The Healthy Ins and Outs of Life – April 2021 Calendar

Saturday, March 27th, 2021     Marie Sontag     Start the Conversation

The Moldau
Rivers and streams are my favorite nature scenes. Recently, I found inspiration to pursue a healthier lifestyle by listening to music that depicts the Moldau River. Written in 1874 by the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, The Moldau, according to its preface, represents the pride, oppression, and hope of the Czech people. As I got swept up in the music, I found it did the same for me.

Originating from two mountain streams, the Moldau travels over 267 miles through the Czech Republic before reaching its destination 620 miles later in the North Sea. The beauty and strength of this music caused me to reflect on the physical, financial, and emotional aspects of my life—how, like this river, I gain strength and health when the ins and outs of my life flow unimpeded.

Over the past three months, my husband and I have focused on eating healthier, better-balanced meals, allowing us to take in fewer calories than we burn. This has allowed us to shed pounds of unhealthy, stored fat, losing a combined total of over seventy pounds—he more than me! We also reworked our budget to ensure our financial output is less than our input, and have established a plan to pay off credit cards for good. And, as we continually refresh our spiritual, emotional, social, and mental input, we’ll be better able to nourish those around us.

As we move through the month where “April showers bring May flowers,” I believe our calendar focus can encourage us to find ways to better balance the ins and outs of our lives.

Reflecting on The Moldau
This month as you take time to cook a healthy meal, exercise, or rest, let the lilting music of this symphonic poem penetrate your soul. Its opening notes, tossed back and forth by the flutes and clarinets, represent the river’s two springs. As you visualize these streams joining to form the Moldau, ask yourself, What is the source of my inner “river?” Is it a sustainable source? Do I let it flow unhindered through my life?  For me, I find sustenance in my relationship with God. As Jesus said, “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart,’” John 7:38 (New Living Translation). From what river do you drink?

A minute into the piece the violins sound out the melody, representing the river. As you hum the tune, let it whisk you, unhindered, past events in your life.

The Hunter or the Hunted?
Two minutes into the music (3:15), you’ll hear brass trumpet a fanfare-type motif. As the river flows past a forest filled with wildlife, somewhere in the distance a hunter’s horn sounds the chase. At this point in your life, are you a hunter, or the hunted?

Being overweight and in debt for years, we’ve felt like the hunted referred to in Proverbs 6:5, “Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net” (New International Version). An imbalance in both the caloric and financial intakes and expenditures of our lives has left us panting as we’ve been hunted and chased down by both the food industry and financial institutions. We’ve recently discovered how multinational food companies purposely churn out cheap and addictive processed foods, and how we’ve bought into the myths of buy now, pay later.

We’ve decided to flee these hunters’ nets and are now pursuing a healthy eating plan and creating a zero-based budget. We’re also scheduling time to refresh the social, spiritual, and mental aspects of our lives. How do you fare in the hunt for physical, financial, and emotional sources of health? Are you the hunted or the hunter? Do you give in to food cravings, taking in more calories than you expend? Does debt eat up your income, leaving you with less money than you take in? Have you set aside time to build and renew friendships with emotionally healthy people? What role does God play in your life?

A Wedding
Four minutes into The Moldau (4:15), a folk melody emerges, its polka-like rhythms painting a picture of peasants dancing at a wedding. How important is family life to you? Let this section bring to mind the peace, joy, and freedom we can experience when embracing a healthy lifestyle and healthy relationships.

At 5:50 the music quiets, evoking scenes of moonlight reflecting off its waters. As the strings, woodwinds, and harp render this imagery, reflect on past and future choices regarding your intakes and expenditures. If your physical, financial, and emotional ins and outs aren’t currently in balance, what steps can you take to correct that?

Nine minutes into the piece (9:10), the song’s theme returns. Let the melody wash over you as you contemplate where you are currently in the river of life.

At 10:05, get swept up in the water’s turbulence as the music portrays the Moldau rushing toward the city of Prague. As the river fulfills its purpose to bring life to its country’s citizens, ask yourself: How have difficulties in my life threatened to pull me under? In what ways have they strengthened me? To whom can I bring life?  

After 11:15, the music speeds up, crescendos, and reaches a peak. Let the clanging cymbals, trumpeting brass, and energizing rhythms press you to greater heights of resolve. Greater resolve to live a healthier life now, no matter your age. No matter the difficulties. No matter the effort it will take to make necessary changes.

No Regrets
When the music slows (12:50), pull in several deep breaths. The river is now moving past Prague toward its final destination of the North Sea. Allow the music to slowly sweep you out of your life’s bustling “city” as you contemplate your end. What will that look like? When you inhale your last breath, will you have accomplished all you wanted, or will you have regrets?

As the river and the music slowly fade into the distance, consider what steps you can take to prevent future laments. And, like the last note of the piece, (13:15), resolve to let the ins and outs of your life reverberate with a chord of triumph!

Scan the code for quick links to a recording of the Moldau and the April calendar download, as well as previous months’ music and calendars. Be sure you’re signed up for my monthly newsletter so you don’t miss a single month!

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