I had an interesting call a while ago, in which I was asked if the work I do is guaranteed to make tension go away for good. I kind of laughed with the person and told them, no, I don’t give guarantees. When I talk about the thoughts and feelings that influence or determine physical pain and tension, that’s what needs to shift. Who is in charge of that? I can suggest, and give wonderful reminders to encourage deeper breathing and visualizations and the like, but removing tension-causing beliefs that have been with a person since childhood (in many cases) requires determination and commitment. The person then asked me, “Well, what do YOU do?” and I gave my list. I get bodywork, I eat really well, I drink water, I give myself a Reiki treatment daily, and sometimes I even exercise. I also meditate, and have a strong belief system that sustains me. I do all these things, consistently, in order to feel as well as I do.
This brings up the 2 basic ways I see people approach their well-being. One is the person who takes responsibility for their own health and wellness, eats well, drinks water, monitors their thoughts and gets some exercise. The other is the person who eats whatever they feel like even knowing it is junk, drinks sodas or something else because they “just don’t like” water, and then goes to the doctor to get fixed at the first sign of a problem. I wrote a long time ago, it is not the doctor’s job to keep us healthy, it’s ours.
Last week I wrote about Tom Robbins 2 mantras “yum” and “yuck.” That’s pretty black and white, while in truth, shades of grey predominate. There is a wonderful saying I learned when I studied and practiced macrobiotics, “Everything taken to its extreme becomes its opposite.”
A good example is a person who never does ANYTHING wrong, who becomes almost obsessed with eating right and exercising and all that. That focus on perfection becomes a source of tension instead of a release from it.
About 30 some years ago, I was living in Morocco, and our landlord invited us to a couscous, a big dinner, at his home. His was a modest family, and this was a big deal. I was there with my boyfriend, and there was another couple of his renters from California. When the couscous was brought out, there was a small piece of meat on the top of a mountain of grains and vegetables. The host motioned us to eat, and the Californians turned away. I asked them what was up, and they answered, “We are vegetarians.” I said, “Me, too, just get the vegetables.” They stared at me and answered, “We don’t eat food cooked in the vapors of meat.” I wanted to smack them silly.
I saw the hurt on our landlord and his wife’s faces. What was the point of being a vegetarian if it wasn’t to make us kinder and more flexible? That was a perfect example of what is called doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.
So here’s what I’m saying: celebrate your life. Eat well, eat good healthy food, but if you go to a birthday party, eat a bit of cake. Don’t drink too much alcohol or coffee, but if you do, forgive yourself and move on. Exercise enough to stay healthy, but when it becomes something you can’t live without, take a good look.
I used to have a really good friend in Spain who drank a coke from time to time. It was surprising the first time she ordered one, because she was a healthy girl and it seemed out of character. When I asked her why, she said she traveled to places where there was no clean water and the safest thing to drink was bottled Coke (years ago) and she didn’t want to shock her system so she drank one from time to time.
I like that kind of balance. Be good, but not so “good” that it turns into its opposite. Let your goodness be from self-respect, from honoring the gift of your own life. As soon as “good” becomes about making sure other people think you are good, it is already becoming something else. Have fun, stay light, be happy. Our lives are great gifts. Open the Present.