Do you remember Venn diagrams? Those pesky overlapping circles in which you had to place sets of things that had some but not all things in common depending on wherein lay their similarity? I have been using a Venn diagram to discuss well-being with patients who are in recovery from substance abuse and I have found the concept to be helpful to myself as well as I consider my own wellness and well-being. I would like to share it with you as part of our new series that explores aspects of well-being and nourishment beyond the very important attitude towards well-being represented by what we eat.
It is not everyday that you get to use the term ‘triumverate,’ but now you know how many circles are in my Venn Dance. In fact it is 3 circles that you will recognize. Body, mind and spirit as a group have been used so lightly and frequently that I hesitated to use the terms with patients as a way to organize well-being efforts, but after making some attempt to define the 3 umvirates (???) in terms of function, I found the whole approach less banal and more helpful.
Why do so many things come up with 3 parts or portions? Past-present-future; red-blue-yellow; rock-paper-scissors; Harry – Ron – Hermione; and there is this wonderful meditation on 3 from the fine people from Schoolhouse Rock:
On a more serious note, the number 3 has significance in all of the world’s major religions. It seems to come down to balance. Systems divided into even numbers of participants, parts or factors have the potential for the creation of sides and 2 teams. Either/Or, This or That, Black or White are notoriously narrow views of the world! Three is the smallest odd whole number that is greater than one, and therefore represents a simple array of pieces that can not gang up but have to work together in order to work. If one leg of the stool is shorter than the others (or longer) it will provide a short sit. And life is not really a short sit. This is lucky for me as I seem to require repeat lessons on some basics of living despite having received a myriad of blessings. Bring on the second chances…… please and I’ll try to keep my stool balanced so I make it through all of the lessons.
So back to body, mind and spirit. Basically the approach was to think of oneself as the center of the Venn Diagram of 3 circles representing body, mind and spirit. All body, All mind or All spirit tend to lead to problems. Thinking about the 3 realms in terms of functionality helped me think about why it was important to sustain them. You may not agree with the functions, and of course there is overlap (being a Venn Dance after all)…..
I am so thankful for my Body which provides
transportation & sensation
I am so thankful for my Mind which provides
instruction & construction
I am so thankful for my Spirit which provides
identification and perpetuation
So I challenge my patients, myself, and you, to draw yourself a diagram and think of a few Baby Steps for each realm of your life.
Body, mind and spirit – all that function and all that you working together to create world view – perspective – character – approach – life. A unique human tale.
Here’s to taking Baby Steps to Wholeness and Well-Being and celebrating life in 2015.
If you need help with the Baby Steps to Better Health concept, please check out our book.