Live like you love yourself

If you spent all the money in your bank account, would you be then surprised that you had nothing left? Then why are people surprised when they have spent a lifetime of inactivity and eating badly and then get sick? It is exactly the same thing.

Are we so divorced from cause-and-effect?

Or perhaps we have had our power taken away from us and been told too often that others have to do things for us – by teachers and politicians and ministers.

But perhaps even that isn’t fair to say. Nothing can be taken away from us that we aren’t letting happen.

We have given our power away. We have let others take it away from us. Rather than get angry about that, realize it is time to take it back. It is time to take back your health and your life. It’s time to eat like you love yourself. It’s time to treat yourself as a valued guest in your own life.

It is time to remember that our bodies are temples of the living God. We need to treat them like that and not as garbage dumps.

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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.

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.

The connection between death and depression.

I was just thinking recently about how the signs of death and the symptoms of depression are very similar. I think that they are related. Perhaps depression is a sign of the soul leaving the body. Perhaps the cure for depression is to find ways to get the soul to stay in the body – for the soul to find delight by being corporal.

I’ve heard that our souls choose to be here – that we want to be in a body. Souls are able to see and hear, but they cannot smell, taste, or touch. They cannot enjoy anything that comes with being in a body. They can’t enjoy the feeling from working in the garden or winning a race. They cannot enjoy the taste of home-made zucchini bread. They cannot make someone smile by bringing them a present “just because”.

Let us look at the signs of death that are also some of the symptoms of depression.

— Loss of appetite

— Excessive fatigue and sleep, and increased weakness.

— Mental confusion or disorientation

— Social withdrawal

Here is what you do with a dying person – perhaps it could also be connected to a depressed person…
– -Talk with the person gently and calmly. Assure her that she is loved, and that you will remember her. Let her know that her life mattered. She needs to know that you will be able to go on without her.

We all need to feel connected and that we matter. We need to feel like what we do has meaning. When someone is depressed, they feel alone. They feel like they are not part of the community. Even if they are in a group of people they feel separate.

Turning this around can be as simple as getting the person to get involved. Make an investment of time to call the person, take them out, help them to be part of the community. Volunteering helps. Doing art helps. Joining a club helps. People have to feel like they matter.

When you are depressed, everything seems grey. Food doesn’t taste good. Music sounds flat. Nothing goes in like it should. It is like being in a huge hole, and you don’t even have the energy to get out.

I’ve learned that when I feel depression creeping up, I realize that I’ve not been doing what I know feeds my soul. I think of the soul as being a flame, and it is important to keep it burning bright.

Getting regular exercise and eating healthy foods helps. Making time to be with friends helps. Making art helps.

Notice how these things are the opposite of the dying process.

Work on being more active – physically and socially. Work on the appetite. Eat healthy, tasty food. Be mindful of how much sleep you get. Create a schedule and stick to it. Keep your mind active – take up a hobby. Learn something new. You can combine some of these by teaching someone a skill you have.

Maybe I’ve got the cause and the effect backwards. Maybe the soul is trying to leave the body because it isn’t getting the nourishment it needs from that body. “Nourishment” means more than just vitamins and minerals. When we sit around all day and when we eat bad food, we are damaging our bodies and then by extension – our souls. When we keep to ourselves and don’t make time to connect with the community by having friends or feeling like we belong or matter, we don’t need to be in a body.

Perhaps the soul is trying to leave the body because it feels like this body isn’t serving it.

In whose hands?

Some of us started talking about our deceased coworker, and I mentioned that his death of a heart attack at 42 just furthers my belief that I need to take care of myself. I said this to the coworker in my department who is obese. She has a Y membership and has been maybe four times. The last time was about a year ago. She eats the same way that the dead one does. About monthly she says she “really needs to go back to the Y.” And she never does.

She said “It is all in God’s hands.”

No, it isn’t. We have free will, and sure, Jim Fixx, the guru of running, died of a heart attack. People die when God chooses. But they have a vote in it. They can take care of themselves. As my chiropractor says, we can’t add years to our life, but we can add life to our years.

We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation. This includes our bodies.

The other person in the department smokes constantly, and is out sick a lot.

I’m afraid I’ll be left by myself. I’m afraid they will both die and I’ll be stuck. It takes a long time to train a new person. We joke “It’s all about me” is our phrase in that department, and that sounds self-centered, and it is. But it is true.

But there is something deeper going on.

To not take care of yourself because you think that it is “all in God’s hands” is bizarre. Let’s compare it with the phrase “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” You shouldn’t do something you know to be stupid just to test God.

Honestly, I don’t know why I bother. They are killing themselves, and they know it. But to drag God’s will into it? That takes their own power out of it. It means they are helpless to do anything about it.

