Counselor's Corner: Life goes on

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Labor Day is over. Students are back in school. Each year in early September, or the day after Labor Day, it seems like a new beginning. It is similar to New Years but without the resolutions. Labor Day reminds us that life now goes on and we must start working again toward whatever our goals in life might be. Summer is over. The colors of fall will start soon. Halloween decorations and back to school shopping become displayed in stores. Something is ending and something is beginning. School busses meet us on the way to work. Football begins. Many meetings start again in companies all over the world. Life must continue for each of us.

The real question at this time of the year is “How does life go on for us?” This is a good time to reflect on what are the priorities of life that are most important? What brings quality to my life? For as many years we have left in life, what is most important for us to become fully alive? What kind of shape are we in physically? What is our emotional condition like? Do we have a spiritual life that helps us bring everything together and gives meaning to each moment of life?

“Life goes on” are three very important words. But they must be put into concrete actions. Four concrete actions for everyone are daily meditation, daily embracing our deeper feelings, daily exercise, and finally, eating in a healthy manner with an awareness of what vitamin supplements will help us.

For the past 20 years I have had an hour of meditation for a number of people in my office. The other day at the end of the hour when we share for a few minutes, one of our participants said: “At these times of meditation I feel transposed to a peaceful place.” Other have said the same thing in different words. Sitting still and quiet with a group and listening can be a profound, spiritual experience. It brings us to a deeper awareness of God, love and life.

I have always exercised throughout my life. I ran many races, including ten marathons. I ran my last marathon at age 60. Lately I had been bothered with arthritis and had stopped working out at my local health club. Walking was painful. I started thinking: “I don’t have to work out any more. I have exercised enough in my life. I will just coast into old age and believe that my life of exercise has been enough.” This was crazy thinking.
Then I talked with my daughter who is getting her Master’s degree in nutrition. She put me on a vitamin supplement plan that has changed my life. I have no more pain in my legs. I am back working out regularly and I now walk like I am ten years younger. A close friend of mine told me about a month ago, “Fred, if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Then my doctor said to me, “You decondition much quicker when you stop exercising and reconditioning then will take longer.” All these messages certainly challenged me.

So, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of maintaining good health by daily meditation and prayer, experiencing my inner feelings, exercise and making sure I eat correctly and take the right vitamin supplements. The change in my body is amazing. It has made me realize that to make sure that life goes on well I cannot neglect one basic priority of life under the pretenses that another priority lived well will compensate for the priority I may not be practicing. I need to do all the priorities well: daily meditation and prayer, consistent exercise, proper eating and vitamin supplementation and opening up to the deeper emotions inside of me. When I am doing one of these priorities well, I will be nudged into doing the other priorities. But I must pay attention to the nudge. I am a person who spends a good deal of time in quiet silence with God through prayer and meditation. However, I was not listening to the nudges to eat well and exercise regularly. I was making excuses. Now I am not. It is wonderful to be back exercising and eating well and feeling well. I don’t run marathons any more but I do exercise regularly. Those few months neglecting exercise were not good for me.

Life is meant to be lived with inner peace. Inner peace is a result of making spirituality an absolute priority. It is a result of making emotional awareness and sincere experience of my inner feelings an absolute priority. It is a result of making exercise and good eating habits an absolute priority. When I realize that all of these priorities go together, then everything goes well no matter what might happen to me in life. It is because I will have the spiritual, emotional, and physical foundation to embrace and grow from whatever comes my way. So, from now on I am even more motivated to make sure I spend an hour a day in meditation. I will exercise at least five times a week. I will take vitamin supplements and eat healthy. I will allow myself to experience and share my inner feelings and let the tears flow when they surface. I will realize that underneath any negativity will be a deeper feeling or wound that needs to be experienced. Life goes on well when I can practice these daily priorities faithfully and consistently.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.

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