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Pet fanciers, even bird lovers, may not realize this, but compared with advances in the medical field, breakthroughs in applying the wisdom of cartoons depicting buzzards and human happiness have been fun and far between. Until now.

My field is wellness, and the lessons of the DBRU equivalents applies to this art of living well. Advances here have also been slow in coming from studies of bird cartoons. Not until about the time of the Renaissance were physicians able to rely on science at all. At first, the focus was on healing methods derived from ancient Greek, Chinese, Indian and other systems. When will bird lovers and wellness promoters emerge from the dark ages with comparable leaps forward resulting in epidemics of well-being, veritable plagues of wonderfulness and mass contagions of optimal functioning?

Surely the domains and skill areas associated with wellness and self-management are ripe for new theories, paradigms, constructs and the like. So, where are the Edisons, Fords, Mozarts, Molieres, Einsteins, DaVincis, Franklins, Fermis, Boccaccios, Swifts, Pepys, Jeffersons, Maughams, Beethovens, Pasteurs and Al Gores (Internet) to lead the way to new visions of wellness?

Well, I'm sure such people will be along shortly. Meanwhile, I have a pretty neat idea.

Of course, wellness breakthroughs, like new theories, paradigms and constructs, are not fashioned anew out of whole cloth, but rather are constructed on the insights and advances of those who came before, to pioneer in modest but vital ways. The art of making art is putting it together, bit by bit and little by little, over time. So, too, it is with pretty neat wellness ideas. Mine was inspired by the creative talent of Gary Larson, the comic genius who gave us the immortal "The Far Side" cartoon series. Specifically, my pretty neat idea, my claim to fame in this life, is based on a Far Side concept that made possible my creation, my invention, my neat idea. I refer, of course, to the concept of the "DBRU equivalent."

The particular "Far Side" cartoon that gave birth to my "DBRU equivalent" was one depicting a large, deceased rhino covered by buzzards with more filling the sky, arriving to join in the feast. In the caption, one buzzard remarks to another, "Just think, here we are, the afternoon sun beating down upon us, a dead bloated rhino underfoot and good friends flying in from all over. I tell you, Frank, this is the best of times."

I looked at that picture, thought of those words and asked myself that question -- that is, what, exactly, ARE "the best of times" in my life? Ever since, I've been asking audiences this question: "Are you getting enough DBRUs? That is, enough dead bloated rhino underfoot equivalents?"

That's my neat idea, my contribution to the advancement of wellness and self-management.

So, what are the best of times for YOU? Put the question to yourself on a regular basis. Ask if you are getting enough DBRU equivalents. What are the best of times in your life and are these experiences occurring with sufficient frequency to make life wonderful? If not, take steps to rectify the situation.

I did one of my famous double-blind, crossover trials of a longitudinal, horizontal and dignified nature a few years ago and discovered we all need a MINIMUM daily requirement of 23 DBRU equivalents. They need not be spectacular. Instead, little pleasures, simple reflections of gratitude and conscious appreciations of wonder will do nicely. When you wake, be grateful you are still alive, living in a free country with plenty to eat, that your kids are not in jail (assuming they're not) and that the sun is still up there and that we continue to revolve on planet Earth, not too fast and not too slow. There -- you already would have six DBRU equivalents -- and you're not even out of bed yet! In other words, DBRU equivalents need not be epic and triumphant events, like recovery from a grave illness, hitting the lottery, winning the Tour De France three times, climbing Mt. Everest in the nude -- that sort of thing. Little pleasures throughout the day will do the trick. Tune in to these little delights, bring them into conscious awareness, celebrate them and pause often to honor your good fortune! By the end of the day, you could have pondered hundreds of these wonders, let alone the minimum 23 -- and you will be richer (and healthier) for it!

I hope this puts you in a good and inquisitive mood for the day and fires up your commitment to take charge of your life and develop a strong interest in self-management. It's time to go out there and celebrate life more than you already do, to seek DBRU equivalents and ways to get fitter, to have more fun and play, richer relationships, more emotional intelligence, to be a more critical thinker and to discover added meanings of and purposes for living, in YOUR unique fashion.

As my then high school-age daughter once said to me, "Dad, may all your dead rhinos be like totally bloated on this lovely day."

It's a pity the FDA has not set an RDA standard for DBRU equivalents, but as with other worthwhile initiatives, you don't want to wait for the government to get around to doing the right thing. Seize the day -- go out there, identify and enjoy as many DBRU equivalents as possible.

Please consider one more thing. Try to remember that the DBRU concept was not invented, built or written by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- or any of those other brilliant folks noted earlier in this essay. No, remember who gave the world the DBRU concept when the time comes to carve another image on Mount Rushmore. Yes, remember who is responsible for the fact that the world knows about and daily enjoys DBRU equivalents - and give Gary Larson his due.

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Professor of REAL Wellness In Advance of Reason, Exuberance and Liberty
Publisher of the ARDELL WELLNESS REPORT (since 1984)
Author of REAL Wellness (and 15 others)
Lecturer / Entertainer
2009 and 2010 World Triathlon Champion

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