Monday, March 8, 2010

Healing as a Journey

The word 'healing' may bring up the idea that there is an end to the journey. It will inevitably end with 'healed'.

This idea may not serve us well. It emphasizes a goal, an end product. If our focus is too much on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we are likely to miss the sweetness and lessons learned along the path.

This may be hard to read - what is there to value in the journey of illness? It's painful! Isn't it natural to want to get OUT of illness as quickly as possible?

Perhaps - but this way of thinking can lead to treating our bodies like cars - when it's broken, bring it to the mechanic. When it's 'fixed', drive it like you drove it before.

Our bodies are a vehicle through which the world communicates to us. It sends us clear messages. If something we are so intimate with, that is a large part of who we are, is trying to talk to us, isn't it a good idea to listen?

I'm in no way suggesting that you not visit a health care professional if you or your child is ill. What I am suggesting is that you also ask, what is happening here? What is the bigger picture? What is asking for attention?

You can view it as a dream interpretation - what is the symbolism? Is the part of my life that I use this part of my body with out of balance?

I deal with fatigue. I can 'fix' that with caffeine. It often seems like the easiest route, have a cup of tea, or coffee, and there is instant energy! Hallelujah!

Coffee statistics show that among coffee drinkers the average consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups of coffee per day. And over 50% of Americans are coffee drinkers. It seems I am not alone in seeking a quick solution to fatigue.

Years down the line however, it seemed evident that the quick fix was taking it's toll on my body in various ways. Adrenals, thyroid depleted. Hmmm, rethinking caffeine....

On deeper examination I wonder more about how I push to get things done in my life. And I wonder if I didn't push, would I feel the need for caffeine? What if I went to sleep at a reasonable hour regularly? What if I questioned the thought that I have to get things done exactly so, or by a certain time?

And, as we've seen, I am not the only one who has depended on caffeine to get through my days. What does that say about our culture in general? About how we go about our lives?

Before Thomas Edison's invention of the light bulb, people slept an average of 10 hours a night; today Americans get an average 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknights and 7.5 hours per night on weekends (NSF's 2002 Sleep in America poll).

So, this examination of how I approach doing becomes an examination of other forces that come to bear on my life. My expectations. The dominant culture's expectations. It can become much less personal, can give one a larger perspective.

The key here is curiosity. And acceptance.

What if we can't 'fix' the ailment? What then? What if 'healing' were the whole journey? What if the entire culture suffers? Many health challenges are widespread. How far outside the culture can we go without creating another imbalance of the soul?

I'm not suggesting succumbing to defeatism. And healing the culture is one of my passions. But change happens most gracefully when we accept the place where we begin. And, like it or not, we are at the very least affected by our culture, if not a product of it.

Eyes open, let's make changes with full acknowledgement of our place in the world. Our humanness, our fragility, and our strength. We know where the journey ends for us all, but we have no idea where it will lead us on the way. Can we walk that road with curiosity and willingness? The more open we are, the more relaxed. The more relaxed we are, the better we are able to see the path ahead of us. See what messages our discomfort is giving us. And the better able to act on the information we receive.

The Buddha said ‘Within this fathom long body is the world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world and the path leading to the cessation of the world.’ He didn’t say ‘only in healthy bodies’ or ‘only in perfect bodies’. He was pointing to waking up here and now, in this body. As it is.

And, for those of us whose bodies are clearly saying NO to dairy....

Nut Milk
Gluten free, dairy free, salicylate free (if using hazelnuts), low carb (if using stevia)

1 cup nut of choice - I like almond or hazelnut. Cashews make a delicious one, but there’s a lot of buzz about cashews having mold, so know that.
1 tsp salt
2 cups non-chlorinated, non-flouridated water, plus water for soaking
Stevia, or dates, to taste

Soak the nuts for 6 - 8 hours in a jar with the salt and enough water to cover. Drain and rinse.

Place the soaked nuts in a blender with the measured water. Blend for at least 2 minutes, longer if you can stand the noise. You want the nuts to be as smooth as possible.

Strain the milk through a nut milk bag, a jelly making bag, or a gold filter. Squeeze or press the pulp to remove as much of the liquid as possible.

Sweeten the milk with a few drops of stevia. Some people throw a couple pitted dates in the blender while it’s whirring to sweeten.


Note: the nut pulp can be used in baked items, or to make nut cheese. I’ll post that recipe another time.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays with Kelly the Kitchen Kop!


Lisa Sargese said...

This is a very insightful post. Yes, we are a quick fix culture and it affects all of us even if we try to stay out of it. Staying too far removed from our fellow earthlings is in itself an imbalance. We're supposed to be healing each other! I'm learning to view illnesses as symptoms of underlying imbalances, needs etc. It's working. Thanks for your wisdom!

Durga Fuller said...

Lisa - thanks so much for your comments.

I think we're removed from other humans, from ourselves, and from the earth herself. Every breath we can be aware of, every bite, every word, every action we can bring full awareness to, brings us all closer to health, presence, love... call it what you will. God. Now THERE'S the healing!