“Aquila to Sarapion the philosopher, greetings! I was overjoyed to receive your letter. Our friend Callinicus was testifying to the utmost about the way of life you follow even under such conditions – especially in your not abandoning your austerities. Yes, we may deservedly congratulate ourselves, not because we do these things, but because we are not diverted from them by ourselves. Courage! Carry through what remains like a man! Let not wealth distract you, nor beauty, nor anything else of the same kind: for there is no good in them, if virtue is not joined to them; no, without her they are vanishing and worthless. Under the protection of the Gods, I expect to see you in Antinoopolis. Send Soteris the puppy, since she now spends her time by herself in the country. Good health to you and yours! Good health!” (P. Oxy. 42.3069)
As part of my recovery from my recent surgery and hospitalization I’ve been setting aside time each day for exercise, meditation and experimentation with ecstatic trance postures. Sometimes– a lot of the time, I have to fight through extraordinary pain (more due to my damaged vertebrae than the surgery which was a pretty swift heal) in order to get through the routine and something that’s helped is dedicating each session to one of my Gods and Spirits. No motivation is greater for me than religion, so dedicating this activity to them helps me push further and put more of myself into it. When I started I thought I’d just be offering the work-outs to Hermes and Herakles but mixing it up keeps things fresh and interesting, and has allowed me to connect with members of the Starry Bull and Bear pantheons I otherwise have only occasional engagement with. I not only devote the fruit of my labor to them, but use the time to pray to, reflect on and commune with them often while listening to one of the devotional playlists I’ve created for them. It’s been very cool and I’m already noticing positive results, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too – which I am very appreciative of, as I was starting to slide into a pretty dark and unproductive despair.
6 thoughts on “Good health to you and yours! Good health!”
So glad to hear that you are engaging in a self-care regimen like this, and not surprised that you have managed to incorporate devotion into it as well. Good for you!
I had some unpleasant insight about that the other day while working out – specifically how there’s no limit to what I’ll give to or accept from my Gods and Spirits, and even my friends and family – yet when it comes to myself I tend to be very … parsimonious, let’s say. While this is a fine corrective to the decadent impulses of our society, where everything is about mindless indulgence and consumption and chasing that dopamine rush – taken too far it can become just as destructive, unhealthy and imbalanced. Now, objectively, I doubt I’m anywhere near that point, but it is a tendency I’m aware of and trying to course correct for. If I can be so generous towards others, then I can do some positive stuff for myself too.
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Excellent ideas for your self-care. And, I want to learn more about Soteris the puppy ^_^
Ha, I know! That’s what I love about inscriptions, letters and the like which provide these glimpses into the everyday lives of people – but often little more than that, leaving you wanting to get the rest of the story.
Honestly? Exercise is really the best thing you could do right now. I’ve been learning quite a bit from my Chinese Medicine course and you would not believe how it important it is for spiritual protection that your body is physically fit (or perhaps you wouldn’t be surprised). Your natural defenses within your subtle body are tied to your physical health (and vice versa). I wouldn’t be surprised if you start noticing that your subtle body is getting stronger too with more exercise
Absofuckinglutely. Of course, at this point the exercise is mostly just annoying and leads to increased pain, but I know that the only way to reverse this shitty situation is to buckle down and keep going through it until I come out the other end. And that it’s not just one simple choice to be healthier, but rather a hundred little choices throughout the day that all lead to something bigger and better. And while the exercise is resulting in more pain, that pain is well-earned and it tends to dissipate faster.
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