Ouch… that hurt. I punctured my fingernail doing some tree trimming two weeks ago and had a nasty looking injury as a result. After rinsing the wound, I applied a small amount of coconut oil daily and watched as my body — amazingly — healed itself in quick order.
First, I developed a huge hole in the nail bed and was quite certain the nail would completely fall off. However, much to my amazement, the hole began to fill in from the bottom with a fresh, lovely looking new nail.
Although this process may easily be taken for granted, I so enjoyed watching my body at work to heal and repair itself. Something that takes place on a much larger scale within us on a daily basis.
Contrary to what you might think, your body is not inept. It is so amazingly intelligent that it is almost incomprehensible. That’s right, although you may feel it is inept in many ways, you actually live inside a living and breathing organism that has capabilities far beyond what most (even modern medicine) give it credit for.
Why is it important to understand your body’s intelligence? Quite simply put, if you don’t understand, accept and put to use its intelligence, you will never be as healthy or happy as you can be. A solid relationship with your body begins with you respecting its abilities and the power you have to support or sabotage these abilities.
Keep in mind that my words can’t do justice to the power of the human body and that my intent is to shed just a little light on some potent misconceptions that many people have when it comes to sickness and disease. These misconceptions create an attitude that is contrary to healthy living.
STOP: Before you read on, I want you to go stand in front of a full-length mirror and look at yourself. What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you see yourself? I am betting it is not, I am perfect, or even I can be perfect. If you thought anything other than these two thoughts, you have been derailed. Allow me to help get you back on track.
So, you think that your body has failed you, do you? You don’t look as good as you would like, and most days you feel like you have been run over by a truck. If this is you… this article is for you — read on.
First, let me say this: If you despise the body you live in, if you feel cheated of a life full of vibrant health, great looks and wellness… it’s your own fault. Now that I have your full attention, let me expound a bit.
You (were) are perfect
No matter what religious beliefs, if any, you hold, it is important to grasp the reality that the human body is not a flawed entity — it is perfect — or at least was, at one time, perfect. When I say perfect I mean this… you were (are) perfectly suited to living a long life, free of disease, with a clear mind and happy heart. Your body, yes, your body, has the perfect ability to balance and provide health — physical, emotional and mental — for you.
Don’t misunderstand me here. I am not talking about accepting yourself for who you are and being comfortable with the “skin you are in.” These “feel-good” principles are important only after you have reached the place of wellness that is available to you — to everyone.
It does you no good to accept a state of sickness when wellness is available, or to accept emotional turmoil when freedom from this exists. Adopt the philosophy that you need to get as well as you possibly can, and from here move forward into a place of acceptance — never abandoning the understanding that perfectness is available.
If perfectness lands you in a size 14, 16, 18, that is where you need to start accepting yourself. On the other hand, if you are a size 14, 16, 18, etc.… and you have not reached your full potential — keep going until you have.
In either case, rule #1 is to stop comparing yourself with others. This is a useless exercise that does nothing more than rob you of precious energy needed to reach your full potential. Stop looking at magazines, (you do know that much work on the backend goes into making models look the way they do.) Stop visualizing your head on someone else’s body.
Understand that if you are uncomfortable with who you are and longing for a change, it is because you have yet to reach your level of perfection designed just for you. Because perfection looks differently for all of us, striving to be anything other than the best you can be — the place where your body is capable of taking you — is a waste of time and energy.
Okay, if you are still with me, let me help you better understand why we have developed such a warped understanding of the human body.
Infectious disease versus autoimmune disease
Before I get too far, it is important to note the difference between two types of disease — infectious and autoimmune. Up until about one hundred years ago, people died mostly from infectious diseases. These included such things as smallpox, diphtheria, yellow fever and influenza. The diseases spread from person to person, and were found in tainted water, food or air. Many Third World regions are still burdened by these infectious diseases, while those of us in the Western world have benefited from clean water, sanitation and by comparison, better nutrition, which have all but eliminated infectious diseases.
On the other hand, we are suffering intensely with autoimmune diseases, such as heart disease, diabesity, cancer and high blood pressure. Known as “culturalgenic,” these conditions are more prone to specific patterns in specific cultures. In short, how you live your life determines if you are going to develop an autoimmune disease. Although more and more money is thrown at researching these diseases — without much advancement — the truth is, they are all preventable. Simple measures put in place will help prevent, and even in some cases, reverse disease.
