I’m polishing up my site and wrote this piece on my philosophy of health and healing. What’s your health philosophy?
I’ve been a clinical nutritional biochemist for over 20 years, a yoga teacher and therapist for 15, and a student of the psychology of how people change and of consciousness for all my career.
Through my years of helping groups and individuals improve their health through lifestyle, I have seen hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who want to eat a healthful diet that supports who they are, but don’t. They can’t get started, can’t sustain it or get sidetracked by things that don’t work. It can be nearly impossible to eat well in our current (nutritionists call it toxic) nutrition environment. And our modern culture is filled with mixed messages about food, weight, and how we should look and feel. The same is true for other aspects of healthful lifestyle – we want to be physically active yet our worlds are set up to be sedentary. We want to practice mindful resiliency and stress-management yet we don’t have time because of the 24/7 culture of work, family, life.
I am an unapologetic proponent of spirituality as essential to health. Mind body and spirit have been fractured in our modern culture, and re-uniting and fully occupying our multidimensional selves in balance with the earth is the path forward that resonates for me. One of the gifts of living right here and now is that we have the potential to be the re-integrators. We have at our fingertips the modern health sciences, and we also have new and accessible interpretations of ancient wisdom-sciences such as shamanic plant work, Ayurveda and tantra. Many practices from these wisdom traditions are proving to be effective modalities for addressing the mind-body-spirit split and toxicity of modern life.
Here is how I see health:
Practicing an integrated life (imperfectly but regularly) maintains wellness and supports dynamic well-being. For a variety of reasons, most people don’t or are not able to sustain regular practice. Enjoying a plant-based diet, moving, taking time for rest and contemplation, and connecting with family like-minded people are components of a life that keep things in dynamic balance. Your unique variation on that lifestyle fuels your life force – healing is a feeling. But life, for nearly everyone, inevitably becomes imbalanced. It is our nature and indeed the nature of life here on earth to become imbalanced.
I also think that feeling bad about ourselves is overall the largest chronic health problem. Please please don’t feel bad about the choices you make. It’s the critical first step to change.
The opportunity of imbalance is to learn more about who you are and why you are here. You can become a discerner of the array of therapeutic options from evidence-based and wisdom realms, or find others you trust to help you sort it out. You can become a students of who you are – each of us are unique, and what works for someone else will not necessarily work for you. Then you can become a thoughtful experimenter of what works. With time, life comes into a (often new) balance. Dynamic, changing balance that requires ongoing tending and practice.
It’s a long-term project and a lifelong dance. The alternative, for many, is to get sick before your time. You can do this. I’m honored to share what I know to show you how.
What’s your health philosophy? What’s most important for your health and well-being?