Saturday, November 22, 2014

Expressing Health and Well-Being

As people diminish in health, how it it expressed?  The same way it is expressed in increasing health and well-being -- by the muscles of the face (head), hands and feet -- which most people have never learned or exercised to express -- and so those muscles get very flabby, and incapable of ,movement (expression), until there is no movement at all.  At that point, one seems to be unresponsive to everything going on about them -- even if the critical function of circulation and respiration have not ceased, whereupon they would be pronounced "dead."  But often, long before that definitive proclamation, many stop being acutely and fully responsive, for which we often note that their expressions are "dead," or lacking in animation (movement).

Many people think it is enough just to have their faces fixed in permanently smiling or uplifted expressions -- without variation, or the possibility of movement (change), as all that is required to fool the most undiscriminating observers into thinking they are healthy and well.  But really, it is more the range of movements that communicates the truth of that being -- well or ill.  That's why it is often noted that an extremely depressed person, shows no change of expression -- that is striking to people who are aware of such differences.

Unless they are actually in the commission of a crime, such people only note the strangeness of the expression -- as though one were not responding and interacting with one's surroundings, but rather, the mind is someplace far away, living in another world.   Upon noticing that, the appropriate response is to approach such individuals cautiously, not knowing what their responses might be, since they have no awareness or intention, of communicating their thoughts, feelings, and responses to any other.  This is important because communicating all this, is the primary function of all human beings -- and not running, lifting, jumping, throwing, walking, etc.  The primary function of the human being, is to communicate -- thoughts, feelings, responses, etc.

That is mostly done by the muscles at the extremities of the human body -- which are the head, hands and feet -- where most do not think it is important to maintain, improve and optimize -- but surely, is the summation of human expressions and proficiencies.  However, in the teaching of activities, they are not considered of primary importance -- but it surely is, to the very observant.  That deftness of movement (fine motor coordination), is what distinguishes the great artist/athlete/musician, from those who have only mastered the gross movements -- of seeming to do the same thing, but not as masterfully, definitively, authoritatively.

Most simply see the gross movement -- and are not aware of the fine movements -- where the prodigies of every activity, distinguish themselves.  That is what they do better -- and not simply, more of, what everybody else is doing.  They are doing something that makes a difference -- apart from just doing more.  Those are the finer points of life.

When one is young, it is not so important, but with time and age, become the difference between life and death, and before that, the difference between a good life and a bad one.  Those are distinctions, we are pretty much prohibited from making -- in the misguided intention, that such things shouldn't matter -- but they do, and so are critically important to distinguish, and discriminate -- in favor of.  That is the whole point to life, the survival of the fittest -- which must happen, regardless of what the legislation says.  We cannot legislate  nature -- which is what is.  What is, dictates everything else.

Aging diminishes the capabilities at the extremities more importantly and critically than anywhere else.  Those are usually the first to fail and so act as the barometers of overall well-being -- way before life is threatened.  The muscles in the face, hands and feet, are the most important to maintain, and beyond that, optimize -- even if there is no contest for motivating it.  That's particularly true for those with arthritis -- which begins to include most older people, on top of those born with that congenital challenge.  With age, the lack of muscular development in the hands, feet and head, are impacted tremendously so as to produce deformities -- because the musculature is not strong enough to maintain the structural strength of proper, pleasing shape and design.

The head is also being impacted in less noticeable deformities due to disintegrating musculature.  The question should be obvious which are  the most important muscles and faculties to maintain and develop -- over less critical parts that most think are more important.  They seem to be important until aging becomes a factor -- which is not just about being a certain amount of years more than most.  It is fundamentally about how fit one is for life.  Fit means getting better.  Age can mean either getting better or worse, but most think only gets worse.  Is that age, or just the wrong choice, and then the refusal to change -- ever again? -- until the day one dies, which one certainly will.

But way before then, there is much one can do to fully develop the faculties one is born with.  That is Knowing Oneself.  The simple truth some have offered throughout time.  That is the Secret of Life -- Knowing Oneself.  The only way one knows, is to develop it as well as possible.  If the face, hands and feet never age, then that body never truly ages -- because that is where it shows most -- if one is looking for it.  The health of the rest is implied -- by the condition of the extremities.  That's where the human body ages, and fails first.  