What a life of victimhood.

Now is the time.

A coworker just died. His wife died about a month ago. He was young. They were both young.

He had been not taking care of himself for the past year, ever since she got sick. His blood pressure was high. He drank a lot of sodas and ate a lot of breakfast sandwiches. He ate fast food. He never took time to exercise.

He said that he used to take care of himself, but that he just didn’t have time now.

Now it is too late.

Pointless. Pointless. Pointless.

Such a waste of a life.

Jeff Russell was a good man. He was kind, caring, and funny. He could do any impression. He brought cookies and snacks for us all the time. He was good with the patrons. He was easygoing. He didn’t gossip or badmouth anybody.

And he suffered. He was quiet about his pain and his loss. He didn’t know how to handle life after his wife died.

He laid down because he wasn’t feeling well, and he didn’t wake up. His family thinks it was a heart attack.

His heart stopped. It was broken. His sadness filled him up and drowned him, and he died.

Now is the time. There is no other time to eat well, to exercise, to take care of yourself. There is no other time to rest, relax, and process your feelings. Now. Or never.

You have to build up your flame, or it will go out. You, and nobody else, can do this. You must do this.

Tomorrow doesn’t exist. Today is all you have. Use it well.

Waiting to quit

When I quit smoking pot, that very morning a patron verbally attacked me. It was a real test of whether I had really grown up and decided to quit. It was a very vicious verbal attack and I was emotionally scarred. I went in the break room and I sat down and cried for a little bit. And I prayed as well.

I said “God, if you really want me to quit then why would you test me by giving me this evil woman who says that she “is a Christian and she treats people in a Christian way’?” Of all the ways I could have been attacked, that was the most difficult – for a “Christian” to yell at me because she broke the rules and I had to call her on it.

If I have been stoned I wouldn’t have even noticed how hateful she was. It wouldn’t have affected me at all.

I briefly considered going back to smoking and then I realized if I did then I was letting her win. At the time I was smoking not only pot but clove cigarettes to escape my feelings. I realized that I could not continue smoking pot because I wanted to buy a house. There was way too much paperwork and too much preparing to do to be stoned.

In the past, every time someone would upset me I would look forward to having a smoke. Every time I would smoke I would forget how much they upset me. But the problem was that I was polluting my lungs and fogging my mind. I wasn’t harming them at all. I wasn’t getting back at them. I was harming myself. It became important to me to stand strong.

There are many people who say “Oh, I can’t quit smoking cigarettes right now because I’ve got too much stress going on.” You will always have too much stress going on.

Here’s the crazy part. Smoking is what causes the stress. Or, better said, smoking is just putting off dealing with the stress.

We all have stress. Smoking just delays it, and then the problems multiply. Smoking doesn’t make them go away. Then, you have the worry over the fact that you are smoking to add to it. And your lungs don’t work as well, so that it stressful.

Smoking becomes the reason for your stress. It is a stupid cycle but it’s a very human one. We all do it.

If you wait until life is simple and easy, then what are you going to do when times get difficult again? You gave up your pacifier, your teddy bear, your security blanket. So what are you going to reach for when things get difficult again?

You have to learn how to take care of yourself when times are hard. You can’t wait until life gets easy.

I know a guy who is not taking care of himself after his wife died. He is doing all the wrong things and he knows it. He is eating badly and not sleeping well and he says he can’t take care of himself now. This is the time he must take care of himself. If he doesn’t do it then it’s just going to get harder.

The time to
learn how to fly
is when
you’ve been kicked
out of the nest,
not when you’re safe in it.

It is absolutely insane that our human bodies are designed to crave all the wrong things when we are under stress. The things we desire – extra salt, extra fat, extra sugar – are all things that make us feel worse in the long run. These things keep us drowning.

Rather than
dragging us
to the shore
they drag us
under.

But maybe that is our animal nature. Our human nature is to know better and to learn from our mistakes. Our human nature is to rise above and use our minds. Perhaps that’s the difference – our animal nature hurts us but our human nature helps us.

When we are under stress, we are said to have a fight or flight reflex. All our lizard brain wants to do is run away. And certainly run away is a great answer to pain. Who wants to be in the middle of pain? But running away sometimes only causes more pain. Often we run away with drugs, alcohol, smoking, and food.

Interestingly, the stuff that we humans take into ourselves that harms us was made by humans. It isn’t natural. We crave caffeine and processed sugar and excess fat. We crave things that come in packages and have labels. The more we go for healthy things the healthier we are not only physically but mentally.

Ideally people would never ever experience processed food. The moment a child eats a candy bar instead of an apple all he is going to want is the candy bar. And because it makes him happy and excited that’s going to be what he reaches for when he is under stress.