"Symptoms are your friend, not your enemy.
Symptoms are how you learn about your body,
they are a direct feedback loop that is connected
to your every day choices, a direct reflection
of the habits of your day to day life
here to nudge you into a correction
so you don't do more harm to yourself"
Most of us grew up being fed the notion that if we are ill, we trot off to the doctors office for “the cure.” At the doctors office we are given some kind of magical potion in the form of a pill that contains some variation of a universal cure. Often times these cure-alls are something like an antibiotic, pain reliever, antihistamine, decongestant, sleeping pill, anti depressant, anti anxiety, antacid, oh the list goes forever on and on.
After a time of taking this “cure” the symptoms go away, and so that must only mean that we have been restored to our former healthy state - we have been “cured.” If we scratch only the surface, this model of the cure would appear to be true.
In this model there is no inquiry into the larger pattern, those actions and daily habits that allowed this imbalance to manifest in the first place. We are “victims,” unwitting sitting ducks, recipients of a germ, virus, or bacteria that invades, takes over, and creates ill health. That’s it, end of story, you may all go home now. Easy schmeasy right?
We are now discovering that the human body can be the host of an injury, (1) or a variety of bacteria, (2) viruses (3) and the like, with absolutely no symptoms what-so-ever. We can even have recurring cancer cells that could manifest, or stay undetectable until just the right internal atmosphere is created to bring on a condition that is quantifiable.
So are we victims or co-creators? Can we become more aware and sensitive to the workings of these glorious bodies we inhabit so that we ourselves decide the level of health we embody, or do we leave this to the fates, the germs and the doctors to decide?
In childhood and through my late teens and early twenties, I had more sore throats, ear infections, yeast infections, and headaches (migraines to be exact) then I can shake a stick at. I ingested more antibiotics, decongestants and pain killers than I care to ruminate upon and yet year after year one variety or another of these maladies would resurface. Did I grow out of these unfortunate killers of wellbeing? Did I just get lucky when these symptoms cleared up?
It was not luck or the antibiotics, not even close. It was education, understanding, inquiry and some small letting go of my self destructive propensities in the form of a slow but steady over haul and alteration of my lifestyle choices.
Healing vs. Curing
Curing arises from the disease model of medicine, it implies there is an end point that needs no tending to, it is not a process but a one shot deal. We either triumph over this illness or we succumb to it. We enter into a war with germs and we either win the war and get cured or lose it and live in poor health or worse, perish.
Healing on the other hand is more concerned with the process of coming into a place of balance within the forces of illness and health. Healing requires inquiry, the listening and the ultimate responding over time, to incoming information. Healing brings forth the idea of nurturing inherent health over the long haul. There is no magic bullet, no wonder cure, no end point. Instead there is a lifelong, ongoing relationship of give and take, listening and responding, commitment and willingness. A Project, if you will, that has less to do with an outside savior in the form of a doctor and more to do with The Inner Physician we all possess.
While it seems to be the secret hope of the human condition that we can ingest all manner of poor quality food and drink and somehow mysteriously remain robust and healthy, the bottom line is, this notion is a lie, a myth, a deceptive fantasy that will never come true.
Instead, what has generally proved to be a more reality based way to live, is abiding in the wisdom of natural law that governs and sustains all living things - and adhering to it over time. This in no way promises that we will not suffer, that too is a lie. However, within our human capacity is the acceptance that we can be in a position to take our lives into our own hands and perhaps do a far better job of it than previously believed.
The goal of the Human Restoration Project is to take back some governance over our lives in a conscious way. Even in the presence of stress, family disease inheritance, the disintegrating modern world, and previous memories of loss and grief. Does it mean we will be healthy all the time? No. Does it mean we will not suffer from confusion, emotional pain and passing periods of melancholy and ambivalence? No. This we cannot promise as much as our culture has imbedded within us that some where, somehow this is obtainable from a magical outside source. To believe this is to be disillusioned and ultimately disapointed. However what will begin to emerge when we shift into ongoing proactive health being a process with no end point - is something pretty cool.
When we take our human power back and take personal responsibility for our health we begin to feel a renewal of life’s journey. The wonder and mystery of the world in which we live, emerges as a deep and abiding reverence for the creative and destructive powers of the Universe (and our bodies). A meaningful, self possessed life will be your inheritance instead of running on empty and losing yourself to the madness of the world. You can in time, become stronger in every way if you work with your body and mind wisely. To know oneself, to understand that which was once a confusion and source of disharmony can become a rejuvenating and captivating experience with yourself. The workings of body, mind and spirit can be met by an open attitude of truth. Out of such meaning will be found healing, even among the suffering of being alive. An ongoing process of restoration, the dance between the tension of opposites can become more bearable so that we inquire into symptoms instead of moving to kill them (and ourselves). The symptoms are only here to nudge you into a correction so you do not do more harm to yourself.
Symptoms are your friend, not your enemy. Symptoms are how you learn about your body, they are a direct feedback loop that is connected to your every day choices, they are a direct reflection of the habits of your day to day life.
We can experience the healing ability of our body and mind when we respect that our bodies need proper care and only we can provide that care for ourselves, it is not anyone else's job but our own. Hope is restored when symptoms begin to diminish due to our enlightened choices. We are not hapless victims who must endure the erosion of inner ease and health. If we change our habits, even just a little bit, the body will restore. That is the real magic, not the pills, but when the healing capacity we all were born with, gets turned on again. I've seen it time and again. It is amazing to feel and witness.
When we live out of balance with the natural world, some where, either consciously or unconsciously - we feel something is amiss, as we should because indeed a very big something is amiss. Joints and muscles ache, colds come too often, moods swing, tummies don't digest, weight piles on and quality of life slips away. Hopes, dreams and ambitions fade out of memory. We lose the parts of ourselves that are the most alive and joyful parts, the parts that revel in the Inspiration and Mystery of our existence. When we correct this we become partners in it all, not victims. We no longer call ourselves "old" "worn out". We no longer feel that being "perpetually tired" is normal.
When we get enough sleep, eat well, move our bodies, and learn how to breath deep and sit still with all that is unsettled inside of us, we can begin to endure what we hold inside - instead of ignoring it or annihilating it with sugar, alcohol, drugs, shopping and media distractions. Then and only then will better choices begin to become more bearable, only then will we slowly but surely begin to restore what has been lost through all our long seasons in the trenches of life upon this planet. Only then will the human condition go from victim to hero.
You do not need to stumble in the dark alone to achieve this, instead seek out those friends and allies who have taken the long and winding road to clarity themselves and emerged vibrant, strong and healthy.
You can sign up to get new Human Restoration Project blog entries delivered to your in box, (just sign up in the email box in the left column above on this page.) I'll be sending weekly posts with things to do and think about along these lines.Pick up the book (also in the left column above). Do you have a role model? Someone to inspire you and support you? If not reach out! Wellness coaches are every where. My email is on the blog too and if I am not able to help you, I will direct you to someone who can.
Inspiration, guidance and camaraderie can go a long way, a much longer way than trying for a day or two alone and in frustration, only to grab a pizza and a piece of chocolate cake and return to the television and the couch for some more bad news and trashy reality shows.
Positive Lifestyle Change is a path of valor. It is a path of self respect and it is a deep commitment that takes time, support and lots of self acceptance when (not if) you revert back to self destruct mode over and over again. It is baby steps in the right direction not a crash course of delusion that you think will end when you lose 10 pounds. No, this is a re- writing of your personal history, a re-visioning of your date with destiny, and it takes courage, power and strength for the rest of your life to make it happen.
If I can do it, you can do it. Come on..lets do this.
To our collective health!