As we cast our imagination into the coming year, were naturally inclined to wonder what the future holds. Maybe you’re eager and excited about the possibilities, or maybe youre stressed and anxious. Or maybe both.
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. I can tell you the futureyour futureright now. And I dont need to read tea leaves, throw bones, consult a deck of cards or examine the lines on your palm to do it. Here’s how 2015 will unfold:
First, and most obviously, you will get older. In spite of your best training efforts, your telomeres will get just a bit shorter and your legs will lose a little bit of their bounce. Youll fight back against the process in every way you can, but there is only so much that we can do; tissue aging is a fact of every animal life.
Naturally, there will be uncertainty and stress in the months ahead. Challenges may intensify into threats. Cognitive, social and psychological overload will distract you and weigh you down. You may well lose sleep, lose your patience, and lose your temper.
There will be challenge, risk and surprise, especially if you live an authentic life of seeking and exploration. The dangers might be physical, but they will also be existential, spiritual and relational. Your meticulous planning and well-developed Naturally, there will be uncertainty and stress in the months ahead. Challenges may intensify into threats. Cognitive, social and psychological overload will distract you and weigh you down. You may well lose sleep, lose your patience, and lose your temper.
There will be challenge, risk and surprise, especially if you live an authentic life of seeking and exploration. The dangers might be physical, but they will also be existential, spiritual and relational. Your meticulous planning and well-developed worldview will be scrambled by unpredictable, random events.
People will be difficult, unpredictable and sometimes blatantly unfair. They wont always give you what you need, and they’ll drive you crazy with their stubbornness and inexplicable behavior. Every time you think you understand their ways, they’ll monkey-wrench your assumptions with some new outrage or some new kindness.
Along the way, there will be difficult, sometimes excruciating judgment calls and moral dilemmas. Life has a way of keeping us on the crux of doubt. Youll try to do the right thing in every circumstance, but no matter the strength of your efforts, competing demands will pull you in different directions. Youll struggle to know and do the right thing.
There will be loss, injury, illness and even death.
In the coming year, we may lose our health, our skills, our wealth or our loved ones. We will try to hoard all of these things, but little by little they will take leave, the erosion as inevitable as the disappearing sandcastle thats taken over by the rising tide. Dont deceive yourself; the future is a losing proposition.
But all is not lost, of course. There will also be unforeseen opportunities hidden in the most unlikely places. People will astonish us with unexpected acts of compassion and growth. There will be victories, both small and large. Our training will pay off in increased skill, superior performance, and equanimity. There will be successes and joy, pleasure, delight and satisfaction.
In short, 2015 is going to be a mixed bag, just like every other year. To navigate this diverse, shifting terrain, well need balance, strength, flexibility and resilience. Knowledge will be helpful, but even more importantly, well need a model or metaphor to guide us.
For this, the common bicycle wheel is ideal. Even if you havent actually built or repaired one yourself, its easy to imagine how the structure works. Obviously, its all about balanced relationships. If your wheel is going to roll true, you’ll want all your spokes to have equal length and tension; weakness or tightness anywhere in the wheel will have consequences for the entire structure. Our lives, just like our bodies, are best thought of as tensegrity structures, where the stability of the whole is dependent on the combined length and strength of the component parts.
WITH THIS IN MIND, I SUGGEST A SIX-SPOKE WHEEL OF HEALTH AND INTEGRATION. THAT IS,
A GENUINELY HEALTHY HUMAN LIFE IS: PHYSICAL: Giving the body what it needs, including regular, vigorous movement challenges and real food.
AUTHENTIC: Knowing your meaning and purpose. Taking a risk for what you believe in. Exposing yourself to the world. Exercising courage in the face of adversity.
RELATIONAL: Viewing your life in context, in intimate connection to people and habitat. Seeing yourself as part of larger systems.
SKILLFUL: Competence and mastery in the essential tasks of navigating the modern world. Practical and functional. CREATIVE: Innovative, improvisational, adaptive and playful. An aesthetic orientation; seeking beauty in all things.
AWAKE: Attentive, engaged, intentional, curious and aware. The practice here should be obvious, although not always easy. Look carefully at your wheel and feel the way that it tracks through the days of your life. If theres a wobblestress, anxiety, pain or chaosexamine your spokes carefully. Some may be loose or even broken, while others may be too tight.
