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(Re)Learning Essentials Through the Eyes of an Infant

Posted Sep 29 2008 1:04am

It's incredible how much insight you can gain while observing somebody in their earliest stages of life December_28_2007_012_4 outside the womb.  BeautifulVulnerableUninhibited.  These are the three words that come to mind as I watch my daughter Grace while she interacts with the world around her.

Amazing also comes to mind.  Amazing because here I sit, age 35, and she, at 4 months old, is rejuvenating wisdom and insight that's been taken for granted, if not forgotten.  Frankly, it's insight that all adults would be wise to acknowledge regularly, especially when pursuing enhanced fitness.

And those insights would be?

1.  Breathe.   Belly breathe, that is.  Infants do it automatically, we tend to forget after years of trying to suck in the gut to show off that 6-pack.  It's time to reverse the trend.  Focused, deep diaphragmatic breaths will not only provide a calming effect, but it will go a long way toward releasing any tension in your neck and shoulder musculature (thus promoting neck, shoulder and back health).

2.  Eat.   And eat smart.  Infants ask for and receive the perfect food (Mommy's milk) - lots of it - and they stop eating when they're full.  Too often, adults claiming that they're seeking better health either forget to eat, choose not to eat, eat poor quality food and/or eat too much.  I'm sure I've read this somewhere. . . positive results might just come easier if you make a conscious effort to feed regularly on high quality foods.

3.  Sleep.   Infants will sleep up to 18 hours per day.  Most adults should sleep at least 8. . .  and most fail to do so.  If you want to make significant, timely progress, adequate rest and recovery is a must.  So, stop with the all-nighters already and get some sleep!

4.  Work hard, without reservation.   Infants do this naturally, whether they're trying to hold the head up, roll over, crawl or. . . fill their diaper.  Nothing gets in a baby's way -- if she's got a task to perform, she'll go at it, undeterred, until she finishes.  It's safe to say that if you exhibit the same fearless determination when trying to reach your goals, there's a high probability that you'll succeed.

5.  Live, for the sake of living -- and enjoy every moment of it.   I see my daughter behaving in a way that almost seems reflexive.  She's hungry, she cries.  Tired?  She cries.  Uncomfortable?  She cries.  Sick?  Surprise! She cries.  Content?  She lays there with an innocent look on her face or smiles at everything around her.  She may not be laying there thinking, "I'm going to behave this way if that happens," but the point is, she acts as if she does.  She knows what she needs and she doesn't ignore/deny her senses.  She lives in, and gets the most out of, each moment.  Wouldn't you be better off if you did the same?
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All too often, we deny ourselves -- or worse, become unaware -- as we age.  We become reserved.  Inhibited.  Self-conscious.  Afraid of vulnerability.  We "forget" to breathe, eat well and get adequate rest.  Essentially, we become fearful/lose sight of what's natural, of what was instinctual to us at the earliest moments of our lives -- to the detriment of our health and well-being.  Maybe we could prevent it, if we took the time to see the world through the eyes of an infant. . .

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