07/10/2010 11:33 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

3 Essential Keys to Living a Healthy, Peace-Filled Life

It has been said by many teachers that outer manifestation is a reflection of inner reality. I know the truth of that statement through personal experience. Inner peace for me was a far off concept when I weighed 350 pounds. Now that I have been of normal weight for nearly a decade I can authentically say that my inner healing was the major reason for maintaining the loss of weight. Here are three important steps I took:
  1. About 15 years ago I made a very conscious decision about the way I was going to live my life. From that day forward I was going to live life as though I was on my deathbed looking backwards through time making sure I had no regrets. This meant that each action I took was done with the awareness that I was making a choice that had a future outcome. I became particularly aware of the choices that would affect my children as I wasn't as conscious a parent in my younger years as I would have liked to have been -- the old "If I would have known better I would have done better" syndrome. The first order of business was to forgive myself for the judgments I was holding against myself. The past couldn't be changed but I had today, and the choices I made from now on would be done with conscious awareness. Living a life from the vista of no regrets is a very liberating and grounding experience. It reminds us that our "nows" are our "laters." It starts directing us to find our inner integrity and to live our life in alignment with it. It also gives greater insight as to when we are holding onto resentment, hurt, or just being plain stubborn. It becomes especially obvious when we argue for our limitations or when we contract inside, rather than choosing the easier alternative of being open and flexible with what is going on.
  2. The second decision was about love. There's certainly nothing new about the dream of living in a world that is love-centric. Poets and spiritual teachers have been pointing us that way for centuries. We will all wake up to it in our own timing as the world has a way of reminding us that no one is exempt from what they have come to learn. And that lesson is always about loving what is. Sometimes our lessons can seem daunting and it is at those times that the quote "nothing is more important than the loving" has been particularly useful to me. Love is one of those wonderful English words that can be both a noun (a thing) and a verb (an action). For me, it's best when it's being both at the same time, as in "the loving." "Nothing is more important than the loving" has become my guiding life principle. It can be used as a reference whenever there is a decision to be made or an activity to undertake. I use it as my North Star. It makes life sweet and it lights the way up when I find myself in the dark. It provides comfort in the silence. Loving is the alchemy of transformation. If you use this principle you will soon see it produces strength inside you. It is simple but it is not necessarily easy. It takes practice. For example, you may find that often it can be the "no" on your lips as much as the "yes." Sometimes it's letting someone struggle with their problem rather than jumping in to fix things. It is being more accepting, discerning, and even more neutral. It allows you to be your own authority because, at the very least, you know you can trust your loving.
  3. With these two principles firmly in place for several years I realized there was one more decision I had to come to in order to make my life work better. It turned out to be finding the blessing, or at least finding something to be grateful for, in my daily life. I added this to the recipe because I recognized a subtle propensity for a lack/fear type thinking that went on inside me. I recognized that being of service to others was an important part of what made for a fulfilling life. However, I hadn't learned to be more appreciative for what I had. So what to do? The answer was for me to make a daily conscious effort to focus on everything I was grateful for and to look for the blessing in each situation.
And to you skeptics out there who might think that this sounds a little simplistic, do me and yourself a favor: give it a try. You may start to notice that you begin to transform from the inside out. To summarize:
  1. Live life each day as if you were looking from your last and live it with no regrets. (Having forgiven yourself for any judgements you've been holding against yourself).
  2. Make nothing more important than the loving.
  3. Look for the blessing or what you can be grateful for in this day.
  4. These are three ways I have found to a live a healthier life. I have been reading an inspiring and practical book about health written by two people I deeply respect, Dr's John-Roger and Paul Kaye called Living the Spiritual Principles of Health and Well-Being in which they elaborate on other keys plus more on the principles I have been discussing in my blog. Let me know if you find value in applying these principles.