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Many people believe that the basic issues in wellness are (1) disciplining ourselves to eat well and (2) exercising regularly.
The single overriding objective in wellness is creating constant personal renewal where we recognize and act on the truth that each day is a miraculous gift and our job is to untie the ribbons.
That's the Law of Esprit: living life with joy.
Joy the emotion evoked by well-being. Delight.
Bliss. Genuine happiness. True wellness is the ability to generate a joyful stance toward life on a daily basis.
The practice of wellness carries with it the exceptional promise that we can know an esprit, a deep satisfaction, in all areas of our life experience. The goal of this profound personal work: a life of joy. Knowing the Law of Esprit.
If we have widely variable willpower and fight a constant baffle over food and exercise, then our wellness strategy has probably been faulty from the start.
We have violated the first law of wellness esprit.
If life is a constant battle against weight gain, a herculean effort of keeping fit, a career filled with struggle, a marriage that is toxic, we have missed wellness. We have missed it because we have missed the joy. The Law of Esprit has not been honored.
The Law of Esprit recognizes that what we 'Wish and expect governs the response we get. For example, people who consider how to improve their physical, mental, and spiritualwell-being every day for the balance of their lives immediately begin to see three values emerge:
- satisfaction, since for them life becomes primarily a pleasant experience;
- creativity, which keeps life interesting and makes us want more of it;
- wisdom, which is the collective reward of the well life.
People who focus on how difficult their physical, mental, and spiritual circumstances are tend to see like values emerge dissatisfaction, despair, and dissonance.
The Law of Esprit implies that we want as much satisfaction, creativity, and wisdom as possible. The result: joy! And this joy extends to every area of life our body, our mind, our relationships, our personal growth, our sense of meaning and purpose, and our experience of being a spiritually rooted creation.
Where do we find this esprit? It's everywhere. We discover it in the mystery of a sunrise thanking God we're alive to enjoy it. Or in the magic that's a raindrop thrilled that nature nourishes all creation with plenty.
Looking deeper, we find esprit in the touch of a caring hand, the concern of a loving mate, the companionship of a close friend. "We've been buddies over fifty years," shared Edythe as she hugged her friend Marie, who was now living in a nursing home. "That's truly special."
We find esprit in accomplishments that satisfy. "Look at this collection of birds my father made," said Vanessa as she toured me through their home. "He is at his happiest when he can carve the wood and paint the details of the feathers."
Esprit suffuses the participants who help achieve a shared goal. "We did it!" is proof that cooperation is spelled with two letters: w-e. And in that participation comes joy.
Esprit is an intense love affair with life. It is making the most of now, enjoying what is at hand, as we go along.
Esprit is shifting our awareness to look for the joys that come in small, precious packages. Once we discover those joys, it is then our privilege to make the most of them. Our focus moves away from looking for the big packages of joy, which are few and far between. Instead, we become aware of life as it is, here and now, and we celebrate.
"Some people," wrote the poet Walt Whitman, "are so much sunshine to the square inch." That's esprit the person who seems to radiate the rays of the sun from within.
No megashift need take place. Esprit blossoms gently. The inner music begins to crescendo, like a happy band of musicians marching down the street.
Does esprit mean no more tears? Of course not.
But it does mean that life can be complete, though perhaps never the same, after the loss that comes with tears. Even in the midst of those tears, esprit can be born as we recall the memories of joyous days gone by.
Esprit belongs at work. On the job it comes when we put forth all our powers in a wave of inspiration and creative joy, when we recognize that an organization that serves others is fulfilling its highest purpose.
Esprit is found in relationships where our focus is on developing a heart that is aglow with love for all we meet.
Let us be about setting high standards for life, love, creativity, and wisdom. If our expectations in these areas are low, we are not likely to experience wellness. Setting high standards makes every day and every decade worth looking forward to.
So the first Law of Wellness is esprit a recognition that joy in life, not length of life, is the marker by which all wellness is measured.
Does that mean that if one's life lacks esprit, he or she is doomed to languish forever? Not necessarily. Fortunately, there are other laws.The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness. Copyright © by Greg Anderson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.