This website was born way back in May of 2010. Every year in May I look back and assess the year’s articles first, to ensure I’m providing the value that you guys deserve and second, as a means of reflecting on the work itself, my life and the themes that lurk within.
Some years there’s no theme. This year is different. The theme began as a quest in how to define and build a harmoniously healthy self, it ended with a year of maintained 200lb weight loss, celebrated this past Monday. The idea of building a harmoniously healthy self remains, but has crystalized as the pursuit of living Wellness. Wellness, as we explored in this article, is simply “an organizing principle…in which body, mind, and spirit are integrated by the individual to live life more fully within the human and natural community” (Myers & Sweeny, 2008). Wellness has nothing to do with a number on a scale.
Therefore, here are the top five articles of the year on how you can live Wellness—a living harmony of healthy body, soul, mind. I’ve added excerpts of the essential points, but feel free to have yourself a click fest!
FIVE: Beginning with the SHAPE of your Wellness
“Think upon your “Golden Self” for a moment. What arises in you? For me it’s continuing my physical discipline, increasing my emotional and mental balance and enhancing my sense of personal energy and fulfillment. What does your Golden Self look like? How far out of your grasp is that? Scary, right? Perfect….moving toward your Golden Self along the Golden Mean takes continual effort. Note the language; “Moving toward” your Golden Self, not attaining it. What we’re considering is not the ribbon on the finish line, but the next horizon on the path. Once you define your Golden Self and your Golden Mean, you already become your Golden Self. All that’s left is continually walking the path.”
“In wrestling with how to illustrate the harmony we seek, I developed an acronym to get keep us shape. Or, S.H.A.P.E. This is how we walk along the Golden Mean. [S]pirit Fueled [H]ope Focused [A]chievement Celebrating [P]racticing Mindful Forgiveness and [E]ver Evolving.”
FOUR: Breathing in the Moments with Joy
Living in the Aloha State 6/21/14
“‘In Hawaii ‘only 6.6 percent of people report frequent mental distress.’ (Mann, 2009) My primary question, as I ran my last run up the beach, rode through the night on a plane and resumed my life at home, was ‘why?’…How would your mental state be, if [Aloha] was the very law which governed public action and interaction? Yeah, mine would be 93% chillin’, too.
“Just as the law governs our actions, I will let the law of Aloha govern mine. Since everyone is essential to others’ existence, I shall act with mutual regard and affection, show warmth and caring with no obligation of return. I shall be friendly and sincere. Since ethics guide our situational decisions, I shall use the acronym to ensure that I am watchful, alert, working with unity, honest, humble, and patiently perseverant. But, as the guiding principle over all, I shall breathe in the moment and joyfully share life energy in the present. I shall be still, because that was what Hawaii gave to me. Powerful stillness.”
THREE: Walking with the Spirit
The Soul in Action 9/13/14
“To be spiritual is to employ connection with our higher power in this breathing relationship to keep our soul functioning, our spirit sharp and our life full of activity and connection to our world, but on a level that gives our lives deeper purpose.
“…being spiritual has a real-world function and Koenig proudly reported that not only had the Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health discovered that ‘93 percent’ of studies they surveyed found ‘…those who were more religious experienced significantly greater purpose and meaning in life,’ but that in ‘the studies with the best research designs, 100 percent reported this finding – every single one.’”
“Power: ‘The benefit of a spiritual practice…is to refresh our confidence that our lives inherently have the power and unlimited capacity of a mighty river.’ (Arkawa, 2007) Professional and Personal Joy: ‘Although many marketeers will claim that the ‘secret’ and other magical books can save you time and energy for success, the truth is far from it…If you want a healthy heart, a happy soul and success, it’s the slow boat, but it’s the most joyful.’ (Walker, 2010) Perseverance: ‘Feed those spiritual needs and you will thrive honestly, feel it cleanly and heal…continual [spiritual] effort is consistent with research at UCLA, ‘that those who maintain a learning or process approach to intelligence…are better able to withstand the storms of life.’ (Arkawa, 2007; Koenig, 2011).”
TWO: Beating Temptation with Power
Temptation Tool Box 11/23/14
“Stop feeling weak. Stop acting like the stuffing is stronger than you. Stop thinking that you can be outsmarted by pie or ganged up on by the cheese plate. ‘Food shame can actually make things worse…’ say Rochefort and Wahowiak, ‘it can have a backlash effect and cause a person to eat more in the first place’ (Wahowiak, 2013). Food shame; the feeling of being a ‘bad person’ who eats “bad food” but is powerless to stop. Food shame can be the reason why our well-meaning family push the holiday treats they believe that they can’t fight at you. Food shame fuels the obesity epidemic.
Shame, discipline and judgment versus power, choice and freedom; that is what you gain from a Temptation Toolbox around the Holidays and every day. Take your toolbox and let’s start building a world where every food—from brownies to Brussels sprouts—are judged equally, and so are the people who love them.”
ONE: Falling with Rising-Focus
Falling Well: The Lifecycle of a Leaf: 9/27/14 First pic
“I love failure. To be fair, it’s been life-long acquired taste. To be even fairer, it is best tasted in small, momentary doses, not long banquets. There is a moment in failure when it has more power than success will ever have; that moment when the brain, heart, or the very soul says ‘Wait, I know how I can use this!’ I’ve seen the look bloom on peoples’ faces. It’s profound.
I need the seasons; I value their forced change of perspective. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons because of its stillness, beauty and seeming reverence both for the Summer which came before and the Winter ahead. Try it. Be leafy.”
It began as the search for the Golden Self but this pursuit of living wellness doesn’t end. It is simply life, but one in harmony with our world, are desires and our deficiencies. This website has grown in remarkable ways this year, but the best way is in how we’ve begun to become a tiny community of living wellness.
Next time there will be a winner of the seasonal contact giveaway for those of you in this community who’ve taken the step to be on the email list—for the rest of you, there’s still time to win!—but the point is not that.
The point is that, in this moment, I’m honored and humbled to be one small piece of this growing community of living wellness, and it would be less without you. So, thank you.