To Live Well

To Live Well

Do you live well?

It might take a moment to decide how to answer that.  Every time I read those four words I have to think about it for a minute.  But, most of the time, I feel like I do live well, or at least hold the intent to do so, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s working.  Like today, when I have a sore neck and not enough voice to complete my daily task list.   Maybe remembing the words, “do you live well” are even more important on days like this when my physical body just doesn’t feel good.

For me, living well means finding a way to be true to the things that I value most: leading a life of simplicity, being satisfied with enough, embracing the natural world and empowering those whose paths intersect with my own-even on wet, cloudy days.  Even when my physical body could feel better.   It means being able to adapt to the misfortunes and troubles of a human life, living fully in each moment, and holding a sense of joy at my center.   Even on days when I would rather be doing anything else than what I am doing right now, no matter what it is.

Resiliency, along with a joyful presence, allows me to be fully alive, fully engaged in my every day, and fully able to be the person I am called to be.  Even when I’d rather crawl back under the covers.  Maybe I’ll do that when I’m doing posting this.   Maybe resiliency means giving in to the urge burrow into comfort if it means I’ll emerge feeling ready to move forward.

Caring for myself, creation and others allows me to live as whole person – mind, body and spirit.  I think for all of us, wellness is multi-dimensional and requires alignment of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual bodies, however we interpret them.  Finding our balance between these areas helps us to live fully: As a joyful, resilient people that can achieve wholeness in the midst of a sometimes broken world.  Even on days when we don’t feel good.

What is most important to you in regards to your wellbeing?  What might you need to do differently to keep working toward being your best self, full of joyful presence and living well?  What will help you do what you need to do to live in a way that honors what matters?

I like to ask myself the following questions as I keep adapting my plan to living in a way that honors making optimal wellbeing a reality:

1)      What’s working now in my health and wellbeing?

It can be tempting to go straight to what feels wrong with our lifestyle, or what isn’t working right now.  Like a sore neck, or a lost voice, or lingering meloncholy.  But as we begin thinking about what might benefit from being done or viewed differently, we can take some time to reflect on and acknowledge what we are doing well already.

2)      What’s my vision for change?  What is making change important?

Identify what is causing a desire for something different in the first place.  It is one thing to say, “I want to lose weight.”  It is another to say, “I am at peace with my physical body and have a renewed sense of self.  I have the energy I need to participate fully in my life with confidence and ease.”  When we figure out what is making us want to do something differently, our choices are fueled by inspiration, and our intent becomes reality.

3)      What strengths can I bring to my change process?

We all have unique qualities and strengths – think about what you do well and what allows you to be successful.  Maybe you have a knack for remembering people’s names and thrive on challenges.  Maybe you are detail oriented and like structure.  Maybe you are an empathetic listener and need alone time to think.  Whatever makes you you is something that can be identified and drawn on to set the stage for success.  When we know what we do well, we have a foundation on which to build.

4)      What are my greatest challenges to changing, and how can I work around them?

Most of us have things that get in the way of moving forward with our desired changes.  Make a list of the challenges that might get in the way and identify possible ways to work around them.  There are no wrong or crazy ideas.  On my list today are, “sore neck, unhappy mood,” and “leave work early, take a nap, read something uplifting.”

5)      What are my first priorities for change?

Figure out what needs to come first.   Maybe the desired outcome is to lose weight to increase energy, but you aren’t sleeping well at night and tend to stay up too late which makes choosing healthy food and getting any exercise that much more challenging.   Perhaps the first priority will be to avoid screen time after 9pm and spend your last waking hour in dim lighting, doing something peaceful to ensure a refreshing night’s rest.  Getting to the root issue is essential to lasting success.

6)      How ready, confident and committed am I to taking the first steps toward my vision?

Setting realistic goals and backing up those goals with firm commitment is a cornerstone of moving in the direction we wish to go.  We can only benefit from doing whatever it takes to build confidence in ourselves, even if it means starting with a 5 minute walk, once a week, or smiling at the person stuck in traffic in the next car over, or taking time off if we need to spend our energy on ourselves instead of on work.  Every success has to start somewhere.

7)      What will I do today?

It’s up to each of us.  No one else can decide what we need to live well, and no one can live for someone else.

Remember that no success is too small to acknowledge and celebrate.  Remember that, even on days that are cloudy, cold and full of pain, joy is on our side, so we should be, too.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

~Mary Oliver