Minnesota Musings

If is Part of Life

By October 28, 2020No Comments

This was originally published last year prior to the pandemic. It looks as though we are all in this for the long haul. So I thought this might be a chance for my readership to begin to look at their LIFE and make long term changes in how they live during this very short period of time we have on the planet.

IF I like this word. A simple two-letter word used in a myriad of ways. I think it has a deeper, more poignant meaning than the other two-letter word IT. IT is kind of a lazy word to use. People substitute IT instead of explaining something in detail.

“IF,” like my friend said, “Is an active word.” It, the word IF that is, can be used in mathematical equations, one of my least favorite school subjects. This does not prevent it from being used in equations. For example, IF 5 is added to 3 what is the answer?

Now that is a very simple example and the word can be used in much more complicated math problems, but the problem is the moment I start to get into those types of problems I break out in a sweat and my breathing becomes shallow – the beginnings of a panic attack. It’s beginning to happen and time to move on.

The real reason I wanted to bring the word IF to your attention is that it is related to life. In fact, as I typed it I noticed they are the two letters in the middle of the word life. How cool is that? Much like a math problem, there is an IF equation to our lives. And each person has their individual equation for what I call a life of well-being. What does this possibly mean? Well, I will answer that question for you IF you take the time and read an example that pertains to my life.

IF I make health, spirituality, community and creativity a priority in my life I can live a balanced life of well-being. On the surface this equation seems quite simple, but it isn’t. It calls for a willingness to change, awareness and discipline. Let’s break each one down. IF I want to live a life of balance and well-being and IF I make health a priority then I need to eat healthy foods, exercise daily and get a decent amount of sleep.

Let’s go even further. If I want food to be part of the equation then I would eat less carbs, more natural foods such as veggies and cutting out processed foods and anything with refined sugar. IF I want exercise to be part of my equation, then I need to ride my bike, run and go to the gym. The IF to the equation of health is also sleep. And that is at least 7 hours or more of sleep.

IF I add spirituality to the equation, this part is very personal and can be in the form of organized religion, meditation or a foundational philosophy and relationship to the world. My equation consists of daily meditation and a few interesting readings related to Zen and other thought provoking books.

IF and community refers not only to my immediate surroundings here in Tokyo, but also expanding to friends all over the world and the planet. Recently I did a count on the number of communities that I am connected, the total is 14. I will not list them here, but the point is that community is very important for many reasons besides just well-being. And of course nothing more need be said really about friends and how that fits in the equation.

Creativity in my IF equation consists of writing, of course, music, a well-designed home that reflects my character, books and inspiring art.

This is my simple IF equation that was less complicated to design than to implement. The main word here is simple. It, there’s that word again, is really that straightforward. Seriously, it is not rocket science, and yet so many of us complicate it by putting obstacles in the way, myself included. Our ego is a tough nut to crack and cracking it is the key to well-being. That is IF you want to live a life of well-being.


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