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3 Keys to Wholeness: Body, Mind, and Soul

The corners of a triangle can be used to represent the 3 aspects of our being that make us who we are.  Body, Mind, and Soul.  Only when all 3 corners are healthy and balanced can we truly be all that we were intended to be and achieve all that we were meant to achieve.

Penrose Triangle provided by 95C on Pixabay.comCorner #1: The Body (Physical Health)

The body is the most obvious corner of the triangle for most people.  It is what we see every day when we look in the mirror.  Our bodies provide us the sensory inputs that help us form our views of ourselves and the world around us.

We cannot understate the value of taking care of ourselves physically.  This includes attention to 3 areas.

Exercise: (Always consult a doctor before starting a new exercise program.  Start slowly and build up gradually to allow your body to adjust and to help avoid injuries.)

  1. Aerobic activities such as walking, running, swimming, biking, dancing, treadmill, or elliptical.  Find an activity that you enjoy.  Work towards a goal of 30 minutes at a time and several times per week.  These activities strengthen the heart, regulate metabolism, and increase endurance.  They also help prevent and improve many health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes.
  2. Strengthening activities such as weight lifting, resistance training, or yard work.  Improved muscle strength helps prevent injuries and builds stronger bones.
  3. Balance based activities such as Thai Chi, Yoga, or dance. These can improve strength and balance and lower risk of falls.

Nutrition: Proper nutrition with a healthy, balanced diet are essential.

Rest/Sleep: Adequate amounts of sleep are vital to physical health.

Corner #2: The Mind (Mental/Emotional Health)

The mind encompasses our emotional and psychological being.  Neglect in this area will be catastrophic.

  1. Anxiety, depression, addiction, and related conditions have a tremendous impact on our well-being and sense of wholeness.  Proper diagnosis and treatment are very important.
  2. It is imperative to work through and release the weight of prior trauma and resentments or they will eat us up from within.
  3. Strive to improve relationships and strengthen interpersonal connections.  This will give us much-needed support, and provide us with purpose and self-worth.
  4. Practice healthy self-care such as recreation and other forms of stress management.  This might also mean distancing oneself from toxic relationships.

Corner #3: The Soul (Spiritual Health)

A healthy spirit is essential to healing and wholeness.  And yet, the soul or spiritual aspects of our existence may very well be the most neglected.  Why?  Because, this part of ourselves can be a very difficult area for many to define or even contemplate.

In general, we would define our soul or spirit as the part of us that recognizes that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.  It is that part of us that longingly reaches beyond our circumstances in a search for deeper meaning.  Our spiritual self acknowledges a power beyond and greater than ourselves which gives us purpose and energy to sustain us through difficult times.  Spirituality connects us to each other and more importantly to God.

How can we achieve something that is so seemingly hard to comprehend?  The answer is connection.

We would suggest the following:

  1. Consider that a power and purpose greater than ourselves exists.
  2. Be willing to seek that power and make it an integral part of our lives.
  3. Share what we find with others who may be struggling. Getting outside ourselves can be a powerful force in our own healing.

The Triangle: Body, Mind, and Soul

We must realize that none of these aspects of our being are isolated and independent.  Each one depends on and affects the others.

  1. If we are chronically ill or in pain, our mental health may suffer leading to anxiety or depression.
  2. Mental illness can affect us physically (ulcers, increased pain, fatigue, headaches to name just a few).
  3. Physical and psychological struggles may weaken our spiritual health and even cause us to question our faith.
  4. Strong faith and psychological resilience can make illness and pain more bearable or even provide the power for lasting healing.

Remove one corner of this triangle of life and our entire life’s balance will be thrown off.  To achieve wholeness, we need the healthy interplay of all 3 of these key attributes.

What can you do today to strengthen one or more of these areas in your life?

HOPE: 4 Ingredients To Jump-Start Your Journey Toward Healing

This recipe for hope can transform your life.  Don’t wait for hope to come to you.  Add these ingredients to your life today to jump-start your journey.

Helplessness
Open-mindedness
Power
Expectation

Hand reaching for hope

Hoping Hand

#1. Helplessness – The paradox of hope

Helplessness in a recipe for HOPE?!?!  Yes!!  

In the deepest moments of our struggles in life, we frequently resist adding this important ingredient.  No one wants to admit they are helpless in any situation.  It seems unthinkable that we might not be able to figure out some way to course correct on our own. 

We genuinely want to do things right, and we sincerely want to be better people.  We deeply desire to fix it.  This is our make-it-work moment for crying out loud!

Unfortunately, it is exceedingly hard for most of us to consider that our home-grown solutions may not be the best, most effective ways to reach our goals.  Then to top it off, we choose to persist in this folly despite repeatedly coming up short.  We tend to believe that there has to be a way to win if we just try hard enough and if we really want it badly enough.  We tell our selves that our intentions are good so success must be inevitable.  But, we all know from experience that more often than not this approach is a recipe for disaster not hope.

Determination and creative problem solving are powerful tools, but they are not universally effective weapons against the types of problems we face in this fallen, mixed-up world.  Good intentions are, by definition, “good”, but they simply don’t have the power to defeat our greatest challenges let alone the lesser ones.  

