“It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.”Sam Levenson
This is the last of a series of journal entries I wrote when I quit my job back in 2014. It is amazing to read this and to think about what if I had been consistent and kept doing the things I wrote about back then. I wonder if things would be different for me now. The biggest lesson, I think, is to make sure I do not make that mistake again. If I am consistent in doing the basics on a daily basis, I will not have to end up in the poor state of being that I am in now.
I have been reflecting on an idea. What if The Prophets in the scriptures had a job? If Noah couldn’t build the ark because he was stuck at the office. If Moses was held up in a meeting, so he didn’t have the time to lead Israel. I think the question really is what is my purpose? Is it to sit in a cubicle every day until I retire?
Quitting my job was not an easy choice. I have placed my family at great risk. However, I feel it is the only way I can discover meaning. Breaking away from social norms is very challenging. To meet this challenge, I have to be healthy. In his book ‘Choose Yourself’ James Altucher talks about 4 areas where health is essential: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. You have to focus on these areas daily.
Here is what I am doing daily to create health:
Waking up early – My overall goal is to start my day at 5am. The house is quiet, and I can get through my daily routine before everyone wakes up. Right now, I am waking up at 6 am. I am working to push it to 5. It was daunting at first, but I cherish the quiet moments it creates.
Spiritual – During this quiet time I read something religious. For me it is scripture. I love reading the word of God and reflecting on it. I try to do this at least 15 minutes. I also make sure I pray for strength and direction for the day. Meditation for another 10 minutes helps to relax and puts you in a good place for the rest of the day.
Physical – I try to take 20 to 30 minutes at least 3 times a week to exercise. I enjoy the P90X3 as it is short ½ hour programs that you can do from home. If I don’t get around to it in the morning, then taking a mile-long walk is also relaxing.
I also try to watch what I eat. Before I work out I drink some muscle milk. After I work out I drink a green smoothie and eat some Greek yogurt. The green smoothie is made in a high-powered blender and contains ¼ water, ½ spinach or kale (frozen from Costco) and ¼ frozen mixed fruit. As you can see the majority is greens and water. It took about a week or so to get used to this breakfast, but now I feel icky if I don’t do it. If I am starving, then I may eat a waffle or egg.
For the rest of the day I try to eat a heavy lunch and then a light dinner. I try not to eat much after 6pm so I can sleep. If you eat later your body works on digesting and makes it tough to get a good sleep. If I get hungry and need a snack, I enjoy trio bars. You can find a light snack that works for you. I eat most anything for lunch and dinner, including dessert, but I try to not go crazy. However, I have found that kicking out Soda has really improved my health. So, I try to stay away from it as much as possible.
Mental – I read. I read a great deal of books. I try to read an hour a day at least. I also try to write about what I have read, or the ideas that are generated from reading. I read on any topic that is interesting. I prefer to read books over anything else. I like to be challenged and books can be very thought provoking.
I am also trying to learn chess with my kids. This is another way to keep your mind active and alert. Plus, it has been fun family time that we can spend together.
Emotional – I stopped watching TV. If I do watch it will be a sporting event or a sit com for laughs. I have also stopped reading the news. I get the feeling I am being lied to about everything. My life has felt like it was scripted by advertisers or fear mongers. No longer. I am very selective about what I watch and read. Social media is another avenue that I have virtually stopped. I will give myself a 10-minute time limit if I do go on those sights. Much of it is filled with negativity and that is the last thing I need in my life right now.
So that is the beginning of my daily practice. I have gone from incredibly scared after losing my job, to being optimistic about my future. I still have the same anxieties, but my perspective has been changed. I feel healthier and more eager to do some good. To find my calling in life. To be happy.