Chakrama Series: Personal Power is Necessary for Health

Having just finished a module on mental health and nutrition, I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective.  With regards to the connection between emotional health and physical health, the crux of the teachings of this class could be summarized in a line from the booked Anatomy of the Spirit bt Carolyn Myss – that line is:  personal power is necessary for health.

This could be interpreted many ways, but I believe it comes back to the notion that when we give up power to other people or things we effectively resolve ourselves of any responsibility into our own wellbeing.  For example, having a job that sucks up all your time is often the excuse used by people when they aren’t able to exercise or eat well.

This may result in longterm health complications but it all started with the idea that at that time, we felt powerless to our job.  This common example showcases that we always have the power to influence both the situational and emotional outcome.

Taking it back to my own life, I had a not so great day earlier this week when I had to pay out $110 for a ticket I got on my bicycle.

I felt like the situation wasn’t fair…”why me”, there is no justice in the world, why don’t cars who go speeding down residential streets get tickets.  And on and on I went.  In fact, the night of my court date, I was speaking to a friend about my day – well, ranting is more accurate.  He listened quietly without interrupting and at the end asked me why I didn’t consider volunteering for a police watch dog organization.  I thought it was so interesting that his suggestion on how to deal with my frustration was to look at ways of giving myself power over the situation.

There are many things I love about this friend; he’s generous and giving, kind and compassionate.  He’s humble and always sees the best in other people (but not to a fault…like if someone is being a doofus, he’ll acknowledge it).  He’s also very accepting of people and situations.  Actually, I would describe him as “zen”.  I learn a lot from watching this guy deal with problems.

I asked him how he does it and he said “I enjoy going through life more when I’m not angry” and proceeded to tell me that earlier that day the ferry he was taking to Toronto Island left the dock 4 minutes which resulted in him waiting around for 30 minutes.  He was originally frustrated but explained that he walked through all the possible reasons why the ferry had left early.

Maybe they looked out to the waiting area and didn’t see anyone.

Maybe the clock on the boat was fast.

Maybe it was weather related.  They have to move thousands of people across the water everyday in all kinds of weather conditions.

He went on to tell me that he had been rushing too much lately anyway and decided to relax and do some work while he waited for the next ferry.  My friend was able to take some control back (did some work and relaxed) while realizing it wasn’t really about him but instead a whole host of other factors.

As a result he felt happier and less stressed than the alternative; getting ticked off and stewing over the early ferry departure…much like I had been stewing over the bicycle ticket.  It’s really freeing to know that no matter what situation we are in, we always have decision-making power on how we respond and react to a challenge.

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama):

“We need to learn how to want what we have NOT to have what we want in order to get steady and stable Happiness

– Dalai Lama XIV


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