Saturday, 23 June 2012

A Fulfilling and Satisfying Life

Years ago while I was in university, I attended a lecture on humanity and spirituality.  The other day, a sudden and unbidden memory of that lecture popped up out of a dusty, archived file deep within my brain.  I have time to think while I recover and heal from the chemotherapy treatment for my lymphoma.  Being in remission, means my body is slowly gaining strength but it is still does not have the stamina to return to teaching privately or even do all the household activities.  This leaves me with lots of time to think and ponder various subjects.  So while I was enjoying some quiet time, this memory from 20 years ago made itself known.

The premise of the lecture was that every person has three components to their being.  In order for a person to feel fulfilled, all three areas need to be nurtured in a balanced way.  If these components become unbalanced, then life just doesn't seem to feel or go "right".  If the three areas are balanced, then the person seems to succeed better in life.  In the lecture, I remember the professor drawing three circles which overlap each other to creat a centre which would be our soul.  Each circle was labelled "Physical", "Emotional" and "Spiritual".  The "Physical" part of us refers to our physical bodies.  We need to nourish our bodies in a healthy way which would include healthy nutrition, liquid, and exercise to keep our bodies strong.  "The "Emotional" part of us obviously refers to our emotions.  This would mean paying attention to our emotional selves and making sure that our emtional relationships with others are in our best interests.  This could mean attempting to keep good thoughts about others, weeding out friendships or relationships with people that are hurtful on a regular basis, making sure that our thoughts and actions are not hurtful or harmful to others.  The "Spiritual" part  of us refers to the deep and profound part of us that appreciates nature, meditation, prayer, and/or "deep thinking".

Let's start with the Physical circle.  We have to feed ourselves on a daily basis.  Do we always make good food choices?  What we put into our bodies, is it always in our best interests?  I know that I am guilty of making bad choices.  I have been known to go through a phase of craving and junk food which ranges from hamburgers through to cheesies and does not include many vegetables.  My body doesn't work quite as well when it is fed an unbalanced diet.  I know that I feel much better when I have more vegetables than meat.  Sometimes I am known to go "meatless" and get my protein from legumes in a vegetarian meal.  I find my body seems to work at its most optimal level when it gets an abundance of fruits and vegetables, some grains and less meat.  Having said that, I still like my steaks and pork chops.  I just try to eat everything in moderation.

We also need to ingest liquid in order for our bodies to work well.  The type of liquid is important too.  Our liquid choices (beverages) could be water, juices, milk, coffee, tea or alcoholic drinks.  We know that too much alcohol is not good for our bodies.  We know that caffeinated drinks are not good for our bodies as well.  There are studies now that say juice is too full of sugar and therefore not good for us either.  I don't know about you, but I do like to drink water but not only water 100% of the time.  However, I also know people that refuse to drink anything but water.  It has always been recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.  A few years ago, a nutritionist on television did say that clear tea, black coffee, fruit juice and milk could count towards those 8 glasses of water.  I know that when I don't drink enough water, I can feel lethargic and have headaches.  While I had my chemotherapy treatments from January to May, I drank mostly water and green tea.  These made me feel a little better.  I believe that drinking all that liquid helped flush the chemicals through my body faster.  I remember I asked my oncologist at one of my first appointments before the chemotherapy started, "Will I be able to enjoy a glass of wine?"  I remember him telling me that maybe towards the end of the 21 day cycle that I could probably have a glass of wine or two.  I was able to enjoy one glass of wine around Day 17 or 18 of the cycle.  I like a glass of wine with my dinner but it wasn't something that I was able to do on a regular basis even on Day 17 or 18.  I would have  glass of wine when we had company for dinner, but otherwise it just didn't "feel" right.  I definitely felt good drinking water and green tea.

The last part of keeping ourselves physically balanced is exercise.  We are in a society now where exercise is often a scheduled visit to the gym.  If it isn't scheduled in a gym, it is definitely scheduled into our day based on the number of people you see running, power walking and walking with weights.  We do need to keep ourselves fit and give our bodies exercise.  Personally, we have one vehicle and I often walk as a mode of transportation.  I use hand shears for trimming my hedge and shrubs.  When I was healthy (before cancer), I would run up and down my stairs when carrying my laundry down to the washer and back up to be hung outside.  I'm not able to run up and down the stairs yet with the laundry but I am trying to run up and down the stairs when I have reasons to go into the basement and back upstairs again. When I cut the grass, I try to walk quickly and get my heart going.  We can all build exercise into our day and it is important that we keep our bodies fit.

We need to be aware that we don't focus just on the physical part of ourselves.  We need to make sure that the other circles, "Emotional" and "Spiritual" get just as much focus and weight as we give our physical selves.  I will continue this topic at another time.  Enjoy the weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Cathy! I also try to eat everything in moderation. I think it's the best way to live, and it seems to work well for me. And I agree that the only way to be fully balanced is to make sure that the emotional and spiritual sides to us are also fulfilled; not just the physical. That must have been a very interesting and enlightening lecture.