"Health is Wealth." For real. As always, it is only in the face of facing consequences that i learn to appreciate elder wisdom. I'm not claiming that my grandpa used to drop this jewel between fart jokes on our summer fishing trips. But at thirty plus years of age, I've heard this saying enough times to have made better lifestyle choices than the ones I've been making lately.
Last week, I had to cancel two separate, paying contracts, totaling six thousand dollars. Yes, they were both typical overworked/underpaid, New York City teaching artist gigs, but in this economy paid work is still king. As painful as letting go of this pot of cash was, it hurt just as much to be unable to participate in The Field's 25th anniversary celebration. Oh, the self-inflicted drama and trauma of deciding if email or phone is the best method of communication, then recognizing that obviously a personal phone call is best practice, then giving in to your shrunken capacity to only being able to smatter out a couple of words in a text message. Being a habitual People Pleaser is exhausting.
I finally gave in and took myself to the doctor. Apparently, all I had was a little heartburn, but with a past surgery involving my heart in not-so-distant memory, I decided to take the necessary precautions. The doctor's preliminary tests turned up all good. Sticking to my health plan has got me up and at 'em again.
In the midst of it all, hip-hop legend Heavy D, who is practically my distant older cousin, dies from a heart attack. Heavy, who's real name,Dwight Errington Myers, I only learned in his passing, was only 44 years young. Then on Saturday, I received word that another equally notable hip-hop great, Eric Sermon of EPMD suffered a mild heart attack as well. Fortunately, he is in recovery now. I started looking up the statistics for heart health and found out all the typical statistics about the increased risk of cardiovascular disease based on lifestyle choices, class, and race, and thought to myself, how many lost contracts does this all add up to?
After this incident, I'm decided to re-commit to my family's Health First policy. This choice is in alignment with my recent choice to think of my Life Practice as the core of my Art Practice or as Jewels Genius reminds me "the sooner I commit to my role as a community health practitioner aka shaman, the better for everyone.
In 2012, I set a simple goal to increase my family's yearly income by twenty percent (bringing me close to a living wage after I pay for my student loans) and this begins with health. Consider these next upcoming writings on health currency for a prosperous year. With my renewed commitment to listen to my heart, I feel confident that I can reach that goal. As long as I take it one heartbeat at a time.