C’mon, can I really teach you how to cheat death, and better yet, add years of joy and meaning to life?

The answer is yes, no and maybe.

Maybe.

Although I have had several ‘conversations’ with Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel, those muckety-muck Archangels who claim to be my protectors will not pledge to give me good health. “It’s luck, son, good genes, bad germs, who knows what will turn up when the dice are tossed.” What a waste of incense and candles! You’d think they would at least take notice of the arthritis in my middle finger.

Good health! If you’re lucky enough to have it, you are blessed beyond measure. If it sneaks its way into your body or brain, you’ll be in a fight for your life, literally. You can’t buy it or steal good health, but you can give it a boost with exercise and a nutritious diet.

So maybe, all things being equal, I can make some recommendations that will tip the scale in the right direction. Of course you already know what they are: eating the foods free of chemicals, salt and sugar; sticking to an exercise regimen to help you control weight, strengthen muscles, lower blood pressure and keep stress at bay.

No.

Can’t help you if you’re one of those glowering dudes or scowling ladies who have joined the walking dead even though your ASICS gels still look like new. Dying before Thanatos invites you on the Styx River cruise is a choice. The glass half full, half empty test for high stakes. Yes, it’s disheartening when the C-4 vertebrae in your spine has dried up like an overused sponge, but you don’t have to hunch your shoulders and grow hair in your ear lobes. Until you accept and give thanks for what you have instead of resisting and ruminating on what you don’t, nothing I can say will make a difference.

Even more important than listening to me, is listening to the universe. Less time on doing and more time on being doesn’t mean leaving the office for the tee box at the ninth hole (although that can be fun). It’s the process of slowly transforming from full time in the outer world defined by the brain to opening the door to the revelations of the inner realm of the heart. When you make it a conscious habit to express appreciation for your life, the Universe listens and responds with love.

Yes.

Here’s the magic charm in a nutshell. No matter how strong the pull of the warm quilt, actual and metaphorical, that keeps me safe from the cold world, or the ache in my hip painfully reminding me that walking upright is recent to man’s evolution, I will find something good, something to feel grateful about, something to celebrate with a shave and a shower and the front door flung open to the day that waits. Negative emotions are real; I feel them; and being human I give in to them from time to time, but I do not allow them to hang around. My attitude is, be thankful and appreciative for both the big and trivial things alike; want what I have! Without the envy and minus the stress of endless striving, I operate from a place of abundance instead of a place of scarcity and fear.

Which may be the most tangible direction for cheating death, as the health benefits of a grateful mindset are many. Physically, those who practice gratitude have stronger immune systems, are less bothered by aches and pains, have lower blood pressure, sleep longer and wake more refreshed. Whereas the mental benefits include higher levels of positive emotions, feeling fully alive and experiencing more joy, optimism and happiness.

Finally, a suggestion that is not all vague and veiled in the jargon of those who lie prone in front of their icons of choice. Take a few minutes each day to reflect upon the things and people for whom you are grateful. Let go of outcome and enjoy the remaining mileage on life’s journey without fantasizing about a golden door to a luxurious senior living development. The destination is self- fulfillment, and an equanimity that brings cherished peace and abundant love into your remaining life.

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