Dr. Bill Thomas’ signature non-fiction theater performance Life’s Most Dangerous Game debuts a concept that Bill calls ‘M.E.S.H.’ This four-pillared guide on how to live a healthy and happy life stands for Move, Eat, Sleep, and Heal.
Within each of these mantras Bill gives a revelation on how we can replicate a M.E.S.H. lifestyle. For example, he recommends for the letter ‘E’ we all should partake in ‘convivium,’ which he defines as “eating good food in good company.” Eating, it turns out, is about more than calories and nutrition. You have to nourish your relationships as well as your body. So I wondered, how do you define “good” company?
Sure, we all want to hang with people who make us feel great but, there is something intrinsically different between people that are good fun and those that are good for you. On the surface, friends look the same and we might not recognize which good a person has brought to the relationship. I find myself evaluating this distinction more as I grow older. I have always been skilled at making friends and connecting with people, so I found that there was a variety of people within my social circles. Some peers were perfect for hanging out and others held the potential for a deeper connection. That person could have been exactly what I needed; someone who was able to rally with me or take a pause when times were low. Unlike the friends who always were down for a good time, these individuals I considered to be a part of my journey with life, and my journey towards growth.
I’d like to ask readers, how often do you reflect on the inevitable changes in your relationship to others? We humans are anything but stagnant. It can take many years to learn that who we allow into our lives affects how we behave and think over time. Let’s explore relationships using rock-climbing as a metaphor:
You and your partner are at the local gym training for a sport rock climbing competition. The goal is for both partners to get to the top as quickly as possibly. Consider two scenarios:
The two of you climb up the wall on your own paces. You regularly check in with the other and encourage the other to not look down, to keep pushing forward and that it’s okay how sweaty you both are getting. Your friend ends up getting to the top before you and by reaching down and out to you has to pull you up. The momentum is literally dependent on the strength and support of the person who is holding you. It’s tough but you’ve both made it.
You are climbing the same wall and your partner is below you, grappling onto your ankle. They’re focused on the wall, they’re wondering why they even agreed to this in the first place, and they keep asking you what to do next. Where is the energy going? Will you even make it to the top of this rock wall? After all, you’re carrying more than your weight.
A close friendship allows another person entirely into our world – this is a truth that I am beginning to understand and observe in my own life: Relationships affect our direction. When we align ourselves with these individuals it is crucial that they are in a growth mindset. Connections become that much more powerful when both members, regardless of place in life, are motivated to push forward in who they are and what they’d like to achieve. Reflect on the above scenarios, both partners were engaged but there was a difference in how the second partner responded to the situation. There was a shift in how each person continued to reach the top. If you want to continue to grow, protect yourself by choosing which relationships you will keep close. That way, when it’s time for the next convivium you know you are, indeed, in the midst of good (for you) company.