Live in rooms full of light
Avoid heavy food
Be moderate in the drinking of wine
Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics
Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water
Change surroundings and take long journeys
Strictly avoid frightening ideas
Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements
Listen to music.
~ A. Cornelius Celsus, c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE)
Aulus Cornelius Celsus was a Roman encyclopaedist. Little is known about his life, but he is considered an important contributor to medicine and scientific thought. He compiled extensive writings from the Greek Empire, translated them to Latin, and put them all together into a great body of work that consisted of books on agriculture, government, law, history, rhetoric, philosophy, military science, and medicine. The only books to survive were The Eight Books of Medicine (De medicina octo libri).
When I saw his list of what appears to be advice on how to be healthy, I gave some thought to putting together my own list. Not that I disagree with Celsus’s list. In fact, I think it’s a darn good list. I would start with that and then add a few things.
Follow the sun. I realize this is similar to Celsus’s first directive, but I thought it important enough to almost repeat. It was dark, chilly, and blowhard blustery here on Saturday. Sunday the clouds cleared out, and the sun lit up the house, moving around from room to room. I decided to act like a cat and follow the light, eventually ending up seated in the Sleeping Chair on the porch. I brought a book and blanket with me, but didn’t get much reading done. I took a catnap in the warmth of the sunlight, and woke up feeling better for it.
Let go of worrisome thoughts. This is easier said than done. I find it’s best to start by acknowledging the thoughts, and sitting with them for a while so they can tell me what’s going on. Given the right kind of attention, the worrisome thoughts seem to dissolve on their own, but if that doesn’t happen, I picture them as colorful leaves on a tree, and when a good gust of wind comes along, they let go and float away.
Listen to the body. I did a lot of resting over the weekend. Today I went for a walk. Resting helped when I needed to rest. Walking helped when I needed to walk. My body is used to movement and daily walks. It begins to get uncomfortable with too much rest. I did not go out for a cardio workout, but a slow meander, following the wind and the leaves, the sun and the shadows, the goldfinches and the sparrows. It was a 45 minute walk, but I doubt I covered more than a mile. Maybe not even a mile. The walk did what I needed the walk to do. It refreshed my body (especially my legs), and lifted my spirits.
Eat nourishing and nurturing foods. This often involves listening to the body to find out what the body needs and wants. I have been eating a lot of beet and cabbage soup, not only because I like it but because it contains a lot of the nutrients I need right now. I can feel every cell (especially those red blood cells) perk up when I eat beet and cabbage soup so I know I’m on the right track. I turned to some foods I used to eat while on a macrobiotic diet. Miso soup, brown rice, leafy greens, and green tea. Sometimes I think miso soup and green tea will cure just about anything.
Ask for and/or accept help. On Saturday morning I asked M what his plans were for the weekend, and he answered, “Take care of you if you need me to.” He was smiling and said it in such a beautiful way that I couldn’t refuse such an offer.
Immerse yourself in beauty. You might find it in a book or magazine, in music or a movie, in family and friends, in a smile or a hug, on a blog or some other website, or on a slow meander on a sunny Monday. It’s not at all difficult to find and, if you’re lucky, some of that beauty will come with magic attached to it.
Upon closer inspection, my additions are not new additions but rather an expansion of Celsus’s list. It’s a good list, just as it is, and it’s a better list when we can take it and apply it to ourselves, make it personal. I’m sure I could add a few more things (such as “avoid getting chilled because it’s easier to stay warm than it is to get warm,” and “indulge in lots of hugs, hand-holding, and other gestures of love and affection”). What would you add to the list?
Thank you for visiting with me today. I hope my pace wasn’t too slow for you. If so, feel free to go on ahead. I did make it out to the dock where the tide is unusually high. We must be getting close to a full moon (Weather Underground shows the moon phase as Waxing Gibbous, 88% visible, so it seems I’m right in my guess). Sunset tonight is at 5:01 PM. Goodness, that’s early! I’m not sure I’ll make it out to the dock for sunset, but I could join you on the porch where we can watch the color and light through the loblolly pines.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
Today’s joys: Meandering on the trails here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch; the autumnal scent of the air and earth; the rustling of leaves and grasses; the deep blue of the sky; the warm light of the sun; a thick fleece jacket, a hat, and a pair of gloves to keep out the chill.