July 2019 Newsletter
…an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way
Cultivating health is a lifetime project.
The primary reason for this is, at least in most Western cultures and especially American culture, that we are raised to consider health a given, the default reality.
That’s the first place we go wrong.
It’s easy to understand how we fall into this trap. We are walking miracles. The human body is unthinkably complex, ten trillion cells, give or take a few hundred billion, but who’s counting?
It does what it’s supposed to do around the clock, year after year, generally with only the occasional sniffle or maybe bout of flu.
However, particularly in today’s world, as damaged and polluted as it is, health can never be a given. Health is something we have to earn day-in and day-out, all our lives.
The medical system reinforces our blindness in many ways. Two of the most important are these.
First, the healthcare system knows virtually nothing about health. They know a great deal about disease, but once again, health is considered the absence of disease, which is a foolish and astonishingly short-sighted reality construct.
If the medical system understood health they would be pounding the table in Congress, Parliament, or whatever is the governing body in your country, demanding that the environmental, commercial, and social conditions for health were being met.
The second blind spot for the medical system is that they operate on a “You’re broken and we’re going to fix you” paradigm.
Conventional treatments for prolapse illustrate my point. The surgical interventions for prolapse are all designed to “fix” the problem. Who in the medical system is prepared to understand prolapse as a symptom, as your body’s way of telling you that you have a postural dysfunction that needs attention?
This “either/or” mentality reinforces the cavalier attitude toward our most precious condition, our health.
This either/or mindset also contributes to the presumption that there is that which is internal to our bodies and that which is external.
This distinction is an illusion.
Human life requires air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. This natural confluence with our environment has been largely lost to “civilization”.
“Food” is available on every street corner. I put the term in quotations because there is very little on the shelves of the average grocery store that qualifies as food. Genetically modified, grown with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and processed almost beyond recognition of its original state, most of what is called food today is hazardous to our health.
In the current political climate, controlling the pollution of our air and water with noxious substances is seen as a tragic and unnecessary cost society has imposed on our sacrosanct, long-suffering industrial infrastructure. Perhaps the people who own and work in these companies get their air and water from somewhere else the rest of us should know about?
We no longer have to worry about our waste. It disappears down the toilet to be processed by some remote sewage treatment plant, hopefully not in our part of town.
As a whole, we have become mindless about our food, where it came from, how it was raised and/or processed, and where it goes once we are done with it.
And yet atom-by-atom, our food is constantly replacing the component parts of our bodies, even our bones are completely replaced yearly. Other body parts are fully replaced according to nature’s timetable, for example your liver is replaced every six weeks, the lining of your stomach every three days.
The face you saw in the mirror this morning was not the same face you saw yesterday.
The more I study the body, the more amazed I am at its complexity, subtlety, and robustness. Even science in the study of complexity and self-organizing systems has come to recognize the astonishing intelligence behind the simplest living systems.
And yes, there will come an inevitable time in our lives when it is time to let go of the body. In every culture, institutions have arisen to provide belief systems to protect us from anxiety about what has been the unknown darkness after death.
Unfortunately, these institutions tend to take on a life of their own and become impermeable to new ideas and information.
Go to YouTube and do a search on “near death experience” and you will find literally thousands of videos of talks and interviews with people who have clinically died, some in auto accidents, air disasters, or on the operating table, been to the afterlife, and who chose to return.
It is very clear. Our bodies die but “we” do not die.
What is to be learned from this insight is that fear of death equals fear of living.
Embracing health means embracing life. It means being thoughtful about where you live, how you earn your living, who you share your precious life with, what you put into your sacred body that makes your existence possible, recognizing that we are inseparable from our environments, not just physical, but also mental, social, emotional, auditory, visual, and even spiritual.
As I have told women thousands of times, learn to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, run experiments to see what seems to help. Read, study, learn. Of course seek medical advice, just don’t follow it blindly. Doctors too often are clueless.
Make your health your first commitment. After all, your life depends on it.