Tag Archive: Fitness


Two years ago, I went on a week long silent meditation retreat where a form of Qi Gong was also taught. On the first day, I knew I had found the next practice that I needed, a practice that would nourish and cultivate my vitality.

After the retreat, I began to practice Qi Gong every day. At some point during the retreat, I really got it, like a revelation, that daily practice is truly key. Harnessing the diurnal rhythm is how to most efficiently and effectively establish and grow practices that cause you to thrive. For example, ten minutes of exercise every day is going to work a lot better than three twenty minute sessions a week. When you engage in a practice every day, it quickly becomes automatic, like brushing your teeth. (More on this later.)

To the daily Qi Gong, I added physical exercise, emotional/relational work, and meditation. In order to fit these sessions into the day, I made them nice and short: 10 minutes each.

I was feeling good. I was beginning to thrive. And yet, there was still something missing! I hadn’t taken my passion, working with synergistic practices, out into the world. I had not created a livelihood based on inspiring and helping people to thrive by engaging in healthful practices.  I had recently completed a Waldorf Teacher Training program. There I learned about how regular artistic practice is not only healing, but it develops the capacity to manifest and show up in the world. During those three years I did a lot of art. It became clear that daily art practice was the fourth spoke of The Wheel. I began to write every day. A new book and my new livelihood emerged from that practice.

After doing these five different kinds of practice every day for a year, I saw that this circuit had wheel like qualities. So, I called it “The Wheel.”

I entered into that daily turning of The Wheel, knowing that it would nourish me and bring health, because I had already experienced this with the various practices. What was new was shortening the sessions and doing all five kinds of exercises every day. I entered into this with an experimental attitude. How well would it work? After month or two, I was seeing that this was a very powerful and surprising easy approach. Once the Wheel was turning it accumulated momentum. It required very little effort to keep it spinning.  It centered and anchored the day. I was also struck with how efficient it was. Relatively minimal effort and time yielded maximum beneficial effects. In other words, I was becoming increasingly happy and healthy with ease.

How cool is that? I’d been engaged in various kinds of personal growth work for decades, and it was rarely easy. This is the central message I want to share that it is possible to heal and become increasing healthy and happy, easily and enjoyably.

“What ails thee?”

Nora asked Luke the same question that Parsifal asked the Grail King. This  was the question that broke a spell that had plagued the land, and won Parsifal The Holy Grail.

Luke didn’t know what ailed him, but something did. He was out of shape. He felt tired all the time.  He had friends and a girlfriend; but, his relationships were not very satisfying. He didn’t enjoy his job very much. He felt adrift and lost.

One day he saw a message pinned up at a local cafe. It advertised yoga classes. Luke had heard yoga was good for you; reading the ad he had a flash of knowing that rarely happened. He attended a class the next day. This is where he met Nora; she owned the studio.

Nora was very unassuming and humble, and seemed truly happy and relaxed. She was quite a bit older than Luke. Still, he fell in love with her. He went to her class nearly every day the studio was open. He asked her if yoga was what had made her so beautiful, happy and centered, so loving and so lovable. She said that yoga definitely helped but that there was more. She told him that he wouldn’t believe her if she told him the secret. He begged her to tell him, but she would smile gently and tell him that he wouldn’t believe her and he was probably better off just doing yoga. Then at some point he would be ready. Over the course of that year, he kept asking her to tell him the secret.

Finally she said, “I will send you to the wise man who sent me on my journey. Perhaps he will help you.”

Luke visited the wise man at his little home in the hills. The jolly little man invited Luke into his kitchen and prepared him some green tea.

Luke sipped his tea and said, “My yoga teacher sent me to you. She said that you could help me to be happy, beautiful, and loving like her.”

The old man considered luke thoughtfully for a few moments and said, “I have a magic potion that if you drink it, it will enhance all of your actions and experiences. You will become physically fit and beautiful. You will be full of vital energy and be vibrantly healthy. You will be loving and lovable. Your relationships will be deeply satisfying. You will fulfill your unique destiny and will generously give your gifts to the world. You will live a rich and full life that is full of love and happiness. Would you like to drink of this potion?”

Stunned Luke stammered, “Yes. Please.”

“The potion must be earned.”

“What must I do?”

“I will give you five exercises that for you to do every day. They will prepare and cleanse you, so that you can imbibe of the potion. If your body and mind are not properly conditioned, you may become very sick. Come back in a year and I will see if you are ready.”

Luke became afraid, afraid that the tasks would be too difficult or dangerous. Despondently he asked, “What are the tasks?”

“Every day, for 1 minute, exercise your body in any way you like. For one minute move and breathe, paying attention to being alive. For one minute, feel what you are feeling; for one minute . . . what kind of art would you like to do?”

“I’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar . . .”

For one minute a day play the guitar. And finally, every day for one minute, sit and love.”

“Um, that’s just five minutes a day.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“ So, one minute each: exercising, paying attention to being alive, feeling my feelings, playing guitar, and loving?”

“Yep, you can do the exercises anywhere at anytime. Just do them every day. They will prepare you for the potion.”

And so Luke began to do these daily tasks. After a month or so they became a routine that was surprisingly easy. He couldn’t believe that this was all he had to do to earn the Potion.

A year passed, and he went to see the wise man. “Very good, you are doing the exercises every day, I can see. Keep it up.”

“But, am I ready for the potion?”

The Wise Man laughed, though not in an unkind way. “Oh my friend, you have a way to go. It will take some years. But you are making progress! Keep at it.

Luke sighed. He was beginning to suspect that the man might be a charlatan. But the Wise man and his yoga teacher were genuinely beautiful, wonderful, loving people. They knew something. And, he had come to really enjoy the daily exercises. Over time he was gradually spending more and more time doing them, just because he enjoyed them. After a year was doing each kind of exercise 20 minutes a day. After two years it was longer and these practices had evolved. He was in the best shape he had ever been in; he felt much more lively than he had been since he had been a child. He felt more kind and generous and people seemed to like him more. He had learned to play the guitar and had written some songs. They weren’t particularly great, but he was proud of them and was enjoying becoming a musician. So, even if there wasn’t really a potion, he decided he would keep at the exercises.

And so it went. Every year Luke would go to see the Wise man. They would chat about Luke’s life and the progress he was making. The Wise man was always jolly and encouraging. “It won’t be long now!” he would cry.

And after several years, Luke knew it was all some kind of divine joke that his yoga teacher and the wise man had played on him. It was obvious that what the wise man had promised the potion would give him, he was already receiving by doing the exercises.

The next time he went to see the wise man, they smiled at each other wordlessly. There were tears in both of their eyes.

“I see, finally you are ready.”

And so the wise man brought out a ten-year old bottle of Bordeaux.

“I put this in the cellar the first time you came to see me. It should be perfect now.”

They laughed and embraced and shared a wonderful bottle of wine.

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