Prism of Health - What Keeps Me Balanced
A prism is a geometric figure. A prism is also a triangular glass object that gives the illusion of transforming white light into the spectrum of colors. The prism transforms one unified beam of light to many separate but equal forms.
Metaphorically, my prism of health focuses my desire for wellness into the key components of overall health.
When I focus the individual components of health in my life, I see
- Awareness. Awareness is the understanding or insight between my mind and body. It helps me recognize when I am under stress, and the link between physical and mental cues.
- Purpose. Purpose is pretty straight-forward. For me, it’s where spiritual practice and prayer fit in. For others, it might be a deep-rooted desire and intention to seek peace and friendly living on Earth.
- Nutrition. Nutrition is the fuel I put into my body. I think of my daily meals, my regular snacks, fluid and water intake.
- Rest. Like nutrition, rest gives my body energy. I consider rest to be any form of relaxation, and especially the hours spent sleeping at night.
- Movement. Movement includes light activity, walking, and any exercise. My body doesn’t tolerate extreme sports, but I can still get the activity needed to keep my body strong with simple cardio and yoga.
- Community. Community and relationships are essential to human nature. Personally, my introverted tendencies prefer small groups and one-on-one conversations. But everybody experiences community differently - no matter what, we all feel the need to be known and accepted by someone.
- Contribution. Contributing to society is good for my soul. For me, contribution is largely reflected in my profession as a nurse. It can also look like extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or small acts of service in my community.
All of these elements of whole-person health are fluid - never perfectly aligned, but always connected. I even think different people need a different balance of each.
It’s easy enough for me to think about my prism of health and its importance, but too often I feel out of balance. Sometimes it happens after catching the flu. Working a lot of overtime. Going to a big party on Saturday night, interrupting my normal sleep schedule. Other times the imbalance is a natural side effect of other positive things in life. Taking a much-needed vacation. Having a baby. Adopting a puppy. Starting a new job. Incorporating a new friend or lover into everyday life. I’m reminded of a quote from Liz Gilbert, as she learned the balance of life from Ketut, the Balinese medicine man.
When I lose balance of my prism, the key moving forward is not remaining in the unbalanced place. It’s also not pushing myself back into perfection. The key to moving forward after a period of imbalance (eating lots of sugar, not getting enough sleep, disrupting my creative flow) is easing my way back in. Don’t shock the system, I tell myself. I’d bet money that if I made too many drastic lifestyle changes at once, I’d end up burnt out and back to all my old habits.
Instead, I give myself a gentle taste of healthy balance. Been out of yoga practice for three weeks? I start off slow with a restorative course. I remind my body why I chose this lifestyle, then I let my body tell me the rest.
I challenge my comfort with gradual incline, and then stop to smell the roses. Walking this path doesn’t happen without stumbling. But it never lets me down.