First, You Must Decide to Wake Up!
Because we are human, we do not always do what our mothers taught us to do. We make mistakes. We slip. Sometimes we feel guilty, sad and remorseful. This is followed by a strong commitment to change; to get back on the right path, to do all those things that mom, our first-grade teacher, Captain Kangaroo, Bert & Ernie, Mr. Rogers and Oprah told us to do. Unfortunately, just like when on a bike path — once we slip off we tend to make deeper and deeper grooves in the soft grass and mud. If we stay too long the grooves just get deeper until we find ourselves in someone else’s tracks; someone who slipped off the path long before we came along. Without fast action, we quickly adapt to this new trail. It seems so much easier to continue along in the mud. The problem is that we know we are in the mud and that we would be much safer if we could break through the rut and get back on the stable road. However, when we try to leave the sloppy and increasingly dangerous trail we are intimidated by the bumps as we smack up against the groove’s edge. So, we settle back into the rut (we’ll try again, later). We lack the courage, strength or will to risk the initial jar so we stay where we are.
Such is life both on and off a bike path. The difference between life and a bike path is that, on the life path, there are plenty of people happy and eager to tell you what’s good for you — what you need to do to live a healthy, happy, and prosperous life — to get back on the right path. Parents, teachers, priests, rabbis, monks, mullahs, your Aunt Betty, Dr. Phil and the next-door-neighbor stand ready to give (push) advice your way. Mostly, this advice is well intentioned, but it is often general in scope with little or no personal relevance.
Any newsstand magazine, professional website or internet blog can give you a broad wellness formula made up of good sense tips (mom told you these things a long time ago) like eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, stay away from tobacco, drink alcohol moderately or not at all, exercise regularly, spend time with family and friends, read a terrific book, see your doctor and dentist annually, wear your seat belt, believe in a higher power and stay away from a steady diet of cable news.
The Science of Life and the Art of Living
The science of life is general and objective. Evidence indicates that, foregoing defective genes and catastrophic events, a life accented by a healthy blend of proper nutrition, physical activity, rest & recovery, intellectual stimulation, emotional support, spiritual engagement and social interaction tends to be long and relatively free from illness and disability.
Science can show you how to build a strong skeleton, but YOU have to lay down the muscle and tease out the connective tissue that makes your unique system work, for you.
What do YOU want?
There are countless “How To…” books outlining the objective science of life complete with full-color templates. But, only YOU can explore, discover, design and nurture the unique, subjective, deeply personal art of living your life.
So, again, the questions are: What do YOU want? Where do YOU want to go? What predictably triggers and sustains those moments when you feel truly happy and satisfied with the life you’re living? Is it yoga or deep breathing exercises? How about “The Secret,” The Bible, The Koran, The Torah, or “The Four Noble Truths?” Is it truly better in the Bahamas … and does it simply take a trip to Jamaica to feel alright?
Perhaps, for you, wellbeing — life satisfaction — improves when you read a good book, spend time with your kids, go the movies, buy gifts for your grandchildren, drink a cold beer on a hot summer day, watch television or work till dawn on a project that comes to life and tickles you each time you give it your undivided attention? For me, every few years, it’s a quiet far-far-away mountaintop, exhausted, sleeping alone in a tent surrounded by strangers who quickly become forever-memory friends. For my wife, it was once the thrill of climbing out of a perfectly good airplane, hanging from the wing strut, letting go, and floating through the sky (YIKES!).
How about you? Of course, you WANT to increase and sustain your life satisfaction, but first you must WAKE UP! You must become AWARE and take inventory of what brings meaning to your life, today. You must open all of your senses and pay attention.