Being completely healthy

There is a lot to being healthy.  It is a synergy of body, mind, and spirit.

It involves being fully present in the moment, exactly as it is. It is a kind of martial art. But the thing that you are fighting against is the experience of being pulled off center.

 You have to do the groundwork. A building cannot stand if the foundation is shaky. The foundation has to be daily prayer and maintenance of the body. No longer can we treat the body as extra, as a thing, as something to be neglected or abused.

It is also important to understand that the body has to be reined in. You must control it or be controlled by it. Discipline and disciple.

You would not shortchange your car. If you did, you wouldn’t get anywhere. Likewise, you shouldn’t shortchange your body. Deprivation of the body through starvation or abuse is not acceptable. Likewise it’s not wise to over indulge.

There must be a balance. There must be a middle path.

mental / emotional / spiritual health

We talk about having a “go-bag” for natural disasters. How about having a plan in place for mental / emotional / spiritual problems? Do you have a daily practice that keeps you grounded and stable? What can you share of that to help others? Many of you know that I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for nearly 20 years. I have committed myself twice, and am in recovery. That being said – I have also been married for 14 years, held the same job for 17 years, and have excellent credit and health. All of that happened after my diagnosis. There is a LOT that I do to keep myself sober – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Mental/emotional/spiritual health is an inside job and requires as much work as physical health – if not more so, because our society doesn’t value it. Perhaps it is time to. We have lost too many people to suicide, to substance abuse, to mass murder. We have a mental-health epidemic going on. Sanity starts with each person, making tiny daily steps on a consistent basis, towards getting stronger. It isn’t easy, but it is essential.

Things I do –
No substance abuse – this includes the usual suspects but also I severely limit caffeine and sugar of all sorts.
Daily exercise.
Reading the Bible.
Making art.
Doing worksheets for my emotional health.
Doing family of origin work.

Stuffy nose message

I had a friend who was complaining of a stuffy nose. He wanted some tea for it, but I wasn’t sure what to use. I gave him what I had but it wasn’t enough. Later I prayed about it and this was the message I received.

(Please research this for yourself. I am not a doctor.)

Stuffy nose can be cured by rose petals – fresh, in hot water, inhaled.
The message is “stop to smell the roses.”
Pause to appreciate life, don’t take life (or any experience) for granted.
Look for the beauty in the moment.
Be always on the lookout for tiny moments of joy.

Stuffy nose represents a fear to breathe deeply, expansively. It represents a lack of trust that all will go well. Deeper – it represents a lack of belief that all is already well – that here and now is good. Trust in God in all things.

Poem – your body is a sanctuary

Your body is a sanctuary,
a home to a
piece of the
light
of God.

Just like a regular home,
you have to maintain it.
Just like a mosque
or a church
or a synagogue
or a temple,
you want to make sure
it is clean
and strong.

It is an act of worship,
of respect to God
to take care of your body
– to eat healthy food,
get exercise
and enough sleep,
to not put any poisons in it.

Just as you would not
dump a bag
of trash
in a house of God,
do not do so
to your body.

You wouldn’t allow vandals in,
who leave the place a shambles,
a wreck,
so don’t allow people
into your mind
who attack you
by bringing your down.

You are the keeper
and the guardian
of your sanctuary.
It is a gift from God to you.
How you take care of it
is your gift
back to God.
A strong, healthy body
is better able
to be of service
to God
by serving
the world.

Menopause hacks

These are things that helped me get through to menopause. Think of it as transforming from a caterpillar to a butterfly – the old rules don’t work anymore. Everything is changing, and it gives you a chance to re-invent yourself into a new and better you. Meanwhile, the process can be quite difficult with the hot flashes and night sweats.

Half-blanket. Have the heavier covering on your legs, and a lighter covering on your torso.

Lower the thermostat in your house when you sleep.

Make art. You are transitioning from being physically creative – you can no longer have babies. But the need to be creative is still there. Making art on a regular basis (ideally, daily) is very helpful. Don’t have an agenda – crayons and fingerpainting works very well. Plus, art helps you process the new feelings and emotions that you are experiencing. It is essentially a new language.

Soy milk. I drink organic vanilla soy milk, (the store brand from Publix is great) every evening. I prefer mine room temperature. Don’t think it is going to taste like milk. It doesn’t. You’ll get used to it about the time you notice you’re feeling better. It is all a choice.

Black Cohosh. Consult with your doctor first. This can be harmful if you have high blood pressure or heart problems. For me, I ended up taking 40 mg doses of it, three times a day.

Avoid caffeine, meat, sugar, processed and/or fried foods. Cook fresh foods from scratch. Get organic as much as possible. Spicy foods make things worse. Drink lots of water. Daily exercise – 20 minutes of walking. Water aerobics is a godsend.

Yoga. Take some classes first to learn how to do it right, then you can do it every day at your house.

Learn to set boundaries. Now is a time to learn to tell people No. See my “resources” section for book lists – under “survival”.

Daily journaling. This does not have to be public in blog form, but it can if that helps you stick to it. I write every day in a paper journal, and most every day in the blog. Sometimes what I write in the paper journal ends up in the blog, sometimes it is private.

Heartburn cure

I had bad heartburn and talked to my nutritionist. He told me that the problem is that our stomachs produce LESS acid as we get older, not more. The solution is to add more acid instead of take antacids.

The dosage is determined by taking a tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar (The brand to use is Bragg’s, with “the mother”) after a meal. Simply take it straight. Wait. If you feel burning in your stomach, stop there. You don’t need more acid added to your diet.

If not, take two spoonfuls of it at the next meal. Wait and see how your stomach feels. There will be a burning sensation in your throat – that is normal. This is acetic acid, after all. You want to see if you feel burning in your stomach, and this takes a little time to reveal itself.

If there is no burning, repeat the test by taking three spoonfuls at the next meal. You can take up to four spoonfuls.

When you feel the burn, then your dosage is one less than that. So afterwards, take that number of spoonfuls in a glass of water (you can add a spoonful of honey), after each meal.

Also, while out and about, you can take a supplement called betaine hydrochloride instead. It is much easier than toting around a glass bottle of vinegar.

Now, this does not mean that you can “eat like a kid again” like the heartburn medicine ads tell you. It is like trying to keep a house intact by setting it on fire and then dousing it with water. It is better to not set it on fire in the first place. Your body is your first and best home. It is important to treat it well, because you can’t buy another house when this one falls apart.

It is insane to think of hot dogs and funnel cakes as “food”. Avoid fried and greasy foods not because they give you heartburn, but because they are unhealthy and will kill you. Eat fresh, colorful foods – more vegetables than meat.

Comfort food?

Why don’t we skip the food part of “comfort food” to go straight into comfort?

Part of the problem is that we have equated everything with food. If there’s a party, there’s food. If there’s grief, there’s food. Happy or sad, we use food. We use food to celebrate and to bring ourselves out of a funk. Food is equated with feeling good.

We self-medicate with food all the time, in part because this is what we were taught to do. We aren’t taught how to deal with our feelings or with problems.

We teach our children that if they are upset they should put something in their mouths. We do it with actual food or we do it with a pacifier. This is incredibly unhealthy. You may think food isn’t as bad as drugs but the side effects of overeating can include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. And the problem still isn’t solved. The reason for the need for comfort is still there.