Lately I have been trying to shift my perspective about maintenance. I am trying to love it more and to be grateful for its rewards. It’s really the best possible approach, because it’s not going away. Maintenance refers to all those activities that we must constantly attend to on a regular basis, if we want to feel healthy and enjoy a functional orderly existence.
I sometimes have felt burdened or even resentful that I had to be so careful about my diet, take my supplements, exercise, care for the house and garden, prepare meals, grocery shop, pay bills, do laundry, and then do it all again. And again. All of these are tasks that you can never cross off your list, because you just need to constantly redo them, in order to take good care of yourself and your loved ones. On one level this is hardly a revelation, and maybe suddenly really noticing it has something to do with my age. I was less aware of the centrality of the requirement for maintenance when I was younger. I did not have all of the professional and parental responsibilities that I have now and the body was more forgiving.
Maintenance is humble. It is very grounded in time and space. Maintenance is not about achievement, making progress, getting ahead or creating. There is nothing glorious or glamorous about it. And yet I have come to feel that it is a most worthy activity, which reliably benefits us when we honor it and give it the attention and respect it deserves. How much better we feel when most of the time we eat a diet that is the right one for us. When we rest deeply and exercise regularly. When we thoughtfully regulate our lives and tune into ourselves, saying yes and no depending on what is truly appropriate for us at that particular moment in time. When we create space for connecting regularly with people, nature, meditation, prayer and rituals that are meaningful to us. In some ways, in order to maintain most skillfully, we need to cultivate consciousness regarding all the habitual choices we make on a daily basis.
I was recently invited to be a guest on the Phoenix Helix Podcast, which is a podcast about reversing auto-immune conditions. The topic was overcoming self-sabotage, in the context of auto-immune healing. Much of self sabotage does seem fundamentally related to resistance to submitting to the relentless demands of maintenance. Self-sabotage can have many different reasons and serve multiple functions, and we explore all of this in our conversation.
Here is a link to the show.