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Living in Alignment

If there is hope, how can we make this world a better place? Well, the answer lies in the importance of living in alignment.

Why It Matters

I was listening to Justin Baldoni‘s podcast, Men Enough, the other day when they were talking about sexual violence and human trafficking. In this particular episode, they had actress Ashley Judd and Polaris CEO Catherine Chen as guests. Polaris is a non-profit organization working to end sex trafficking, for which Ashley is the spokesperson and activist. The whole episode was very interesting but, the reason why it made me connect the topic with living in alignment was the tangible actions one can take to end trafficking.  You might be thinking, this is crazy, I have nothing to do with human traffic! But we all do.

World Problems

The 21st century has presented humanity with a myriad of complex and interconnected challenges. Some of the biggest are let’s say climate change, global health crisis, inequality & poverty, political instability & conflict, environmental degradation & loss of biodiversity. The actions one can take to end human trafficking go hand in hand with the actions one can take to solve all those big problems. If there is hope, which I’m positive there is, how can we make this world a better place? Well, the answer lies in the importance of living in alignment.

How Come?

It’s easier to say that the world’s biggest challenges require collective action, innovative solutions, and political commitment to sustainable development and global cooperation. It’s easier to sit down and wait for somebody else to address these pressing issues. However, what we have to remember is there is no them. We are just one humanity; we are part of the problem, and we must see ourselves as part of the solution. Together we can work towards building a more just, equitable, and sustainable world for present and future generations.

Living in Alignment

We say that we are living in alignment when our beliefs, choices, and actions align with what truly matters to us, which are called core values. Over the past five years, several major natural catastrophes have occurred worldwide with devastating impacts on communities, economies, and ecosystems. As the frequency and intensity of those extreme weather events continue to rise, pretty much everybody nowadays cares about climate change. If this statement is true then, environment or sustainability should be on everyone’s list of core values.

Notable Events

The recent tragic flooding in the South of Brazil, the devastating floods in Kerala, India, in 2018, and the widespread flooding in Venice, Italy, in 2019; Alongside hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Dorian, and Cyclone Idai are among the most devastating natural disasters to impact various regions around the world. Significant wildfires have ravaged Australia, California, Greece, and the Amazon rainforest. All of them have caused widespread destruction of ecosystems, property damage, and loss of life. 

Climate Change

Undeniably, all of the natural disasters were amplified by climate change. Caused by environmental degradation and the planet’s ecological imbalance, the rapidly changing climate poses significant threats to ecosystems and the human race. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and disruptions to agricultural patterns are just some of the effects of deforestation, pollution, habitat destruction, and overexploitation of natural resources. Mother Earth is screaming for help!

Global Crisis

Similarly, we’re living in a global health crisis where infectious diseases such as COVID-19 highlight the vulnerability of our health systems. We continue to see an alarming rise in diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Mental health issues are skyrocketing, especially concerning in younger populations. Conflicts like the one between Israel and Gaza continue to affect regions around the world, leading to displacement, suffering, and loss of life. Disparities in income, wealth, and access to resources persist globally, exacerbating social inequality and therefore conducive to human trafficking and sex exploitation.

Identify Your Core Values

That being said, take some time to reflect on what truly matters to you. What principles or beliefs guide your life? If you haven’t yet done so, make a list of your core values. Some examples are sustainability, health & wellness, integrity, compassion, family, and personal growth. Do you care about something bigger than yourself? Do you consider the human race your family? Or Earth your home? How do you feel witnessing the problems I just mentioned? Overwhelmed, choked, helpless, motivated?

I’ll Tell You About Me

I believe I have a part to play in this whole game. I deeply care about all those issues and, yes, sometimes it’s overwhelming. But, as a good planner, I like to break down big projects into small action steps. The choices I make and the actions I take every day are shaping a better future for my kids and grandkids. As we’re all trapped in this eternal present moment, the only thing we can do is focus on our daily actions. Even knowing that the future only exists in our minds, I keep doing my share by taking small steps every day. This is my understanding of living in alignment.

Authenticity

When you live in alignment with your core values, you are being true to yourself. You’re not trying to conform to societal expectations or meet other people’s standards. Instead, you’re living life on your own terms. I’ve chosen integrity, wellness, communion, and love as my core values. Those 4 words encompass everything truly important to me. Having this clarity helps me make decisions more easily and prioritize my time and energy. It also provides a strong foundation for my daily choices.

Align Your Goals

With those values in mind, I could set my goals, my mission, and my vision.  After a lot of thinking my mission statement became to do my share to create a future where ailments are scarce, making the world a better place for generations to come. I know this mission is much bigger than myself. My vision, or how I envision to accomplish my mission, became to educate and guide individuals on how to cultivate healthy habits that will enable them to live long vibrant lives. So, I strive to create a better world one person at a time, starting with myself.

