By Danette Vernon
I have a book called “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill him,” by Sheldon B. Kopp. The premise of the book is that we really don’t need an authority to tell us what we need to do to make our lives better — we know. And if you refuse this bit of wisdom, I would imagine that the average person who deals with you on any sort of regular basis could tell you, exactly, what might drastically improve your life in one sentence, two at the most. And any given answer will have at its root a failure to take of — you.
In some eastern cultures, to go to the doctor represents a failure of self-care. Contrast this with western culture wherein the average elderly person is on six medications, and you can see that the young and the middle aged of our country have inadvertently, day by day, failed to take care of themselves. In the West we are more likely to indulge ourselves rather than take care for ourselves, and we have the weight, the credit card bills and the latest self-help book by our bed to prove it.
A friend of mine, when she was young and stuck in the mindset that if she called some guy 50 times a day surely he’d eventually pick up the phone, had a best friend who advised, “Do it till you don’t need to do it anymore.”
A statement that caused her to pause with her hand at the receiver, and so it is with you, you know what to do to improve your life, but will you?
How do you develop the self-discipline it takes to throw away the donut you just picked up, uneaten; to write that nasty email, and not hit send; to mill around your favorite department store, and not buy anything; to pick up the phone at 3 a.m., then quietly, and firmly, place it back on the receiver?
Action. It takes ACTION. Harvard researcher Shawn Achor notes that we need to exercise, as movement teaches us something deeper, it teaches that our behavior matters. And while any movement is helpful (I have written whole articles on the value of just standing up), I advise you to try Tai Chi easy or Qigong (pronounced chi-gong).
Tai Chi Easy or Qigong, which are essentially the same thing, initiate the relaxation response, freeing your mind of distractions and it alters the neurochemical profile towards accelerated inner healing, which aids in moderating pain and reducing anxiety. Tai Chi Easy or Qigong also enhance the efficiency of your immune system, and coordinate and balance the left/right hemisphere dominance, which promotes deeper sleep and mental clarity.
If you’re ready to teach yourself that your behavior matters, I invite you to join me for a free ongoing Tai Chi Easy class in the park, a mirror of the free Tai Chi Easy classes in the park already in operation south of the Broad River in Bluffton. Location and times to be determined by those of us who want change and are ready to take ACTION. To contact me, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.