It’s fall in south Florida and we just dodged an enormous hurricane. There is much to be thankful for, ahead of our national Thanksgiving holiday and on Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, where I did much of my graduate training.
Mother Nature often gives us steep reminders that we are often not in control of a lot of things. And as much as some of us will fight it, that also pertains to our bodies and to our health. When we step back and think about it, there really is a lot we are not in control of–such as the pumping of our blood, our need for food, affection and companionship, water, the genetics we got from our parents (to some extent) and so much more. For women, becoming pregnant and giving birth to another being is a tremendous reminder that there is something majestic and magical that goes beyond us when it comes to our bodies and their actions.
That said, there is much we can influence greatly. We can undertake a fitness regimen and shape our bodies into masterpieces. We can detox ourselves, clearing cellular debris, heavy metals, and pollutants and feel years younger and better. We can improve our nutritional stores, our energy levels, and much much more. But it is important that the body has it’s own timeline of how fast this can happen and go…and that is typically different for each of us!
I find in practice that individuals tend to gravitate towards one ‘extreme’ or another: 1) Not really appreciating the regularity and diligence it takes in achieving and then maintaining good health OR 2) Becoming so fixated on the outcome and the process that expectations and the ‘control factor’ tend to spiral out of realistic possibilities.
As is noted in many religions and spiritual faiths, the safest and typically most successful path is the ‘middle road’. Buddhist and Taoist texts talk about this extensively, as the Tao Te Ching explicates. When applied to our health, we can infer that it would be something akin to: where we go to work on and with the body, never give up in the process, but don’t push so far and so hard to make it ‘go faster’. If we can’t sustain ourselves or the process we are undertaking, it is probably too severe.
Much can be said for the wisdom of this approach. For all the knowledge we have in the West, we seem to have very little practical wisdom so often in our lifestyles. Unfortunately this also then tends to be our undoing. As the Dalai Lama said, the strangest conundrum about the Western lifestyle is that man will spend his health in pursuit of wealth and then have to turn around and spend his wealth to try and get his health back.
Seldom has a truer word been spoken!
So, I encourage you to, as the time to give thanks approaches, to reflect on really what is sustainable when it comes to your health pursuits, never give up on the process, and realize that it doesn’t require perfection to get well. It just requires diligent action…and…those special things…called patience…and surrender.