I am in awe of my body.
I don't mean that in an unreasonably narcissistic way. I mean simply that I have never been as appropriately thankful as I am now for all the impressive, microcosmic miracles my body performs on a daily basis, no thinking required. Having to monitor just one of those functions 'manually', as I do now with my diabetes, is quite enough to bring home a very deep appreciation.
My wonder and gratitude stem from a very personal and profound spiritual awakening I experienced in the year or so leading up to my introduction to Raw foods. Without getting too specific, let it suffice to say that, until recently, I had been so engrossed in my spiritual insights and adventures as to be less than attentive to the physical world, except where tethered to it by my insulin pump.
My weight and general health (diabetes aside) had never been an issue, and any troubling mental or emotional activities could be dealt with in a spiritual manner. But if I truly believed we are all spirit beings merely passing through a physical world, then what was the point of that physical world? And what was the reason for my being here in it? Was there a higher truth to be learned from my diabetes?
I may not yet have the ability to translate these questions into answers, but in Raw foods, I believe I am learning to speak the language.
An insight found its way to me back in December, when I became suddenly aware of an undesirable, albeit minor, digestive issue. My first reaction to this digestive anomaly was panic. I began frantically scouring the web for any information I could find, I called several friends to see what they knew, and I phoned my mom in Oklahoma to get whatever advice she could offer. What I learned from these sources was that my condition was not permanent and plenty of over-the-counter treatments would easily remedy the problem. But instead of jumping up and sprinting to the nearest pharmacy in the middle of the night (which is what I really wanted to do), I stopped. I sat still for a moment. I took in a long, calm breath, and I saw myself.
Here I was, after everything I'd been learning about the healing powers of nutrition, having the very same reaction I'd had every other time I'd discovered I was not in perfect health. Did I believe what I was reading and learning, or did I not? Would succumbing to over-the-counter medication likely further weaken my body's ability to heal and thereby exacerbate my health problems in the long-run, or would I spend a few more of my precious dollars on those meds and likely form an indefinitely lengthy dependence on them for future ailments?
What did I believe?... And what did I want to believe?
I considered the questions for a moment and soon felt convinced my body was trying to tell me something. I felt it was probably something I understood already, in some deep place, but had yet to unearth and see fully. So I took several more breaths, and rather than pursue that well-trodden, circular course of panic and medication followed by more panic and more medication, I chose to engage my body in discourse. Rather than stifle it with more medication, I would just talk with it.
Recalling a story I'd read in a book once (Where Science Meets Spirit: The Formula for Miracles) about a very ill man who was so angry and spiteful toward his body that his psychic had to tell him to stop yelling at his spleen, I decided to do the opposite of what he did. So I thanked, praised and encouraged my body in its extraordinary abilities to function and heal, beginning with its incredible resilience when faced with a 1600 blood sugar. Then, for what was probably the next hour and a half, I literally listed - aloud - from head to toe, all the things I appreciate and admire about its functionality. I took my time too, naming every body part and bodily function that came to mind.
For those areas in which I knew my body was struggling, I offered support and love. I spoke with my pancreas directly, encouraging healing and restored insulin production. I conferred with my kidneys for which I was undergoing medication for higher-than-normal urine protein. I leveled with my inner ear and often-clenched jaw regarding the vertigo I'd experienced the previous spring, I opened up to my deviated septum and my sinus cavity whose irritability had recently inspired a doctor's x-ray of my face, and I searched patiently for understanding on this most current issue - my digestive anomaly.
During the dialogue, I began to understand that all these things really were pointing to deeper, underlying issues. My vertigo, for example, had hit me at a time when I felt very torn in my personal life; and so it made sense that I would feel dizzy. Likewise, my deviated septum must have meant that my frequent mental-emotional tension and subsequent difficulty relaxing had now manifested physically, in the form of this restricted breathing passage. And now, given that my current particular concern was a digestive one, it made sense to me - based on what I already knew of myself and my life - that this lesson was a familiar one. I needed to learn to let go, to release my stubborn hold on things whose time had come to pass.
It was like turning on a light bulb. I simultaneously bawled and beamed at the weightlessness of this sudden shift in perspective. An easiness washed over me.
As I cried, I thanked my body for showing me these more challenging areas of my life - for slowing me down and forcing me to pay attention to them. I was now accepting these physical trials as though they were lessons presented to me by a great teacher whose truths I was now committed to learn, without fighting or lingering. The physical world was beginning to make more sense. The broad chasm I'd erected between it and the spiritual world had now disintegrated. The two were connected. One was the truth, and the other was a messenger of truth.
The physical body had become, for me, a kind of language of the spiritual world - a symbolic voice of the soul, and a way for our higher selves, or God, to communicate with us, to help teach us certain lessons we may not immediately grasp on a more conscious, verbal level. Instead, perhaps our bodies spoke to our subconscious, through images and impressions, and whether we received the messages clearly, or at all, was within our sway. In this new light, the body suddenly held more meaning and function for me than ever, and therefore, so did the profound implications of the symbolic teachings I now believed to be inherent in the whole of the physical world.
On the heels of this empowering and humbling revelation, I made my body a promise. I swore to continue to nurture it as it sustains me, and to continue loving and respecting it, as both it and I deserve. I let my body know that I was present, listening and sensitive to its needs, and that it was not alone in our upcoming healing work. To begin that process, I promised my body that I would feed it nutrient-dense, enzyme-rich foods. My body's answer came in the form of some of the best sleep of my life that night and the rapid disappearance of my digestive anomaly (without medical treatment) over the next two days.
Since then, I've been a believer. I'll admit to the occasional bit of creeping skepticism, but the amount of faith I have in miraculous healing by comparison - despite not yet being a miracle story myself - might just be enough to make my entire church-going family blush.
And now I begin to wonder - even if it's little more than a vague confidence in science and medicine, or just another placebo that comes highly recommended... Can there be healing without faith?