Travel to the African savannah and, among the famed lions, elephants and cape buffalo, you will soon encounter the humble warthog. When a lioness approaches, ready to make him into a tasty snack, up shoots his little antennae-tail and off he races across the plains. As soon as he reaches, what he deems to be, an acceptable distance from his predator, he will go back to moseying along as he once was.
Given that Pumba’s tail is something of a giveaway with respect to his whereabouts, it’s often not long before the lioness is hot on his heels again (I say lioness, because the king of the jungle is a little work-shy when it comes to putting dinner on the table). Once again, the chase ensues.
This cat-and-mouse game is not dissimilar to the story that a patient might tell me in his desire to remedy many a lifestyle disease. Armed with a diagnosis of diabetes/high cholesterol/laziness, he will quickly set to work in cutting down sugar/red meat/fried food, while upping his intake of cardiovascular activity. The thing is, it is unusual for this to last long without sufficient motive.
While qualifying for a particular life-insurance policy may be acceptable in the short-term, keeping one’s health optimal in the longer-term requires a sustainable strategy. It is no different when approaching mental or spiritual health.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras state innumerable benefits for the practice of yoga but, there is a caveat that many people miss: yogis only secure the promised rewards once their practice is established. A quick flash in the pan isn’t going to get you anywhere, any more than Pumba’s hop, skip and jump is going to save him from becoming someone’s tea.
So what to do? To find something you like doing that keeps you sane and healthy - and stick to it. It really doesn’t matter what it is. If it wasn’t obvious, for me it’s yoga. It could equally be kick-boxing or rock-climbing. More often than not, whatever pursuit you enjoy comes with its own “rules and regulations”, so becoming physically healthier is a beneficial side-effect.
Does it need to be a sport? Not necessarily. Even a renewed interest in your religion of choice or even veganism, would change the way you operated. Like I said, the important thing is that you stick with it.
This is when the benefits accrue and strange, but very welcome, miracles occur. In Sanskrit, the word used is sankalpa, one-pointed focus on a specific goal.
So think on this; be honest. Which area of your life you could really apply yourself? Where are you merely putting in a half-hearted efforts and wondering why you’re not getting out what you “should”?
Get focused. Get intentional. Get clear. And then get moving.
Antenna-tail up and not stopping for anything.