Align Your Actions

Living in alignment with your core values requires self-awareness, intentionality, and commitment. But, by prioritizing what truly matters to you and making choices that honor your values, you create a life that is meaningful and therefore fulfilling. I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged, especially with a mission as big as mine but, my strong belief in taking small steps every day gives me the strength I need to move forward. That’s the reason why AA‘s strategy is successful – it is just for one day! One day at a time. If you are wondering what magical small steps could possibly change the world, here they are. 

Daily Steps

I’ll always strive to do the right thing because integrity is a core value of mine. That means today I’ll tell the truth, pay my taxes, and respect and be kind to people, regardless of race, religion, political party, gender identity, or sexual orientation—only today. As wellness for me includes being in a harmonious connection with nature, taking care of our planet matters deeply to me. So today, at the grocery store, I choose to buy products in recyclable containers, preferably glass. Today I also choose to recycle all my trash – even if I have to drive 10 miles to the recycling center. I also choose to compost all my organic waste even with the extra hustle.

Baby Steps

Honoring my wellness value, today I choose to go to bed early, to have a good night’s sleep. Today I choose to eat well, drink plenty of water, and move my body because I know those are healthier choices. Being healthy is my way of avoiding pharmaceuticals. Today I choose to be a role model to my kids. Just today I’m not eating junk food or buying processed foods that are full of harmful chemicals. I’m also choosing to plant a garden and some trees in my backyard. On my trip to the market, I’ll choose to buy local and organic products. I’ll go for a walk outside and do some breathing exercises instead of taking a pill if I have a headache today.

Small Steps Big Impact

I feel motivated today not to use weed-killer or fertilizer on my lawn. This small action helps preserve the quality of our watersheds. I’ll also leave my grass clippings behind instead of bagging and sending them to the landfill. Today I choose to plant natives and pollinators in my garden, to help preserve the natural ecosystem and the bees. Only today I choose to buy products from companies that value the environment and care and respect their employees and customers as I do. Businesses that value profit more than people are not getting my money today.

Stop Global Warming

To contribute to global warming reduction, today I’m not eating any meat. Livestock digestion, similar to organic waste decomposition in landfills, releases methane – one of the culprits of the greenhouse effect. Having a vegan diet also helps to cease animal cruelty, it’s better for my health and the planet. I also choose to drive an electric car, turn off my AC, and use natural light as much as possible – saving energy today is key to reducing CO2 emissions. I’ll also not use any aerosol products that emit fluorinated gases, another culprit.

Towards a Better World

Love is another value of mine. So, teaching my kids moral principles including, of course, how to respect people and their differences is how I can contribute today to a future generation of thoughtful leaders. By loving, accepting, and welcoming my kids’ choices and hardships I’m contributing to the eradication of human trafficking. Yes, traffickers use coercion and grooming to lure youth in. By not accepting a pregnant daughter, a transgender kid, or a kid who is facing addiction, or mental health problems we make them vulnerable. Vulnerable youth became easy targets.

Be Mindful

Cultivate mindfulness to become more aware of how your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors align with your values. Notice when you feel a sense of ease and when you feel like something is wrong. Use this awareness to make conscious choices. We all have a responsibility to open our eyes to how we might be unknowingly upholding or allowing global warming, the food industry to degrade our health, the big pharma to make us sick, the monoculture to deplete our soil, the need for profit to destroy the planet, and vulnerable people to become victims of trafficking. 

Set Boundaries

Establish boundaries that protect your time and energy. Say no to activities, businesses, products, people, or commitments that don’t align with your values. I don’t dye my hair or use Botox. Those are daily choices to reduce the toxin load in my body. Assess regularly how well you’re living in alignment. Reflect on your choices and make adjustments to stay true to yourself. Research has shown that when our actions are congruent with our values, we experience a sense of fulfillment and inner peace that transcends momentary pleasures. That’s how it feels to live a purpose-driven life.

Big Picture

It’s hard to see the big picture but, mindfully taking daily actions is the way we can make a difference. Like John Lennon beautifully said back in 1971 when he wrote Imagine – “Imagine all the people living for today; Imagine there are no countries; Nothing to kill or die for; Imagine all the people living life in peace; Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can; No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man; Imagine all the people sharing all the world.”

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”

And remember, Good is what makes you feel well!

Anna.

Anna Resende

Anna Resende

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Certified by IIN - Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Every week I send out my newsletter called Mamma’s Tips where I share health and wellness topics, good books, recipes, and more. 

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I’m excited to share that I just published my first e-book

A Weekend of Feeling Great!

In this book, you’ll find all the steps you can take to feel great. Besides all the foundational principles of multidimensional health, it has a sample of a productive daily routine and a two-day menu with 10 healthy recipes for you to try.

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