Those are the cognitive faculties.  When that is the pattern of failure, it is easy to address, by specifically designing and implementing those exercises -- in preference to all others.  It is more important to move the foot full-range, than any amount of limited range repetition -- which is likely to be walking and running.  But that doesn't necessary imply full-range movement -- which is what one wishes to maintain, and develop beyond that.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Evolve or Die

People don't change because they want to; people change because they have to.  If they don't have to change, they won't -- even as much as they say they'd like to.  It is only when they have no choice, that those who can change, will, while those who can't -- when they have to, perish.  That is the story of evolution -- the overriding imperative of all of life.

It's okay not to want to change -- but when one has to, that's the difference between life and death -- and those who live another day, and actually improve their survival chances.  Individually, that is also the story of "aging" -- which is usually meant to indicate one is becoming less fit -- to survive and thrive.  The fit are those who survive and thrive -- not just in the familiar sites and conditions of athletic competitions, but more importantly, under whatever conditions present themselves.

The best of course, create a response that hadn't existed before -- the literary tour de force, or unprecedented achievement that is the quality of that individual.  As such, it is not the "average" performance, or stereotypical response -- but something wholly new, which is the culmination and integration of that particular life -- manifested as the meaning and purpose of that unique existence.  That is what we all hope to live for.  That makes our lives extraordinary -- even to us.

Psychologists have called it the "peak experiences" that revitalize and change the course of one's life -- if they properly regard it that way.  To those who can't or won't, those are the crises that send them into an irrevocable reversal that they never pull out of -- that ultimately ends their life.  For most, that will take many years to run its course -- but the trend is unmistakable: one just gets worse, and there is no getting better.

That happens in every life -- so the challenge is to use those crises as the opportunities for transformative change that revitalizes that existence and life -- from that continuation that offers them no escape from that dismal fate.  That is the greatest wisdom and lesson in our lives -- that most do not dare define and confront -- because it means having to choose the untraveled path -- as the only hope from that certainty of doom.

One doesn't get to that point until one feels they have nothing to lose.  They don't even have to feel they have something to gain.  They just know, they have nothing to lose.  Those are the turning points for lives that get better.  They have to get immeasurably better -- unforeseeably better.  They have no idea where they'll end up from their act of desperation -- except they know they cannot go on as they have been.

For many, that is the "health crisis" -- in all its variations -- signaling that change cannot just be casual or moderate.  It has to be a total change -- to meet the challenge that threatens that very livelihood, questioning its every precepts and tenets -- before life can go on.  Those are the supreme moments of every life -- its defining moments, that tests their true capabilities -- and what they are all about.  Nobody can answer that, for anybody else.  That is everyone's moment of truth -- when they have to stand alone.  It is in those moments, that they find out who they are, and the person they've become.

Many don't want to know that.  They prefer to hide in the safety of the average and anonymity -- never knowing who they themselves are.  That is not on their agenda -- of things they want or need to do.  They are entirely content to know only the "average," and never any particular individual -- especially themselves.  They don't want to know that.  But that is the whole beauty of living and life -- of knowing how one could have been different, and made a difference in one's own life.

Instead, they wished to be distracted from their own lives -- into the entertainment and amusements offered by others -- that can consume an entire lifetime.  So in the end, they've lived like everybody else before them -- or thought they did so.  And that was "all there is."

It is thought in most societies and cultures, that the old know all there is to know, and are absolved of learning anything more -- when that is when it is most important to reimagine life very differently all over again.  The young do that because they don't know any better -- and so are open to the possibilities.  That is the fire that drives them -- until they feel they have seen it all, and have nothing more to learn -- because they know it all, of a rapidly shrinking universe.  That is how people grow "old" and die; they are no longer evolving, nor think it possible for themselves -- because they just want to hold on to the life they've always known before.

But every ending, is also a new beginning -- that brings new life and energy, for those who can embrace it.  That's how the last, can be first -- but not if they just continue with their losing, dying ways.  That won't change anything.  But if one does all the right things -- the right way -- it bears fruit, in its own good time.  That is the unmistakable lesson of the universe.  That's what matters.