May 2, 2010
We are often admonished to slow down, to relax, to be mindful, to be aware, to live our lives consciously. We are urged to remember all of this and more. To “re-member” is to become again in touch with some part of ourselves, some “member”, that we have lost contact with. Most of us human beings find all of this consciousness something hard to maintain.
When I’m asked for my absolutely shortest definition of wellness, I say that wellness is living our lives very consciously. It is as simple as realizing that there is an “off-on” switch on every electronic device we have. It is as challenging as remembering how much choice we really have most of the time.
It takes no training in meditation to be conscious. We do it everyday. We make hundreds of decisions with conscious awareness, yet it seems that we also make many with our “automatic pilot” of habit. Those decisions, traveling along heavily established neural pathways in our brains, take place with little thought. It’s like driving a car to a familiar destination, and before we know it we’ve taken the on-ramp to the four-lane highway of habit. Brain research using functional MRI imagery has shown us that these four-lane neural pathways really do exist inside our craniums and the more we drive those routes the stronger they get.
At times such freeways serve us well, saving us time, our travels being executed with energy savings. At other times we have to ask, “What else am I missing?” Or, we might ask, “Does this route (this course of action) really serve me well at this time?” ews
It is this simple self-questioning that puts us on the path to living a healthy, wellness lifestyle, and perhaps, it is what keeps us on that path. Staying on the path seems to be our biggest challenge.
So reclaim your choices. Reclaim your awareness of alternatives. Perhaps, down that secondary road, you can like I did a few days ago, witness a newborn colt trying his legs out in a springtime pasture.
In upcoming blog posts we’ll explore more about increasing and maintaining conscious choice, and explore how activity and movement is at the center of wellness in many ways. We’ll look at how lifestyle and culture affect our health and well-being. We’ll look at how improving our lifestyle if about our entire way of living.