This is one of those 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇 𝒂 𝒄𝒖𝒑 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒆𝒂 posts…but it is not a rant, just a personal experience.
20 years ago, I was nearing the end of my first year of medical school. I was 35 years old, the mother of a 17-year-old son, and I was in a serious state of upheaval. Looking back, I am surprised I made it through.
In addition to the stress of medical school hours and demands, we were struggling financially, my health was definitely not healthy enough, my husband hated his job, we were completely not suited to living in Phoenix, we were far from family, and my dad was 1 year gone.
I had just spent a year learning that medicine could be so different, in fact, almost completely opposite of what I had always believed. Talk about a shift in thinking. Like the Earth is not flat!!!!! What!!!!! That kind of shift.
I had also learned that my home environment was likely toxic from cleaners, scented items, cookware, makeup, shampoo and mold.
My diet was not healthy at all, even tho we cooked most of our own meals. I was choosing the wrong foods, cooking out most of the nutrients and I was likely eating foods my body had a low-grade sensitivity to, putting me in a constant state of inflammation.
My gut was shot because of all the antibiotics I had taken when I was young, stress and poor diet.
I disliked taking in deep lungfuls of air because now I knew what was in that air.
I desperately wanted to switch to organic meats and a few veggies but they were so expensive.
I didn’t have time to exercise because, well, medical school, mom, part-time work, etc.
I barely got 6 hours of sleep. My adrenals were shot. My kidneys were unhappy because I was chronically dehydrated (desert living).
And I was still grieving the loss of the only parent, as screwed up as he was, who had finally given me a small amount of approval. Which I no longer need from anyone but myself, but that version of me was still crying out for approval from the people I began life with.
Talk about being overwhelmed.
I was the poster child for overwhelmed.
It is one thing to wonder what to do to be more healthy, even just a little, and another to know what to do and be so overwhelmed with all the changes that needed to happen that you just shut down.
And shutdown I did. I could not do all the things I knew I needed to do.
One day, I drove right over to the coffee shop and got a medium cup of something that does not deserve the name coffee and the wickedest-looking dessert I could find. I sat down to contemplate running away to an island somewhere. I could become a fruitarian, and walk in the ocean every day, maybe figure out a way to earn a little money with some small business endeavor. Eventually, I dragged myself home to study for finals.
I knew every single toxin in our environment that would be on the test and why it is bad for humans. I knew all the bones and nerves and vessels in at least a part of the human body. I knew way more about biochemistry than I had ever thought I needed to know and why humans were so sick in certain ways. I knew many disease names, what they looked like, how they are bad.
Well, it is medical school after all. And doctors treat sick people, right?. So I needed to know all the sicknesses. Or so I thought.
Anyway, I aced the finals as always – and yes, I was that nerdy student who was always overachieving.
I had also learned what a healthy system looks like and why it goes bonkers. I was starting to learn how to make it right. How to restore a system to health. I wanted that, I wanted to create a state of health for me and my family.
This is where the problem was – cognitive dissonance. I was not living in the way I knew I needed to live and it was psychologically devastating.
Before this year of medical school, I had believed we were really healthy. I thought we were doing what we needed to do. And from the mainstream perspective, we were living a healthier life than the average Jane and Jack. But from the perspective of creating a healthy body, we were far from the mark.
And I was beating myself up about it. I mean, if someone says to you, don’t drink the water from that puddle because it will make you sick, but it is the only water available, thirst eventually drives you to it and you drink, knowing the whole time that you are harming yourself.
So, I talked to one of my mentors, Jim Sensenig, who passed a couple of years ago. We were at a cool little Mexican restaurant in Tempe, AZ, drinking Margaritas and I was unburdening my soul. I was questioning whether I should continue on in medical school or just go back to the place where I felt good about the way we were living, where everything made sense. I didn’t have any symptoms, no diagnosis, surely I had not messed things up too bad.
And he said to me, “You know too much to go back to the other paradigm. Now you know that it is not about getting a diagnosis, it’s about restoring normal function and therefore health.”
Seems I had taken the red pill and there was no going back. So how on earth was I to go forward? I asked him just that.
Well, never a man without words, Jim said, “One small change at a time. Every single day you have a choice to end the day in a more healthful state than you began it. That’s it. And every day you end like that brings you closer to healthful enough.”
And when we are healthful enough we are vital, at peace, in balance, we are a thriving being.
So, we finished our drinks and I dropped him off at his hotel and I followed his advice.
I started, 20 years ago today, by making a list of ALL the things I wanted to change.
► Our diet: less meat, raw, whole foods, more plants, no sugar, dairy or wheat, eating organic when it was important
► All new cookware – glass, steel and bamboo
► All non-plastic storage containers (for food)
► Meditate every day
► Physical training every day
► No toxins in our home, furniture, cars or offices
► Do a regular fast for detoxification
► Supplement minerals, fatty acids and any other deficiencies I could not fix with food
My cognitive dissonance was gone simply by re-framing the journey. And every day I did one thing. Even if it was to choose a different food to eat, I made sure that at the end of every day I was more healthful than when I began it.
It took 13 years to complete the list. Both my husband and I were healthy, feeling younger than we had 13 years before.
Well, 3 years ago I made a new list. And it was more complex than the first because it took into consideration the damage being caused to our planet by myself and other humans. Just as with the individual human, the planet too can be restored to health. Not with chemicals and devastating practices but by giving it what it needs, removing the toxins and stimulating its healing ability.
So the list I am currently working on:
► Grow and produce as much of my own food as possible in a regenerative way so that I leave the earth better than I found it.
► Do my part to reduce use of the oil, toxic chemical manufacturing, exploitation and greed that is damaging the earth.
► Plant fruit, nut and flowering trees.
► Foster bees.
► Teach every single interested member of the younger generations how humans can live in cooperation with and as guardians of this planet.
► Teach as many people as possible about homeopathy and how to use it.
► Write more books. There are so many….
► Help other people as they move along their path to becoming more healthful.
► Create a physical location in the world where life is lived in a way that follows the laws of nature.
This is why #longshadowsranch.
This is why we are #homesteading.
This is why we are #homeschooling.
This is why I am a #vitalist, a #naturopathicdoctor, and using #homeopathy, #naturecure, #hydrotherapy, #food, #sunshine, and all that good stuff.
Who knows how long it will take for the current list and if we will add to it, I am sure we will.
But, every night when I lie down to sleep, I know that I have ended the day more healthful than I began and I have left the Earth in a better state than I found it in the morning.
If we can do this so can anyone.
One day, one step at a time.