Perhaps you have a conventional or western mindset when it comes to health, and this is most likely due to the environment you were born into or live in presently. The driving force behind this mindset is the feeling that disease comes from outside of us — that it is not something we can control. In short, under the western medical model for disease, it is thought that the body creates disease randomly — headaches come out of nowhere, and you may just “happen” to develop type 2 diabetes.
With this mindset, it is common to develop a very negative impression of your body — to blame your body. Also, you may blame your doctor, God, or anyone else that happens to be close at hand. As you blame others for your poor physical state, you take less responsibility. This moves you further and further away from the wellness that is available to you.
Western thought says disease is a group of statistics, such as, “One in eight women will get breast cancer,” or, “One in six men will develop prostate cancer.” As we are drawn deeper into statistics, we become further removed from the real source of the problem. Perhaps you, like many others, sit back and just hope and pray that you won’t become one of the statistics. If you do get sick, you see yourself as a victim of a body that is way out of control. Now you are at war with yourself. A perilous attitude to have, no doubt.
What does holistic health teach?
Holistic health teaches that most of what happens to us from a health perspective happens because of our own creation. This includes what we eat, how we move, and how we think. These will all impact health. Of course, I would be remiss to acknowledge that there are outside forces, such as environmental influences we are either not aware of or can’t control. However, we have control over much more than we may think.
How to stop blaming
To stop blaming, it is essential that you address illness in your life as something you created. I know this may sound harsh and it is very hard to do, but it is important to get your mind around two things: number one, how healthy you can actually be; and number two, how much control you actually have. Even if you have to start saying to yourself, “I created this, and my body knows how to fix it.”
Once you understand that you are in charge, you can start making better choices that will have a positive impact on your health.
Yes, your body can heal itself
Western thought says that the only way to handle illness is to intervene. This means things like drugs and surgery. The holistic approach is to provide natural tools for the body, such as diet and movement, to help the body balance and heal.
A good example may be an inflamed gallbladder. The most common conventional approach is to remove the entire organ versus taking the time to find the root of the problem and assisting the body to heal. This could be with diet, herbs, alternative therapy, exercise, emotional support, or any combination thereof.
In holistic medicine, the mind and body are treated as one, and treatment involves engaging all to move towards a healthy place. Once the root of the imbalance is found, tools such as herbs, diet, exercise and other alternative therapies can be put in place to move the body towards a place of wellness.
It can be so simple
A while back, a young woman came to me for a health consultation. She was complaining of headaches, weight gain, muscle pain and extreme fatigue. Rather than take apart each symptom as it was presented, I chose to see the whole person and the sum of the symptoms as a cry from the body that it was out of balance. The first thing I tried was increasing my client’s water consumption. From what I could see she was clearly suffering from chronic dehydration.
Within a few weeks, she had never felt better and had lost weight too. The body needs water, lots of it, the body needs sleep, the body need whole, natural food that will help it restore, rejuvenate and balance. After explaining this to her, she did a complete diet makeover, began to adopt some new and exciting healthy living habits, and is in a very good place now.
We make health too complicated sometimes, and don’t take the time to comprehend how huge of an impact something like what we eat has on the way we look and feel. Do you make it complicated?
Now that you have finished reading, go take another look in the mirror. This time, I want you to say, “My body knows just what I need, and I will start listening to it.” Remember, your body throws signs and signals at you on a daily basis as a way of garnering your attention. That headache, that fatigue, that irritability… they are the only way that your body can get your attention to say, “Hey, remember me, you haven’t been sleeping, eating right or exercising… Now I am trying to tell you that things aren’t right.”
While overall health and wellness is a journey, it doesn’t have to be an uphill climb. Once you get your mind around the fact that you have so much more control over how you look and feel than you can ever imagine, things will start to change. The first step is to respect the incredible machine that the human body is and work in concert with it to achieve true health.
Remember, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~Lao Tzu
— Susan Patterson, CHC, CMTA
Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan enjoys educating others on how to live healthy and sustainable lives. She presently lives off grid in the middle of the New Mexican high desert with her three children and numerous animals.