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Living The Ten Tenets of Wellness

© Michael Arloski PhD

*Identify some skill you want to learn that would make your life easier, more economical, fun, etc. if you possessed that skill (baking, something mechanical, an outdoors skill) Locate a person who you can learn that skill from and arrange an exchange of knowledge, skill, time, or some other way to barter a reciprocal arrangement you both like.

8. As much as we all need time with others, we all need time apart. Solo time, especially in the natural world, helps us relax, de-contract, and get beyond the distractions of modern life that prevent us from really knowing ourselves. There are some powerful reasons that peoples from all around the world have spent time alone (usually in a wilderness setting) in order to gain vision about the direction and meaning in their lives.

* Find a partner that shares your desire to spend one full day in "solo time". Locate a near-by natural area that you both feel safe in and would enjoy spending the day there. Pick a day with a relatively good weather forecast. Take a whistle with you, appropriate clothing, rain-gear, etc. Bring water, but no food unless you have a special dietary consideration. Do not bring anything to read, or anything to write with. When you arrive at the area you should both select a small area (ten to fifteen yards in diameter max.) where you would like to spend 5-8 hrs. alone. Your site should be close enough for your partner to hear your whistle easily, but far enough away that you can have complete privacy. Taking opposite sides of the same hilltop ridge works very well for this. Reunite at a prearranged time. Spend your time in contemplation and awareness of everything around you. This is a journey into inner and outer nature. Reflect and write about your experience afterwards if you like.

The goal here is not endurance. Bail out if you have a nasty change in weather, feel ill, etc. You can always reschedule. Though not physically demanding, you need to be your own judge, or seek your physician's advice, if you have any health concerns around this process of solo time.

9. You don't have to be perfect to be well. Extreme perfectionism is a shame-based process that feeds a really negative view of ourselves. Workaholism, anorexia, and other addictive behaviors can result. Wellness does not mean swearing off hot-fudge sundaes. It just means not "b.s.-ing" yourself about when you last had one! Whenever our "healthy habits" move from being positive addictions to being compulsive behavior that works against us, we're usually the last ones to know. Lots of times extreme behavior is a way to distract yourself from some other issue that needs your attention.

*Get a gauge on your diet, exercise, etc. Read several sources and see what the experts recommend. Check your program out with a qualified local resource such as a nutritionist, exercise specialist, etc.

10. Play! We all need to lighten up and not take ourselves (and wellness) so seriously. Remember the lessons of the coyote and be playful, even ornery in a non-malicious way. Let the child within out to play. Give yourself permission to.

The "work hard, play hard" philosophy does little to help us maintain the balance needed for a healthy life. Psychophysiology works twenty four hours a day, every day (not just on weekends). Integrate a healthy sense of humor and play into the workplace. Make sure your yang equals your yin!

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