We are breath. We are alive because we breathe, and we breathe because we are alive. Without any air we will die in mere minutes.
We are water. We are alive because we take in water. No matter what we choose to drink it is primarily water. And we consume water because we are alive. Every living thing on this planet is mostly water. It is in our blood – and it is how the air we breathe moves from our lungs to every inner part of us. The average adult human body is between 50% to 65% water – for an average sized human that is about 45 litres of water.
Without clean fresh water we will die within days. The usual factoid is “a human can go 3-days without consuming water.” This of course all depends on many factors like the environment, age, health and what activity that human is doing. The more your work, the faster you breathe, the quicker you will need to drink water.
Not drinking enough water also has an impact. Water is important for your digestion and circulatory systems to function correctly. Even if you do not feel thirsty your physical and mental performance will become impaired from a lack of water. If you are dehydrated your blood will be thicker and your heart will have to pump harder. As your body slows down from a lack of water – it will mean you are getting less energy and less oxygen transported to your vital organs. Waste products will not be filtered – and the natural toxins of living will build up throughout your body.
Sucking, drinking and swallowing are some of the first skills we develop as infants. This activity is so core to our survival that even as adults we are soothed and mellowed by engaging in sucking activities. Giving aggressive adults lollipops (and to a lesser extent hard candies) has been show to calm individuals quickly. Even a kiss is really a variation of the basic sucking activity.
Drinking water isn’t just good for us because of our physiological need for water – the activity of drinking is also pleasurable. Our bodies and our brains provide us with positive feedback as part of the physical activity of drinking. This explains why so many of our social activities and rituals revolve around the drinking of liquids. A party is not a party if people have nothing to drink – even if that drink is only water. And any party is so much better when the drinks are more complicated than water.
By understanding the psychological pleasure associated with the physical activity of drinking (and not just drinking alcohol!) we can see how socialization and human interaction is enhanced by the sharing of a drink. The simple act of offering someone a glass of water, or a cup of coffee, goes beyond just meeting a physical need – and offers the potential for creating an emotional connection between individuals.
In the end having a drink meets a need – and sharing a drink with another human makes it so much better!
Breathing air and drinking water will only sustain us for so long.
We are not ethereal cloud beings. We need to eat. The food we eat provides first of all energy to keep us alive, and energy to let us work and play. Food also provides what our bodies need to grow, heal, and thrive. Whatever goes into us – becomes a part of us.
In the previous post I hinted at the concept of mindfulness – the focus of ones awareness on this moment in time, and observing that which is around us. Mindfulness is something we should do when we are eating. Since eating is something we need to do to stay alive – we are ready and willing to engage in consuming whenever possible. Two of our senses are obviously engaged when we eat and directly make eating pleasurable – our entwined senses of taste and smell. But there is more than taste and smell involved in eating. The sight of food can stir our appetites; or completely take it way. Food has texture and the tactile sensation of food in our mouth enhances the enjoyment of eating. Even sounds are part of enjoying a bite to eat – from a satisfying crunch of an apple to the sizzle of something cooking on the grill.
Think about a food you enjoy and the way it looks. Imagine it is about to be cooked on a grill. It slips onto the hot grill and sizzles and pops in the heat. The smell of the cooking food primes us for eating – making our stomachs growl in anticipation and our mouths salivate in desire. We watch it cook and see the outside brown and char. Perhaps we sprinkle on some spices and get another waft of heat and desire. It is slipped onto a plate, and we admire the colour and look of the freshly cooked food. Finally we taste our labour of cooking – our mouths happily engaged by the flavors and textures of the food.
There is a sensuality to food that goes beyond merely meeting a need. In a world of abundance we forget how to enjoy food, and the cost of getting food to our tables. We forget that food takes a long journey through time and space as it is planted, grown, harvested, sorted, shipped, packaged, delivered, purchased, prepared and finally consumed. Even so called “fast-food” takes a lot of unseen time to actually deliver to the counter where we are waiting.
Next time you eat – take the time to focus on what you are eating. Appreciate the wonder of that food that is in front of you. And enjoy!
Don’t just eat to stay alive – be alive in your eating!
Water is the driving force of all nature ~~ Leonardo da Vinci
There is more to say about breathing and breath and air. For now what I have written is adequate. This blog is about not worrying about the perfect, instead we will work our way to being adequate and enjoy the journey.
Breathing gives us life, and water keeps us living. Water is what fills most of our physical form, and just like breathing it is vital that we drink. Breathing we do constantly – and we do it without thinking. Water requires us to be active and aware of our own body and our own needs.
When you are thirsty you drink. But when you are thirsty you have already gone too long without water. Take a second and focus on your inner body. Take some deep slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Close your eyes and listen to your body. Hear what it is saying: most of those noises inside you are the sound of liquid moving. Your blood flowing, saliva being swallowed, your digestion working inside you.
You are a walking stream. Living water in motion. Take a glass of cool water and look how clear it is. If you live in an area that treats its water with chemicals let it set for 15 minutes are so. Then smell it. Not much of a smell. Taste it. Feel the coolness of the water as it sits in your mouth and slides down your throat into your belly. Sip some more until the glass is empty. There is no hurry – enjoy the fact you are breathing air and drinking water.
Drink another glass. Water for refreshment is best when it is around room temperature. Every hour you should drink some water to keep your body in balance. There is no perfect amount you will know what feels adequate.
There is nothing complex to drinking water – except it doesn’t end with just drinking water. Since we are a living flowing pool of water that water must eventually flow back out. Just as it is in breathing that we can not be well if we hold our breath – we do not do well if we hold our water. Water leaves our body with every breath; water leaves our body as we sweat; and water leaves our bodies as we excrete. As the water leaves it takes with it the wastes of living.
The flow of water through our bodies cleanses. Think about what you are drinking and how that liquid merges with your blood, and cells. Whatever is in that water eventually reaches your brain, and in turn affects your mind and your mindfulness.
Here is your challenge for this week. Every time you have an opportunity to have a drink of water – take a drink of water. Sometimes you will want a coffee or a tea or even a sweet drink – and you should enjoy that drink as a flavour treat and an energy boost. Just remember what your body really wants and absolutely needs is pure plain water. Water a simple drink that is adequate for keeping us alive!
- The Importance of Water in Your Diet Plan (everydayhealth.com)
A post that captures the ideals of being “adequate” and not worrying about being the best, being perfect, being accomplished. Perhaps I look at the world in the wrong way since I see our culture is focused on “achievement” as a measurable event. Somehow it seems that we only really succeed when we are in the 98th percentile.
My daughter came home with what is called the “interim report” – not a report card but a report that flags concerns. Every entry said “progressing well.” And she was upset. To me that is a wonderful report but you see “all” of her friends had at least one “progressing very well.” And she didn’t.
Her take away was this: She is not doing “very” well. And that is simply not the reality of her life, but that is how she is reading that ephemeral piece of paper. And that is probably how all her peers read their bits of paper.
It’s 4 a.m. I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep. But, I can’t. Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain. Why? Because I am stressed about my students. Really stressed. I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.
This is what students really need to hear:
First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself. And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…
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