I have been so touched by everyone that read and commented on my last post about my trip to see John of God in Brazil. I felt very vulnerable sharing and admitting that I am not perfect and that I too have issues. This trip was a reminder that I still have a lot of work to do to grow and become a more mature, loving, patient human being and to be gentle and loving with myself in the process. I have experienced some beautiful changes since I have been back. One of them is that I am simply okay with not being perfect. This is a big one!!! How strong is that subtle pressure to be perfect in your life? It was definitely there in the background in my life and caused me a bit of unneeded stress. With this awareness of not needing to be perfect in everything I say or do or write (including my grammar!), I feel way more relaxed and feel my whole body has breathed a big sigh of relief.
So Hallelujah! Can I get an Amen? Amen!! And just a little reminder…. you don’t have to be perfect either!!!!!
On further reflection about my trip to Brazil, I am humbled and realize at an even deeper level the impact that emotions, energy and spiritual health have on our over all well-being. Throughout my twenties, I thought that if I just purified my physical body enough through a perfect diet that all of my health issues would be resolved. I knew emotions had a role to play with health, but did not actually experience this for myself until a few years later when severe stress caused me debilitating stomach pain. This was my bodies’ way of saying to me, ‘You are not meant to work like everyone else. You can’t push yourself without consequences. You can’t be sleep deprived and still function well. You can’t be in unhealthy relationships with no physical consequences to your body. You can’t do meaningless work and thrive’. The pain was actually trying to tell me some very important messages about how I needed to live and when I began to listen and make changes, the pain released.
In my nutrition practice I talk with my clients a lot about emotions. My intuition almost always tells me there is an emotional root behind the physical issue. I am continually amazed when I discover that someones pain in their stomach or their heart disease or cancer began after some big physical or emotional trauma like a divorce, death of a loved one, or a loss of some sort. Often I find this issue has not really been “felt”. So the body feels it in different ways and sometimes manifests this unfelt emotion as dis-ease. Maybe our body is trying to get our attention. And what if we actually paid attention and asked our body in all of its infinite wisdom, “What do you want to tell me? What am I not feeling? What am I not expressing? What am I holding back? Where in my life am I not living my truth? How am I not being honest with myself or with others?” What if doctors actually asked their patients these questions and led the body to expressing it’s truth instead of blasting the disease into oblivion with chemo or drugs (which still doesn’t get to the root of the problem, by the way)?
This emotional, spiritual, energetic connection to physical health was such a deep and profound reminder in Brazil. I witnessed people be healed of near blindness, cancer, stomach tumors and these are folks who were not eating perfectly. They were not the perfect organic eater that I am (most the time) and they were still healed. I realized that maybe there is more to health and healing than just food alone. Can it be? Yes, it can. Healing through food has been such an essential part of my healing path for so long and it always will be, but knowing, seeing and realizing there is much more to health than just food was humbling. It still is.
And now as I talk to people about food and getting on a better eating plan, I also talk to them about emotional health, spiritual health and energetic health. We get nourished in many different ways. Could it be that part of our national eating disorder is because we are not nourished at a deep level and so we turn to empty food and stuff ourselves… and stuff ourselves… and stuff ourselves? Can you remember the last time you had dinner with some really good friends and ate some really, really delicious, nourishing food? Did you stuff yourself? Did you go home and eat ice cream afterwards? Probably not because you were nourished at a deep level – not just by food, but by people, community, connection, love. How would it be to nourish ourselves with things and people we love on a regular basis? Could this bring more fulfillment and nourishment to our lives? Could this feed us on a deeper level that is hungry or even starved for nourishment?
As I re-turn to my life, I choose to love myself more fully in all ways with all the ways that I know nourish and nurture me. Taking a day off each week to turn off the phone and not answer email, a sunset walk, time to go to my favorite yoga class, tea with a dear friend, making and eating delicious food with loved ones, sitting in silence in nature…all the things that feed me. This crazy culture emphasizes what we do so much but not how we live to have a sane, balanced and happy life. What if this were just as important?