What is the Meaning of Life?

Has this question ever be asked to you? Do you have an answer?

During the troublesome times of my youth— you know, tragic things like when homework got in the way of a friend’s party invite or I missed the winning point at a sport tournament— I would express my upset in spins of emotion from rage to depression. Instead of getting angry back at the insensible reactions to my teenage turmoil, in the mist of my verbal objections my father would ask:

“Is this the meaning of life?”

It would stop me in my tracks every time. Never once did I find that whatever ailed me was worth my whole life.

As I grew older (dare I say wiser) I once asked my father what should have been the obvious question: “If this (insert singular petty event) isn’t the meaning of life, what is?”. His response was even more insightful than his original statement: “I don’t know, but when you find out I would like to know as well!”

 


I recently attended a conference, the Art & Science of Health Promotions, in which I was asked to articulate my purpose in life. The question brought tears to my eyes as I recalled the above childhood memories of my father. The context of this discussion at the conference was to explain, articulate and theorize on spiritual wellbeing and how this broader picture of how we each fit into the world triggers our thoughts, emotions, actions and overall health.

Spiritual wellbeing, the untouchable and often unthinkable pillar to holistic wellness! Defined by Brian Luke Seaward as the accumulation of our relationships, values and a meaningful purpose in life. The piece of the wellness puzzle that is easy to loose. Without it, can we truly be whole?

A few days later in this same conference one of our keynote speakers, Victor Strecher, spoke on his extensive research around what having a purpose in life does for our physical, mental and emotional health, and how you can not weed out one from the other. In a nutshell, having a purpose in life IS the meaning of life and the key to health and happiness. Plus, he had studies to prove it.

If you are interested in learning more on this topic and the evidence, I encourage you to read Victor’s book, “Life On Purpose”; I admittedly have not yet read it, as I have just returned from the above mentioned conference, however I have no doubt I, or you, will not be disappointed.

 


Our ability to dream and rationalize, to create and control, to stay our course when the outside world wants to tempt us into regret, stems not from pure willpower, but from purpose.

As intuitive as it sounds, articulating your purpose is not always easy. What is important to you? What are your morals and values? These are big questions. But as you think about them, discuss them with friends and family, and apply skills and knowledge as necessary to enhance them, your path in life will form in front of you. I have no guarantees it will be a straight path, but it will not be a wall of resistance.

As Victor states, it is important to distinguish a purpose in every aspect of your life, and keep a balance in each; too much focus in any one direction can lead to burnout or regression. For instance, what is your purpose in living a meaningful life for you as an individual? For you as a friend and family member? For you as a co-worker? For you in your community at large?

I encourage you to think on this question— what is your meaning(s) of life; keep them near, refer back to them often and live your life by them to your best ability. It is important to note that this is not a box to put yourself in or a label to stamp on your forehead, but a fluid exercise that should not restrain but expand.

Grandma Flower Love


In this stage of my life I have the courage to state my meaning of life, and it goes something like this:

Be a loving daughter, cousin, niece, aunt and wife. Do onto thy neighbor as you would do unto those you love. Take time for adventure and enjoy the outdoors. Support wellbeing in all those I meet. 

I have yet to ask my father what his meaning of life is, but I look forward to the conversation, as he continues to be a huge inspiration and drive for my purpose on this earth.

 

What Does it Mean to be at Your Ideal Body Weight?

How much should you weigh? Who decides? How do you know? Why does it matter? …

Siltez Bay 2014
Here is a little secret about your body weight:

No one can predict what weight your body is healthiest at. You are unique in your physical make-up.

Here is another secret about your body weight:

If you physically, mentally and emotionally feel and act as healthy as you can be then your weight does not matter. When you are at this point, you ARE at your ideal weight at that stage in your life.

Let’s say that again… at THAT stage in your life. Any other time in your life may result in a different weight to best support the healthiest you then.

So what does it feel like to be the healthiest you?
What qualifies as the healthiest you?

Only YOU can answer these questions.

Does volunteering in your community bring you satisfaction; does walking to work bring you clarity; does your bed time routine bring you peaceful sleep; does cooking for your family bring you happiness?

No one can put a weight to these health markers.

I encourage you to spend some time determining what your personal health markers are. Think quality over quantity; subjective over objective.

What are the next best steps for you now?

Keep track of your progress in terms of these intangible markers, not the number on a scale. FEEL the positive impact and KNOW you are succeeding in your ideal body, whatever the weight may be.

 

The pictures included in this post are a random assortment of what makes ME the healthiest and happiest me. Thank you for letting me share the joys in my life 🙂

 

Health Snapshots

Below I would like to share with you some of the pictures that I have been posting on instagram. You can follow all my posting there, @nutritionbyjules, to see more fun photography of all things health related- food, cooking, gardening, recreation and activity! These are also streamed to my Facebook page and Twitter if you use these social media outlets!

 ImageImageImageImage

From the garden!

Image

Art of the ride. Lavender in the spokes.

Image

In light of my recent blog on how to butcher and prepare pork, I acquired some local leaf fat and made my first attempt at rendering lard. It was a fun experience! The multiple steps are depicted here in this picture:

Step I= cut the leaf fat into cubes (as best possible).

Step 2= place fat cubes in crock pot on low with a little water at the bottom and let fat melt overnight. I ended up letting it stew for about 20 hours. I also used too much water, which ended up separating from the fat when I strained it.

Step 3= strain the leftover chunks, or cracklings, from the liquid fat. I used a stainless steel strainer, which ended up not being big enough and I had to strain multiple times/batches to get through it all. I think in the future cheese cloth would work better. The cracklings can be saved and used as well.

Step 4= let the fat cool into a creamy white, soft but solid form. Keep in jars to use as you would butter for cooking and baking. Extra will freeze nicely. I ended up with 5 small jars from one chunk of leaf fat.

Image

Hemp milk latte. Hemp milk is a great protein source and alternative to highly processed cow’s milk. It also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. As it is becoming more and more popular you will find it in more places for purchase. This latte was made at Backporch coffee roasters in Bend, OR.

Image

Soaked almonds. Nuts, among other plants, have phytates, phenols and other inhibiting agents that bind the nutrients in the food and can have toxic effects when consumed in excess. Soaking helps loosen these to protect the body from their potential damage and to release nutrients, allowing the body to better utilize them.

ImageImage

ImageImage

A few fish meals. Salmon cakes, Oregon rock fish tacos, wild caught salmon with Brussels sprouts and fresh Alaskan halibut stew!

Image

Just for laughs. Humor is good stress relief. Goof it up!