The Craft of Living
Most people, in realizing that there’s something wrong with their lives, reach out for self-help books, coaches, workshops, blogs, seminars, and other quick fixes to change themselves. It’s always good to start with cleansing: either cleaning your closet or organizing your office or garage, etc. We all know that clutter makes you overwhelmed and energetically drained. Unless you do something concrete about it, you can’t function well. This practice addresses external changes: it’s easy, fast and satisfying until we start the same cycle again, filling up our environment with more stuff, walking down the same road. We can follow the same regimen with our diets: to fix ourselves we try the juice diet, cabbage diet, cleanses and fasts. We’ve been out of control and we’re quickly trying to seize it again. Unless we stop being hoarders and overeaters we’re not going to achieve any real or lasting internal change.
There is such a thing as the craft of living. Most people are not aware that it’s needed for a good life–their lifestyle is just a collection of random patterns they’ve accumulated throughout the years. In pursuing a satisfying life, you really need to address three areas: the mental, the physical and the spiritual. All of these areas affect each other, but the first you need to start with is the physical—it’s your foundation. If your body is healthy, happy, and fit, your quality of life will be great, and this will affect how you look at the world, other people, and even yourself.
Although we were aiming for physical excellence at first, we ultimately created The Happy Body with all the elements that are needed for a good life. We incorporated simplicity, visibility, and quantifiable measures so that there is no place to escape from self-deception. We can no longer hide from facing ourselves or our bad habits. The best way to position yourself for success is to follow a set of clearly defined principles, six specific standards. Right away you’ll see if you’re meeting them or you’re not, and you’ll understand why. This is where the internal challenge changes people; it’s almost like an exorcism. The master is 100% percent responsible, anchored to goodness, whereas the fatalist is more like a fish, always finding a way to slip away and avoid the net. To genuinely change we need to embrace the wisdom of no escape.
So how are we challenged in The Happy Body?
Let’s look at the principles that you have to follow to achieve the standards:
- Eat two meals and three snacks.
- Eat every 3 hours.
- Eat within 12 hours, then fast for 12 hours.
- Eat smaller portions.
- Eat specific kinds of foods.
- Exercise every day.
- Practice daily stress release.
The plan is simple; the complexity lies in the logic behind each principle.
We eat two meals and three snacks spread throughout the day to keep our blood sugar steady and every three hours to prevent hunger. Eating within twelve hours and fasting the next twelve helps the organs to digest and assimilate, then eliminate your food, nourishing and nurturing your body. Smaller portions help shrink your stomach back to its normal size and prevent you from becoming sluggish to stay active during waking hours. Many studies have pointed to a kind of overwhelm that comes from an overabundance of food cues and choices, where we have to make constant decisions on a daily basis. Narrowing down the list to nutritious foods saves us from wasting our calories on junk food that won’t give us steady energy and health. When you eat a smaller selection of food you can also determine its effect on your body, noticing intolerances and allergies.
The practice of exercising every day is like hygiene for the body.
Since our lifestyles have changed so dramatically over the years and we’re not using our bodies the way we used to, we need to adjust to the body’s essential needs. As we age our metabolic rate drops, mobility decreases, muscles atrophy, and we might experience loss of balance. To prevent deterioration, we need to face the challenge of making time every day for the physical exercise program.
Every day we might encounter stressful situations that make us accumulate nervous tension, worry and strain. As just as we accumulate, we must regularly clear out what’s built up so we don’t reach the point where we break. Five minutes is enough. Micro-progression is an essential aspect of all the principles, even in the area of mental health. There’s a snowflake effect where short, regular practice ultimately leads to a calmer life.
So what are the survival skills we learn as we become Happy Bodies?
To name a few: self-control, self-regulation, and self-preservation. The most important skill, though, is adaptability, especially when circumstances become more challenging, as with aging. It’s important to be proactive across the spectrum—with diet, exercise and mental health–because benefits accrue with time and practice.
When we truly change, we realize we’ve become different people. It’s challenging work, but in the end, it’s deeply rewarding because the change is from within, it’s not a quick fix anymore. We’ve moved from one identity to another.
|Old Identity||New Identity|
Have you noticed any deep changes in yourself, and what is your new identity? We’d love for you to contribute to the list above.
Leave your response below in the comments.