Category Archives: Prayer and Health

Getting more out of your fitness workout

Remember the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX (Five Basic Exercises) Plan? Hugely popular in the 60’s, it was simple to do, but boring as heck. I remember my dad struggling with sit-ups and tediously running in place. It wasn’t long before his exercise regimen was history. To stick with an exercise routine, one needs a compelling reason for doing it.

I was not old enough at the time to think to ask dad why he wanted to exercise. He got plenty of activity running the family hardware business. Maybe he was doing it because his friends were into it. Perhaps he was concerned about his health. Finding answers to the question “Why am I exercising?” fortifies the endurance needed in the fight to be fit.

Along with the sheer enjoyment, some people exercise to work off excessive weight, relieve stress, improve athleticism, and/or train for sporting competition. If someone is exercising for his or her health, though, something more than mere muscle-flexing is needed. Consistent well-being includes living an active life with a spiritual focus.  Read more…

Giving thanks in tough times

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”  

Abraham Lincoln’s gracious assessment of 1863 is immortalized in the opening line of his first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.

Over 150 years have passed since Lincoln’s establishment of an annual, national observance of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  In 1863 that day came just one week after the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg where Lincoln gave his celebrated two minute address. The War Between the States would go on for another year and a half.

What prompted Lincoln to articulate such a “healthful” outlook, where many saw only servitude to gloom and despair, was an intensified appreciation for blessings and their origin.  He saw “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.”  He writes in his Thanksgiving Proclamation that these abundances are “so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

Such an attitude as Lincoln’s serves as a timely example for all of us. Read more…

Not So Random Acts of Kindness

World Kindness Day is November 13th, a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good

 

Ever feel impelled to give the world a big hug? We thrive on kindness. And though we frequently witness examples of callousness both in our own lives and in the news, displays of intolerance and indifference should only strengthen a desire to resist such behavior and encourage respectful relationships.

A look-out-for-yourself mentality is unnatural. We start out in life as sharers. Through their constant caregiving, the vast majority of moms and dads instill in us the capacities of empathy and generosity.

That nurturing is health-giving to children.  And it endures into adulthood.   Encouragement and kindheartedness foster wellbeing not only in recipients, but in contributors as well. Stephen Post, Director for the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University, recently quoted the Book of Proverbs when speaking before a group in Cleveland:  “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”   Read more…

Boots on a spiritual rock

Wednesday, November 11, marks the observance of Veterans’ Day in the U.S. This is a reprint of an earlier column.

“Nothing can separate you from the love of God,” she gently spoke to him.  With all the confusion surrounding them, she continued to pray with the man she was kneeling over.  It was September 11, 2001.

One of the first female chaplains ever called to active duty, Retired Colonel Janet Horton has had some pretty intense experiences.  In her distinguished career as a Christian Science Military Chaplain, she has seen duty around the globe helping the men and women who serve in the military to keep soul and body together.

Returning to the States after her overseas deployment, Horton was hoping for a post in Georgia. She was assigned to the Pentagon.  At the time she considered it a questionable assignment at best.  “I thought this was a big mistake” she said when I spoke with her, but through prayer she came to the conclusion that God doesn’t slipup.   She eventually came to realize that she was at the right place at the right time.

The morning of September 11, 2001…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…