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Christmas Presence: Life Happens

By December 23, 2014Self-Improvement
Reading Time: 2 minutes
The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

“Man plans. God Laughs.”

– John Lennon

A funny thing happened on the way to completing this series of posts, and when it happened it it gave me a brand new lesson in being present for this amazing time of year. Life happened, and shock of shocks, it happened smack dab in the middle of “my” holiday.

Just as I finished posting the seventh installment of this series, I heard my wife make a noise that sounded like she was choking back a scream.

I went to check on her, and found her curled up in a ball on the floor of our bedroom, unable to move, and tears leaking down her cheeks. I was able to piece together that she had attempted to lift our 60+ pound dog off of the bed when her back made a horrible sound, and now she could not move from the pain.

I spent my day and night helping her with the 45 minute round trip to the bathroom, getting her medical attention, replacing her ice packs, and keeping the dog from jumping into her lap. After making her comfortable enough to sleep, rather than writing my next few posts, I thought I’d get some sleep too.

I awoke at about 3 a.m. with the strange sensation that we’ve all had, complete in the knowledge that even though we don’t feel really sick at this exact moment, we’re about to get seriously ill. With my wife safely ensconced in her Anti Gravity Chair, I proceeded to take up full time residence in the bathtub. If you haven’t ever been that kind of sick, this might not make sense to you.

If you have, you know exactly what I mean.

You might be asking yourself by now what this could possibly have to do with the Holidays? Well, for my wife and I it has been the gift of appreciation. Neither of us would have chosen the kind of reminders we received, but we deeply appreciate the gift of being touched with a little suffering in order to be reminded that our temporary condition is far less temporary for millions of people around the world this holiday season.

At the bottom of our discomfort was one of the simplest, and most humbling basic needs I think every human being we share the planet with is visited by in hard times. We just wanted to be assured that we were not alone, and that someone would always be there to help us. We have that, and it’s the second greatest gift in the world.

The first is our ability to provide it for someone else. It’s never the grand gesture we envision it to be, it’s usually the smallest kindness, and we never have to look too far to find someone who needs it. That’s my gift from the bathtub, and Greta’s gift from her Anti Gravity Chair. It’s nice to be writing again.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.