“Many people live with less than good health for so much of the time that it’s easy to forget what real, glowing, vital good health is like and how precious it is (Hansard, 226).” “One of the first secrets in journeying towards health is choosing to be healthy (Boice, 20).” It is important to realize that to accomplish any objective, maintaining health is essential. Without health, one cannot bring visions to fruition. Achieving a professional ambition or having a comfortable retirement while also pursuing a vocation is not possible if one is struggling with poor health. Recovering or retaining health requires time and effort. In order to create health, it is not simply a matter of avoiding certain illnesses or placating a spouse. Why do you want to be healthy? (Boice, 24).
MOTIVATION: Consider what is most important in your life. What matters to you? What do you want to create? For the moment, set aside thoughts about whether or not those creations are possible; instead, tell yourself the truth about what you really want in life. Choosing health to serve your life vision fundamentally differs from avoiding a consequence such as a serious illness. “Creating engages our life force, our innate regenerative capacity, as we birth new projects, objects, or states of being into the world. Creative focus seems to revive regenerative forces with us (Boice, 24).”
Some individuals may be either uncertain of how to adequately nourish themselves, unaware of what is required to maintain good health because there is so much conflicting nutritional advice. Other individuals may have resigned themselves to an impoverished view of their health or be unaware of an effective alternative approach, resorting to drugs and surgery to address all of their symptoms.
“Most medical systems focus on eliminating problems: Slay the symptoms. Avoid illness. Prevent disease. All these approaches are problem-solving strategies. None of these methods focus on what you want to create; instead they address what you want to avoid or eliminate. As you create health, you may well employ medical services to fulfill your vision of health (Boice, 21-22).”
In order to prolong health, it is important to follow the principles of healthy “whole food” traditional diets.
GOALS: Choosing health means one is moving from fears (avoidance strategies) and toward a desired outcome. Once health has improved, one continues to do what is needed to support a long-term vision of health. One does not vacillate between opposing decisions, i.e., eating Domino’s pizza or preparing a nutritionally dense dinner. One may affirm “I want to feel this way when I am eighty-two, so I am keeping up my walking program and eating healthy foods. I haven’t felt this good since I was sixteen!”
CREATING A CLEAR PICTURE OF HEALTH
Imagine what you would be like with full, vibrant health. Sketch in as much detail as possible. Forget about being “realistic.” Tell the truth about what you really desire. Do not diminish your vision so you are more comfortable with it. Once you have made a decision about where you would like to be, consider your current condition. Then set goals to achieve what you really desire (Boice).
“Take a moment to imagine what it would be like to live robustly to a ripe old age of one hundred or more. …you die peacefully in your sleep after your last dance that evening. You don’t die of any particular illness, and you haven’t gradually been wasting away under the spell of some awful, enfeebling disease that began years or decades earlier. Most of us can’t picture ourselves avoiding the ailments that tend to end others’ lives prematurely and sometimes suddenly. Yet I want you to believe that you can live a long, fulfilling, disease-free life—because it is possible. The end of illness is closer than you think. It is my wish for you. But to achieve this superhuman feat, you have to understand health from a new perspective and embrace a few tenets of well-being…(Agus, MD,2-3).”
“To create a more optimistic vision of future possibilities for yourself, imagine a healthy life of average length—say, eighty years—and now stretch it out to a minimum of a hundred twenty years. Envision yourself active and healthy at ages over a hundred, doing all the activities you want—even taking your bicycle out for a relaxing scenic ride! If you are an optimist, think beyond a hundred twenty; stretch it out indefinitely, with no end in sight (Estep, 13.)
“The Good Health Thought Exercise” (Hansard, 227)
Sit or lie down on your back. Make sure your head is straight and your body weight is evenly distributed. Close your eyes. Let your breathing be relaxed and as even as possible. Now image your body, your emotions, and your thoughts, from the center of the top of your head, down throughout your body, to the tips of your toes, starting to dissolve slowly, piece by piece, into a small pile of fine red powder. All that is left behind is you, your personality and consciousness. Stay like this for at least ten minutes if you can. During this time, see yourself clearly as you wish to be: vibrant and healthy.
Agus, David A, MD (2011) “The End of Illness” Free Press: New York NY Boice, Judith, ND, L.Ac. (2007) “Menopause with Science and Soul: A Guidebook for Navigating the Journey” Celestial Arts; Berkeley California Estep III, Preston (2016) “The Mind Span Diet” Ballantine Books, New York, NY Hansard, Christopher (2003) “The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking” Hodder and Stoughton; London