Flexible Focus #4: The eight frames of life: Health

by William Reed on June 3, 2010

Is your lifestyle enhancing your health, or are you unwittingly planting seeds of your own demise? Do you have a comprehensive way of engaging your mind and body for health, or do you get around to it when you can? The Mandala Chart can help you address this challenge, and get positive results in the process.

The key word for health is radiance. Radiant health shows brightness in your eyes, and an aura of light around your skin. It shines through in your laughter and in your step. Radiant health is attractive and contagious. Its energy is a sustaining force for life and vitality.

The quality of radiance is easy to sense, but difficult to measure. Sickness is easier to measure than health, but health is far more than the absence of sickness. Health is the vitality of mind and body, the evidence of life energy.

Health care is a burgeoning issue for people in all nations. It affects those who do not have access to clean water, adequate food, or basic health services; and it affects those who suffer from excessive intake of processed food and chemicals in the environment. It also affects healthy people who still must bear the costs of general health care. It affects our family, our friends, and the people we work with.

There is more information today about health and wellness than anyone could possibly master in a lifetime. The range of options for health and wellness is a virtual smorgasbord, a glutton’s choice. Often even specialists cannot agree on what is right. Perhaps the answer is to find what is right for you.

This is where the Mandala Chart can help you create your own customized vision of health. What works for one person may or may not work for you. With so many alternatives to choose from, it is no easy task starting with a blank sheet. The Mandala Chart simplifies the process by putting it first in an 8-frame perspective, just as we did with the 8 Fields of Life. The important thing is to see them all in the context of the whole, and not get lost in the details and dictates of individual pieces of the puzzle. Do not succumb to the syndrome of the specialist, who proclaims that although the operation was a success, the patient died.

Of course with the Mandala Chart you are free to create and choose your own categories. However, it is often easier to start with a template and then customize it through your experience.

Here I suggest 8 categories you can use for Health: Food, Movement, Breathing, Sleep, Skinship, Resilience, Humor, and Love. Download a Mandala on Health template featuring each of these categories, so that you can begin to create your own customized approach to a healthy lifestyle. I selected these categories because they are broad enough to contain both traditional and alternative approaches to health. They have all been demonstrated to have an impact on our health and well-being, and each of them can be connected to the keyword radiance.

Remember that no one pattern fits all. The results you get depend on the actions you take. Health is ultimately a combination of your genetic predisposition, the cumulative effects of your lifestyle and discipline, and your mental attitude. All of these combine to make the difference, so it makes sense to take a comprehensive approach.

Without recommending any particular health method or system, here are some of the factors to consider when you incorporate these elements in your lifestyle.

  • Food: The quality and quantity of what you eat, food combinations, preparation, diet, cuisine, as well as your enjoyment and beliefs about food.
  • Movement: How you use and treat your body, the quality and frequency of your movement, how you practice, enjoy, and improve, as well as the mind-body connection.
  • Breathing: The quality and depth of your breathing, how you use your breath in movement and speaking, as well as the connection between breathing and awareness.
  • Sleep: Your sleep patterns and comfort, regularity, depth, and quality of your sleep, short naps, dreams, as well as relaxation and recovery.
  • Skinship: Connection to your environment and to other people, hygiene, sensory experience, sexuality, as well as your aura and radiant energy.
  • Resilience: Your ability to survive experiences unscathed, to make a comeback physically and mentally, as well as your spirit of continuous engagement.
  • Humor: Laughter as a sign of a relaxed attitude, an open heart and a positive spirit, as well as the ability to enjoy life and make others feel good.
  • Love: Taking good care of yourself and the ones you love, the spirit of giving and protection, as well as the power of healing.

The frames of the Mandala are can be used in several ways. In printed form it is a framework for note taking or brainstorming. In the eMandala Chart you can attach web links or notes for further reference. Even the blank frames in the template serve as a mirror for reflecting on your own goals and issues related to health, and can also trigger topics for conversation or further study.

The important thing is to use the Mandala as a zoom lens for flexible focus, rather than a container for checklists and information. For this reason it is useful to start with a key word or image, such as radiance, which illuminates each of the 8 frames under a common theme, and integrates them with a single synergistic image. Also make use of the Principle of Interdependence, by bringing positive ideas, influences, and people into your life.

The same process can be applied to each of the other fields of life, gradually giving you greater mental clarity and leverage for action, through the power of flexible focus.

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