There is a plethora of information available to the seeker. What to eat, what not to. How to exercise, how not to. What is good for us, what is not. Most of us know most of it. But knowing is a very different thing to doing.
We know that skim milk in our coffee is better than full cream milk. We know that walking for 30 minutes to an hour everyday would improve our health by leaps and bounds. We know that turning off the TV and playing a board game with our children would make us happier.
But all of this does not always fit in to our lives. Skim milk does not taste as good as full cream milk, it is so difficult to find 30 minutes to walk every week, let alone every day, the news on TV is so riveting and the little one should really be in bed, anyway!
So we put it all into the too hard basket and lope off to the Doctor get our medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, back ache, diabetes, and a host of other chronic and preventable diseases. Many of these medications are expensive, have too many side effects and do not do much more than temporarily relieve the symptoms. But we get dependent on them. We would rather pop a few pharmaceutical drugs than a few supplements, and just blame our whole life’s problems on living in the 21st century.
How about we take a step back? How about we take responsibility for strengthening our bones, and improving our cholesterol level? How about we consider that we are not living in the 21st century, the 21st century exists because of us, and we are really just living?
How about we just recognize when we can make it a shorter work day, and leave work earlier? How about we turn off the late night news, most of which we have watched during the evening anyway, and go to bed earlier? How about we get up half an hour earlier and get on that treadmill we bought last year for Christmas? How about we walk to the train station instead of taking our car? How about we just pack our lunch to take to work?
See – we all know it. We know that each change that will improve our lives by a large multiplicand is actually just a tiny shift in our perception of who we are. A really tiny shift in perception. Instead of viewing ourselves as a generation of overworked, underpaid, stressed out, stretched for time, overburdened by war and mayhem, unloved and unappreciated billion lives, we can see ourselves as loving, loved individuals, who make the happiest choices for themselves. It is just a slight shift, does not take much at all.
There are millions of people who already live this life. They exercise, and eat well, they make responsible choices for themselves and for their families and that extends out to the whole world. All we need to do is believe that we are not really that different from them.
So the next time our colleague / friend/ chance met in the coffee queue says “I love waking up at the crack of dawn, and going for a swim”, let us consider not turning up your eyeballs and saying “Oh you are so lucky, I simply could NEVER do that”. Consider instead “Oh, how lovely! Maybe tomorrow I can come with you!”
One step at a time!