“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Health as a duty — interesting idea, isn’t it? I think too many of us in our culture see health as an “option,” that it’s our personal choice whether we’ll be healthy or not. After all, we are all guaranteed the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of Nachos, right?
Great health is nice, but as long as I’m not sick and can still do everything I need to do, isn’t that good enough? And if my body has problems, I can always zip over to my friendly family doctor and get her to prescribe something to keep it all together, right?
Honestly, this is kinda how I used to approach my own physical health.
Up until about 7 years ago, I was pretty overweight — okay, actually I had grown so large that I officially qualified as obese. I’d been an athlete in high school but it all fell apart after I graduated. I ate what I wanted (even knowing it was bad for me) then avoided exercise because I was self-conscious about my size. And even though I conscientiously cleared negative emotions and limiting beliefs in all other areas of my life, I avoided doing anything about the area of my physical health. I made a few attempts to get healthier — tried a few diets, did some short-term stints at the gym — but I didn’t stick with it.
In other words, I was doing what too many of us do: just enough to keep from being sick.
During those same years, I trained others on how to be fully empowered in their mental (Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP), emotional (Mental Emotional Release® or MER) and spiritual lives (Huna). But I completely neglected that all-important fourth leg of the foundation that supports empowerment — our physical bodies. In fact, my own physical health was so marginal that after every intensive training, my body would completely fall apart. I’d end up running to my doctor to get antibiotics just so I could recuperate!
Denis Waitley once said, “The winners in life treat their body as if it were a magnificent spacecraft that gives them the finest transportation and endurance for their lives.” I was treating my body like a beat-up homemade skateboard that could be exchanged for a new one at any time.
I finally realized (with a nudge from my wife, Soomi) that I wasn’t being congruent with what I was teaching. To be fully empowered requires optimal health on all levels. It’s not an option, and it’s not enough to be just “not sick” if we want to fulfill our purpose in life.
According to the constitution of the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
And because my doctorate is in Integrative Health, I know how intricately all of our systems work with one another. A stressed-out emotional life leads to a compromised immune system. A body that doesn’t get the nourishment it needs leads to sluggish, foggy thinking. A belief in limitation leads to feelings of despair which leads to hormonal imbalance in the body and even chronic pain. To get to the optimal physical health I wanted, I knew I had to make sure all systems were on board with the program.
Fortunately, I already had all the tools I needed to turn the ship around on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels. I used MER to release the negative emotions I had around my physical health. I employed techniques in NLP to shift certain mindsets that were holding me back from doing what I knew I needed to do. And I worked with Huna to balance the energies.
Next, I did my research and found an amazing program and coach to work with me on the physical level. Today, I’m not just “disease-free,” I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. Perfect health for me is having all the energy I need to do what I want to do, feeling like I can fire on all cylinders to fulfill my purpose in life and knowing that my body is oriented toward health rather than sickness.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I know I’m not the only one who had thrown physical health under the bus to some extent. We know we need to be mentally sharp for our work and emotionally available for our families and relationships. And we might even sense that our spiritual connection is important so needs some consideration. But our bodies? Often they only get our full attention when they aren’t keeping up with the pace we’ve set!
“We spend the first half of our lives wasting our health to gain wealth. And the second half of our lives spending our wealth to regain our health.”
We often don’t acknowledge the role our physical health plays in our lives until that health is missing.
But that has changed for me. I recognize that this fourth leg — physical health — is not only important for my personal life, it’s important to include in my work of empowering others.
So I encourage you to take a look and see if your physical health is getting the care and attention it deserves so you can create the life that you desire. Whether your current aim is to strengthen your relationships or build your business or experience a deeper spiritual connection, the physical well-being of your body is crucial. As the ancient Greek physician Herophilus wrote:
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”
To your excellent health!