracle of life and the beauty of the moment passes by unnoticed. Employees stay in jobs that they find unsatisfying, focusing all their energy on the next vacation and that “one day” when they can go into retirement and they can finally start living.

Regretting opportunities missed

When retirement comes they continue spending their days in quiet misery out of regret for all the opportunities lost and in the sadness over that which was and is no more. If a mindset is locked in procrastinating on the past and the future, this will not change when external circumstances change. The myth of retirement is that we can then fall into the armchair and have a nice rest. The problem is that when body and mind are inactive, they feel no longer needed and say goodbye.

But an even more pressing issue is the pain and suffering caused by the disconnect between internal and external needs. The external mindset feeds on fear. The illusion of immortality is created that emphasizes accumulation of material assets.

If we are lucky we have a lifetime of between eight and nine decades with physical and mental capacity generally declining as we grow older. An internal mindset is aware of the clock ticking and that we have a limited time available to live our purpose and our dreams.

All the time and no time to lose

We have in a sense all the time in the world and at the same time no time to lose. The beauty of life is in the here and now. Planning for the future is important but life inevitably is full of twists and turns. Life purpose is not set in stone. Priorities, dreams and wishes can change over time.

Reflect on your real needs and motives. Behind the wish of having a certain amount of money might be the real desire to feel secure and safe. Having the wish to wear the latest designer clothing or owning a sports car could be disguising the real need to work on self-confidence and self-worth.

A positive abundance and prosperity mindset includes all aspects of life such as health, relationships, fulfillment of material needs and spiritual development. Giving back to the universe what the universe has provided comes from an abundance mindset. The big changes in life come from setting small daily goals, and turning bad habits into good habits. Eating the right foods and doing a daily exercise routine is a good way to start building the vitality needed to fulfill your dreams.

Gratitude

One of the most important antidotes to the “one day I will be happy and rich” attitude is a daily gratitude ritual. What are the three things that I am really grateful for today? What experience during the past 24 hours was a key lesson for my spiritual development? Who are the teachers, friends, relationships I am truly grateful for in making me into the person I am today?

Opening the senses to nature

One of the most underrated and important ways of staying mentally and physically fit is taking a walk in nature. It is when you are alone in nature that you can attune the senses to the sights, sounds and smells of the universe. You will instantly start feeling alive and appreciate the beauty of the moment when you turn all your attention to the bird circling in the sky, inhale the aroma of fresh morning dew or hear the sound of water in a creek.

Life is full of beauty, abundance and small miracles that we fail to see if we procrastinate in the past and in a future that will always be different than what you had feared or envisioned.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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A changed world after lockdown

We are in the fifth week of our lockdown in Spain which has some of the most stringent Coronavirus rules in place. I was stopped a few days ago by police near my home who told me in no uncertain terms that taking doggy for a walk was not allowed if I had a garden where the dog could go outside.

Moving about is embedded in our genes

When this is over I will appreciate all the more my long walks in nature in the nearby Tramuntana mountains of Majorca. I have become more aware that moving about freely and traveling to faraway places has become very much part of our modern lifestyle. It will take a while to fully comprehend how farreaching an effect this is having on what we have perceived as fundamental freedoms. Our movements are likely to remain restricted for some time to come. What this means for the travel industry is anyone’s guess.

The urge to be on the move and discovering new places is embedded in our genes. Our ancestors moved from the trees to walk on the ground to seek new feeding grounds. For thousands of years, humans were nomads moving from place to place. As recently as 500 years ago there were still hunters and gatherers in many parts of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Finding authenticity on the journey

Jewish mysticist teachers made a point of sending their students on a journey to broaden their mental and spiritual horizons. It was also a way of teaching the scholar not to become too dependent on the Master and to find their own inner authenticity. Experiential spirituality in the mystic tradition is something awaiting discovery from within and cannot be imposed externally by rules of belief.

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Hiking trail, Majorca

The apprenticeship training of carpenters in Germany has for centuries followed the same tradition. After learning the basic tools of the craft from an experienced “Meister”, the apprentice goes on a “Wanderschaft” or hike to distant places to both finetune his skills and character.

