Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recipe for Individual Well-Being

As part of our journey into slow living, we are being conscious of three specific areas in our lives: individual, community, and environmental well-being. Life is so full of things to think about and strive for, but in the interest of keeping it simple and meaningful we're focusing our efforts into three areas which we feel are most important for a healthy and vibrant life.

Individual well-being means so many things.

It means peace of mind, and purpose. It means slow and yet exciting too. Loving deeply and becoming attached, but also letting go. It means balance.

Perhaps that's easier said than done? Some days, yes, of course. Some days require a touch more purpose and planning; intentional seeking. But what to seek?

For us, right now:

Physical health. That's running and yoga, swimming, biking, gardening, playing with children and dogs... everything that we do each day to bless our bodies with the gift of usefullness and strength.

Of course eating foods meant to fuel the body is an important piece of this puzzle, and we continue to learn about which types of food naturally promote health. Likewise we also are learning to avoid foods and products which harm the body.

Belonging. This touches on community well-being, another part of our pursuit of slow living, but for us there is a very personal, individual component to the idea of belonging. There is a quiet serenity which comes from knowing your part in a collective and being joyful in living it out.

Spiritual purpose. Perhaps spirituality is the most personal aspect of all- one's relationship with the divine (in whatever form one identifies) is the most intimate and deeply satisfying relationship imaginable. Focus on the personal fulfillment we derive from living out our understanding of God's plan is both exhilarating and comforting.

Intentionality, passion and honor. Simply put, it's good to know what one stands for. It's also good to regularly re-evaluate our intentions, to ask ourselves if they still resonate in our bones and light our internal fires of passion. We can only live our best lives if our souls and our bodies feel our truth and can't wait to act on it- to intentionally choose paths of passion and honor. If we can't look ourselves square in the mirror at the end of the day- and like what we see- something needs adjustment.

Taking time alone and silent is also a part of the discernment process. A bath, a run, a coffee sipped in the early morning hours... time to reflect, perhaps journal or blog, and mostly time to feel the well-being.

Self-compassion. In our society of more, more, more! and better, better, better! our true selves can get lost in the shuffle of everyone else's expectations. Self-compassion is about cutting ourselves some slack when we need to. It's about knowing what's really important and giving ourselves permission and freedom to eschew the not-so-important stuff in favor of the helpful, meaningful, fun, interesting stuff we truly want to do. While we live a life in kindness to others it just as important to live in kindness to ourselves.

Gratitude. It is my true belief that through our frustrations and trials, human beings are meant to life lives full of gratitude. Particularly for those of us living in developed nations, we have little to morn and complain about if we are living slowly and intentionally. Will we always drive new cars, wear new clothes and vacation in Aruba? No. Likely, we won't do any of those things with much frequency. But from a perspective of gratitude the world is an incredible place where we can be thankful to have a car at all, clothes to warm us, and a family camping trip at a nearby state park to enjoy. Leaving behind the societal cues to get more, be more and endlessly want more isn't easy, but it's part of ensuring individual well-being.

That's our list- at least for right now. What are some things that you do or believe as part of your quest for personal well being?


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