Be Light and Healthy

Coffee and Donuts

Posted on: October 10, 2010

“Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.”  Dr. Wayne Dyer

So, are you wondering why a health coach has something nice to say about coffee and donuts?  We recently vacationed in New Mexico and attended the Balloon Fiesta.  We had a wonderful trip and took a hot air balloon ride, which was amazing.  Interestingly, one of the most memorable parts of the trip was the personal bonds we made when we stopped to get coffee at a well-known donut shop chain.  When it comes to health, it would be easy to jump to conclusions about people making a daily habit of visiting a donut shop.  However, when you looked below the surface, there was something very special going on here. 

The donut shop had an old-fashioned counter with stools.  When we encountered this bit of nostalgia, we were slightly taken aback.  Since coffee shop counters with stools seem to have gone by the wayside, we didn’t know if we should order and pay for the coffee then take it to the “table” as is customary back home or sit at the counter and be waited on.  It turns out it was a good, old-fashioned counter, and “Handsome Bill” promptly served us.  The regulars were clustered around the counter bantering back and forth, and within minutes we felt welcomed by this “family.”  

We soon discovered that coffee and donuts weren’t the only thing “Handsome Bill” was serving.  He was also dishing out joy, exuberance, and affection to all who entered.  Eventually, we realized he isn’t even an employee but a customer who started helping out 8 years ago on a busy day.  “Handsome Bill” is 78, but you’d never know it.  Retired now, he was a school teacher for 30 years, a member of the school board for 12 years, and was recently re-appointed to the airport advisory board.  Another member of the “family” shared with us that Bill had been an exceptional school teacher in a rough section of the city and truly cared about his students and their families.  Many former students and co-workers still frequently visit him at his “non-job”.  Clearly, he shares his huge heart and caring nature with all he encounters and continues to lead a very active and interesting life.  I never left that shop without getting a hug from Bill. 

Mel, another lovable “non-employee” in the same age group, was working hard stocking the shelves.  He’s a fascinating, retired military man whose wife passed away 1 ½ years ago after 53 years of marriage.  Together they traveled to 54 countries, and Mel is still an active member of Friendship Force International.  When we returned for a subsequent visit, I was greeted with a huge hug like I was a member of the family returning from afar. 

We met Walt and his wife, Judy, an attractive, thin woman who had previously weighed over 280 pounds and has maintained her weight loss for 13 years.  And there was Kathy whose effervescence and enthusiasm bubbled over from the inside out.  As we got to know them along with the other regulars, we realized each of them had an interesting story.  This was truly a group of unique individuals who respected each other and had formed a familial bond.  Their established closeness was apparent by how they looked out for each other.  As we sat around chatting, laughter often permeated the air.  These people start their days off together and are integral parts of each others lives.  They laugh together, and they cry together.  Posted on the wall was an obituary from a patron who had passed away days ago, and there were discussions about the pending services.   Because of the camaraderie, we returned to this shop several mornings for coffee while we were on vacation. 

Though we sometimes deny or don’t realize it, in this modern era people are hungry for human connections.  Social networking and communicating electronically cannot replace the fundamental feelings of association and closeness with others that we all crave.  Human touch is sorely lacking in so many people’s lives.  There is no comparison between sharing a “virtual” hug with someone and giving someone a hug in person. 

Nourishment comes in many forms.  Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Institute for Integrative Nutrition, categorizes primary food as relationships, career, spirituality, and exercise – things that nourish our souls.  Secondary food is the food that nourishes our bodies.  Primary food is critically important and frequently neglected in our modern society.  If we’re lacking primary food, improving our secondary food choices is all the more challenging.     

If one of these patrons wanted to improve his/her health and were my client, how would I council him/her?  Ultimately, I’d advise him/her to try eating something healthy prior to going to get his/her daily serving of primary foods.  Do I really think someone motivated could make this change?  Absolutely!  I suspect many in this loving group of people would support and nurture a family member who wanted to make healthier choices.

So, as crazy as it may sound, one of the highlights of our vacation was watching a special group of people indulging in their primary food.  

I invite you to take a look at your life and determine if you could enhance your primary foods to provide added nourishment to your soul and your life.  If your requirements for primary foods are being met, it will facilitate your transition to healthier secondary foods.  In addition, I invite you to sign up for e-mail updates to get informed and inspired to Be Light and Healthy.


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