Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. ~ Plato.
I’ve been feeling pretty crappy lately and not able to ride my bike, write, or meditate consistently (more on that in my next post). When I don’t ride my bike I tend to be pretty cranky and not very positive. And then at a certain point of not consistently riding I get into the groove of not riding and it takes a lot of motivation to get back on the saddle. Even when I know I’ll be happy the moment my butt hits the saddle and I love riding.
It’s so easy to see why Americans (and others) are so miserable, unhappy and unable to cope with life pains. We focus on eliminating or beating disease but as the video below states, “the absence of disease is not health.” There is little focus on true wellness. And you need wellness to find hope or happiness. Without doing something you love and will stick with (cycling, running, yoga, hiking etc…) you are just left to always sit in your pain or numb it with other things. Or you focus on being busy with goals, being successful, and ignore all the things that really matter.
He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything. ~Arabian Proverb.
As you would imagine I’ve been asked a lot about how I go on (after the loss of a child) and how people aren’t sure they would be able to cope or even get out of bed. It’s a natural response since our society isn’t comfortable with death and dying and we don’t address it until it actually happens. And really why would you want to imagine your life going on after such a tragedy. Really you shouldn’t.
But I do see a strong correlation between those that exercise and focus on wellness and those that have hope in life. It’s not the only factor(gratitude, writing, meditation and praise are others) but it’s a big one. Those that don’t take care of themselves seem so stuck and focused on the pain and suffering while those that are focused on their wellness are able to make sense of pain, find meaning and be happy. There is actually scientific research to support that exercise fuels your mind to believe your behavior matters. While you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control your behavior.
This 12 min TED video sums it up pretty well. What is your definition of a good life? Is it a series of goals? Is it about working hard – not because that is what makes you happy or what helps the world but because that is what you were told to do. Work hard, don’t examine your life and your reward will be somewhere down the line. Take little time to take care for yourself or foster a sense of gratitude for what you do have. Maybe the reward comes and you sail through life. But throw in pain or suffering and well good luck on that path.
While my journey is not anywhere complete I do find comfort in the fact that my behaviors are helping me cope, find hope, and moments of happiness.
And I am really looking forward to getting back on my bike!