Finding the empty space 

Every pilgrim who has gone on a pilgrimage on the Camino in Spain knows all about the “zoning out” into that empty space that comes when walking alone in nature for several weeks.  Experiential spirituality is a deep personal connection with the divine. Spirituality is all about following and remaining true to your divine purpose. Limitations to “Be-coming” are all too often set by the parameters of doctrine, parental expectations and the constant drum-beat of digital distractions.

When our senses are attuned to nature we find alignment with the universe. There is a close feeling of connectivity to the whole in the seemingly chaotic.

It is all the more reason to look forward again to my next annual pilgrimage. It might not take place at all this year on the Camino because we don’t know if all the restrictions will be lifted by summer. Meanwhile, it will have to be short hikes closer to home.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking to the truth within

A great dilemma of our time is that we are having to deal almost continuously with the distractive pull of a culture obsessed with the immediate gratification of the senses and the illusion that an accumulation of things brings happiness.

The imbalance between wanting to fulfill the needs of the external world and bringing that into synchronicity with the inner truth and the needs of the soul creates an almost unbearable tension that many people try to suppress with substance abuse and other obsessive behaviors.

The hungry ghosts of the external world

Behind the insatiable appetite of the hungry ghosts is embedded the fear of never having enough and that someone might want to take away what I already have. It is the hungry ghosts that drive our culture into destroying our habitat for future generations and it is the hungry ghosts that create an atmosphere of xenophobia toward people who are different from us.

The state of our world is merely an expression of the turmoil within. Hope, however, springs that a small but growing minority of people are taking that walk within to their truth and spiritual authenticity.

The Camino is a symbol of the search for new spiritual meaning

The Camino pilgrimage path in northwestern Spain has become a symbol of this search for new meaning. When walking away from the distractions of the external world the inner world starts revealing itself. It is why so many people who started the walk as a hike end up walking it as a pilgrim.  Last year a total of 320,000 pilgrims walked the Camino, another record, that is likely to be broken this year.

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Happiness is a state of mind

It is fascinating to watch first-time pilgrims very often starting their walk with too much clutter in their backpacks and then realizing after a few days that they don’t need most of the things.

One of the great blessings in walking the Camino is the realization that happiness is a state of mind that comes with the discovery of the inner authenticity, and literally walking away from the pull of the external world. A great way of starting the day is a gratitude ritual. The antidote to the pull of the hungry ghost is feeling a real appreciation for the moment and what is.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(Read more on this topic in my new book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” Ebook scheduled for publication by Morgan James in New York on May 5th, 2020. Printed edition scheduled for the major outlets in August 2020)

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking into authenticity

A pilgrimage walk is so much more than an ordinary hike, working on many subtle levels, that may trigger a changed perspective and a complete realignment of emotional, physical and spiritual needs.

Walking the Camino is a walk into authenticity when the whispers from the inner voice gradually become heard as with every step more distance is created from the pull of the external distractions of the daily treadmill.

Moving to a higher energy level

From my own observations, I would say that most people are living lives in which they suffer in a quiet misery of unhappy jobs, dysfunctional relationships and other unfulfilled needs that come when the mind is focused too much on external rather than internal needs.

A combination of a daily dosage of junk foods, a mind fed with negative gossip and emotional drama, a sedentary lifestyle, an imbalanced stress, and recuperation cycle, inevitably lead to a downward energy spiral.

Finding that momentum to change an unhappy situation

Over the years it then becomes that much more difficult to find enough energy for the momentum to change an unhappy situation, especially when it comes to taking that first step in changing bad food habits, doing a regular exercise routine or morning ritual.

When you are on a pilgrimage walk, you simply have to keep going. Once you are on the path the pull to complete it is very strong. Other pilgrims will give you that extra bit of encouragement when you are having a down moment.

Walking off old emotional baggage

Especially during the early stages of the walk, there will be mornings when every muscle in the body is aching and feet are blistered.  You may be asking: “Why am I doing this?” But gradually the walk becomes easier, the load from a backpack less heavy, and the motivation to reach the destination that much bigger.

Camino_Portuguez

It is a huge reward when you actually start feeling so much better, physically and emotionally.  It is part of the detox, the walking off of old emotional baggage, that is part of the Camino experience.

