A Piece from Ward…#13

The last 3 days we took a look at Emotional, Spiritual, and Mental health being foundations for our Life in Pieces. Today we can consider the 4th universal aspect of all of our lives – Physical Health. This topic can be a real challenge to get a hold on, because every one of us has our own unique view on the subject. And that view is typically based on our most current state of mind, body, and emotions. If you are currently “feeling fit” and in some consistent routine of healthy diet and exercise, then you “feel” petty good about things because you are either where you want to be or getting there. The opposite of course holds true for those of us who are in a rut with our physical health – poor eating habits, lack of exercise we’d prefer, and a poor body image. Physical health seems daunting, frustrating, and a source of anxiety.

I am the poster child for roller coaster fitness. I go up and down in my weight, in and out of routines, back and forth on my eating habits. The last year has been one of my most consistent since high school (30 years ago). Yet, without a focus on training myself to make wise choices and stay consistent, I am in real jeopardy of falling back to the ups and downs. In 2016 I settled on a word to be a theme for my year – TRAINING – it proved to be perfectly apropos’ in all areas of life. In my physical health as much as any area.

The best thing that happened in the last year to me physically was not consistent exercise or a more watchful eye on my dietary intake. The best thing was recognizing in a deep way that my physical health was directly tied to my emotional, spiritual, and mental health. That all 4 foundations needed to be healthy, took effort, and were my choice to invest my resources. The most valuable discovery or re-discovery for my physical health has been my decision to spend 30 minutes a day stretching.

Yes, I do like getting a little stronger, losing a little weight, and cloths fitting better. But those benefits pale in comparison to how I feel getting out of bed in the morning or the ease with which I bend my 6’5” frame over to pick up something from the floor. The 30 minutes I spend stretching and meditating before I work out is my most peaceful time every day. I check in with myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually while I stretch. I believe that stretching and the physical flexibility it provides offers an example the balance we need in all areas of life. Take some time today to bend down and touch your toes…and if it proves difficult, consider adding some stretching to your daily routine.  No weights, no gym membership, and not too much time required. While you stretch physically, take some moments to see where you may need to be more flexible with your thoughts, your emotions, and your spiritual journey.

Make sure you look to lifeinpieces.org in the days and weeks to come to read about how our everyday ordinary lives can be the special gifts that others need. You belong!

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