“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
In daily exchange of greetings I am wont to say ‘superb’. This response is intended to reflect a collective state of mind, body and soul which, if kept in equilibrium, will indeed contribute to a ‘superb’ lifestyle. This state of mind, body and soul is analogous to flying above the clouds where there is no turbulence, little drag, ‘fuel’ efficiency and a smooth ride.
There is usually a response of surprise by my greeters who contrast ‘superb’ with the average response of ‘fair’, ‘holding on’, ‘not too bad’, ‘OK’, ‘living along among you strong ones’ or a litany of the problems of the day. My ‘superb’ response is intended to give them a lift as well as to contribute to my own holistic healthy lifestyle. Indeed, in order to cope with a busy everyday life, the ‘superb’ tonic is spiritually an ideal preventive measure and its practice, a perennial panacea.
Last week I reflected on what I meant by the ‘superb’ lifestyle and will now share this with you through a description of the acronym ‘SUPERB’. This is what I came up with: (S)ervice to community, (U)topia, (P)eace of mind, (E)mployment, (R)est and (B)e fit.
Providing a service to the community contributes to the health of my soul. I am a Rotarian an organization that epitomizes ‘Service above self’. I volunteer at The Future Centre, a sustainable development venture, where we create an awareness of what each one of us should do today (spiritually, socially, culturally, economically and physically) to protect Planet Earth for our children and grandchildren. I am involved with the Barbados Cancer Society, where we focus on services to relieve pain and suffering among cancer patients and their families, and I also volunteer with other organisations from time to time. The benefit of these interactions helps one to live the ‘smart partnership’ philosophy that builds friendships across a wide cross section of the community, across the world and feeds the soul. I also enjoy writing this weekly column as a service to the community and the continuing complimentary feedback has been the inspiration to continue, now over a period of twelve years.
Utopia may be described as a perfect place, a paradise or heaven. It permits us to focus on the divine vision that pervades our very existence. The divine laws, through prayer and meditation, provide for us to nurture our soul. Indeed, I remember being taught in Sunday school how to get ‘JOY’ out of life and that is by putting (J)esus first, (O)thers second and (Y)ourself last. At Sunday school we also learned that ‘It is best to put trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man’ (Psalms 118:8) which is a great help with our daily challenges. It is a lesson that we need to remember throughout our lives, if we are to close the gap between our current lifestyles and Utopia.
The next letter in the acronym represents peace of mind which is an important facet of one’s well being. I have found that this can be achieved by adopting a philosophy of positive belief systems which include ambition, self confidence, security and good relationships. If one practices these diligently, collectively they contribute to a fertile ‘mind’ environment. This is the upside potential, but of course there are downside risks induced by negative emotions such as anger (an overt poison to the body), fear, worry and guilt which have to be managed to reduce their negative impact on our lifestyles.
Then there is employment, gainful employment, which is necessary for us to contribute our fair share to the working of our economy and for us to support our family lifestyle. This can be enhanced if we further develop the intellectual aspect of our mind, thus allowing us to convert opportunities into action. Our aim should be to enjoy our working environment.
The batteries of our bodies must be continually recharged through rest and relaxation so we have to devote some time to conventional sleep, to power naps and to other forms of distraction away from the norm of work.
The last letter of the acronym relates also to the body where we want it to be as fit as it can be at any stage of our life. This is best achieved by preventive health care where a balanced diet and regular exercise complement peace of mind. In addition, to a formal exercise programme, I attempt a daily diet of swimming which is the most complete single exercise.
Of course, if we are delinquent and are not successful at the preventive stage we may require some curative measures, including the use of pharmaceuticals, supplements and surgical procedures to restore our body functions to optimal health. Delinquency in the ‘Superb’ lifestyle obviously shortens our lifespan, diligence can prolong our quality of life to the time when we are called to higher service.