joie de vivre

There is a place on the exact opposite of our globe.  As children we set our expressions to serious and would dig in our sandbox intent upon reaching China.  Somehow hunger or the elements would always end the project or occasionally we learned there was an offensive bottom to the sandbox.  Feeling ripped off, out in the orchard we’d gossip about the conspiracy and hatch plans to find a spot in the garden, ultimately unsuccessful when chased away by some adult authority.  

I haven’t heard yet about a kid who made it to the other side of the world by digging but I do know a lot of us who never lost our curiosity for things that might solve the great mysteries that weren’t readily apparent within our own bubble.

Today the internet can take us to China in a fraction of a second, as well as nearly anywhere else on the globe, and then even out, far out, into the stars where we can watch the cosmos in a constant state of renewal,  birthing baby stars. Times have changed and still the mystery exists: how to live?  The French chose their current dialect not because it is the most easily learned but because it is the most beautiful. They have a phrase called “joie de vivre” that I think of often. Like trying to dig to China, I still haven’t succeeded in finding an American equivalent for this notion. We don’t understand the concept and the most reasonable translation we have is “joy for living,” which does not remotely capture the French sentiment.  

Equally, is this concept of longevity.  In Okinawa (among other places on the globe) there has been an extraordinarily high population of people who live to be one hundred years old and beyond. Remarkably, they don’t just exist in a coma-like state at some institution, these centenarians live- they are active, they are mentally clear, they are physically capable.  They are engaging life.  

My family, many of them, died quite young, not much older than I am now. For several we could see it coming, for a few, it was just tragic accidents.  I still haven’t figured out how to dig fast enough to escape the lightning bolts of fate, but as for the others, I have learned things that could have changed everything. When it involves choice and free will, we truly can alter our experience of existence. We really can choose the joie de vivre.

What is our greatest wealth? Health. What is our most essential currency? Time. There are plenty of things we can buy, and plenty of services we can pay for that will help, but what it really comes down to is perspective, attitude, application and translation. We live in a culture of consumption– once thought of only as a disease term, we now readily identify ourselves as consumers, not citizens. This complicates our notion of health.  

We must dig deeper into the mystery now. We must remember our curiosity. Believe me when I say I know for sure, the clock is ticking and this one needs to hit the top of the priority list every day: Health. What am I going to do today to cast my vote for wellness? If I pretend I’m not voting it doesn’t change the fact that I am.

Great book, Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, he tells of his crash with death then wrote this book of how he made himself return to thriving. I love this kind of motivation. Positive and intentional, he tells us his personal recipe for wellbeing. He calls his recipe a “habit-stack.”  

So each day, on the top of the to-do list should be something that casts your vote for health. Something that peers into the joie de vivre and dances with it, something that addresses your own specific complaints in a positive orientation…then the rest of your priorities.  

People tell me this kind of “habit-stack” would not allow them time to do anything else. I believe that sometimes, depending on how far down that other kind of hole you’ve dug, say five, five and a half feet, that might be true. I say, “so what?” I say this with great, heartfelt compassion, “so what?” If that is what it is going to take to not go to an early grave, or worse, being debilitated beyond any reach of the joie de vivre, then what are you going to choose? I get very quiet and pensive when I know what is happening is a choice but I just can’t figure out how to crack into that mentality that the overculture has effectively brainwashed into our people.  

This is why I write. I want to share what I have learned in researching and practicing the medicine rooted in world knowledge and about the real human people who have saddled the riddles and live, really live well, often to 100 years old or more.  

This year I am completing a home care manual for you to use as a reference book. There was a time when most health contributions were administered first and foremost from our own kitchen and by cultivating a healthful lifestyle. Most (not some) common ailments were effectively treated at home. As the medical “industry” becomes more and more unaffordable for the average household I have recognized the dire need to return health to the people.  I will be educating through classes, coaching and blogposts as I compile the reference guide and welcome your feedback as to how I can better help you learn and implement health promotion and the joie de vivre.

Horseshoe Lake, CO

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