There was once a man who fell ill.

The doctor diagnosed a general malaise and prescribed rest.

A month later the ache had gone but he could still feel a twinge in his back.

He went to his Well-Being Co-ordinator: ‘To the Chiropractor with you’, said she.

And off he went.

‘He says it’s to do with an old injury,’ reported the man. ‘Working at a desk is bad for me and I need to change my job.’

At which point, the Co-ordinator sent the man to a life coach.

But he found it hard to concentrate in the meeting because of terrible indigestion and was dispatched to a nutritionist.

‘And?’ asked the Co-ordinator, when he boomeranged back.

‘My diet was bad so I changed it. But still I’m unwell.’

‘You are complex,’ said the Co-ordinator. ‘Now’s the time for my acupuncturist, whose partner’s a masseuse.’

So the man had sessions with the couple, who re-balanced his chi and eased the tension in his back.

For some time he felt better but it was not to last.

‘The thing is,’ said he, ‘my mother is on her death-bed. And there’s nothing anyone can do about that.’

Which the Co-ordinator refuted, recommending a counsellor to whom he could pour out his feelings.

As their relationship turned out to be unusually close, the counsellor called an analyst and soon they were knee-deep in Freud.

‘To tell you the truth, my wife doesn’t like her,’ admitted the man.

Whereupon, the Co-ordinator packed the pair off to Relate.

But he was back- ‘I don’t think she likes me either’– and referred to a sex counsellor.

‘Now, now,’ said the counsellor as the man reached breaking point. ‘We’ll get you to my plastic surgeon and then she’ll see what she’s missing.’

So the man readied himself for a new face but the Co-ordinator intervened with an NLP professional, who made him repeat, ‘I’m happy the way I am.’

Finally, the man was exhausted.

He made one last attempt to harness the universal healing power of Reiki but had run out of energy.

‘Let’s see,’ said the Co-ordinator rummaging around. ‘I’ve got a reflexologist, a priest, a psychic- oh, and a fantastic hair colourist.’

‘You know, I think I need to re-visit the doctor,’ he concluded.

At this, the Co-ordinator heaved a sigh of defeat, opened her top drawer and offered the man a brown envelope with words scribbled all over it, that read:

Make your pulse race. Make your muscles hurt. Vacate your mind. Feel your body. Orgasm. Love. Be loved. Laugh about what affects you. Cry about what affects others. Be present. Keep close friends who make you feel good. Keep in sight a stranger who makes you feel bad. Keep some things to yourself. Get pissed with someone you like. Get pissed off with someone you don’t. Stretch. Create. Act attractive. Eat vegetables when you’re hungry. Drink water when you’re not thirsty. Don’t smoke. Eat less sugar. Eat more protein. Go easy on the carbs. Cut out coffee. Don’t judge your reality against your dreams. Examine your reality when you stop dreaming. Be humble. Be confident. Believe in something. Disbelieve in nothing. Keep learning. Listen. Contemplate. Don’t worry. Stress less. Relax more. Breathe deeply. Open your mind. Challenge your expectations. Allow grief. Be bored. Don’t be boring. Feel alive. Know how to feel deeply. Learn how to live lightly. Choose to be your best with those who accept you at your worst. Be hopeful. Be realistic. Be kind. Don’t be a pushover. Prioritise others when you can. Prioritise yourself when you need to. Be thoughtful. Don’t overthink. Stand up tall. Strive for balance. Accept yourself. Accept you are alone. Don’t seek approval from others. Give generously. Receive gratefully. Lose well. Win better. Don’t be a victim. Be responsible about things that matter. Be carefree about things that don’t. Cross something off your list. Do something that wasn’t on it. Save more. Spend less. Live within your means. Visit somewhere new. Remember somewhere old. Be polite. Be irreverent. Be respectful. Break the rules. Understand the past. Be optimistic about the future. Know when you’ve got it good. Put energy into a passion. Put passion where you lack energy. Hold on to yes. Let go of no. Clean under your fingernails.

Do the specific things at least twice a week and the general things all the time.

‘But this is EXACTLY what I need,’ said the man, brightening. ‘Confucius?’

‘Your mother,’ replied the Co-ordinator. ‘She says you never bloody well listen to her but she’s not dead yet and she doesn’t like your wife either.’


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