By the time you have walked three or four weeks on your pilgrimage retreat, your energy frequency inevitably rises. This becomes noticeable in the resonance with people that have a positive mindset.  You might find stray dogs or cats following you, a bird singing at you from a breakfast table or complete strangers greeting you and starting a conversation. You will also become more aware of the beauty of your surroundings.

Taking time out for realignment

Over the years I’ve tried fitting in a pilgrimage retreat into my schedule every year. It has been life-changing. Modern lives have become exceedingly stressful with the emotions of pain and fear dictating the daily narrative. The uncertainty that comes with exceptional economic and social changes is making many people ill.

More than ever, therefore, we need those time out retreats for inner realignment for those age-old questions seeking answers: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Am I leaving a positive footprint for future generations? The sense of purpose reveals itself in the authentic self.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Day One on the Camino

Today is my first day as a volunteer in a pilgrim’s hostel on the famous Spanish pilgrimage route – the Camino de Santiago.

Pilgrims have walked this path for centuries. In modern times its being rediscovered by thousands of people as a modern-day route to self-discovery.

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Pilgrims checking out the next day’s route in the pilgrim’s hostel, or albergue, in the town of Najera on the Camino Frances

Giving back to the Camino what the Camino has given to me over the years is an enormous privilege.

I arrived in Najera, northwestern Spain, in the valley known for its famous Rioja wines last night. As a volunteer hospitalero I am one of four people who serve in a pilgrims’ hostel for two weeks. We register the arriving pilgrims who come from places as far as South Korea, Colombia, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Kazakhstan. In the mornings we clean the rooms, toilets and prepare the hostel for the next group of pilgrims.

Every pilgrim has a story

Every pilgrim comes with a story and is happy to share some experience while on the way. Last night Darko from Croatia told me how he met a Swedish couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary walking the Camino. They were sitting on a bench looking at the vineyards in the valley below. “So has someone hugged you today, ” he asked. “No, they replied. You are the first one who asks.”

“Well, then can I give you a hug then?” he responded to the beaming couple.

My fellow volunteers are from France, Argentina and Spain. We converse in a mixture of pigeon Spanish and French. It always works out. All of us have walked the Camino several times and it doesn’t need much vocabulary to understand what needs to be done.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Back pain: Walk it off

Back pain is becoming an increasing disability, increasing by more  than 50 per cent since 1990. A series of papers just released by The Lancet shows that most treatments such as surgery and the use of opioids is doing more harm than good.

back pain

Foto, courtesy Jesper Agergaard

Apart from accidents and genetic conditions, there are multiple reasons why chronic back pain is reaching epidemic proportions. Poor posture, stress and a mainly sedentary lifestyle are some of the obvious.  In Germany statistics from public health insurance companies show that back pain has been one of the main reasons for absenteeism from work for years, costing the national economy a fortune in lost productivity.

Anyone who has suffered lower back pain will know how debilitating it can be and what impact it can have on happiness and general well being. It can force us into a state of paralysis where even the most willing of minds is trapped in an incapable body.

During stress situations our muscles tighten, especially around the neck and shoulder areas. Pressure has to go somewhere and will eventually find an avenue around the weakest part of our back in the spinal discs of the lower back.

The spinal discs play a crucial part in supporting the upper body, and allowing a wide range of movement in all directions. The supporting muscles of the spine inevitably degenerate when we don’t exercise enough. A slipped disc often comes when performing a mundane task. Of course back pain has to be checked by a physician. Sometimes an underlying serious condition such as an infection of a vital organ or cancer can be the cause. Every body is different.

Having practised Tai Chi and yoga for years, I can really recommend these body arts as extremely healthy for body and mind with a good teacher giving special emphasis on body posture.

People with lower back pain initially find any type of exercise painful, making an already serious situation worse by reducing all movement and causing more muscle degeneration. Therefore the most simple way to start is simply by walking which increases the stability of the muscles in the feet, legs, hips and torso.

Gentle, slow walking also improves circulation, pumping urgently needed nutrients into the spine and removing the toxins.  You are in effect “walking off” that back pain. But with our busy lifestyle, most people will argue: “I don’t have the time to do at least 5-8 kilometers a day!”

