The Four Sides of You

Yesterday I mentioned that “sharpening your saw,” i.e. restorative practices, is an essential component of maintaining a strong and healthy lifestyle. Today I want to expound on that.

When looking at your life as a whole there are four main components to consider; the physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual. All four areas come together to create a complete, balanced human being.

It’s not uncommon for many of us to have areas we like best, but too much imbalance, favoring one to the neglect of others, can be problematic and impair our ability to enjoy the best life possible.

It is also possible to use one of these four paths, pillars, or whatever metaphorical construct you want to use to describe them, as an avenue (another metaphorical construct) to the others. Today I want to look at two of these four, the physical and the mental. Monday, we’ll look at the other two.

Physical. Clearly, this is my bias. I thrive in the physical world. Which is not to say I excel here, so much as to say, I enjoy it the most and am most comfortable here. As such, I do okay.

Exercise, movement, play, these are physical practices that allow you body to do what it was designed to do – move. Movement is an essential component of your continued health. Vital systems, from your lymphatic and circulatory to your digestive and respiratory, are dependent on movement to function properly. A mobile body is a healthy body and a healthy body is the first step to an enjoyable life.

Because I am so physical, physical practices have opened other avenues of my life’s expression and allowed me to access and expound on other aspects of my being. I began my foray into the physical with Tai Chi, a slow moving meditative practice that seeks to not only empty the mind but merge the mind and body back into an integrated whole.

This provided a unique perspective that allowed me to see my body as more than a machine I rode around the world in, but as much a part of me as my thoughts and emotions. With this connection the transition of physical practices into restorative practices for more than just the physical me became possible.

Mental. It’s also clear that I’m a thinker, but I’m a slow thinker. For me physical practices, working out, chopping wood, building things for the farm, allow my mind the space to process and I often finish these kinds of tasks with an insight I might not otherwise find.

Writing is a mental task. This daily email allows me the opportunity to express myself, refine my ideas and sharpen not only my skills of expression but my critical thinking skills as well.

Reading is a mental task. The opportunity to see the inside of someone else’s mind is uniquely available through books and the writings of others. My reading has slacked much lately, mainly due to the demands of running a business and trying make it viable.

Taking a cue from Elliott Hulse, I have recently begun downloading audiobooks from Every morning I take a pre-dawn walk with my dog, Olive. Over the course of an hour I can absorb quite a bit and regain the much needed thoughts and writings of others.

Books, both fiction and non-fiction, give us the ability to try on another’s ideas and the space to consider and accept, or reject, based on your own principles and core beliefs. In this sense the value is not so much in the accepting or rejecting but in the considering. In this process you become more aware of yourself, who you are and what you believe.

On Monday, we’ll explore the emotional and spiritual sides of restorative practice.

Have a great weekend.

To our perfect imperfection,


P.S. Don’t forget there are only fifteen fourteen spots available for Mental Meat Heads in January.

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