One of the challenges in today’s urban society is staying healthy. Many of us have jobs that do not require significant strength or movement or that really exercise our bodies (though they may wear down our bodies or our minds in different ways). We have jobs that confine us to a chair, that involve typing at a keyboard or answering a phone and then we end up going home and, for many US Americans at the least, and sit around surfing the internet or watching television, none of which is good for our health.

At the same time we are constantly bombarded with conflicting messages. Fad diets and eating disorders, and ideal body images that are in no way ideal. We have parents obsessing over these things to the point of leading their children to eating disorders, or giving them such damaging advice as that–for a young male who is working out–1000 calories a day is more than enough.

Then this is contrasted against the 970 calorie Baconator® Double from Wendy’s. Add +420 calories from a medium of the natural cut fries and 240 calories for a medium coke and you nearly a full day’s worth of calories… and more than two days worth of sodium.

Eating healthy has become a significant challenge, and the amount of noise out there for trying to eat a nutritious diet is ridiculously high. The same is also true when we get into exercise: fad workouts (many of which don’t work or are downright destructive), obsessions over a particular body type or shape, obsessions over changing the way we look, expensive gym memberships, and a myriad of conflicting distractions, concepts, and goals. We find personal trainers who believe that the correct way to motivate someone is to yell and otherwise make their client suffer.

As occultists–and especially as spirit workers–one of the things I firmly believe is that we need to work on improving our health where we can, in the areas that we can. We tend to have so many things that are outside of our control when it comes to our health–including chronic illness (both physical and psychological) and disability–that it just makes sense to work on improving in those areas that we do have some control over.

At the same time, being unhealthy can negatively impact our ability to function as occultists. It can lead to an inability to focus. It can impact our ability to channel our Will toward a task or project. Meanwhile, there is significant evidence that even a moderate amount of exercise can dramatically help a variety of issues such as depression and anxiety.

What we are going to do–both in terms of where we start and where we are going–is going to be a little different for everyone and there is no single one size fits all approach. Just like with optimum functionality health exists on a relative scale, not in cleanly defined boxes of healthy and unhealthy. To quote Meirya:

Some people can’t function in their society; that’s what disability benefits are intended for (however poorly implemented they may be). Sometimes the causes of the lower functionality are not fully treatable, and the person will never be able to function normally in their society. And that’s okay.

When I talk about seeking and improving functionality, I mean your optimal level and mode of functioning. It may look very different from Joe College Student or Jill Businesswoman – their optimal functionality is in a different place than yours.

Everyone’s challenges are going to be different here. Most of what I am going to write on this subject is largely applicable to those who are like me or those who I work with the most, since that forms the base of my experience, but I already know that what I write on this topic is not going to work for everyone or may need to be adapted. This is more about the journey and the process of mindfulness and incremental improvement than it is about any specific destination. Feel free to take what works for you in my writings on this topic, since your milage will most certainly vary.

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