Saturday, February 20, 2021

I Am Not Your Ace-in-the-Hole. You Are.

My path towards health and healing has not been an easy journey. And up until 2016, it wasn't very successful. During my previous nearly four decades of reading, research, study, and trial and error, my health continued to decline. I would sometimes experience stabilization, or even some improvement of a symptom, but it wouldn't last. Eventually the symptom came back or a new one developed. It was such a  frustrating and disheartening process. 

When the really weird symptoms started to develop, I knew any practioner I went to, conventional or alternative, would just look at me like I was crazy. These symptoms included one foot getting red hot, while the other one was so cold it needed a slipper; immediate leg cramps just by pointing my toes; pounding, loud heartbeat in my ear when I laid down to go to sleep; intense itching at my hips, with no visible cause; splotchy redness on the tops of both feet; tips of my second toe, on each foot, turning pale and numb when in cold weather; and restless legs. 

All of these strange symptoms are now either gone or 80-90% improved. What finally worked when everything else I tried failed? Medical Medium information. I discovered his first book in July 2016 and, since then, have been voraciously studying, learning, and implementing the information he continues to provide. 

People tend to want a quick fix. Something to calm a symptom, so they can get back to their regular life. They're generally open to natural options, as long as they aren't too hard and don't disrupt their current routine or eliminate anything they currently enjoy. That was me for a long time. I looked for a supplement or herb I could take, a diet that would help, or a practitioner that could fix me.  

What I've learned, though, is that real healing is not that simple. Real healing requires knowledge and commitment. Knowledge of the true cause of a condition, not just a theory, and what to do to heal it, and commitment to giving your body what it needs. I'm so grateful that this information is finally available, thanks to Anthony William. After decades of searching, it was definitely a hallelujah moment when I read his first book.

I am frequently asked for my take on various health issues from family and friends. I want to help as much as I can, but I've found that giving a couple of suggestions about what to do hasn't been all that helpful. A recent video by Echota Keller helped to confirm what I was starting to conclude. To truly heal, people need to learn the information themselves, directly from the original source. Echota has been healing with Medical Medium information for about as long as I have. 

When I just answer people's questions, I limit their ability to heal. They may embrace my suggestion, but they won't fully understand the real cause of their condition, what else their body may need, how other foods could be making healing difficult, and what to expect from the healing process. The one or two things I suggest may help a little bit, but it won't be enough to motivate the person to stay on that path or pursue it deeper.

While my husband's diet has improved a bit along with mine, it still has a long way to go before his body can really start healing. A while back, he said he considered me his ace-in-the-hole. If he ended up developing a condition that disrupted his life, he would look to me to help him heal. In the meantime, he wanted to continue embracing the foods and beverages he enjoys. 

After realizing how little I've been able to help others by just answering their questions, I started pondering this ace-in-the-hole designation. By immersing myself in Medical Medium information, I've finally been able to start healing. I've learned the specific causes of each of my conditions, which foods help and which ones are problematic, that healing is not linear and flare ups will happen, and that healing is a long-term process. I was able to start slowly, to keep it manageable, and then ramp things up as I was ready to take my healing to the next level.

No one can know my body better than me. No one can know better than me what I'm ready to embrace, what works for me and what doesn't, or how quickly I want to heal. And if I want to fully heal, to completely get rid of all my problem symptoms, I have to commit...every day...every bite...forever. Medical Medium can show me the path, but it's up to me to do the work.

The same goes for my mental, emotional, and structural health. My chiropractor, the awesome Scott Kolofer, can teach me how my body is connected structurally, recommend exercises and other resources to help me strengthen and gain flexibility, and provide skilled bodywork to help loosen things up and coax things in the right direction. But it's up to me to do the exercises...every matter how tired I am...even if it's only for a few minutes...forever. 

I can learn about the value of meditation and how to release triggered emotions, but I have to do the meditations. I have to stop and take time to relax through a triggered emotion to allow it to release. I can't put it off, saying I'll deal with it next time. Some form of meditation needs to happen every day, even if it's just for a few minutes before I get out of bed, and my emotions have to be released immediately after they've been triggered...every time...every day...forever.

Is this path easy? Hell no. I spend 2-4 hours each day doing kitchen work to prep my food and juices, about an hour each day meditating and doing my exercises, and 5-7 hours each week aquiring and storing fresh produce and a few other foods. Along with work and sleep, this hasn't left a whole lot of time for other activities.

Eating out at restaurants ranges from difficult to impossible. When I travel or am invited to a meal, I bring my own food. My foods are not complicated. On the contrary, they're too simple. Steamed veggies, fresh fruit, baked or steamed potatoes, leafy greens...not complicated at all. But just try to find them without salt, oil, dairy, dressing, or any other potentially troublesome additions.

