Week 1: Day 6
__Read Genesis 36 – 41_____
__Walk 3 miles: actual miles walked _____
__Eat 5 fruits or vegetables_____
__Virtue: Temperance: eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
If I had to name one thing that keeps most people from superior health, I might name this: not realizing the necessity of a fight and preparing for that fight.
Physical laws state that things go toward a state of more disorder. It’s the reason that rocks don’t roll up hills. It’s the reason your home becomes more disordered with use rather than becoming more neat after a party. It’s the reason we become less healthy without efforts toward better health. You work to stay in place and you work harder if you want to improve.
Part of the effort involved in breaking the inertia and moving toward better health requires breaking through conflict with other people. Usually unknowingly, the people who love you most will do the most to distract you from healthy activities you wish to accomplish and will lead you toward the things you wish not to do. If someone not close to you interrupts, you may have little difficulty saying, “no.” But, most people when faced with choosing between something that’s very important to them and something less important but urgent to someone they love will choose to care for the other person.
The children need you to help with homework and it’s time for a walk. Guests are coming and you must prepare food they will enjoy (but which may not be your best choice). You’ve been away at work and your family wants to see you; so you skip the walk to sit and visit a little longer.
The people we love may not even realize that they’re keeping us from something important to our health. But, they do.
Here’s the analogy to remember: if you’re in an airplane, the steward(ess) briefs you on safety measures. If you’re sitting next to a small child and the cabin loses pressure, whose oxygen mask should you put on first–yours or the child’s?
The answer: you put on yours first! I’ve heard that advice every time I fly. Of course the reason is that if you’re passed out then you can’t take care of the child. You cannot care for those you love if you’re not alive and functioning well.
Most of us love family and friends enough to die for them. But to die or become less healthy and be unable to care for others because of homework that can’t wait or because dinner must be served at 5:30 instead of 6:30 after walking, to do these less important things to care for others while you forego practices that keep you healthy seems less wise than putting the child’s mask on before yours when in the airplane that’s lost pressure.
Usually, those who love you will encourage your efforts after you say something like the following: “I must go for this walk (or not eat this cake or drink this drink, etc.) because I cannot be there for you the way I want to be unless I’m healthy and happy. I need to do this to take care of myself so that I can then be a good father (or mother, friend, spouse).” Even children can understand this concept.
Usually, there’s no unpleasant fight. But there is inertia and there will be conflict and occasional difficulties satisfying others if you stick to your resolutions. Prepare for conflict and stand firm with love.
So, prepare for a fight. The internal fight will be to stand resolved in your health practices to care for the goose (you) who lays the golden egg (service and love) for your family and friends. The external fight will be the occasional resistance by those you love when they forget that they must occasionally wait for the egg while you care for the goose.
Peace & health,
Charles Runels, MD