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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January's Theme: "Health"
Volume 5 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Is It All in the Genes, Or Out of My Hands?
by Rev. Cheryl Jewett

I am in charge of my health, or am I? Does the medical establishment hand-in-hand with the government dictate my health? The media? My loved ones? My doctor says it's all in the genes. If that's true, I'll be long-lived. Really, though, you can follow perfectly all the guidelines from everyone and everything, and still your family history holds a huge impact over your general health. I ask, "You mean, there's no magic pill which will make my body, mind, and spirit guaranteed problem-free?"

Doctors, from birth on, monitor your health, telling you what the "official charts" say, should be right for you. Your weight, your heartbeat and pulse, your cholesterol. Do your numbers match what those in the know say they should be? I realize today I definitely take after my father regarding health, heart and weight problems just to name a couple of them. Thank goodness I also have his marvellous sense of humour.

My mother is what her doctor calls a miracle patient. She's 88 years old, and only takes two medications, one of those being aspirin. Her only afflictions are arthritis and insomnia. The family joke is that she hasn't had any sleep for decades, as she constantly affirms. Have you ever heard of the book "You Can't Afford the Luxury of A Negative Thought" by John Roger & Peter McWilliams? Well, if negativity really was that hazardous to your health, my mother would have had every illness coming down the pike and countless accidents. Yet, here's a petite elderly woman with the constitution of an ox.

And, I love these medical research studies you hear about on the news; it's enough to drive you loony. If you eat too many raisins as a child, you will be more apt to develop at least one tiny freckle on your eyeball as an adult. I mean, who cares? Where do these studies come from? Your taxes fund them, dear friend. You can get a grant to study almost anything these days, analyze the data, and come to your own conclusions based on your life experience, and get it published as though it's the God's honest truth. And, I strongly suspect the more absurd ones show up on the morning news!

Advertisers who support the media love to present themselves as health life coaches who can lead you to a healthy life. Their task, as they see it, is to make you think you are one seriously defective being with a multitude of problems in need of vast enhancement. And, they can recommend exactly what you need to be a God or Goddess. You just need to buy their "right stuff", that's all. You simply need to eat or not eat whatever they say is best for you. You need their exercise equipment. Their toothpaste, vitamins, pain killer, body soap, cologne, shampoo. Well, you get the picture.

Though surrounded by all of these well-meaning advisors, your health maintenance is your sole responsibility. You decide what works for you, knowing every body is different. Actually, health really is a journey, from birth to death, beginning with vaccinations and diapers, yet oftentimes ending with that same type of clothing coupled with pain killers. Cynical? Maybe. Reality for some people, for sure.

Yet, the health of your life can feel like being on a roller coaster, occasionally facing obstacles requiring change of some sort and then most welcome are those triumphs calling for celebration. And who knows which will come when? A helpful component on this journey would be to have a spiritual foundation of some type. An acknowledgement of your ONENESS with the spiritual nature within and around you, yet recognizing you are an individual sacred temple manifesting something far greater, a Higher Power.

But, what exactly is good health? I knew a young man who was totally paralyzed physically, but his mind was solidly connected to his spiritual reality, knowing life is good and feeling positive about it. Yet, another person I know is strong and physically healthy, but emotionally frozen with worry, frustration, and fear. Your free will, God-given, is to make sound choices, following paths which will lead you to joy, not despair. As The Course In Miracles says, "The only way to heal is to be healed." A vital issue to remember here is if you do, indeed, cure an illness, yet do not address the emotional and spiritual issues which surround that illness, it will more than likely manifest itself again in the same manner or a variant thereof. Wholeness is the key, remember?

Being healthy is a maintaining of that wholeness - body, mind, and spirit. To BE healthy, you must totally identify with the wholeness you are. Then, allow health to stream into your life while always staying immersed in a state of profound gratitude. But, when health problems do crop up, and they will from time to time, your best route to wholeness restoration is keeping your mind and heart open to different options, both complementary and traditional treatments. And, there are so many these days, for each mind, body, and spirit. But, to make healing the body your primary goal is to fail to recognize the triangulated wholeness of who and what you are - body, mind, and spirit.

Having expressed some frustration over needed changes in my life dictated by recent health issues which completely jarred me off my God-Track, my lovely daughter espoused a philosophy to me which was utterly foreign to me and my views on life. Terri said, "Abandon hope, Mom." I looked at her, completely baffled, and a little bit irritated. What kind of life view was that?! And, whose daughter was this sitting next to me in the car?

Quite some time ago, I had loaned her one of my favourite books, When Things Go Wrong by Pema Chodron. Terri patiently and lovingly refreshed my memory, the flip side of hope is fear. So if you can bring yourself to abandon both hope and fear by seeking a balance point between the two, you can simply surrender to what is. As a dear friend keeps reminding me, "it is what it is". And, finding balance is nothing new to me; in fact, that seems to be the key to being healthy. All things in moderation, someone once said. And, that's pretty much how I live my life. The reality is, all you can do is your best, and then let it go, turn it over. That means, dear friend, you have found your balance point, you have touched and accepted gentle surrender. You are now able to release your need to know the outcome. You can unleash your expectations, knowing life is unfolding perfectly for all of us.

My health goal is simple. To look happy. To stand and walk tall. To be the picture of good health, physically and every other way. To be strong in mind, body, and spirit. To be treating my body as the sacred and spiritual vessel it is. That goal gets sidetracked more often than I'd like, however, with health disturbances such as my Multiple Sclerosis, anxiety, tension, withdrawal, self-deception, insomnia, and more. And of course, when you get tired, everything seems more overwhelming and scary. Then, it seems like negativity surrounds you even more so in the form of people, conditions, and emotions. What to do?

The Dalai Lama strongly recommends cultivating mindfulness to modify the balance point between thinking healthy and unhealthy thoughts. "Mindfulness replaces grasping on the one hand and rejecting on the other, allowing for calm openness to whatever comes up in awareness." Bring that troublesome emotion into the pure light of awareness by using this transformative tool of mindfulness. Then, simply find a more positive alternative to worrying.

For example, I'm supposed to cut back on sweets because my triglycerides are too high. And, me with a sweet tooth! Rather than thinking about what I'm missing when I find myself pondering a sweet snack attack, I think of something healthier to eat like pretzels rather than chocolate, or I get up and go for a walk; I distract myself somehow. This merely reinforces my intention to eat healthier. And then, I recite this affirmation, "With every breath I breathe each day of my life, my subconscious mind accepts a visual picture of me as a healthy, prosperous, fulfilled, and happy person."

Cheryl, from Michigan, says, "Having had Multiple Sclerosis for almost thirty years, I've learned much about adapting and squeezing joy out of life. Therefore, I am a metaphysical minister who believes God is in everything, everywhere. And, the Sweet God-Spirit surely lives in my little Maya-puppy, who kept me connected with life after my youngest son was killed in a freak automobile accident ten years ago."

Cheryl seeks to inspire healing, so she developed a website dedicated to those who are grieving.

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