Abby, Shannon, and me at the Gala, 11/2009
Over the last week I have been thinking a lot about how connected all of my big goals are with each other. Good health, strong spirituality, wealth, and a satisfying career are nodes on the same loop.
Good health is biggie. We’ve all heard the phrase “you haven’t got anything if you haven’t got your health.” This is true on so many levels. The first level is obvious: if you are sick in any way, you are not able to function to your highest potential. If you are tired, can’t breathe, are in pain, can’t move properly, etc., it is going to make it all the harder to reach any goal you set out for yourself. Obviously, people overcome all kinds of physical obstacles to achieve their dreams; but at this point in time I feel like if I have any control over the obstacles, it’s best to just remove them. I have enough “issues” to get over without adding physical problems to the pile! The more energy I have, the more I can devote to spirituality, career development, and wealth.
The second level is that physical issues feed into the psychological issues. If you don’t feel good, it affects your brain chemistry and how you perceive the world; which then affects your behaviors, which affect how others perceive you. The perception of others can affect a lot of things – from your personal relationships to your career. It’s all a self-fulfilling loop. Feeling bad begets feeling bad.
The next level is that your health affects your appearance, which also affects the perception of others. Let’s face it, as much as we all want to say appearance doesn’t matter, it absolutely does. Despite our advanced self-awareness and cognitive ability, it’s my opinion (based on some stuff that I have read that I am too lazy to go find for reference!) that humans still have some holdovers from “survival of the fittest.” Above and beyond obvious conscious biases (ie., if you look like a supermodel or an olympic athlete, chances are that people might be “drawn” to you!), if you’re not healthy, there are a million little subconscious ways that other people are going to know it and be subconsciously biased towards you. I think that is some of the basis for “gut feelings” about people. If you have the opportunity to remove biases that others might have towards you, it is only going to be helpful in developing the relationships that a person needs for a successful career, etc. In other words, I think that health touches every part of our lives.
The next part of the “loop” is money. I don’t think that a lot of money is necessary for good health. But I do see where the more money a person has, the more they can afford to spend on maintaining their health, and they will definitely be less stressed out without debt nagging at them. Furthermore, there’s the old adage, “it takes money to make money,” you need to spend money on education and/or on other resources and supplies in order to gain a successful career that will earn more money. More money can also mean more free time- which can lead to more time for spiritual practice.
Next we have career development. Having a fulfilling career leads to a better sense of confidence and well-being, which contributes to good health in all kinds of ways – higher levels of endorphins, lower levels of stress, etc. People tend to be more successful at things they are passionate about. Success leads to wealth. I also believe that having a vocation, or doing what you are “supposed” to do for a living, can be part of a spiritual path.
Finally, there is spirituality. Like health, I feel that spirituality touches every single part of our lives. Part of it is that I believe that we are each active participants in creating our own realities. Every thought that we have has the potential to be a “prayer”- we are constantly asking the universe, or God, or whatever your preferred title, for what we want via our thoughts and intentions. If you think negatively about your health, money, or career, your experience is going to be negative. If you think positively your experience will be positive. I believe in this both psychologically and physically (I put weight on the whole theory that thoughts have physical bearing). The more energy I can devote to training myself to live with intention, and gratitude for the life that I have at any given moment, the better off I feel that I will be.
So really, the main point that I am trying to make is that having a lot of goals doesn’t need to be overwhelming, because if you are working hard on one of them, it is also going to make a gain in the others. Everything is a big web, and when you make positive changes in one area of life, all areas will be positively affected. Personally, I feel really good about focusing most of my energy on good health right now. It seems like a strong cornerstone. But it’s been a nice side-effect of that focus to begin noticing other, seemingly unrelated changes!