“Life is not merely being alive, but being well.” – Martial (Latin poet in the 1st Century)
I think I know why I like coffee shops so well. For me they are places that soothe my soul. They are my church. I have a few here in Denver that I like to go to from time to time. Stella’s. Pajama Baking Company. St. Mark’s. Pablo’s. Each have a sense of being. The people who walk in come here for as many reasons are there individuals. For myself, I come to a place like Stella’s in search of inspiration. It is near a major university and so there are all types that come in. Some are students’. Some are professors. There are a few business people that come in because you can tell that they like the relaxed environment that is filled with an energy of thought.
As I think more about the quote that Martial gave to us over two thousand years ago, I begin to think deeper into what he was saying. “Being alive” is not just a physical aspect but a spiritual and mental one as well. We strive for the physical part so much that we forget to take time to make sure that we are healthy in a moral and a mental sense.
We remember all of the postings and announcements responding to a simple internal question, “What do I want to accomplish this year?”
We have friends who have stacks of books that they will read this year. We also have friends that want to lose weight… or get physically fit… or to run in their first or many marathons this year. We may have friends that have wanted to go back to college or to graduate school. We encourage them for a while… then as we and they start to get back into the normal everyday routine those goals tend to get dismissed. Not forgotten just merely excused.
So, we are almost at the end of the first month of the new year. How are we doing? Are we alive? Are we keeping on track with our expectations of what we wanted to accomplish just a few weeks ago?
Take a moment. Just a moment of sitting in our thoughts and emotions. How do we feel? Are we back to being anxious? When we think about the plans that seemed so doable at the beginning of the year, do our “shoulders drop”? When we think about where we are heading in our lives are we still wishing that we were on another path?
Take a moment. Breathe in deep. So deep that we allow the emotions to stay but to float in the air that we have just taken in. It is going to be ok. No past event can truly stop our future. It may bring us detours and those detours should lead to a creative state of how to make our dreams become a possibility… our possibility become an action… and action hopefully becomes passion.
Take a moment. We all have a pulse. The beating of a heart that says that we are alive. The pulse of the mind are ideas that are only held back by an emotion. We have a spirit within us that is alive… it may be hurting at times due to the events in our life but the ability to either be hurting or in joy means that our spirit is alive within us.
What does it mean for us to be “well”? I am not sure. That is a definition held by each of us.
I know what it means to be “well” with myself. I am physically alive after fighting against a major illness and its complications. However, I am not just content with being alive physically. I want to go into the balance of my life being in a place that I strive for activity. To be physically “well” for me is to do more half marathons… hike a mountain peak that is above thirteen thousand feet… to be functionally fit…to actively create a joint venture helping others.
I am spiritually alive. However, I want to be spiritually well. I will be honest in that I think that this is one of my greatest struggles as I grow into my own faith system that brings me into reality with God, the One that many might call the Divine… and a part of this struggle is in discovery not just how to live in it but to breath in it. I will not deny my Christian faith but I am also not going to deny my acceptance and adherence to a Buddhist philosophy. For me one makes me who I am and the other helps me in being that person. I adhere to a faith not a following.
I am mentally alive. It seems that the more I study the more active my mind and spirit becomes. In my experience, my mind and my spirit are very connected. I am not sure where some of my dreams come from so I just accept that is a result of the conversation between mind and spirit. I think that being alive mentally is another extension to the principle of inspiration not motivation. I want my mental exploration to lead me into a life that is inspired deeply not a life of superficial motivation.
We need to be present in our own lives… be alive AND well. We shouldn’t allow self-judgment to deny us the possibility of breaking script from our past.
Take a moment. Be alive in this moment that we have and live it with a full heart of energy of acceptance not rejection.