Thursday, February 21, 2013

Creative Community, Helping Hands, Blissful Beings

We just had our second successful ‘La Dolce Vita’ event at Middle Way Health’s Midtown Sacramento location and we’d like to thank those who joined us for an evening of ‘The Sweet Life’!

For people and connections to feel real, we have to actually get together with them - to feel and share energy, chemistry and emotion. It’s the physical presence and awareness (embodiment) that makes a connection, thought or idea real. The intent of our ‘La Dolce Vita’ gatherings is to bring creative people together to sample and discuss what makes up The Sweet Life, to come up with ideas and create a community of like-minded people who want to be happy and make the world a better place.

We all want to live some version of The Sweet Life, and we need others with whom to share the rewards of our efforts. Coming together around a vision causes it to grow and spread, and community is then built up around it. But we’re not just talking about superfluous things; happy people make the best helpers. It may sound corny, but it’s true.

We all want to be happy, healthy and helpful, right? Often, however, we don’t know exactly how we can help others. Our ‘La Dolce Vita’ gatherings have brought together a variety of people and professions - many of whom don’t normally come together in the same place. For instance, we’re connecting artists, writers and musicians who haven’t previously networked with mental health professionals, politicians and community activists, who in return don’t generally mingle with healers, food industry or fashion professionals.

Bringing different aspects of our community together in this way we are building bridges, sharing passions, generating ideas and solving problems. And our events serve as a method to spread various sources of information. For instance, Melanie Noel Light prepared a visual presentation of Dream Life Designing at our last gathering, something we’d like to continue, with a different presenter from the community each time. This is how we grow ourselves and our businesses, and this is how we make a more significant difference.

We all experience stressors in life - often all too often - and we at Middle Way Health believe in alleviating them by dealing with our responsibilities and creating room for the good stuff; the stuff that makes life worth living. This requires a balance between rewarding ourselves (while not leaning toward hedonism) and practicing blissful wisdom (accepting and sharing what we’ve learned).

At Middle Way Health we offer a variety of services to bring about joyful balance in one’s life. But it’s not solely about doing things one-on-on; we also aim to spread the vision of ‘La Dolce Vita’ (a healthy, joyful, balanced life) through workshops, classes and community events.

We believe we can all be healthy and happy at the same time. While maintaining health takes work, it shouldn’t detract from the happiness we want to experience. A happy, healthy person living a balanced life is to us a success - and can make a difference, even if just by example. A group or community of happy, healthy people living in balance and working together, however, can really turn the tides for the better!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

AGING: Healthy Role Models and Mindsets

My husband is only 43 and yet he worries about aging to the extent that it sometimes wakes him in the middle of the night. He worries about losing loved ones, his health failing, and to a lesser but still painful extent, his looks fading. He’s not overly vain; he’s just like the rest of us – honest and searching.

I can relate with much of what he’s experiencing. When you turn that corner from the future being always a distance away to seeing and feeling yourself aging, it is disconcerting. Suddenly, here’s this fact of life (aging) that you never really literally imagined happening to you (getting old), and it’s now happening - to you.

In our youth and beauty-obsessed culture, it’s no wonder that we’re uneasy about our years showing. There are, however, more significant, affecting ways in which we age, including our health failing, mental health suffering, and thoughts tending toward mortality. We develop GI tract issues, stiffening joints, unreliable memories, etc.… and they’re not just superfluous complaints. They’re typical things people who are aging talk about and have a strong desire to mitigate. That’s the medical/psychological side of it all. But what if we look at it from another perspective, with a different outlook and attitude?

When I bring up the topic with Stephen, the first thing that comes to his mind is his grandmother. He says he once asked her how old she felt when she was in her late 80s. She responded that she still felt 17 - and she lived to be 102. “I feel younger in some ways than I have before,” Stephen says at age 60. “I’d say I was more preoccupied with getting older when I was younger.”

Feeling like he’s turned a corner, he seems to have made a certain peace with aging. “Something in us is getting younger… it feels a bit like Merlin. He would get younger as he aged. In other words, the more I age, the more I’m coming closer to my next rebirth.” I realize this is a spiritual perspective, and I wonder if those of us worried about aging just need something to believe in. It’s certainly so much nicer than feeling like a victim of time and gravity with endless physical and cognitive worries.

But how about younger generations; what are they learning with so many role models trying so desperately not to age? I hope enough of us can find a balance between taking care of ourselves and respecting the parts of us that undeniably get older. As for me, I do try to be gentle with my imperfect self and not to worry about inevitable things.

It’s a science, if we think about aging in terms of eating right, staying active, engaging the mind, and challenging old beliefs and stale attitudes. It’s an empowering lifestyle if we focus on how better we can live right now, how well we can wear our years. Yet maybe it’s a religion too – If we find something so great to believe in that we fear no future phantoms and instead lap up the present as if it were the best fountain of youth there is.