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  • Writer's pictureRaykel Tolson

Live Well Be Well Today

My adopted aunt, Brenett, who has battled asthma most of her life was just diagnosed with stage four of a rare sarcoma of the lung. She is only a year and a half older than me. We grew up together and went to the same middle school and high school, but she made me call her aunt. It helped that she towered over me in height, and Brenett was also more mature than most kids our age. I can truly say that it was because of her that the trauma of my parents split did not damage me more. Although her diagnosis is breaking my heart, it is also making me re-evaluate my life.

We often say that life is short, but do we actually decide to live life to the fullest because life is short? What does live life to the fullest, even mean? I have decided that today and every day that I wake up on this side of Heaven that I will live well and be well. I will live with wisdom, enthusiasm, love, and laughter. Let me share what this looks like for me, and maybe you will want to join me on this life journey.

To live with wisdom means I will make wise decisions daily concerning my physical, mental, and spiritual health. I will add activities to my daily to do list that will nourish my body, mind, and soul. Notice, I did not say anything about stopping or cutting out anything. If I were told I only had a year to live, I would not stop drinking wine, having cream in my coffee or deny myself the occasional chocolate chip cookie. Live well be well today is about living for the day because tomorrow is not promised. With that said, I will add the following activities:

1. prayer of gratitude

2. meditate and deep breathing

3. drink 16 oz green drink or green smoothie

4. eat at least 2 servings of vegetables with protein

5. exercise at least 15 minutes

6. tell myself that I am beautiful, loved and blessed

7. don’t beat myself up if I do not complete my to do list (most important)

To live with enthusiasm means that I will approach the things I need to do more enthusiastically. If I can’t get enthusiastic about something, then I need to evaluate why I think I have to do it. At the end of March, my contract was not renewed. I am currently unemployed, but it may have been the best thing that could have happened to me. I no longer found any contentment in being a pharmacist. I grew tired of dispensing lots of drugs and little to no health advice. Being a pharmacist caused physical pain to my body (carpal tunnel is real), and it caused disharmony in my spirit. Because of my new live well be well today commitment, I have decided to retire from pharmacy. I believe God will lead me to my next assignment, and I will do it with enthusiasm. In the meantime, I will get up every morning and ask God where I am most needed today.

To live with love simply means that I will lead with love. In my humble opinion, the two most important verses in the Bible are found in the book of Mark, chapter twelve. Jesus was asked which of the ten commandments was the greatest. Jesus replied with the following:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Neither of these things is found verbatim in the commandments. However, they sum up the commandments perfectly. Jesus was not focused on telling the people not to do this or that, but simply to love God, self, and others. If we lead with love, we won’t steal, murder, lie, or covet. I will also make sure to tell my loved ones that I love them. I will even step out of my comfort zone and begin to tell my friends that I love them too. Lastly, I will begin to greet strangers with more than simply a nod or smile. I will begin to actually greet them with words. In the film, Avatar, the Na’vi (the blue beings) greeted one another by saying, “I see you.” This is a common greeting among the African Zulu tribe, Sawubona (sawu-bona). Isn't part of feeling loved being seen. Strangers may not believe me if I tell them I love them, but maybe I can help them feel special when I let them know that I see them. In the African American community, we often affirm and congratulate one another by saying, “Okay, I see you!”

To live with laughter means that I will make a point to laugh and be happy. Laughter is good for us. It can boost the immune system, relax the muscles, release tension, lower anxiety, and it strengthens relationships. I’ve always watched a sitcom daily to add laughter to my day, but to live with laughter is more than that. It means that I have to find the funny in the mundane and even stressful events in life. I have to seek out ways to enjoy myself. I have to spend time with people who enjoy life and not merely complain about it.

Finally, I want to explain the be well part. I am a New Thought Christian who believes in the Law of Attraction. The most important thing I can do to live well is just to be well. It may sound weird, but our subconscious has no idea what is fact or fiction, it merely believes what it is told. When I go to a doctor for the first time, they are often confounded that my health is so good even though I am overweight. I reject that extra pounds cause sickness in the body. Even if sickness rears its ugly head, it cannot negate the fact that I am well.

There is a popular hymn I was taught as a child, It Is Well With My Soul. The songwriter’s, wife and four daughters went to Europe on a ship, and he planned to join them on a later ship. The ship carrying his family sank, and only his wife survived. The songwriter jumped on the next ship to join his wife. The captain told him when they reached the spot where the songwriter’s daughters drowned. In that very spot, It Is Well With My Soul was penned.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Tomorrow is not promised for anyone. The one thing that we know for certain is that our time on this earth has an expiration date. We can neither predict, prevent or avoid death, so why not live our best life today. I hope that you will join me in my commitment to live well and be well today.

Blessings, love and light,

Raykel Tolson

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