Five Spokes of the Wheel of Health
The healthiest and happiest folks I know are diverse in many ways and yet have these basic five things in common. Consider these five components both signs of health or conversely lack of health and interdependent pathways for recreating balance. The potholes and challenges inherent in life will regularly take the wheel of health “out of true,” but compassionate, gentle attention to these dimensions of health can restore balance and get our wheels humming along again.
So just what is observable about the lives of these healthy people I speak of?
1. They sleep well. This means they wake feeling rested, easily, often without an alarm. They sleep during the night and rise with energy in the morning. According to Chinese medicine, 11pm -3am is the time when the liver and gallbladder energetics are at their peak. To maximize the body’s ability to detoxify and heal they are asleep by 11pm.
2. They digest well. This means they don’t regularly burp, pass gas, or have heartburn, diarrhea or constipation. They feel a pleasant increase in energy when they eat. Elimination is daily, complete and comfortable. They eat plenty of plant foods with vitality in it and take time to prepare and enjoy eating their meals.
3. They have some form of movement in their life. They enjoy exercise, gardening or working in physical jobs. They realize that bodies are designed to move, and sitting in a chair all day doesn’t fulfill all their needs.
These next two are a pair, as if one is the in-breath the other an out-breath.
4. In-breath. They know how connect with their center in the chaos of life. This may be a formal practice of meditation, yoga, prayer or a quiet knowing of how to not take on the pain around them and staying connected with their inner contentment instead. Often there is time in nature that aids them in finding peace. They have some way to reconnect with all that is sacred and rejuvenating on a regular basis.
5. Out-Breath. They know how to let go when it’s time to face their pain, heal and let it go. Now, there is the rare person who is immune to taking on pain, negative programming, or wounds from hard knocks. I don’t know one but I know of them. The rest of us need to have ways of shedding and transforming the accumulated gunk we pick up that doesn’t serve life. Most healthy folks I know have learned some way that they release their garbage through psychotherapy, journaling, creativity, somatic release, or a volume of other tools. The body knows what to let go of; nature knows how to compost and reuse, and the same is true of our emotions and spirits when they are allowed to move and transform.
VL Lifestyle 1
VL Lifestyle 2
VL Lifestyle 3