Waking Up to Wellness

While perusing the health news segment in a popular magazine recently, I found myself cringing at the headlines. Insurance, radiation, prescription drugs, and myriad gloom-and-doom medical findings—the topics sent shivers down my spine! How, I wondered, is any of this “health” news? Even as our collective consciousness is blooming with enthusiasm for more nutritious food, safer homes, and healthier habits, it seems that an alarming number of people are still outsourcing the care of their bodies to the medical industry.

In large part, it’s a matter of convenience. Instead of investing time and effort into restoring one’s natural health, it’s easier to ask a doctor to prescribe one (or more) of the many pills touted as quick cures. I think there is also a significant fear factor involved here. Over the past century or so, modern medicine has managed to convince us that physicians hold the key to creating wellness, and if the average Jane wants access to her own health, she must come crawling into the doctor’s office with her pocketbook open for business.

This isn’t to say that medicine has not served a vitally important role in engendering health in our society. Indeed, it has its place and has helped countless people live healthier, happier lives. But the shame of the matter is that, like so many other commercial ventures, medicine has become big business to the extent that people have virtually—and literally—become addicted to the system and its often toxic byproducts. We’re hearing about more lawsuits filed for drugs gone awry. We understand that overuse of antibiotics causes dangerous bacterial resistance. And, heaven knows, we’ve read the volumes of side effects and warnings that accompany medications. Yet, it’s almost as if our expanding education engenders more fear, and less confidence, about our course of action.

If I could wave a magic wand, I would love to break the cycle and wake each and every “Sleeping Beauty” to her own inherent power to create and maintain the natural condition of wellness. This awakening would not necessarily be easy, nor would the evolution happen overnight. But even though nature works on a more gradual time clock, it also works deep below the surface to heal for real. High cholesterol, depression, PMS, obesity, chronic fatigue, and so many more health concerns can be addressed without the intervention of synthetic chemicals. But first, a woman must awaken.

Undeniably, most Americans live life on a crash course. It’s commonplace to start the day abruptly before dawn and charge headlong into work. Rarely do we slow down to feed ourselves with any more care than fueling up a car. If our knees hurt, we cuss ’em and keep going till we drop. If we feel a migraine creeping in, we swallow a pill and press on. If we’re exhausted, a cup of coffee will cure us long enough to get one more thing done. Because we’re driven to get everything accomplished on our endless to-do lists, we tend to ignore our bodies when they call “time out.”

But the fact is, all of our bodies’ symptoms, from pesky aches and pains to more serious conditions, are signals. Our skin, hair, and nails give us signals. Our energy levels and moods, too, send signals. When any of these indicators start waving a red flag, they’re trying to draw our attention to the fact that something is out of balance—be it physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or all of the above. If we squelch our symptoms with pills and potions, we’re just stuffing a sock in the mouth of our messenger instead of listening and learning what needs to be remedied on a deeper level.

As part of awakening to wellness, it’s critical that we realize we each have the ability (and, frankly, the responsibility) to pause for our health. You can call it a breather or prayer or meditation; it all amounts to the same idea. It’s simply a deliberate stopping point where you tune out the buzz of the outside world and tune inward to settle and center. These moments give us the opportunity to take stock of what’s going on with our health. It’s not a matter of science—I’m talking intuition. In a few quiet moments, we can let our minds focus on our unique signals and begin trying to understand what needs to be addressed. Maybe you need more sleep to quell your headaches. Cutting down on sugar might alleviate your joint pain. Perhaps that nagging nausea stems from an unresolved emotional issue in your life. Of course, the list is infinite, and it’s a very personal exploration. But not even the most conscientious doctor can do it for you. Doctors can offer tests and tools to help, but our health ultimately lies in our own hands.

  1. Laurie Dimino says:

    Just loved this post Mary Jane! How true it is! My husband and I often remark about how now adays there’s a pill for everything. Instead of people dealing with the issue at hand, it is easier to just take a pill. I suppose there is no money for the doctors and pharmaceutical companies in doing things in a more natural way.
    Thank you for drawing attention to such an important subject.

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    Thanks for addressing this MaryJane. I am studying to be a naturopath. All of the things you said are what naturopaths believe & try to get people to understand. I learned to take charge of my own health many years ago. I try to pass this on to everyone that I know.

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This being said, what is one to do when illness won’t go away and something serious emerges like breast cancer, Hodgkins Lymphoma, early stroke, Lyme disease, Hanta virus from sleeping in tents last summer at Yosemite, and other horrible things? At these times we are in hope that medical treatment can be our ticket back to health. And if that happens, we better have health insurance because the prolonged costs of treatment will bankrupt us.

    • Cat Livingston says:

      Winnie, there are natural cures for almost all ailments, even cancer. Research is an important part of our health life. The only thing that I personally would use medical help for would be a broken bone. That said, I believe that preventative measures and educating ourselves about our bodies are certainly important. One has to do what one is comfortable with, though.

  4. Cat Livingston says:

    Mary Jane, I hope every “sister” reads this and are made aware of the fact that God made our bodies to heal themselves. The journey may take longer than covering an ache or pain with a pill, but it is so worth the wait. This is a message that needs to be shared again and again. Most medical doctors are only “practicing” medicine, that alone should be a wake up call! Each of us are unique and only through our own research and learning about our own bodies will we be able to understand what we need individually. I admire you for speaking out about this issue. Blessings! 🙂

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