365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Adding spice to your life…

Day 108Are you alive and having fun?

To find the balance between certainty and ambiguity in our lives can make the difference between feeling dull or alive. Most of us enjoy the certainty that daily routines bring. Yet, a life without ambiguity and surprises often becomes boring. Perhaps we cannot place a finger on it, but our lives seem to be without spark and zest when one day goes into the next, as we get up the same time in the morning, eat the same breakfast, take the same road to work, perform similar activities and go back home at night to watch the same programs on TV.

I know I am not alone in having a need to experience the sparkle that variety brings. I consciously try to spice up my life by adding something new. It might be as simple as walking or running a new path, meeting new people, traveling to new places, listening to new music, reading books, and learning something new -all these things add zest to my life.

One real expert at living on the edge and with plenty of ambiguity – both trying new things and pushing his and perhaps other people’s limits – is Håkan Roos, who just hosted a surprise party for his friends in honor of his own birthday (not the other way around). All we knew was that we needed to show up at the airport early Saturday morning and that we would not be back before late Sunday evening. All we did for the rest of that weekend was outside our plans, routines, ordinary lives or traditional birthday parties. We landed in Marrakesh and experienced some magic days that we will never forget.

Håkan is creative, bold and wild, which keeps him young in body and heart.

His recipe to add spice to his life is being curious to try new things, bold enough to make decisions, and implement those decisions, not worrying about problems or negative outcomes, and fixing the issues as they come, as well as not regret the mistakes and the dead ends that he inevitably sometimes will face.

We don’t have to be crazy, or wild and go off on dangerous limbs to add spice to our lives, but by deciding to add more variety and have the courage to brake our routines and welcoming ambiguity, I’m sure our lives will bring much more excitement and energy.

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Strong family ties & health

DAY 78As I was heading for the airport at eight this morning in Madrid, there was no traffic going into the city. I was wondering if most people were still sleeping and would begin work later in the morning, due to their late dinner habits?

This was not the case and I will tell you why there was no traffic in a bit…

The Spaniards – as you probably know – have a very peculiar daily routine where they still hold on to their siesta and therefore eat their meals at the most unusual times – compared to most other cultures.

To give you an idea; when my mother and I showed up in Madrid to eat lunch at half past two – which was late for us – it was not at all late for the Spaniards who started to fill up the restaurant by half past three and four!

When we were heading for dinner between nine and nine thirty – also very late by our standard – we were still almost eating alone until about half past ten, when the restaurant began to fill up.

I was imagining that eating dinner so late would be really bad for the Spaniards digestion and ability to sleep and that it would be visible in their looks – that they would perhaps appear unhealthy or overweight. But no, I did not see any obesity, and hardly any overweight people in Madrid.

I was pondering why I saw so few overweight people in Spain…? For sure not because of them eating at ‘odd times’, which I still believe is unhealthy. Instead, my theory is that they do not ‘comfort eat’ due to their strong family values and ties. I think there is a direct correlation between our family connection and our eating habits. The more loving support we receive within our families – the more grounded and happy we will be and the less we ‘comfort eat.’

Now, this brings me to explain why there was no traffic in Madrid this morning. The reason is due to Father’s Day – which is a holiday in most of Spain today…How cool isn’t it for a nation to support family ties to the degree that they even create a holiday for all to enjoy Father’s day! I was curious if Mother’s day also was a special holiday but no, Mother’s day is on a Sunday as in most countries.

Lack of nurturing family time may create unrest in us. ‘Primitive’ responses to lack of love and support may be intake of food, alcohol and drugs. We overeat or even starve – to numb loneliness or pain hoping to quench the hole that exists in our heart.

There is a saying that “it takes a whole village to raise a child”, and I very much believe that. I think that a child that grows up spending time with also uncles and aunts, cousins and grandparents who offer extra nurturing and support regularly (to what the parents can give), are on average more content.

It is also proven that people on average live longer if they have regular social contact. So let’s remember the importance of family love and support for young and for old.

Who can you offer a little bit more extra loving support to – within your family or extended family – this week?