CHALLENGE YOURSELF. Last weekend, my father, who turned 86 two months ago, joined me on a hike described as “moderately strenuous”. It was NOT. We had boulders to climb while hanging on to rooted tree stumps and about 21/2 hours of steep uphill climbs and deep downward scrambles. Sipping his coffee and nibbling on a tuna club afterwards, Frank, the octogenarian, gave me some advice on keeping fit–challenge yourself a little everyday (he jogs five miles a day—sometimes more, rarely less). And that is what I intend to do—not jog the five miles, but to push the envelope just a bit each day—whether on a physical, social, or even emotional and spiritual level. The hike was a good start.
LAUGH MORE. Sometimes I take myself too seriously. At the beginning of the hike, I thought my father needed help with the first rocky crag so I held out one hand to him while holding onto a tree with the other. He grabbed mine and pulled himself up effortlessly. We both burst out laughing. Needless to say, he did not need my help but……it felt good to laugh. A good belly laugh moves qi and blood in the gut and chest where all the vital organs reside. Shaking them up to let them dance a little feels good after the long winter.
MAKE AN ACUPUNCTURE APPOINTMENT. I called my acupuncturist and made an appointment for a spring “tune-up”. Our bodies, like the trees around us, undergo immense change during the seasons. I could use a little release in the shoulders and computer arm, as well as some needles to “tonify the spleen” and “move liver qi” as we say in Chinese Medicine. I urge my patients to do the same—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. It might even give you the push you need to move outside your comfort zone in this season of growth and creativity.