A week ago, I was eating dinner at Ecopolitan, the raw-food restaurant in Minneapolis that I frequent frequently. Ecopolitan is the kind of place where diners feel comfortable starting conversations with each other. A couple of young women at a nearby table began asking me about the raw-food diet. It’s nice to see young people interested in eating right, so I asked how old they were. One said twenty, the other said twenty-seven.
They asked me how old I was. I paused, then asked them how old they thought I looked. One guessed twenty-nine, the other guessed thirty. Considering that my daughter will be thirty in a few months, and that I’ll turn fifty-two a couple weeks after that, I couldn’t help laughing. Sure, that was nice to hear, but twenty-nine is pushing it. Most people guess that I’m in my mid-to-late thirties.
People have asked me what the secret is to looking young. In my view, it’s all the usual suspects: proper diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, chiropractic care. But as Dr. Dean Ornish explains in his brilliant bestseller, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, the best diet-and-exercise plan in the world won’t amount to a hill of legumes unless you also adopt a more holistic approach to life. That includes a sufficient level of emotional intimacy and a spiritual practice that feels right to you. (For insight into the origins of Ornish’s holistic approach to life, here is an excerpt from the story he told me for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything.)
Ornish’s prescription for healthy living is echoed by a growing number of physicians. In the NOV/DEC 2008 issue of AARP magazine, Dan Buettner quotes Harold G. Koenig, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavorial sciences at Duke University Medical Center:
People who feel their life is part of a larger plan and are guided by their spiritual values have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart attack and cancer, and heal faster and live longer.
THE HEALTH CONTINUUM
As I wrote in my post about Dr. Norm Shealy, health is a continuum, with Poor Health and Paradise Health at opposite ends. Everything you think, say and do moves you closer to one end of the spectrum or the other. As you move in either direction on the Health Continuum, so too does the status of your immune system. The closer you move toward Paradise Health, the stronger your immune system gets, and the less chance you have of manifesting disease. Similarly, introducing anything toxic into your system moves you nearer toward Poor Health, compromising your immune system and increasing your chances of manifesting illness.
It’s not just junk food, cigarettes, alcohol, pollution and electromagnetic fields that are toxic to our systems. Negative or judgmental thoughts, resentments, anxiety, grief, insecurity, stress, low self-esteem and other mental and emotional issues are just as toxic. So are dysfunctional relationships, toxic entertainment choices and compromising your integrity. That’s why bestselling author Caroline Myss said in a lecture I attended that she decided to forgive a former colleague because her resentment toward him wasn’t worth adding one more wrinkle to her face.
This is why I advocate the PLJ plan for health, youth and vitality. That’s PLJ as in Peace, Love and Joy. Every thought you have that isn’t peaceful, loving and joyous is toxic to your system, weakens your immune system and ages you. Conversely, every time you choose to express the beauty, nobility and divinity of the human spirit through such qualities as love, compassion and forgiveness, you become healthier, more vibrant and you slow down the aging process.
Don’t kid yourself by thinking that daily trips to the gym and eating a balanced diet will protect you from disease if you’re also bad-mouthing an ex, acting unethically at work and catching every horror flick that comes out. There is a big, big difference between fitness and health. Your body may appear to be fit, but any moment in which you are not feeling peace, love and joy compromises your physical health.
The best part about the PLJ plan is that it’s all about the present moment. You don’t strive to live a spiritual life because you want to live longer or look younger. You still could get hit by a truck tomorrow. The point is, when you start living with more peace, love and joy, the quality of your daily life skyrockets. It’s all about living better right now, and inspiring others to live better as well.
Begin your road to wellness in this moment and every moment thereafter: Choose peace. Choose love. Choose joy. After all, at the end of your life, all that will matter is how much love is in your heart. Why wait another minute to begin living that truth?
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders
Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.