Yesterday was an “old school” kind of day that involved a long rehearsal in the morning followed by grocery shopping, early dinner preparation, and then helping out at evening auditions for a new community theater group. I’m moving a little slower than normal this morning, but after doing a three mile walk with my buddy Leslie and downing a 10 ounce bottle of water, I’m well on my way to a solid recovery.
For many years, when days like yesterday were the norm, I’d slog an extra cup of coffee into my empty stomach and head out the door. At 55, I’m finally learning to listen to my body and honor what it’s telling me about its needs. I have to credit my daughter-in-law with inspiring me toward a better diet, and toward developing a new attitude about the body’s powers of healing and rejuvenation. The Asian culture has ancient wisdom about the body and how it works, and how to use nature to help it work better. Having been raised in the latter part of the 20th century with all its advances in medical technology, I was steeped in the outside interventionist mode of treatment. When something is wrong, you take a pill for it. If it doesn’t get better, you go to doctors who can blast it with chemicals. If all else fails, they’ll happily cut it right out for you.
Now I’m more inclined to give my body a chance to heal itself, and to do what I can to help that natural progression along. I’ve made exercise a part of my daily life, I drink a lot of water (from a BPH free plastic bottle, or even an actual glass!), and I eat smaller portions of healthier foods, I try to get at least seven hours of sleep. I’m not perfect at any of this, but I’m getting better. For the past 18 months I’ve not been sick once – not even one of the chronic sinus infections that have plagued me for years.
Like so many things in life, self-education and responsibility are key. Dr. Andrew Weil, a long time advocate of natural health care practices and integrative medicine, wrote something that makes a lot of sense to me. “We are too occupied with managing cases of established diseases, most of which are lifestyle related and preventable. The essence of prevention is not colonoscopies and mammograms; it is understanding how our life choices reduce or increase the risk of disease.” Obviously there are times when modern medical treatment is necessary and valuable. But I’d like to do everything I can to avoid that situation in my life.