Today, as I was walking along the San Francisco Bay before work, I was thinking about this very question because a month ago I gave up coffee.
The reason I gave it up was in an effort to improve my health. I thought that by so doing I would become clearer headed, more focused and better able to serve those around me. I thought that by eliminating coffee I would be a more present, aware and conscious person.
So I gave up the stuff, cold turkey. I took to my new, coffee-free, life quite easily, drinking my chamomile tea every night (and sometimes morning), and although I didn't like the taste of tea as much as coffee (and still don't), I was fine with it. I thought drinking it was making me a purer person.
I made it through a week, then two, then three, then four and had solidified in my mind the fact that I no longer was a coffee drinker. I was a tea drinker.
This morning, however, I revisited my decision in the first time in weeks. Why had I given up coffee? How was I benefitting--myself or others--from it?
I referred back to my initial reasons for giving it up and realized none of them were manifesting.
I was not clearer headed.
I was not better able to serve those around me.
I was not more present, aware or conscious.
In fact, I felt more scattered and spacey since going off coffee! I also noticed my overall mood was more solemn and I wasn't as chipper and extroverted as my usual self...so why was I doing it?
I couldn't answer this question.
My not being able to answer it was a serious reality check. After all, I had given up coffee in an attempt to better serve others and myself and I was doing neither. Plus, I kind of missed the taste of it along with the daily morning jolt it gave me.
So I brought it back.
To me, health means living in a state of contentment. It's feeling vibrant and energized and wanting to share these positive feelings with others. Health is wanting to form relationships and connect with others. Living healthfully means being able to carry out goals with no mental or physical impediments.
I wasn't living my own definition of health. I didn't have enough spiritual basis for my decision, which is why it didn't stick, and I also wasn't noticing any positive changes as a result of my decision so, again, I asked myself, Why am I doing this?
Again, I couldn't answer.
In closing, I would like to encourage you all to define what health means to you. Are you living your definition of it and, if so, what are you using it for? Remember, health is a journey, not a final destination. One never reaches "health." It's a process under which one goes. One makes her way through this process by encountering obstacles, mis-steps, successes and failures but each encounter is part of the health journey. Just keep in mind the question, what are you using your health for, and this will carry you through.
If you can't answer this question, then maybe you need to reevaluate your "health" and perhaps nix choices that are serving neither yourself not others!
With love, light and happiness,