There are many ways the mind tricks us into staying in a state of procrastination.  But here are some tips of integrating more walking into your daily routine:

  • Use the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Walk to work and back if you can, or use a parking further away from the office
  • Find a nature area you enjoy for your walk. Its that much more fun.
  • And the best tip of all: Get a dog. A dog will tell you in many ways when its time for a walk, be there rain or sunshine. Its a fact that dog owners are healthier, simply because they do more walking.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

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Back from the Camino – what now?

Its been some weeks since we returned from our hike on the Spanish Camino and I’m still astounded at how much the experience still resonates in our lives.

We have just heard from Jim who walked the entire Camino Frances from Jean Pied de Port, arriving in Santiago last week after 40 days of walking.

The many interesting and fascinating people you meet on the Camino is part of part of what I would describe as one of the most precious gifts of the Camino. This is why many Peregrinos decide to give something back in volunteering to work a summer in one of the pilgrims’ hostels.

Many people walk the Camino to find an answer to a life-important question they are dealing with. Mostly they find the answer, sometimes after weeks or months after the walk, with the answer to a question needing time to ripen.

On my first Camino I was somewhat disappointed at not having found “my answer”. The lesson to learn was patience and to open the mind to the so many of the mysteries and lessons of the Path.

The first lesson I learned was that it needs time to “walk things off” and get rid of the old emotional baggage that you often carry with you for years. My theory is that the body has an “emotional memory” just like the emotional mind in holding onto “traumatic” experiences on a cellular level. This is why the first days of walking are so hard, even for people who have prepared well physically.

When this “emotional garbage” comes to the surface on the “path of crucifixion” that often comes during the first week of arduous walking through blisters, sore knees and back pain, the transformation process can begin. Then walking, even through difficult terrain, becomes an easy ride and you can actually start enjoying daily walks of 25-30 kilometres and more.

There were so many images, smells and meetings of mind on this centuries old path that this space is too short to fill them.

There was the father walking the path with two mules in fulfilling a dream that his daughter had on her death bed when dying of cancer. There are the brave young folk in the Aragon province fighting a dam project that will flood a pristine valley and one of the oldest parts of the Camino. There are the faces of people you look at where you know they have just gone through a very hard time in their lives and that they have come through, stronger.

On a physical level, I feel much fitter. My skin seems smoother and my senses of smell and hearing different. In my dreams I am still walking and when I wake up I know that I will soon be making plans for the next walk on the Camino.

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Reconnecting by walking the Camino

IMG_1581  Tomorrow my wife Alyce and I are starting our walk on the Camino from the French town of Lourdes.  Its time to walk things off again and to reconnect on many levels after a more than challenging year. For centuries, if not longer, countless people have walked these ancient paths mainly as an inner and outer spiritual journey. It is believed that prior to it becoming the mainly Christian St. James Way the Celtic people had walked these ceremonial paths in paying homage to the Earth Goddess.

Over the years I’ve walked several Camino routes alone, with a good friend, in a group and with my wife. I’ve been asked so why walk the Camino if you can go on a hike anywhere else? Whats the big deal? Why are so many thousands of people in modern times rediscovering this ancient pilgrimage route and taking time out to “walk things off”.

I’ve had some of the most interesting meetings with people from all walks of life on the Way. Some take time out after having lost a loved one, or having recovered from a serious illness or finding themselves at a crossroads in life. Others simply enjoy the walking. But nobody I know has gone home from the Camino without it having triggered something something in their lives. Its been a long tradition to leave a stone at these kilometre markings as a sign of respect to previous pilgrims, or to let things go that you no longer need in your life, or in memory of a cherished person.

camino_steine During the Middle Ages it was common for at least one member of a family to go on the pilgrimage to “cleanse” the family line of “sins”.  Many never came back. It was an arduous route in those times with many people dying of disease and illness. Today practically every town caters towards the pilgrims with good food and comfortable accommodation. The route is well-marked although every pilgrim will tell a story of having got “lost in the way.” It is part of the process of reconnecting, finding ones rhythm and getting back into ones own space.

This time we will be walking about 270 km over two weeks from Lourdes to Puenta La Reina, taking things as they come. We will keep you posted.

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