Living a longer, more meaningful life
Stefan Chmelik is co-founder of and inventor of the Sensate stress reduction system, which is based on his over three decades of clinical experience working with anxiety, stress and trauma. His mission is now the company's mission - to positively impact the lives of 100 million people by 2025.
Articles page HERE
Everybody wants to live a long, healthful life. Some people even think they want to live forever.
But is health and longevity found in a lab or bottle?
Here I share thoughts and musings about the lessons from some of the longest living communities on the planet and explore the true secrets of a meaningful life.
Live version including Purpose Meditation HERE
I was recently involved in a discussion with a group of people who are united in their desire to live long and ‘productive’ lives. I watched in interest as they compared notes and protocols on the many things they were doing to achieve this objective - focussing on a strict regime of diet, nutritional supplements, intravenous infusions, cryotherapy and a host of drugs to manage biochemical processes in the body. And then many, many lab tests that looked at telomere length and assess ‘biological age’. There was a kind of competitiveness as to who had the lowest biological age, which is touted as your body's age rather than your clock age.
The question that came up for me in this discussion, but which I didn’t ask was:
“And what do you plan to do with the long life you are paying so much to achieve?”
And the next day I came across this quote by Mary Oliver, in a Bill Plotkin book:
‘Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life’
In other words, what is the purpose of this life you are striving to extend, and does having a longer life give it greater meaning?
Perhaps we can learn something by looking at some of the oldest traditional communities, know as the Blue Zones.
The five Blue Zones suggested are: Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece and Loma Linda in California, USA.
A venn diagram suggest that the primary overlaps between these five areas are:
- Family and social engagement
- No smoking
- Plant-heavy diet
- Constant moderate physical activity
Overall, the four main factors that seem to be important are:
- Life purpose - family, community, faith, a role in society, appreciation of elders and women;
- Physical activity - not ‘exercise’, this is daily physical work that is satisfying, like gardening, gathering and crafting, and clearly this must involve moving and breathing;
- Rest - not simply ‘sleep’, but rest, siesta and reduced time pressures;
- Frugality / a simple life - relishing basic comforts, but also allowing space and time to focus on the simple things.
I believe that the core of what these elements are giving is connection moments - connection to self and others, to community, to the land and nature and to heart and soul.
Connection is hard to access when in Fight, Flight, Freeze, or emergency mode - we can’t see the sky when we are looking down. Stress shuts down our ability to notice the moment and to experience moments of daily awe.
As Dacher Keltner, Professor at University of California, Berkley, tells us - awe promotes compassion and empathy and actually makes our vagus nerve fire!
Using Sensate opens up the possibility of slowing down time - how we use that time is up to us.
Tracks we can use with the intention of building awe and empathy:
- Darwin’s Octopus
- Mabon Rain
- Song of Orion
- Sound of Silence
- Molecules of Silence
See ‘Finding Your Soundscape’ to learn about the power of preference and how this can guide you to exactly what you need.
I love you
Photo credit: Austin Chan on Unsplash