It takes some diligence to live a health supportive lifestyle. The great spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, defines diligence as organizing your life around something you want to bring into your life. The twenty-first century is so demanding and fast paced that without this diligence healthy habits easily go by the wayside. Here’s an example.
I met a woman the other day, who with her commute, puts in a 70 hour work week. There is never a work day without a crisis. Although she was trying to empower her staff to handle the crises without her, they always seem to need her. She loves to cook, but eats fast or packaged food for her meals. She has no time for exercise or meditation which used to make her feel so good. She will go without sleep to get ready to entertain on weekends. When I suggested that working a nine hour day would give her 15 hours a week to take care of herself, she was dumbfounded.
But it isn’t as easy as walking in one day and working fewer hours. There are patterns that keep us stuck in behaviors that work against us. This gal is at her best in a crisis and gets a lot of satisfaction from handling them. But the cost of the “atta-girls” for saving the day is her health. I referred her to someone who can help her recognize and shift this and other patterns that are no longer serving her and open a space for more healthful ones.
Many years ago I started saying no in order to make time to tend to my health. It was scary at first, but no one got mad. I still got raises and promotions. My friends were happy to see that I was feeling better and were glad to support me. My family put up with me and now years later are adopting some of the same healthy habits I did back then.
I organize my life around my health because when I don’t, it shows. I don’t think as clearly. I tire easily. I lose my sense of humor and get crabby. I don’t sleep well. I get apathetic. So I know better than to leave the house in the morning without meditating, exercising, packing a healthy lunch, downing some green juice—thanks to hubby, our household juiceman—and sipping a green smoothie on my way out the door.
My routine may not be yours, but I challenge you to consider what you need to do every day to live a more full, healthy and engaged life. I also challenge you to examine the underlying reasons for behaviors that work against this, and find a way to change them. I am a huge fan of mindfulness meditation as a way to develop peace and calm, increased stress resilience, encourage healthful behaviors and transform unhealthful ones.
There is an opportunity to learn and practice mindfulness meditation October 31st – November 2nd near Kansas City with a highly regarded teacher who worked intimately with Thich Nhat Hanh for seven years. Learn more at mindfulnesskc.org I would love to see you there!