Considering the amount of attacks to our page this past week due to debates on the individuality of rational nutrition, rather than the “isms” of absolutist attitudes, I’d like to offer a story on clean, simple hydration.
Regardless of how we eat or hydrate, it will always be a challenge, and we will always eventually die. The question isn’t what is the best way for all people to eat, but rather, what eating approach brings the most joy and fulfillment to our experience of self, life, work, family and community?
Let me share a simple story… A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
Remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!
Last week, I had to finish video editing the most comprehensive fitness course I have ever created. The pressure from my company and the leaders within our organization to release the course as soon as human possible, caused time to click rapidly by. Like trying to hold water in my hands, it leaked rapidly out.
My daughter and son burst into my office both yammering over each other excitedly, so I stopped, looked up from the editing suite and asked them to tell me one at a time. My son reminded me that I promised to throw football with him that morning. My daughter pleaded with me to help her with her school science project judging whether our dog could be trained to prefer dirty socks over food. Sighing, I powered down my computer and said, “You know what? Thanks kids. Dad needed some perspective. Let’s go. I’ll get better work accomplished by changing my mind about it.”
Deadlines are a necessary, but an arbitrary fact of life. We can greet them and ask for their patience, or we can be defeated by them and have our patience siphoned off. Sometimes, tossing the pigskin and supervising stinky socks are more important, despite the perceived “weight” of impending deadlines.
As David Cruschieri writes, “The mind is a powerful force. It can enslave us or empower us. It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstasy. Learn to use this power wisely.”
Half full or half empty represents a very important reality of life: whether you are an optimist believing the glass half full, or a pessimist believing the glass half empty, the weight will always remain the same, and our perception of it will feel heavier over time that we hold it. All life will bring the pain of heavy choices and circumstances.
We can choose to learn from our pain, as the optimist, or choose to suffer in anguish like the pessimist, because the weight remains constant, and we all eventually succumb to the resistance. We should ask of our perception of life, not how little pain have we experienced, but how much we have learned from it, and felt joy and fulfillment in spite of it.