Traditional Chinese Medicine therapist Mieke Roovers is on an inspirational journey. She talks to us about eating with intention, life energy and the importance of nurturing our bodies, hearts and minds.
How do you incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine into your life? Can you suggest some small ways that our readers can also benefit from TCM?
Nowadays our brains are overactive and we live in our heads all the time – we often forget what our bodies and hearts need or we can’t feel clearly what’s good or bad for us. Because our brains are too active, we have problems with our natural functions – we don’t sleep well, get easily overtired , lose concentration, and so on. Take a break a few times a day and do something to stay in touch with yourself – it will help you to keep your energy up and your work will be better. To keep my energy steady, I do some quiet tai chi exercise in the morning and some meditation in the evening. When you wake up in the morning, be aware of your body first, instead of your busy schedule. Smile and think to yourself, ‘I’m going to make this day a beautiful day’. By doing this your brain will produce positive hormones, which will benefit you during the day.
On your way home from work, focus only on what went well that day. Unfortunately, people tend to focus on what went wrong, which only brings our stress home with us. It’s better to think of the nice things you want to do for the rest of the evening; that way, your family or those you come across later can enjoy your smile instead of your work stress.
What’s your philosophy of food and eating?
We shouldn’t just nurture ourselves on a physical level with food, but also nurture our bodies, hearts and minds with the things we enjoy. For example, listening to music, taking a walk in beautiful surroundings, or having sex, can nourish our body and soul.Eating with the right intention is very important. In my book Intuition Food I emphasize not only what you eat, but also how, and with what intention, you eat. It’s so important to be aware of what you’re eating, and to give it your full concentration.
Have a diet with plenty of variety and use products that are as pure and fresh as possible. When you prepare and eat your food with the right intention, you’ll get more energy from it. In Chinese dietetics they say each flavor influences our chi differently and taking the time to taste our food will enhance our life energy. When we eat without concentrating, say while on the phone, the computer, driving, and so on, we eat up to 50 percent more.
What makes a person beautiful?
It’s a kind of radiance. People who possess a true inner beauty vibrate at a higher frequency – their eyes are a little brighter, their skin is a little more dewy. The beauty of a person’s life energy, together with their appearance, makes them beautiful. As actress Rosalind Russell said, ‘Taking joy in life is a woman’s best cosmetic.’
What does happiness mean to you?
That you can enjoy life and experience the beautiful things in life. You know, it doesn’t take much effort or talent to feel bad – that comes all by itself, when bad, sad and stressful things happen. We can’t always control life or what happens in the world around us, but we can control how we feel on the inside – our mood. But feeling good sometimes takes effort; it’s an art of living. It’s a skill that you need to practise and develop – for example, with practice and relaxation exercises.
Tell us about ‘life energy’
This is the energy in and around a body. It is what the Chinese call chi, in India they call it prana, and in Japan it is known as ki. Energy channels, called meridians, transport our life energy around our bodies. We can enhance our chi with the right exercise, good food, relaxation and a positive mind-set. How we think about ourselves influences our chi. Each day we experience around 50,000 thoughts, at least 70 percent of which are negative or kinds of warnings. Fortunately, we’re more than just our thoughts; we have the freedom to choose what we think. There are more than 60 chemicals in our brains that we can produce on command. For instance, if you think that the message on your phone comes from your lover, your brain will produce certain chemicals that make you happy. For positive thoughts and intentions, the brain produces endorphins, which help to strengthen the body’s immune system. Essentially, positive thoughts keep us healthy; negative thoughts and emotions reduce our bodies’ self-regenerating and defensive powers. Positive thoughts and emotions enhance our defenses, inhibit the aging process and keep us energized.
Do you believe in karma?
I do – in the sense of seeing the rewards of developing your virtues and talents.
So what does it mean to you and how does it apply to your life?
I believe in karma more as a universal law – that if your energy, thoughts and actions are based on negativity, you will attract negative things in your life. If people ask, ‘Is the glass half full or half empty?’, I think they’re both true, but I like to focus on the positive side. If you can see and enjoy what is present in your life, it makes you happier than when you focus on what you’re missing. If you look for what is there, you’ll see opportunities; but if you only look at what is missing, it will hold you back from developing your full potential.
When you wake up in the morning, be aware of your body. Smile and think to yourself, ‘I’m going to make this day a beautiful day’. We can enhance our chi with the right exercise, good food, relaxation and a positive mind-set.