Are We Living Too Abundantly?

Writing as much as I do, I don’t know if I mentioned in a blog or newsletter that I lived in Guatemala for almost five years in the late seventies. The experience was life changing for the better, even though my woodworking business failed because of the political turmoil in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. I returned penniless, but would return in a heart beat to be able to live like a Guatemalan again, or for that matter in most Latin American countries. It is a simple life with basic needs being satisfied and little more, but a wonderfully rich life appreciating the simplest of life’s gifts.

Hopefully many of you were able to watch “The Human Footprint” on the National Geographic Channel last night. The amounts that we consume of everything and the numbers on how much we throw away are staggering – 246 million tons of trash this year alone – but the set ups that were done so that we could visualize in ways better than just numbers, was perhaps the most amazing part. For instance, we throw away almost 18 billion disposable diapers each year. We throw away 100 million aluminum and steel cans every day – enough to build a roof over all of New York City – and most of those are soda cans.

So what’s the point? We live in a land of abundance and we consume abundantly and our bodies are starting to look “abundant”. But let’s just look at the two examples above. Diapers are a necessity and in the case of single use diapers, burning them in waste-to-energy plants seems to make for far less of a societal impact than dumping them in landfills. As for soda cans, I don’t throw any away or recycle any because our family drinks no soda whatsoever because it has no nutritional value. That makes our human footprint just a tiny bit smaller. Much of what we eat is fruits and vegetables, which I compost and put back into our soil, our meats are wrapped in butcher paper, which I believe will breakdown in landfills as will the packaging for all or most of the whole grain foods that we eat. Our bodies, in return have not become abundant looking, but rather look perhaps the way that they were intended to look.

Let me close with a story from the Message Boards that really states beautifully what the impact of living too abundantly can mean in just one real life experience and how that experience was this person’s incentive to embark on a program to become fit and reverse the damage caused by living abundantly.

“I’m 41 years old, married to a great wife, and step-dad to three kids. I work a full time job that is, unfortunately, a desk job and that is where my story starts… I have had a long history of sports, martial arts, and being fit. Unfortunately, that went to the wayside with the family and my full time job. Honestly, for about three years, I got lazy. On top of that, the office where I work is full of snacks, sweets, and processed crap. I fell into that trap and found myself, a few weeks ago, in a situation that made me wake up.

One late winter morning we had a sneaky coating of ice on the roads that had come from literally nowhere and was only in certain areas. We live in the country and after my first slide, I realized the roads were treacherous. Driving my kids to school with my wife during the morning rush hour, I drove up on an auto accident. Two cars had bumped each other and there was, luckily, an off-duty state trooper on the scene. As I slowed down and came up on the scene, three more cars came down the hill and when seeing the wreck, hit their brakes, and started floating on the ice like boats. One car, upon hitting solid road again, flipped on its nose and rolled over the side of the road. The other two tangled into each other briefly but got under control and slid to a safe stop.

I hurried out of the car with three other people to check on the flipped car when two more cars came sliding down the hill. Dodging out the of way, I realized that somebody had to get up on that hill to slow down oncoming traffic! That somebody needed to be me! After the cars slid past, I took off at a dead run up the ice covered hill while others, including the state trooper, attended to the person who had rolled off the road.

Within twenty yards, I was exhausted. I started coughing and my legs turned to lead. The hill was a long one and at least once, I had to jump into the tree’s and off the road to avoid another sliding car. Halfway up the hill, I was in utter Hell and started coughing. I could not believe how out of shape I was!!!

All in all, I slowed down more cars then I can remember. But, I was coughing and out of breath. I was sore for about two days afterwards. Wonderfully enough, no one was seriously hurt in the accident(s). My wife picked me up at the top of the hill, gave me the thanks of the state trooper and a smooch, and we proceeded on our day.

But, I cursed at myself for days afterwards about how crappy my physical condition had been. To me, it was unacceptable. I looked down at my spare tire and my flimsy arms and decided enough was enough.”

Are you ready yet to decide that enough is enough and commit to an exercise and diet plan that will truly allow you to live abundantly and enjoy to the fullest what life really has to offer us?

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