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Operating Table by MikeIsNeat on flickr

“The body never lies.”

Martha Graham (famous dancer/choreographer)

  

 

Practice what you preach…it is essential, no?  It is a bit of a duh, if I do say so myself.  Well I just had a moment of sorts over the last 72 hours—a long harsh moment of reality thrust upon me, necessarily and with excellent timing (in the script of my life this is just where I would put such a revelation).  It was a moment—call it a “duh” or an “aha” or an “epiphany” if you will—that reminded me of the importance, non-optional and crucial nature, of holistic living in my own life. 

 

I talk about it with passion until I’m breathless and I vocalize it to anyone who will listen—a complimentary medicine and holistic approach to life is vital for full mind, body, and soul healing.  And although I work towards my own holistic health in baby steps I am not quite the vibrant enactor as I am the vocalize—I am a bit sluggish, sometimes even a bit resistant for all of the reasons I know that people are. 

 

I am stagnant in my old ways of thinking and living.  I am full of negative learned behaviors cultivated with great art over the years.  I am sluggishly lazy about making the alterations in full that would be necessary for living a truly clean, green , and healthfully mean life.  It is a scary prospect—to so drastically change our life patterns.  Yet at the same time to do so is so logical and such a small concession in the grander scheme of things—taking into account a longer, healthier, and less painful existence on all levels.

 

This week has shown me, that like the diabetic person that has not option of whether to take care of their body and their diet as they must do what is necessary or suffer serious, even life threatening consequences, I too must look at my holistic health from a more serious perspective.  Every move I make, or don’t, every substance, hormone, and edible thing I put in my body affects the state of it. 

 

I have (as much as I have been trying to ignore the severity of it for some time) a very serious and chronic illness which only becomes more pervasive and debilitating with time.  I am in a crucial stage of “change” or “be changed for the worse”.  I am on the precipice of a life and a body that could go either way and I have to treat the care of this bodily casing as if it were a life or death situation—it is at least the life or death of my womb that is at stake (not to mention the surrounding organs that are often ravaged by endometriosis like the bladder, bowel, appendix, among others–two out of the three I already have scar tissue on from fusing of organ to organ , by endometriosis growth, prior to my first surgery). 

 

I can no longer say, “Tomorrow I will live better,” or, “Just one more bagel can’t hurt,” or, “I’m just too tired for yoga today.”  I have to effect a lifestyle commiserate with the seriousness of my health, the necessity for self-care as a priority, and an active holistic approach to healing that I know to be so vital.  I can no longer sit on the sidelines of my body and wait to see what happens.  Proactive is the only way. 

 

It is hard, we all know, to shift so drastically the things that inhabit our daily lives, routines, and ways of being.  I know mine is somewhat of an extreme example of how everything we do, consume, imbibe and how it affects our internal and external health, but in some ways this drastic perspective on living is something we should all work harder to enact—and no one knows better than I how much of a struggle it is to do that. 

 

But I know, too, that my every moment and lifestyle decision affects me holistically so I must live taking my whole self into account.  I know that when I have steak, dairy, soda, and white bread my cramps worsen.  I know that and I ignore it quite often. 

 

My body gives me all the signals I need of how to care for it and thus far I have been very capricious with this precious and delicate physicality that I have.  But I can’t be a sideline player in the game of me versus endometriosis.  I have been reminded and reinvigorated by the knowledge that this illness will get worse—how fast and how much is really up to me, every day, and in the choices I make. 

 

We have much of the control over our living, but so often we don’t enact proactive (w)holistic health because it seems too hard or too much.  Well, I can say from experience that the alternative, what can happen when we don’t care for this precious container for our mind and our soul, is much worse than working hard to live well.

 

I hope that this–my life, my body, my situation–can be a reminder to everyone of how precious this life is and how precious these bodies are we have been given.  We owe it to ourselves to take the best care possible of it before something (and something can happen to anyone) happens that makes us realize it is too late to effect changes and damage has been done.  I, myself, am at my own precipice, facing my own “duh” moment and I have big changes to make to create a life  not just of forethought and promises of change, but a life of making that change—I am the one who loses if I don’t.  Life is not a sidelines game and our bodies are vital in the holistic care of ourselves—body, mind, and soul.

 

Daily yoga, clean eating, and beginning active courses of acupuncture will be my first steps to getting my body to a better place to fight the internal enemy that waits, biding  it’s time to eat away at me, from the inside out.  I can create a defensive line that can really save or at least preserve my internals for a longer time, not to do that would be dangerously capricious.  I no longer want to be dangerously capricious. 

 

This blog, this move, this timing of beginning yoga school soon and actively working towards a more yogic, meditative, healthier lifestyle seems (as I said above) to be almost a scripted path I am on.  What a more perfect time for me to be forced to take seriously the severity and vital nature of this life path I am treading on and the life health I am preaching to others.  “Practice what you preach!” my life is yelling at me from every angle imaginable–or beware the consequences. 

 

I prefer to listen to what I have been given and make the necessary changes to myself and my lifestyle that have been a long time coming and necessary to have a long time yet to come.  Endometriosis may be the internal enemy but I would rather to be fighting against the enemy, not aiding its troops with my every action.  I know for everyone effecting changes of any kind is a huge undertaking and no easy task–change is hard.  But change will come whether you enact it or something else does.  Proactive living is much more empowering.  I hope to finally be able to say, with no wavering, or equivocating, that I truly, holistically, practice what I preach.  I must, my body tells me so.

 

 Acupuncture heart by Sharon Pazner on flickr

“The body is your temple.  Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.”

