The Power of Three
By Carolyn Allen
It’s June! Although many people think of the Christmas holidays as the most difficult for healthy eating choices, my years as a community weight loss coach teamed with my own continuing battle with the scale, sugar and compulsive eating have taught me that the glut of poor healthy eating choices for June rivals those in December. These choices demand their own deep breath of resolution and even deeper pockets of optimism, commitment and action. Sing it one, sing it all: “See you in September” is our swan song to our jeans. It’s up to us and to make sure they will fit, be loose, or even too big when autumn rolls around three months from now.
Why the difficulty with June and summer eating? The reasons can be found in, once again, the number three.
1) An overload of food-centered festivities including graduations, end-of-school-year celebrations, family events, weddings, and early summer socializing.
2) A “relax and enjoy” mentality as school ends, vacations begin and schedules become less structured’; and
3) warming weather and the resulting loose-fitting clothing that leads to a denial of reality and increasing weight.
While those three truths are obvious, the hidden meaning of the word three is worth investigating:
In the number three we have the first geometric figure, since one or two lines cannot enclose any space or form a planar figure. Three lines are necessary to form the figure and enclose the space, then three dimensions are required to form a solid. A triangle is the simplest planar figure and a cube is the simplest three-dimensional solid. Three therefore symbolically and literally represents that which is solid, real, substantial, complete and entire.
Think about it! All things that are especially complete and entire are stamped with the number three. I believe this is one of the basic reasons to why there are three members in the Godhead, and three members in all Church presidencies and Church auxiliaries.
Three succinctly sums things up:
Three divisions of time: past, present and future
Three is the sum of human ability: thought, word and deed
The three kingdoms of matter: animal, vegetable or mineral
Three phases of the moon
Three phases of mortality: birth, life, death
Three natures of the earth, heaven, earth and waters
Three components of human individuals, physical body, soul and spirit
Three legs to a stool …. And the list goes on!
Even common idioms highlight the hidden power of this number. For example, “things happen in threes”, Aladdin’s “three wishes from the genie,” the mystical “knock three times”, etc.
There is great religious symbolism in the number three that is used repeatedly as it represents the three members of Godhead and the number three is present even in decorative elements to our temples that symbolize things of the celestial realm.
The roots for the word stem from the meaning of multiplicity: Creative power; growth. Three is defined as a moving forward of energy, overcoming duality (the number two), expression, manifestation and synthesis. Three is the first number to which the meaning “all” was given. It is The Triad, being the number of the whole as it contains the beginning, a middle and an end.
Years ago, I read a story I’ve never forgotten about a woman who was an example to many for great peace and serenity. Though her life had been filled with sorrow and calamity, she emanated a sense of calm in all she said and did. When asked why and how, it was once again, the number three in a mantra of three words “Wait three days.” This was her life’s philosophy for managing stress and turmoil: She shared her personal conviction that the greatest events and miracles of mankind had happened in three days: namely the Savior’s last three days (as Christ was crucified, died and arose) . She said, “In three days you know about a situation. If it’s not a problem – the matter will go away or resolve easily within that time, if it is a problem, three days are long enough to start acquiring the resources and emotional strength to deal with it.”
Rather than get upset or turn to food or other false sources of comfort, just wait three days! Brilliant!
A review from III Nephi (isn’t that interesting? THIRD Nephi!) reveals two more three-doms: The terrible storm that seemed to last indefinitely was only for three hours (III Nephi 8:19). Those who survived had no choice but to wait for three days as the darkness and endless woe surrounded them. (III Nephi 8:23)
During those three days, however, they heard the voice of the Savior! Later, they personally experienced his presence, saw the nail prints, heard his prayers and received his supplications as he advocated for them to his Father. Though this experience may not be duplicated for us, we can still call upon him, and know that his loving care and concern for us is no different.
So! Even as poor health choices surround us, even as the days grow longer, here’s a quick way to choose His way, the higher road to health, peace and self-mastery. You can actually do this when alone, or mentally picture yourself doing it when you’re with others. Think of it as a quiet prayer of gratitude for your body, and gratitude for the ability to make choices.
1) Raise three fingers, (like a darling three year old holding up birthday fingers), then
2) Touch your heart and say a powerful three word phrase: “I choose life!,” or “I choose peace!” then
3) Touch your closed lips with those three fingers and say three more words: “I choose health!” or even “No thank you!”
Then do one more thing that is a three-word action that nips extra calories in the bud and leaves them in the dust: JUST WALK AWAY. That’s all! 1) Just, 2) Walk , 3) Away !
Oh, there are blessings in store, even countless multiples of the number three, as we call upon our Heavenly Father and ask him to help us choose health, choose life, choose self-mastery.
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