Thanks for inviting me for coffee. You know that’s one of my favourite places to take coffee? A great place to chill and wile away the hours. The company wasn’t bad either. Good conversation. In fact what we were talking about, higher consciousness, being one with God, the Universe, left me thinking after we parted. But I didn’t end up where I would have expected as my thought were interrupted by a request to answer a short poll. In fact the shortest I’ve ever completed.
It was only a single question. Simple, ehhh?
“What do you consider the most important foundation for being able to achieve what you want in life? Health or family and friends?”
I thought about this for a few moments. I wanted to answer “family and friends” because, hey, they are a large part of what life is about, right? But I realised that if you don’t have good health then even the best people surrounding you will not enable you to achieve certain goals. Additionally, at the beginning of this year I have entered an awareness that health is only partially about physical fitness. I say this as most people when asked: “How are you?”, will default to the state of their physical health. “Yes, I’m good. Had a cold over the holidays but all’s well now. Increased my running. Feeling energised.”
However, this is only a portion of our health. There’s so much being blogged about mental health these days and our mental health needs consideration when we assess how we are. I’ve come across some very fit people who are using an extreme fitness regime to distract from mental issues. Maybe to hold back depressive tendencies. A sticking plaster approach. But I’m thinking one can’t run away from such issues.
Your mind and body are not separate. What affects one affects the other.Anon
Then there is spiritual health, which is for me the most important area of all. Someone once told me that everything is spiritual. You are a spiritual being having a human experience, right? So a healthy spirit must be the very essence of wellbeing. If this is right then everything will radiate from here.
I have just read a case study on a lady who was, without warning, thrown into a situation which cause prolonged stress of the most severe kind. She kept returning in her thoughts to the situation and this reenergised the stress. Over a period chemicals generated by the stress caused physical ailments and her body degenerated causing more mental issues which took her physical health with them. Her financial health collapsed and her ability to have anything other than toxic relationships took over. Relational health was gone.
Eventually she hit rock bottom with a complete physical and mental breakdown at which point she did what others have done before her and threw what was left of herself on the mercy of a god she may never have previously acknowledged. She is not the first person to have done this and not the last person to have been heard. The slow path to recovery began and interestingly it started with her spiritual well being. She began a daily regime of meditation, hard at first though becoming easier with practice. Long story short, a year later she was virtually healed in all areas of her life. This included the disappearance of a tumour.
Trauma creates change you do not choose. Healing creates change you do choose.HealthyPlace.com
My points from this are, firstly, in the early stages of her mental issues she was apparently physically well and would have no doubt said so if asked. Secondly, a breakdown in one area of our lives is seldom restricted to just that. First her mental wellbeing, then her physical, her financial and her relational wellbeing were taken from her. Her appeal to God at the eleventh hour would suggest her spiritual health had long existed at a very minimal level. Thirdly, it was in the healing and increasing of her spiritual health that she regained the other areas of her life.
She is now well, really well, succeeding in life and able to help others.
As I write I am mindful of people I have known down the years who have suffered debilitating illness, even to death, and amongst these I can see some where there has been a trauma in their life before there was ever illness. Am I saying the trauma caused the illness? No, I have no qualification to assert this but I am making an observation. At the point of the trauma some of the more negative emotions began to manifest in some of these lives. Guilt, fear, hate, loathing. These grew if the person refused to move on in life and continued to repeat their story. I would have once asked if strongly held negative emotions could impair our physical wellbeing. Now there seems to be so much material available to study that it would appear quite apparent there is a correlation. One area of our lives is not functioning correctly and there is a knock on to other areas.
So, for me, 2020 is about a holistic approach to well being. I will endeavour to treat myself kindly in all areas with the key being my spiritual life. Spiritual does rule over all the other areas. I will endeavour to meditate effectively having progressed so far to the place where I enjoy stillness.
I shall determine to let negative thoughts and attitudes go as I realise the real victim of these can only be me. It is so easy to be negative if we only do so in the language we choose. I can’t, there’s a problem, I don’t, it’ll never work, and so on. How much can I help my mental well being by just moderating my language?
My physical well being? I am capable of over doing things in this area so, I will strive to maintain a healthy discipline when exercising, with my diet and with my lifestyle, whilst remembering to be gentle with myself. I believe that maintaining a light touch in this area is so important as discipline has a way of becoming excessive and harsh leading to an imbalance in wellbeing. So, no ambition to become a Navy Seal this year!
I seek the people who accept my craziness, will take time to talk about the deep things of life, sit up late with me drinking good wine and listening to old music. In these I will invest myself.Wic
And relationships. Again I need a little discipline here as I can let things slide. I don’t have or want large numbers of friends preferring meaningful relationships with a few. But good healthy relationships need work and time which I will endeavour to give. The returns to our wellbeing can be immense as we share positive, fulfilling relationships with others and this knocks on to our mental health as we experience acceptance, affirmation and love. Also, these are the ones who will spot us if things are going wrong in our lives. We all need these people.
2020, my year of holistic wellbeing. As I said at the start of this letter, it’s all about being at one. Roll it out slowly and gradually build the routines and practices that will bring benefit. If it goes awry at any point I will return to meditation and ensure peace with God, drawing strength for life from here and, God, me, that’s relational, isn’t it, so an area to keep in good health.
And, Pogue, you can call me to account every time we share coffee.
Yours, looking forward to the rest of the year,