You may be neglectful of some areas of your experience and fanatically obsessive about others. If in doubt, consult a coach, teacher, mentor or sensei. Look at the totality of your life. Then, redistribute your attention, your time and your efforts. Back off a little here, add a little more effort there, then check the rim again and feel how it rolls.
LOOK AT THE WHOLE, THEN THE PART,
THEN THE WHOLE.
KEEP ADJUSTING, DO |T
FEEL FOR THE WOBBLE, THEN DO IT AGAIN. AND AGAIN.
Blog: Primal Bites Blog
Owner: Sarah Al-Khayyal Year started: 2013
Sarahs a nutrivore. A lot of us aim for this,
but rarely do you see it expressed so simply. I eat nutrient-dense foods and aim to obtain all my micronutrients from real, whole foods, she says on her blog, along with other straight-to-the-point advice like, If you eat crap, youre going to feel like crap. Her beautiful and tasty recipes, as well as the obvious fun shes having making and sharing them, are what make Primal Bites Blog such a pleasure to peruse.
At 20 years old, Sarahs attending Columbia University and studying sustainable development. Perhaps unsurprisingly (she is a millennial, after all), she discovered the Paleo lifestyle via Pinterest. I’m a Pinterest fiend, and one day in the winter of 2012 I was browsing foodie pictures in search of a dinner recipe,” she says. “The recipe I clicked on was from PaleOMG! I then read through a variety of articles on Marks Daily Apple and Robb Wolf’s website, and I was sold. Im an extremely logic-and science-oriented person, so the evolutionary rationale behind the diet and lifestyle just made so much sense to me. I had also been experiencing some intermittent but severe stomach pains for a few years and it seemed like eating Paleo could be the solutionand it largely was!
Before discovering the Paleo way of eating,
Sara spent two years as a pescatarian, eating fish and eggs but no meat. “At the time I loved it, she admits. Now, looking back, I dont know how I survived without bacon or chicken or pulled pork! Her blog is only a little over a year old, a project she started in order to document her kitchen experiments and share her Paleo recipes with friends and family. Interestingly, shes not one to stick to strict recipes herself. Even when I find a recipe that looks delicious and perfect, Im pretty much always experimenting and trying new things and substituting various ingredients, she says. As a result, her blog features some deliciously different takes on familiar meals, like Tarragon Eggs with Truffle Sea Salt and Sarahs Super Sneaky Tuna (& Sardine) Salad.’
Sarah says she hopes her blog appeals to as wide an audience as possible. She certainly represents the newer generation of Paleo enthusiasts, as evidenced by an expertly run Instagram account with gorgeous photos of her recipes.
THEN THE PART, THtN DO IT AGA/a/
l .11 E
As she puts it, Im writing and developing recipes from the point of view of a college student who has a million different interests and not enough time in the day to pursue them all. I think my specialty as a Paleo blogger is that I dont specialize in Paleo blogging. I wear many hats and have many different commitments that keep me super busy, so I hope I serve as an example that normal people’ can lead Paleo lifestyles, too.
Primal Bites focuses on savory recipes with lots of meat, veggies and breakfast dishes, with the occasional snack or sweet treat. She says she also likes to cater to Paleo newbies” or folks who need a healthier replacement for their comfort-food favorites, with recipes like Fried Green Tomatoes and Primal Pizza Poppers. As the blog’s readership continues to grow, Sarah says shes grateful for the friendships and connections she’s made in the Paleo community. “Bloggers and small business owners in the Paleo community just want to see each other succeed, so the mutual support we all show for each other is both motivating and uplifting. Sarah has plenty of plans for her post-university life, and they dont all revolve around the Paleo lifestyle. She does plan to continue running and growing her site, and would love to write an e-book or cookbook. Sarah is a prime example that being busy is no excuse not to be healthy, and that following a Paleo lifestyle doesnt have to interfere with your other interests. It really grinds my gears when people say, Oh man, I could never eat Paleo, it would be too hard! she says. Above all, the Paleo movement is about getting back to eating whole, nutrient-dense foods that will fuel your body properly.