How strong is the Life Force within you? How powerful is the Vitality that keeps you burning with Personal Energy?
Vitality is number four in this series on the 12 Attributes of Human Functioning, from the book, The Future of the Body, by Michael Murphy, and The Life We Are Given by Michael Murphy and George Leonard.
Vitality – from Webster’s New World Dictionary: Mental or physical vigor; energy. Same as Vital Force, a basic force or principle regarded as the source and cause of life. Power to live or go on living.
Vitality is life. Vitality is derived from the Latin, Vite which means life. Vitality refers to the deep, inner energy, drawn directly from Source, that provides you with life itself; the life force within you.
An often used word that means Vitality and Life Force, is “Chi” (Chinese) or “Ki” (Japanese). Chi refers to Life Force and often is referred to as “the breath of life”. Here’s the connection: One of the synonyms for Vitality, found in my well worn Thesaurus, is “Steam”. Interestingly the Chinese and Japanese ideogram for Chi represents steam coming from a teapot, reflecting the breath and vitality of life.
Vitality is manifested by action, inner strength, outward strength. It is expressed in your bearing, your presence, how you carry yourself, and in the Energy and Enthusiasm that you exhibit.
Interestingly, one of the most noticeable manifestations of vitality is in your voice. And one of the first signs of aging is the loss of vocal power. A public example of this was Ronald Reagan, former President of the United States, and a man with a body and voice filled with vitality and energy. As he aged and his body and mind deteriorated from the effects of age and Alzheimer’s, his voice became noticeably weaker and less resonant. Charles Fillmore, founder of the Unity Church, and one whom I quote often, wrote in his book, The 12 Powers of Man (another 12 somethings to read about), that “When one feels vital and energetic, the voice is strong and vibrant and brilliant. When one is sorrowful, the body weakens, and the voice betrays its lack by its mournful intonation.”
Paul Harvey, the well loved radio commentator was active and vital right up until he died in 2009 at age 91. He was still broadcasting until shortly before his death, speaking with a clear and resonant voice that was just barely beginning to weaken. He often attributed his vitality to the power of exercise and how he would carry twenty pound dumbells with him when he traveled . . . and actually use them.
As we age, our physical strength and our voice are usually the first to go. We can delay that loss of vitality through movement and exercise, good food choices, oxygen intake through proper breathing, and keeping our voice strong through breathing well and using the muscles of our diaphragm and abdomen. And active engagement and involvement in life vs. the passivity that often accompanies aging, is critical to maintaining the Life Force that keeps us alive and healthy until the end.
Thank you for reading.