Five Tips for Swimming Successfully against Non-holistic Culture


We all encounter significantly influential people in our lifetime. They may not be the most intelligent or celebrities, but they have ways to affect your life positively. I would like to share five tips that I gained from people in my life to improve learning and to promote holistic living for all ages.

Find your passion

I met a taxi driver in Japan who occasionally pointed a plastic needle filled with some mysterious fluid into the small compartment next to his seat. I could not help but look at what may be there. As I tried to peek politely, the driver spoke up. "I hope you don’t mind that I have baby birds here. Since I was little, I have loved birds and I am fascinated with raising them." He continued as I nodded. "Do you know how to distinguish the sex of a chicken egg?" I had no idea and said "No." I was already intrigued with this man who raises birds as he gave ride to his customers. "If both ends are round, it is female and if one end is pointy, then it is male." "Wow. I am impressed." Since then, I have always checked the shape of the egg, even if I do not need to learn what it might have been. But more importantly, the egg reminds me of this taxi driver’s passion and his desire to follow his lifelong passion.

Never too late to learn

My mother began practicing Japanese calligraphy in her early 50s and attained her master status before her passing at the age of 62. She practiced it every day. It was never for competitions, but rather a spiritual and self-driven activity. I can’t recall any of our family giving her compliments about her calligraphy, but she probably did not need any rewards. My mother’s calligraphy is a reminder for me to learn new things at any age as my life evolves.

Share your experiences

One of my graduate students taught me how to palpate my daughter in my womb. No OB-GYN doctors or nurses taught me how to do this. One nurse midwife even told me that self-palpation was nearly impossible, so she taught my husband how to feel our daughter in my belly instead. Being a physical therapist, I am very familiar with palpation of various soft tissues and various abnormalities in the body, but it never occurred to me at the beginning of my pregnancy that I could communicate with our daughter in my womb through touch. This experience taught me that I have so much to learn from others’ experiences and to never close my eyes and ears to those who are willing to share their experiences.

Laugh about your failures with others

My former next door neighbors, an older couple in their 70s, often invited my husband and me for their delicious home cooking. They are amazing storytellers, particularly the wife, who has such a keen memory that she describes the details of each scene so vividly. One day, she was telling us a story about when she received her driver’s license and her husband encouraged her to drive his brand new car to practice. She picked up a pizza and put it on the passenger seat. As she made an acute turn, the pizza started to slide off and as she tried to save the pizza, she hit the tree and totaled their car. Thanks goodness there was no injury!

Authenticity is allowed

When I met my husband with an engineering background, he was attractive, but also appeared very authentic to me. He always wore a pen in his chest pocket. (Since then, I have noticed that nearly every engineer whom I met has had a pen and a small notebook in his possession). These are all superficial observations, but I discovered a deeper inner authenticity in him that allows us to enjoy our togetherness. Holistic living can be attained anywhere you are, but you need to give yourself permission to be authentic.

Be authentic and you can learn new things at any age, you will not be afraid of making mistakes, and you will follow your passion as opposed to following the mainstream of non-holistic modern culture.

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Sachiko Komagata
Sachiko Komagata, P.T., Ph.D., is the Chair of the Department of Holistic Health, Exercise Science, & PE at Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Holistic Health. Visit, or e-mail [email protected] or call 732.987.2663.


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