It is imperative that we acknowledge both our brokenness and our basic inability to fix ourselves.  Most of us know this on some level, but we expend tremendous amounts of time and energy minimizing or outright denying this reality.  As long as we persist in thinking we have the power to heal our deepest wounds or somehow rise above all our problems on our own, we will continue to be trapped in an inevitable cycle of emptiness, isolation, and fear……hopelessness.  

A crucial first step toward healing is to admit we are helpless.  Once we become willing to add this crucial ingredient to the mix despite its bitter taste, the journey toward hope can begin.

#2. Open-mindedness – The path toward hope

Closely linked to helplessness is our next ingredient, open-mindedness. 

Hope requires us to be open to new ideas and new approaches.  

We often want to stubbornly hold on to methods and supposed solutions despite that fact that they clearly haven’t been getting us where we want to go.  Our tendency is to think we already have all the answers.  We often believe that we simply need to try harder and success will be just around the corner.

The last thing we want to consider is that someone else might have insights or options that we overlooked.  Or worse yet, they might have ideas and approaches that are — brace yourselves — better than ours!

We also need to be willing to reconsider tactics that didn’t work in the past. This is especially true if we suspect that we consciously or subconsciously sabotaged the effort. 

The problem is not always the idea itself.

Perhaps we just didn’t truly give the idea a fair chance.  Maybe we entered into the trial with a mental, emotional, or spiritual negativity that doomed us to failure from the outset.  We must earnestly strive for a positive mindset and believe that the path we are taking can and will work.

Even the best ideas will fall flat and fizzle under the weight of negativity.  If we say we are all in, but we behave and think in ways that clearly indicate that we are not, we are doomed to fail.  This attitude can be hard to achieve when we are struggling with hopelessness.  But if we truly want to recover hope, we must dig deep and give every option all we’ve got.

Without Open-mindedness, the doors out of our prison will likely remain locked.

#3. Power – The key to hope

The next ingredient in our recipe is power.

Since we are powerless in this quest for hope (see ingredient #1), we need to connect to an outside power source.  Without this our journey toward healing will end before it has even begun.  If we maintain an unparalleled open mind and fully acknowledge our helplessness but neglect to connect to a power source, we will remain hopeless and lost.  

Power comes in many forms and although several types may enable some degree of hope and healing, not all are equally effective.  Some can even cause more harm than good. 

An inadequate power source for our computer might enable it to run, but it will likely be slow and prone to malfunctions.  Connect our computer to a mismatched power supply and risk frying the circuits and turning it into a glorified paperweight. 

The greatest chefs will tell us that the quality of our ingredients used can significantly impact our results.  The final product may be quite edible and even provide valuable nutrition, but premium ingredients might have taken the dish to an even higher level.  

No analogy is perfect, but our basic point should be clear.  Utilizing the most appropriately matched and best quality power is of great importance. This is an extremely important ingredient!

Which power source should you choose?  I’m glad you asked. 

A vital characteristic of our power source will be a willingness and commitment to speak the truth in love.  A power source that simply tells us what we want to hear to avoid hurt feelings or challenging us is not a true power source at all.

Some very good options include but are not limited to a faithful, trusted friend; a well-trained, empathetic counselor; a caring, committed support group; or a wise, grace filled spiritual mentor.  Quite honestly, a combined multi-pronged effort utilizing several or even all of these options is often not only reasonable but advisable. 

Ultimately, this is a very personal choice, but we believe that the most effective power for use in this recipe comes from God.  God often uses these other power sources to bring healing and growth into our lives, but He can act directly as well.  His power can reliably get us moving in the right direction, and it can also transform us in ways that no other power can.  Thus, cultivating our direct relationship to Him is likely the most important ingredient of all.  We strongly encourage you to consider including Him in the mix.

Not everyone will be comfortable with this, and that’s OK; we totally respect that.  What is important is that we plug into some form of safe, healthy power and take those crucial first steps toward healing.  Only then can we truly begin to explore the possibilities that lay ahead on our journey toward hope. (see ingredient #2)

#4. Expectation – The glimmer of hope

So, we’ve added an appropriate measure of helplessness along with a generous helping of open-mindedness.  We have bravely connected to a power source to get the process started.  What’s next? 

Our recipe wouldn’t be complete unless we added expectation.  

Without expectation we risk apathy.  Our lack of motivation and alertness can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities for healing and growth.  This unfortunately can lead to bitterness and resentment which kill hope.

Without expectation we may be tempted to give in to fear.  We begin listening to the lies inside our heads that tell us we aren’t worth it or that we are beyond hope.

Without expectation we tend to focus on isolated victories.  We lose sight of our goals causing our sense of direction to falter.  We risk going off course and eventually losing sight of hope.

Clearly expectation is a vital ingredient.  It is looking forward with anticipation.  And, expecting that the actions you are taking and the power you are connecting to can and will produce results.  It is anticipating the best even when your wounded soul says give up.  Expectation is earnestly searching for and expecting to find hope.

Expectation is powerful so the recipe doesn’t require much.  Even a little can have profound effects.  Use caution, but feel free to season to taste.

Final preparation instructions:

Mix these ingredients gently with ample measures of grace and love.  If the results aren’t what you want at first, remember progress not perfection.  Even little steps can make grand staircases; so persevere.  This basic recipe is only the beginning.  Come back and read more as we seek hope together.

 
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