This path doesn't have to be as all-consuming as I've chosen. Baby-step changes are totally okay for anyone who needs to ease into it. For me, however, when my back went out in the Fall of 2019 and I was seriously debilitated, my commitment to this healing path ramped up. It became my highest priority, and it still is.

Is this path worth it? Hell yes. Absolutely. 100%. No question. I am finally healing, and it's dang awesome.

I recently reminded my husband of his ace-in-the-hole comment. I let him know I would not take on that role. If he wants to heal, he'll have to learn the information himself and decide on his own healing path. I can point to where the information is and offer guidance here and there, but it'll be up to him to do the work. I won't spoon-feed it to him. He has to be his own ace-in-the-hole. 

From now on, this is how I'll be responding when others ask me for help with health issues. Use the Medical Medium information as your foundation. Learn the cause of your condition, learn what aggravates it, learn what heals it, and select healing options based on what feels manageable. Embrace more of his recommendations when you're ready to take your healing to the next level. 

Address other aspects of your health...mental, emotional, and a mannner that works best for you. Get support where needed. Some techniques will be helpful stepping stones, while others will be worth settling in with. Be willing to do the work. Be committed. Give your body what it needs to heal. 

I am always happy to help, but I'm not your ace-in-the-hole. You are.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Wordless Reconciliation

It had been a week since my Dad had died, and I was heading down for the funeral service. My back was not healed enough to make the drive all at once, so I broke it up with a hotel at the halfway point. When I was packing for the trip, I felt compelled to bring my Sacred Path Cards by Jamie Sams

Four months previously, I had received emails from my brother that hurt me deeply. Since then, he and I hadn't had any direct communication. Trying to resolve the issue via phone or email didn't play out well in my mind, especially since my emotions were still quite sensitive. While we were both active in supporting our Dad as he went through Hospice, all communication was with our sister. My brother's work schedule was such that his visits and mine never overlapped. 

Tomorrow my brother and I would be seeing each other for the first time since the email exchange. I was concerned that I hadn't made as much emotional progress as I'd hoped. I knew my brother had a good heart and a deep love of family, but the things he'd said to me made me wonder if that still applied to me. I knew that I had allowed his words to hurt me, and that I have a choice in that. I also knew that my ego was part of my problem. I'd tried processing my emotions numerous ways, but I couldn't let go of the desire to have him acknowledge how much he had hurt me.

A few weeks before, I had picked up the Sacred Path Cards. I had done three different readings so far and every reading, even the one where I just pulled a card out of the deck, gave me the Give-Away Ceremony card. This is a card about releasing, letting go, making a sacrifice, and surrendering. I knew this card was referring to the situation with my brother. 

I had arrived at my hotel a bit later than expected and I was tired, but I needed to do a card reading before going to bed. This was my last chance to get myself in a better state of mind before I saw my brother the next day. I opted for the Sacred Mountain Spread. This is a five card spread where the first four cards represent areas where a limitation or denial has been set and needs to be resolved to move forward. The first card I turned over was the Give-Away Ceremony card. I was surprised to get this card again...and yet not surprised. 

The card in this first position means "you are being asked to look at what you feel you cannot achieve in the card's lesson, hence your limitation is made clear for you." I knew I had to disregard my ego. It was time to let go of the need to have him acknowledge my hurt feelings. Those feelings were valid and needed to be seen, accepted, and honored, but that only needed to be done by me. 

As I was lying in bed, I brushed aside all the hurtful words and our differing belief systems, of which there are many, and focused instead on his soul and its connection to mine. In doing so, I was able to feel the love and goodness at his core once again, and I felt my heart finally start to heal. 

When I woke up the next morning, the release had happened. I no longer even needed to discuss with him what had transpired between us. The one remaining thing that I didn't know, was whether or not he had any continuing animosity towards me.

When we met in the parking lot at the church, we both greeted each other the way we always had, with smiles (behind facemasks) and heartfelt hellos. I didn't see or feel any change in his attitude towards me at all. This made me wonder if he even remembered the email incident and the things he had said to me. Perhaps he had been able to let go right away, while I struggled with the after effects for months. Regardless, I was glad to see the love in his eyes and hear the gentle greeting he always gave me.

The day went well and it was nice to have our whole family together to celebrate the memory of our Dad. When the time came for goodbye hugs, my brother and I embraced like we always did, and then he did something he'd never done before. He held me a little tighter and a little longer and said to me, "I love you, Jenne." In that action, I felt the words "I'm sorry" without needing to hear them. My feelings had been acknowledged, and all was now resolved between us.

