During the summer, we aim to be up at the cottage as much as possible. We spend our mornings working and our afternoons out on the lake stand up paddle boarding, doing yoga, foraging in the woods for wild food, cooking up fresh meals and getting to bed early. We have electricity and wifi (new to the area), but no running water. There is a spring nearby where we fetch all of our water for drinking and washing up. To us, this is paradise.
I didn't know that in doing what feels awesome for our emotional and physical health, and in nourishing our relationship with each other, we were an example of what Arianna Huffington has termed The Third Metric.
Perhaps we were too busy living the Third Metric to know there had been a conference on it, and a series of articles about this shift to redefine success. I actually had never heard of it until I read the article about The Third Metric Approach To Matrimony in which my husband and I are one of four featured couples.
A few weeks ago, while we were kicking it up at my family's cottage, we were contacted by the Huffington Post series on couples that live a healthy life together. We didn't know that in living our simple life, we were being made into models for the secret to a happy marriage and examples of the new definition of success.
Our goal has never been to break away from status quo. We didn't make a choice to be different, to step off the corporate ladder and live a life many may view as alternative, unconventional or lucky, as some call it.
Our intention was far simpler than that. To be happy. This lifestyle fortifies our happiness. It might mean we have less money and less stability, but right now, we're good and so we don't worry. We aren't feeling like we are in need or wanting for things we can't afford, and we are very comfortable living well within our means. We understand that more stuff isn't the answer for us.
Being immersed in the world of natural health, it is our goal to do our best, every day, to simply practice what we teach, with the guiding principle that quality of life is directly affected by how we eat, think, breathe and move, not the brand name of our shoes or how much we have to invest in stocks and mutual funds.
For us, health is our wealth and in that context, we are blessed with riches.
It has been pointed out to me repeatedly that the choices we make don't always conform to conventional paradigms, and in turn, can make others uncomfortable or defensive. We are not trying to convince anyone that our way is the right or only way for others to live, and do not engage in combative discussion. The way we live is simply right for us and though this has turned some away who were once close to us, we also help to inspire choice for those looking for their own path to happiness and health.
This makes our lives both simpler and far more complicated to live. In our society, complicating life is a lot easier than simplifying it. We firmly believe that every choice counts, and true health is not about choosing the lesser of two evils.
I find it amazing that choosing to make time everyday to prepare dinner with my husband and sit down at a table intended for dining to enjoy it together is considered a novel luxury that has become inspirational or linked to a new movement.
Has health and well-being become a luxury because so few experience it?
We don't aim to be the outliers, the contrarians or the challenging dinner guests. We just want to take care of ourselves, each other and those that seek our guidance.
What guided us here was one simple question: Is this working?
Looking at the greater state of things -- considering average debts and stories of crises after the crash in 2008; the continued increase in use and reliance on expensive medicine where 88% of people over 60 and 22% of children under 12 are on at least one pharmaceutical medication; the daily recalls on processed foods and continued increase costs and wars over fuel -- and ask again, is this working? The answer is obvious.
Is it possible that the secret, the hidden key to The Third Metric is to just ask the question, Is this working? and follow it up with enough bravery to respond with honestly, integrity and action? There's only one way to find out.
Today is the day, make it happen. Ask the question and see what unfolds.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.