Our bodies are amazing, they are constantly providing clues to our emotional and physical states. We are also amazing, in our ability to block out these clues and wonder why our symptoms, energy levels, and emotional states continue in an un-well direction.
My favorite analogy is by Bob Duggan, founder of Tai Sophia Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health). What happens when your “check engine” light comes on in your car, do you put a piece of electrical tape over it and claim it fixed? Of course not! Blocking out the indicator does not remedy the problem, only masks it for future if not imminent compounded problems.
Our body works in a very similar way, offering lovely little “symptoms” as indicator of deeper, more residual problems we have an opportunity to address. But, our western pattern of wellness propounds that masking symptoms equals wellness! Have a headache, take an aspirin. Headache gone, problem gone. Have a backache, take anti-inflammatory or get surgery. Backache gone, problem gone!
Imagine, for one moment, we used these symptoms as “wisdom teachers,” opportunities to look closer at our lives and see what conditions surrounded the existence of these symptoms and perhaps even ADDRESS OUR BEHAVIOR AND THOUGHT PATTERNS THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THESE SYMPTOMS.
Wait just a darn second, are you suggesting I take personal responsibility for how I feel? How un-American! Don’t you know it is the responsibility of the health care profession to cater to my wellbeing? I can eat or behave any way I want to, my insurance will take care of my co-pay, thank you very much!
The American health care system is in crisis for this very reason. We are a population chronically putting electrical tape over our warning systems. We ignore the smoke coming out from under the hood until the engine has seized and we are dragged into the service bay. Cracked engine block and stripped pistons? No problem, we can fix you!
What if, just what if, we paid attention to our check-engine lights and changed our oil when our bodies demand nourishment instead of waiting until our engines seize?
This is a very new practice for many of us. We are so often ready to give up our own power it is a huge step to start paying attention to our own bodies and the choices we make around them.