Monday, June 1, 2009

Contentment versus Complacency

Contentment versus Complacency:

I used last Saturday's Project meeting as an opportunity for those attending to reflect on why they applied for the Project in the first place and to recall what they had hoped to experience and to reconnect with what the Project is about - Health, Fitness, and Well-Being. BTWG is about wellness.

"What is wellness to you?" When Margaret asked my perspective on personal wellness, I shared that, for me, it's having the capacity to engage in the activities that I love and enjoy. Currently, this includes participating in ultra running events; participating, rather than winning or being competitive. For me, this is an important pursuit, yet training to be competitive or to win would be extreme and there is no room for extremes in BTWG. Plus, I like being a well rounded "athlete", rather than a specialist. Just last week I was doing dead lifts at 275 pounds and squatting nearly 300. I can promise you that there are few, if any, elite level ultra runners dead lifting and squatting nearly 300 pounds. In fact, I would be surprised if you can find very many that can dead lift or back squat equal to their body weight. The week prior to that included knocking out 500 push ups with my boot camp students, putting in 3 hours on the trail, practicing yoga and sitting still on my meditation cushion. I illustrate this not as a boast, rather as a point of being fit in multiple aspects of fitness and wellness rather than only one or two areas.

I find that wellness is also about having the energy to do my work and training and still having the energy and time to enjoy other aspects of my life such as spending time with my family or going to the playground and being able to chase after our three year old.

Wellness isn't just a lack of dis-ease, it' also ensuring that my risk factors for illness and dis-ease are in check. How is my body fat percentage, resting heart rate, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and sugar levels, etc.? Being out of range in these areas equals a lack of optimal wellness and relects areas to train.

I also look at my scores on the "Life Satisfaction Questionnaire" (a evaluation tool used in the Project); are my stress scores low and my feelings of well-being high? Or, do I have areas to work on?

Wellness extends beyond the physical. True wellness also reflects mental/emotional well-being, relationship well-being, spiritual well-being and even financial well-being. Am I spiritually nourished and engaged in a regular practice? As a Christian, I feel grateful that I have found a church that feeds me and offers me opportunities for service and helping others. This, along with my family network and the wellness community found in BTWG totally satisfies my spiritual and community/social needs. While Jody and I are anything but rich, we are content with where we are, we are learning to be even more disciplined with our finances and becoming better stewards with the blessings we have.

These are just a few of the things I consider qualities of true wellness and I would encourage you to write a list of your own and to see if you are living the life you envision, or are you settling for less.

This brings me to the point: Contentment versus Complacency.

Being content and satisfied is ultimately what we are seeking. Contentment means that I feel nourished, I feel supported, I feel peace, and I am well. It means that I am continually working to sustain balance and making efforts to be at my best, yet I am okay with where I am; I may not be where I need to be for optimal wellness but I do have a plan and I have faith and I have trust.

Complacency relects an "I give up" attitude, or an "I don't care" mindset. In reality, these attitudes are fear-based and keep one from ever experiencing the life God intended them to live. Complacency arises from past defeats, past hurts, seeing others "fail", or being told "you can't", or "you shouldn't" messages. All of this strips away ones authenticity and the power of ones spirit, it creates an environment for disappointment, unsatisfaction and shame. In many ways a life of complacency is an easier life to live than an engaged and active life. Being fat, out of shape, and sedentary is easy, anyone can do it; while the consequences may suck, it's easy to not take a risk or to put forth an effort and just say, "I'll get to it tomorrow", or "Screw that, I'm happy and fine just the way I am". There are millions of excuses one can give while your life and wellness is going to crap.

In my book life is too short to be unhappy, unfit, and unsatisfied. No Excuses!


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