Getting a disease is a multifactorial event often with no very sound explanation. There could be a genetic mutation, an environmental buildup, or any other number of unclear factors involved. We must not blame ourselves if we fall ill but rather do our best to prevent and fight disease as best we can with good nutrition, reduction of stress, and healthy exercise habits. Sometimes, our genetics, life experiences, or exposure stacks the deck against us, but we do our best to sustain our highest level of health and manage our diagnosis.
Staying healthy is a delicate and complicated matter. If we follow the principle that stasis is the enemy and the set-up for disease, we can at least prevent much disease. What do I mean when I say stasis is the enemy?
When you look at a puddle of stagnant water, you can see dead bugs, mosquitoes, algae, and film. The flowing creek, by contrast, is clear and clean. Where there is stagnation, there is congestion and inflammation. In our systems, these become cofactors for disease.
Stomach cancer, for example, has been correlated to the presence of H. pylori bacteria. Could a bacteria cause cancer, and if so, how? My guess is the constant irritation of the cells—combined with the body’s constant attempts to clear the germ—cause the body to become stressed and ultimately produces cancer cells.
We want our immune systems to be sprite and clean, our energy and blood to flow easily without stagnation. And we need to avoid inflammation.
This fight against stasis and this goal of an energetically clean and clear system must be achieved on the level of body, mind, and psyche. Clearly, these are ideals that we can strive for, but it is not helpful to judge ourselves if we are not constantly on task. How does this translate to our everyday lives?
Let’s talk first about nutrition. Clearly, there is no one diet that is perfect for all of us. In America, your parents could be from India, Egypt, Poland, or any other corner of the planet. Are all body types the same? Of course not. But here are some basic principles of diet I recommend:
1) Include at least 50 to 75% fruits and vegetables in your diet.
2) Consume leaner meats if you do eat meat. These meats should come from humane places so you are not contributing to brutality against animals and you are also getting cleaner food unpolluted by hormones and fillers.
3) Avoid non-nutritive white carbs.
4) Emphasize fibers and healthy oils such as olive, coconut, and sesame oils.
5) Avoid prepackaged foods and sodas.
6) Moderate your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
7) Avoid sugar as it depresses your immune system.
8) Eat clean for a cleaner digestion, skin, and heart as well as fluid joints and overall better health.
Now for exercise.…
1) Do cardio work and try to build up a sweat to clean your pores release toxins.
2) Move your energy with yoga, martial arts, and stretching.
3) Practice breathing exercises. The breath is important, and sometimes relearning to breathe deeply is necessary. We tend to hold our breaths to protect ourselves from feeling our emotions as much and getting hurt. Test it out! You feel more deeply when you breathe deeper. And your voice drops, too! Reclaiming a full breath is important for full oxygenation of all your tissues.
4) Get restful sleep to rejuvenate your tissues, help your metabolism, and process your day.
Now what about preventing emotional stasis? What would that look like? Most of us have been raised to squash our griefs and feelings at a young age. These feelings create areas of stasis in our lives and probably our bodies as well.
We are using energy to keep these feelings in check. Releasing them on a daily basis is like washing your face. It should be part of your daily hygiene. If this is unfamiliar to you, find a skilled counselor to help you learn to express yourself and clean up old hurts and disappointments. In a safe and kind setting, you can release old baggage that is holding you down and affecting your health in subtle or even drastic ways. You do not deserve to carry the burden of a disappointing past with you into the future. Furthermore, it may be hazardous to your health to leave these old issues unattended.
Healing the Psyche
And the psyche … how do we heal ourselves and keep from becoming stagnant? Having a community to share and to serve will likely keep your energy moving, and you will feel love and gratitude, which keeps you from stagnating and literally drying up.
Practice all forms of rejuvenating, eliminating, processing, and moving through to help your body achieve a better and fuller state of health.