Balancing the Ecosystem

Another aspect of failing to see the forest for the trees applies to our health. That little and all-important microcosm of our community or or office or our home, or our individual bodies. How many times have we said, "I just don't have time to exercise today," or "I'm too tired/grumpy/busy to cook a real meal tonight-- maybe tomorrow."

We all know that ONE DAY here and there really doesn't make that big of a difference. Sometimes the amount of stress a person saves by just eating those french fries in the car on the way to soccer practice is WORTH missing a helping or two of vegetables. But we don't stop to look at the big picture. We don't calculate that actually, we haven't gotten our full four helpings of vegetables a day in ...oh... six or seven years. We may actually exercise so irregularly that each time we do, our body hurts and our lungs and heart and muscles and joints protest painfully, unaccustomed to such sudden abuse.

One day passes, and there are more to take it's place. But a year is made up of those days, and our lives are often measured in years. The same is true of a forest. One tree more or less doesn't affect the health of the forest as a whole... but a forest is made up of many trees. If we cut down one tree a day for a few months or years, suddenly there will not be any forest left at all. If there is something you have always wanted to do for yourself-- learning a new hobby or taking 20 minutes every morning for yoga-- maybe now IS the time to start... because if not now... when?

It is important to balance time for exercise and time for work and time for play and time for rest. It is important to care for your children, and also your spouse and your friends. To stimulate your mind with new and exciting information or ideas-- while also upholding your long-term day-to-day responsibilities. It's important to set aside time for yourself in all that, too.

It's one thing to tell our children to behave respectfully toward their fellow man, and another to model that behavior in the midst of rush hour traffic. One thing to tell our children we want them to become responsible and caring adults-- and another to interact with our children and our community in a mature and productive manner.

No matter what a mother gives up so that her children can have more, if she doesn't model for them a healthy lifestyle and a healthy self-respect, chances are that her children will believe it is a mother's role to sacrifice herself for her family. And a healthy family is not about martyrdom. It is about open respect, shared joy, and deep appreciation for each other-- even for each other's differences. It is about sharing life's challenges as a group so that no one person has to bear the burdens alone.

How healthy is your ecosystem?

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