In the years that I've been interviewing and photographing amazing women around the world and asking them for their definitions of the word thrive, upon listening to their stories and reading their answers, I had come to the conclusion that thriving, in essence, was less about financial success or even having a rocking body, and more about the way in which we move through the world. I still believe this.
I also believed that the way we move through the world is enhanced by focusing on just three things: that if we ensure that we care for our minds, bodies and spirits, that would be enough. The trick was to remember just to take care of those three things, and those alone. But yesterday, I discovered that it might be broader than that.
During my coursework yesterday, I was introduced to the concept of wholebeing: in essence, the term this organization uses to mean "thriving." And they suggest that thriving -- and indeed, happiness -- means taking care of yourself in the following five ways:
spiritual -- ensuring you're leading a meaningful life, and mindfully savouring the present
physical -- caring for your body, and tapping into your body/mind connection
intellectual -- engaging in deep learning, and remaining open to new experiences
relational -- nurturing constructive relationships, both with yourself and with others
emotional -- really sitting with your emotions, and cultivating resilience
This feels right to me, although honestly? It also feels really overwhelming.
I mean, seriously, who has the time? All I know is that if I spent an hour meditating, another hour at the gym, ensured that I got some solid time educating myself (by reading a book, or taking an online course, or whatever), made sure I had quality time with my husband and daughter and friends, and ensured that I spent some time sitting with my emotions every single day ... well, I'd get nothing else done. At some point, I figure I'd need to earn a living. Or clean my house.
Or, you know, shower.
So I mulled this over for a few hours yesterday, and slowly realized that these aren't things that I need to do every single day. Maybe some of them are things I only do several days a week. Or one day a week. Maybe one or two of them I can commit to doing merely once a month. And maybe a couple of them I can actually weave throughout my day -- like stopping every few hours to do a few yoga stretches for my body or a couple of minutes of meditation just right here at my desk. What might happen if I tried?
For the last few weeks, I've spent the beginning of every morning setting intentions in my journal -- and because it only takes about 30 seconds to do, it has been a really wonderful way to ensure my day is grounded, and my days have definitely felt like they've been infused with more purpose.
It might be time to add those five elements of thriving to my journal pages, as well.
Soundtrack: Live while we're young by Johnnyswim