Health wears many faces and is defined in many ways. It is an obscure concept. When we have it, at least in moderation, we don’t question it. When we slip to the side of poor health we start to ask why and what we can do about it, where to start.
When one is ill the idea of “Where can I start” seems an odd question…you start where you are hurt/broken right? This is the common approach of allopathic medicine. “I hurt, make it stop”. It is not entirely a bad idea, especially when the pain is extreme. I, however, will propose to you a different tack. While ending pain for an injured or ill person is the primary goal it should not be considered the end. While many people appear healthy they often question how healthy they really are and how long their health will last. They feel as if they take care of themselves, they have no major health issues and their doctors (and insurance company) agree that they are healthy. We all, however, know someone who appeared to be the picture of health then dropped dead of a heart attack or diagnosed with cancer out of the blue. We all know that what really happened is they were simply unaware of what was happening in their bodies until the proverbial 11th hour and we begin to question if we really know what is going on in our body.
Feeling secure in our health is of primary importance. Preserving our youthful beauty is also important. While few will admit to being vain plastic surgeons are being inundated with new clients, the latest diet strategy and weight loss aids are an industry of their own and image based mental illness is on the rise. Most people feel relatively helpless when it comes to their health. They have very little access to their doctors and seldom address the seemingly minor, nondescript discomforts. Very rarely are they able to get lasting relief from the pain and fatigue that they feel. It has become a cultural norm to accept this as a normal part of aging. For many the frustration is increased when serious illness sets in changing the way they are able to lead their daily lives. Many times no root cause is found, illnesses are treated as separate entities so people end up taking as many as 10 or more different pills each day trying to find some way to simply exist. There is a condition referred to as learned helplessness. When people/animals try so hard for so long with no adequate results they simply give up. Even when hope is right in front of them they won’t reach for it because they assume, from past experience, that it can’t possibly work for them. “This is the way things are and there is not a thing I can do about it”. They do learn to live with it but inside they are crying to just be set free. This is probably impetus for the philosophy that the physical plane is actually the Hell that many religious texts speak of. Some are brave/stubborn and do not give up the fight…but that is what life becomes, a fight of the proverbial good and bad, life and death.
For those who deprive themselves in the name of good health, prescribe to the exercise-eat-right philosophy but don’t really enjoy it are driven by the idea that they will extend their lives. Yes, they do extend their lives but not by any significant amount. If they discover this they become disheartened and feel, “why bother?” The fact is that there is no reason to live in a state of denial. The body only craves what it needs and when it is ‘healed’ it craves the ‘ingredients’ that we all recognize as healthy. In the end it is important to remember that we care for our bodies as a celebration of our physical expression. We do our best to maintain this tool we have chosen, clearing the lens so that our spirit can shine through this body of ours. The mind/body connection can only work effectively if the conduits are clear. The fact of the matter is that health is continuum…it isn’t a matter of having it or not. When we feel decent we become complacent, figuring this is as good as it gets and go about our day. It is important to understand that the health continuum extends from the point where our physical form gives up to the point where our physical body works in perfect unison with our spiritual self. Until one reaches that clear point it cannot be understood, but it can be strived for, knowing it is there is enough of a direction to go on.
Tackling the question of “Where do I start?” is a huge undertaking. Since I don’t intend to write a book for one blog entry I will address topics individually. It is my intention to not only talk about what to do/not to do but how to critically review information, how to identify trustworthy resources, explore goals and intentions, as well as values and expectations and as a result, ultimately help you to discover your own definition of health.
The path of health is totally individual. Like snowflakes no two are the same. You may learn from others but ultimately it is up to you to find what is right for you. To aid you on your path I invite you to explore with me, share the information you find, ask questions and never settle for answers that are incomplete or do not make sense. Be patient, some answers take time, but don’t give up.