08 Mar Why Sweet Stuff is Actually Good For You
Briana and I started out in healthcare careers. She’s a massage therapist and Ayurvedic specialist and I’m a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (yeah, they still use the word Oriental), and for most of our professional lives, we’ve been focused on helping people achieve and maintain good health. First, we did this through our private practices. Later, we were prompted to expand. We realized that by building spas we could serve more people, create a more encompassing therapeutic environment, and provide jobs for the most talented therapists we could find. More recently, our clients have been prompting us to expand even more.
They’ve learned that our lives include two kids, three spas, two cats, two dogs, a body care products business, a magazine, private healthcare practices, online courses, travel, and art and music projects, and they want to know how we make it work. First and foremost, it’s important to say that we’re extremely grateful and feel extremely blessed for what we have. Second, to be clear, we’re not specifically advocating that everyone should have as much going on as we do; we just love the variety and fun of expanding in many directions. We’re not better or smarter or prettier than our clients, and despite how it looks, it’s not always easy. We’re just a couple of hard working people who have learned some things worth sharing. And, we’ve come to understand that these kinds of skills – earning a living by doing work that’s aligned with your values, setting and achieving goals, maintaining sanity and balance, protecting space and time for creativity, family, and community – represent important and neglected elements of whole health.
Last year, we published The Rituals for Living Dreambook, a year-long workbook to teach these skills and lead people through the creation of the life of their dreams, and we’ve already heard tremendous stories of users’ success and transformation. Meanwhile, many of our readers have told us they want more guidance in this process, and we recognize that there’s much more to share. So, we now have a second book in the works, called The Well Life. It’s due to come out next fall, but I don’t want to wait that long to begin sharing its concepts.
One of the core principles of the book is that such a life consists of a balance of sweetness, structure, and space. We believe that balance is possible – even in the face of chaos. And we believe that you can – you must – do the good-feeling, soul-nourishing, body-fortifying activities while you juggle your obligations and pursue your dreams. Playing, being in nature, singing, stretching, exploring, cooking, eating, loving, connecting, creating, enjoying… we put these practices under the general heading of sweetness. Sweetness not only makes life more satisfying, it also makes us stronger and more resilient.
Don’t postpone the sweetness. Not because we think you shouldn’t have to wait until retirement to enjoy life (though this is true). Don’t postpone the sweetness because when you feed your life and soul with it, you become more effective at bringing your potential into the world and shaping this life however you choose.
Furthermore, if you fill your life with sweetness, you move many steps closer to the life of your dreams, regardless of the outcome of any particular goal. If your goals don’t materialize, at least you won’t have spent years neglecting the sweet stuff. Just the opposite: you will have spent the time doing work that feels significant, living your purpose, sharing your gifts, treating yourself well, enjoying the world, and serving your species. It doesn’t get much better than that. And when you do achieve your dreams, if you’ve been feeding your soul and growing all the while, you’ll be better able to assimilate the new changes in a healthy way.
Next week, we’ll look at structure and space. Meanwhile, I invite you to schedule some sweetness at least three times in the coming week. Give or receive a massage. Make art. Share. Be with friends. Love yourself. Just make sure you set aside time for it (that’s the structure part) so nothing else can encroach on it, and you’ll know that you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.
Dr. Peter Borten
Some of the material in this newsletter was excerpted from our upcoming book, The Well Life, published by Adams Media. Sign up here to be notified when it comes out!