B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga: The Path To Holistic Health

Maginfying Glass by athena1970 on flickr

“I discovered that for many of us, the developmental tasks of the second half of life are primarily spiritual.”

Stephen Cope

 

According to author, yogi, and psychotherapist Stephen Cope midlife is a time to find our truer selves, the ones we are shrouding with perceived rich lives that when rattled, crack and required a rebuilding on a more solid internal foundation. 

 

According to Carl Jung (whom I have quoted before and Cope references in his book Yoga and The Quest for the True Self) I am now, as I have officially headed into my 30’s, considered to be in midlife.  Now some of that ideaology of midlife can be attributed to the era of Jung and less lengthy lives, but in point of fact I think it rings pretty true–at least relative to myself.

 

I have discussed on this blog some of the moves of my life–uprooting for the wrong and then the right reasons.  I have talked about my history of trauma, told my own story, and talked about the painful journey to get past that and start a life that was whole and real for myself.  I have talked some about the journey that brought me to a trauma therapist from the plight as a survivor and about how I feel professionally and personally imbued with a passion for trauma healing and the avenues of complementary therapies.  I have talked about what got me here, but where is here?

 

It seems to me that Jung and Cope have it right. 

 

I feel like my current path is a very deep and winding ravine.  One that I could not have traversed had I not gone through and overcome many of the obstacles that got me to this point.  I feel at a place professionally where I am established enough to vocalize myself with a dollop passion matched with a dab of authority on what I speak.  I feel like the storms of my life have quieted enough to allow me to take a deeper journey inward and find a depth of self and of life that I did not have the luxury to do before. 

 

I think wherever people are or whatever their life circumstances, the reason Cope and Jung talk about the 30s and 40s as that place of searching for a new meaning is due to those quelled oceans and those calming of life circumstances–perhaps as a result of facing the very worst demons in our lives or in our minds that we could imagine to get to a place where something deeper and more internal has some value. 

 

Lately I find myself pondering more than ever the inner workings of myself.  I said to my husband the other day (on his visit this past weekend for my birthday) how something feels like it aligned for me in this move.  It was not intentional and it did not result from trying to flee something, but it happened spontaneously and with unexpected mysteriousness. 

 

I felt freed from something invisible that I had not known was constraining me–whether it was just the simple stagnation that comes with familiarity of place, state, and life or it was something  bigger than that I cannot be sure. 

 

All I know is that something shifted in my move and for the better. 

 

And maybe it was also a confluence of circumstances leaving me with an abnormal amount of free time to ponder–with only the clicking of doggie toe nails on wood floors to distract me from my thoughts as I sit day after day in a new house, new town, and new life in a solitary kind of routine. 

 

I feel exploratory of my inner self in a playful and simultaneously intense way that leads me to want to explore further. 

 

All of this also leads excellently into beginning a yoga teacher training program.  Initially, I was pretty melancholy over the idea of having to wait two months to really get into the meat of this meatless excursion into self but as I have had time to digest (am I hungry?) the idea I realize that, that too has been a sort of blessing in disguise. 

 

i could be there when you land by harold lloyd on flickr 

 

I am a person with a huge inability to enjoy delayed gratification or wait for anything–I am a “Do it now!” kind of personality, for better or worse.  But in this forced state of expectation I have been able to pause, breathe, and even prepare for this next huge step of full immersion into a monastic training of ancient proportions. 

 

And in truth I think it is an undertaking that deserves this certain pause for a bit of reverence and a lot more preparation than I have been able to give it so far.  Not to mention a lot more required reading that I have been able to muster up to completing thus far.

 

I am doing fairly well on my plan to remove television or distraction (visual or auditory) from my sleep regimen, as well as being able to ease out of meaty delights (really I use meat, mostly, as a mandatory additive to a sandwich, more perfunctory than satiating so I hope this will go smoothly).  But fish and eggs might be harder as I am going to have to learn to live without so many of the staple additives to a meal that just come easily. 

 

The  next is overall distraction and noise.  I need to get out of the habit, that so many of us have, of coming home and switching on the television and just plopping.  I am, as my husband says (usually in reference to mail and clothes) “a plopper”.   I just come home and plop things, including my own body, down wherever they fall and then find it hard to recoup and reorganize, let alone motivate, once I have gone into full plop mode. 

 

I need to work on more intentional living as that seems a core root of a more spiritual and deeper existence.  Putting on a television is usually just a way to distract ourselves from inner self and thoughts and it is an easy solution to a few hours after work and before bed–but essentially unfulfilling.  So I am going to try to, gulp, spend less time plopping and more time focusing on something, anything.  Reading more and playing with my puppies and writing, writing, writing. 

 

I know we all do this.  We live easily more than we do intentionally.  We perceive ourselves superficially rather than below a surface level.  And often it takes a catalyst of some kind to shake us out of our daze and into something much more profound.  A move down some 1200 miles and a home echoing with silence (or NCIS–I know bad habits with the TV!) for me was a great catalyst to an internal state of wonder and self exploration that led to, among so many other adventures of self, writing this blog. 

 

I am excited to see what the next few months will bring and honored to be able to share that journey as it unfolds with whoever ever is willing to log on, click in, and listen. 

 

And, by the way, I find it to be no small coincidence that the man who wrote the quote below was also the same man who explored yoga and psychology and the potential healing effects of this particular moving art. 

 

“Among my patients in the second half of life–that is to say, over thirty-five–there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a spiritual outlook on life…and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his spiritual outlook.”

Carl Jung in Stephen Cope’s Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

 

 the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being by harold lloyd on flickr

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