I came to a realization this past week: I’ve let go of many of the things that keep my life stable, balanced and smooth. I’d let go of the things that keep me physically, mentally and spiritually sound.
It’s sort of like when you stop looking after your car. You don’t bother with an oil change. You put water into the radiator instead of coolant. Those filters really don’t need to be changed, they’re fine for now. The brakes squeak a bit, but they still work. The effects of not maintaining the car usually aren’t sudden. Maybe it takes a few more cranks to start the car than before, or braking time is lengthened. Perhaps the exhaust contains more hydrocarbons than before, but I wouldn’t know about that because, well, it a slow process and I’m not aware of it. One day, the car fails to start, or stop, because maintenance, regular maintenance, is necessary to it’s function.
For me, it started about seven or eight months ago. I came back from a short vacation and the friend I always went to the gym with decided he was too busy to go and so I stopped going too. There was always next week. Then, somewhere along the line, I stopped getting up earlier and meditating because I thought I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I stopped reading enlightening and educational material and focused more on Netflix and YouTube for my entertainment. I stopped blogging and I let go of journaling.
I visited my family for the month of December, knowing that I would have plenty of time to get back to, at least, meditation and reading, but somehow I let myself be distracted by social media, the news and spider solitaire. I did buy a new book for journaling, but no words were written into it. I also let my eating habits include loads of sugar because, well, I’m spending Christmas with the family for the first time in 20 years.
When I returned home in January my clothes weren’t fitting as well as they used to. I made the effort to go to the gym and committed myself to a minimum of three workouts a week. In fits and stops I have started a morning meditation, I’ve done some journaling and I am working on getting back to a comfortable sleep pattern. I am nowhere near being back to what was my ‘normal’ way of life, but I am working on it, and it’s getting better.
A human has three very important facets in its being: physical, mental and spiritual. All of these function together whether we realize it or not. Letting one facet get out of balance affects the others and though these effects are subtle, like the car that isn’t maintained, they happen none the less, resulting in a slow spiral downward. For me, my moods became darker, my emotions more volatile and my motivation pretty much got up and walked out the door.
I am grateful that I didn’t go further down the dark path I was starting to get used to. I know that it is the work that I have done on those three important facets of my life in the past that reminded me that my life didn’t have to be this way. Personal maintenance my not always be easy, it takes a lot of self discipline to do the work in the gym and diet, to commit to a daily writing, meditation and educational practice, but I know that it is the difference between just existing and really thriving in life.
Physical, mental and spiritual health are not separate. They work together. It’s my choice whether or not to commit to the practices that are best for me. I know which I prefer. I know how I wish to feel about my body, my mind and my soul. I’m working my way back onto the pathway I wish to trudge in this life.