Political refugee, champion weightlifter and poet Jerzy Gregory says, “Hard Choices, Easy Life. Easy Choices, Hard Life.” A simple statement that sums up the choice we have when it comes to the life we’re living. Accountability. Responsibility. Two words that are definitely not always easy to lift up and take charge of, but are critical to our own health and happiness.
This quote peers directly into the heart of our small, everyday choices which build the foundational blocks of our life and its quality. It can be hard to get out of bed and get to the gym, go for a walk or build up a sweat. It’s hard to make the time to meditate or get to yoga or Pilates. It can be hard to find the words to say you’re sorry, or admit that you were wrong. It can be terrifying to make a career move, stand up and be seen or throw your weight behind a cause. It’s far easier to hit snooze, to Netflix and chill, to sever a relationship, stick your head in the sand and uphold the status quo in the job you don’t love. But what are the long-term effects of these easy choices? Chronic disease, a heart attack, obesity? Stress, fatigue, burn out? Loneliness, no intimacy, a lack of passion and purpose for what you do?
Our lives are more comfortable than ever. With technology at our fingertips, our environment is perfectly temperature controlled, entertainment is a click away and distraction is everywhere.
This was made apparent to me at a recent ‘Wim Hof Workshop’. The premise is that by using breath work, meditation and cold exposure, we can tap into our dormant biology which has been weakened by our easy choices and comfy thermostats. Our narrow band of temperature variation is in part causing weak circulatory muscles – and some research says that almost 30 percent of the world’s mortality is ultimately linked to circulatory diseases. Now, I like comfy. I’m a comfortable kind of gal. And I really hate the cold. Getting into a bathtub of ice? That’s a hard choice. Ultimately dying of weak circulation? Seems like a harder one. Since that workshop a month ago, I’ve kept up the breath work and now get in the lake two or three times a week, with a cold shower most days. This is bonkers for this little solar powered Aussie. But I’ve noticed I’m less cold, less anxious and have better circulation in my hands and feet. Harder choice. Easier life. As they say, feel the fear and do it anyway.