We have arrived at week 4 of the Women’s Wellness Challenge which is all about growing your wisdom. I hope you are enjoying the challenge so far, whether you are following along with me in January 2022 or you have found this post at some point in the future. This weeks’ topic of wisdom is an interesting one and I am so glad that Well College Global included it in their Personal Wellness course which inspired this challenge!
What does it mean to be wise?
The Cambridge English dictionary defines wisdom as:
“The ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments”
In general, wise people are not simply those who have amassed large amounts of factual knowledge but they are those with real life experience, empathy and grace. Some famous wise people include:
- Mother Theresa
- Winston Churchill
- Lao Tzu
All of these people show wisdom in their own way, whether it is intellectual pursuits, philosophy, leadership or charity work. What they all have in common is the ability to read a situation and know what to do. They are usually action takers, change makers and creative thinkers.
Many religious or political leaders, scientists and activists could be called wise, but equally others in the same life role can be lacking in wisdom. Similarly, there are plenty of normal people who have developed wisdom during their life. This is one reason why it is so sad that we spend less time with the elderly nowadays. Older people have a huge amount of life experience and often have a lot of wisdom we can learn from – they have seen it all!
Why is wisdom important for your wellbeing?
When it comes to your wellbeing, having wisdom allows you to make decisions for your health which work for your individual body and your unique life circumstances. It means you will be less likely to get caught up in the next new health trend and end up harming your body.
Speaking personally, when I was younger I got caught up in many fad diets and unsustainable lifestyle habits in the name of “health”. It took me many years to develop the wisdom to be able to make truly healthy choices and to intuitively know when something is not right. This meant going against the grain, giving up diet culture and learning to listen within for guidance.
Wisdom helps you to find meaning an purpose in your life and to create strong, supportive communities. When we become wise, we realise what is truly important in life and can let go of anything that is not aligned, whether this is the belief that more money, less kilos or the perfect marriage will bring us fulfillment. We learn to be fascinated by the twists and turns of life and less caught up in perfecting the details.
Wisdom allows us to relax more into the flow of life. When we have the wisdom to know what we cannot change and accept it, our stress levels are hugely reduced. One of my favourite quotes is:
How can we grow our wisdom?
Research by Cop MacDonald shows two key ways to grow our wisdom:
- Via the influence of other wise beings.
This includes the books that you read, the podcasts that you listen to, the art that you see as well as real life teachers, mentors and guides. In the peak of social media, this is more important than ever. Anyone can call themselves an “influencer” without having real wisdom or life experience. It’s up to you to use your intelligence, intuition and perceptive capacities to know what is good for you and what isn’t.
I regularly carry out a social media clean up to make sure that the energy I am allowing in through these channels is in line with what I want and who I want to be. Some of the wise teachers I currently follow include Uma Dinsmore Tuli, Alexandra Pope, Dr Ray Peat, BKS Iyengar and Marianne Williamson. This doesn’t mean you should follow them too, but rather find your own teacher that can inspire and guide you on your path.
- Through wisdom building practices
As well as learning from others, we can develop our own wisdom from within. One of the main ways to do this is simply through mindful living. By that I mean living with intention, purpose and with an awareness of your life experiences and how you can learn from them. In addition to daily mindfulness practice, formal practices of meditation, journaling and menstrual cycle awareness can help you to tune into your inner wisdom.
Self-reflection is an important tool in yoga to tune into the physical sensations, energies, emotions and thoughts that arise in your experience during a practice. The same goes during any life event – pay close attention and it will always have something to teach you. It is so easy to live life in auto-pilot but only when we are truly present can we fully experience life and learn its’ lessons.
Today’s challenge: Who are your wise teachers?
I hope you enjoyed the first post of this week about wisdom and your wellbeing. Your mini task for today is to make a list of all of the teachers in your life that you consider wise. This can be people that you know in real life or those that you learn from through books or other media. Any one that you look up to and learn from can be considered your teacher.
Once you have your list, you can review it and see if there is anything missing to support the area of your wellbeing you wish to develop. If you get stuck, go back to the 5 areas of whole being nourishment to learn about the different layers of your human experience.
The rest of this week we will be focusing on specific ways to grow your wisdom including meditation, curiosity and having a light heart. If you’re interested, make sure to subscribe by email to be updated on the next post!
Over to you…
- Comment: Who do you consider your wise teachers? I’d love to hear from you!
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