Preparing for the sprint of your life

At times, old age seems like an Olympic sport. Successfully maneuvering through this relatively new demographic depends on a certain amount of preparation, perseverance and endurance. It can be a Herculean effort that requires not a little confidence.

HealthInkLogo (1)“Perhaps two-thirds of all the people who have ever lived to the age of 65 are alive today.”

Peter Peterson’s “Gray Dawn” points out some sobering statistics about the aging of the world’s population and its impact on society. It’s unchartered territory.

And that’s what makes preparing for our “golden years” such a challenge. This many people living this long is a relatively recent phenomenon. Never have so many faced this situation. And it is creating a lot of angst for individuals and planners.

By what standard do we qualify as old? Read more…

More than the sum of your parts

What’s missing? No, not your keys… or your phone.

There are moments when you suspect deep down you’re not whole, when you feel you have somehow misplaced a portion of your soul. Nothing is clicking, joy seems a stretch or you’re just going through the motions in a haze of detachment.
HealthInkLogo (1)And you’re not sure what to do about it or that it is worth the effort to figure out.  For that matter, there is doubt that what you’re experiencing is even valid. I’ve had those misgivings.  I’ve also found success in challenging subtle feelings of personal inadequacy and experiencing fresh inspiration, fulfillment and presence. Wholeness comes when I take the time to look honestly at myself, all of me. Hear me out.

Most of us have become pretty adept at selfies on Instagram and writing a life narrative on Facebook and proclaiming, “This is me!”  Not even close. There is so much more to individuality than the smiling face at the end of a selfie stick and the posting of the latest conquests on a timeline.  Each of us is an intensely complex and uniquely elegant creation.

I’m not knocking social media.  Read more…

Live and learn and lead

Earth Day 2015: The global commemoration celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. It’s billed as the largest civic observance in the world. Healing the planet and its inhabitants is a gargantuan undertaking, one that requires insight and clear-sightedness.

IMG_0090“It’s our turn to lead” is this year’s Earth Day theme. It deserves our attention.  Good leadership is an area where the world frequently stumbles.  What constitutes a good leader is debatable, but one attribute is a must…wisdom.

President John F. Kennedy wrote, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  It’s through learning that we gain wisdom. That’s also what King Solomon of Bible fame discovered. He was thrust into a leadership role after a rocky start when but a young man. At that moment, the first thing he does is ask the Lord for wisdom.  Read more…

Can we do better than be happy?

Lately, I have been questioning the entrenched pursuit of happiness. I’m thinking that it’s not necessarily the target of our deepest desires, despite the current media onslaught pushing us to pursue it. Maybe the singular aim in life is something more. Let me explain.

cropped-HealthInkLogo-1.jpgI’ve written repeatedly about happiness over the years and for good reason. It has been linked to physical and mental health in many research studies.  Happy people tend to experience a better sense of well-being.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Feeling happy is generally a good thing. But what really underlies much of the quest for happiness is an intrinsic desire for recognition of our worth.  The happiness crave cannot be satiated without a reasonable understanding of one’s own value and the worth of others.

We know the drill. It’s been instilled in us from early on. Acquire that new smartphone or car, amass wealth and prestige, foster attention and notoriety, or gain intellect and scholarly success and we are told happiness will ensue.  But who has ever found that to be the case, at least in a lasting way?  Read more…

It’s as plain as the nose on your face

Or is it?  Perhaps things are not as black and white (or gold and white in this case) as we sometimes think.

The echoes of #dressgate continue to reverberate throughout social media. My son and I were sitting on the couch when he showed me the picture, on his phone, of the now infamous dress.  He asked what colors I saw. I suspected a trick question, but answered truthfully, black and blue. It was obvious.

cropped-HealthInkLogo-1.jpg My son laughed skeptically and informed me he saw a gold and white dress. We checked with my wife who saw a gold and silver dress. Same picture, three different perspectives. What’s going on?

The explanation given for the dissimilar testimonies revolves around light wavelengths, visual cortex, and how each individual processes the information their senses acquire.  It seems they are not the same. Of more importance to me are the parallel lessons to be learned about our own stubborn beliefs and willingness to defend them. And perhaps we can extend the experience to grow a bit in our understanding of well-being.

@alexismadrigal tweeted, “The dress should remind us all: what you see is mostly a projection of what your brain expected to see.” When it comes to wellness, it is the same. Our expectations can be downright destructive to health.  After all, aren’t the so-called “rules” of well-being hinged on age, decline, parts wearing out, etc.?  And don’t we expect to see evidence of this played out in our own lives and on our own bodies?  Sometimes, we let our own convictions convict us.  Read more…