Michael Singer points out the importance of separating your personal, emotional reaction from the problem at hand. Our emotions will always complicate and aggravate a situation. When we encounter a problem and respond with emotional upset, we now have two problems to contend with...the original problem, plus our emotions. When we learn to promptly accept and release our emotional reaction, we are then able to give our full attention to resolving the problem and we will make better decisions. 

Through this challenge, I've learned that true resolution comes by going within. I had to learn to acknowledge and let go of the "stuff" I'd acquired during my life that made me so sensitive...the hurt, betrayal, and insecurities that had built up over the years. The more I am able accept and release these pent up emotional states, the less other people's words and actions will bother me. In The Untethered Soul, he says, "Break the habit of thinking that the solution to your problem is to rearrange things outside. The only permanent solution to your problem is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality." 

My brother's words were not about me. They were about what was going on with him. The more I can release my emotional triggers, the more of a positive effect I can have on the world around me. Situations on the outside will regularly present themselves to me. By doing so, they are asking something of me. My intention going forward is to try make every moment that passes before me be better off for having done so. To achieve this, I have to let go of my emotional baggage and face every situation with love, understanding, and compassion. Not an easy goal for sure, but definitely worth the effort.

I have since done a few more readings with my Sacred Path Cards, and the Give-Away Ceremony card is no longer showing up. Soon it will be time for me to work through my next limitation, but until then I'm appreciating the newfound peace I've attained with what I've learned so far.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Embracing Abandonment & Betrayal

When I was at my lowest point with my back a year ago, my current chiropractor, Scott Kolofer, looked me in the eye and said, "I will not abandon you." We both knew that he didn't have all the answers to help me, but the reassurance of his constancy was huge. As I shared this memory with him recently, I was surprised by the depth of emotion it triggered in me. 

In the 13+ years I've been actively dealing with back problems, I've seen six other chiropractors. As I contemplated my chiropractic history, I noticed feelings of abandonment and betrayal that I'd never really acknowledged. I am not saying there were any bad intentions on their parts at all, but, from my perspective, their actions or choices eroded any remaining faith I had in being able to rely on a healthcare practitioner...a faith that had already been seriously trashed by the medical profession. 

Four of my previous chiropractors either stopped practicing or left the area with little to no notice...the longest advance notice being 30 days and the least 0 days. I understand each of their reasons for their choice, but that doesn't change that fact that I was left to fend for myself, feeling abandoned.

Two of my previous chiropractors gave me bad adjustments that I had to find another chiropractor to fix. In these situations, it was my choice to switch, but that was based on broken trust. Submitting to chiropractic treatment requires relaxed muscles, which stems from a sense of trust in your practitioner. I trusted them to help me get better and I left feeling worse. I know they had good intentions, but it doesn't change the fact that my trust in them had been broken, and left me feeling betrayed.

While working through each of these situations, I brushed my painful feelings aside and went into problem solving mode. If emotions of abandonment or betrayal started to kick in, I would focus on the things I needed to do to move forward, try to look on the positive side of the circumstances, or distract myself with other activities. 

As I was remembering where I was physically last year, and what Scott had told me, the emotions that came up made it clear that I had never acknowledged my feelings of abandonment and betrayal that were caused by my other chiropractic experiences. 

At the same time, I came across this video of Kyle Cease that addressed my issue specifically. Serendipity can be so cool. The emotions I was avoiding are not pleasant ones to feel. Kyle points out that we tend to have a storehouse of ways to avoid feeling unpleasant emotions, including justifying them, denying them, and distracting ourselves. All of these techniques keep the emotions lurking in the background, unresolved. The emotions will keep trying to get our attention... and we will keep looking for ways to not feel them.

So that's what I've been doing all these years. Abandonment was met with a resolve to not be dependent. Betrayal was met with a resolve to be more cautious with my trust. If I could achieve those two things, I wouldn't have to feel those painful emotions. But this was just symptom relief for my emotions, and symptom relief doesn't heal. 

My emotions just wanted to be seen and me. Even if it wasn't the other person's intention, I am allowed to feel abandoned and I am allowed to feel betrayed. Once these emotions are fully embraced, they can be released. By denying them, I've been keeping them trapped.

So I finally embraced these emotions and felt them deeply. Was it painful? Yes, you bet it was. A few tears were shed. After a few hours, though, the pain started to lessen. After a day or two, the emotions released. I'm now actually feeling quite peaceful about my chiropractic past.

I'm now aware of this pattern in me and I've started seeing it in other areas. If an uncomfortable emotion is triggered, my automatic response is to look for something to take my mind off it... checking the news, turning on a movie, listening to music or a podcast. 

To break this pattern, I stop my search for a distraction and tell myself to just feel the emotion that was triggered. Some emotions release fairly promptly, while others take a bit longer. Some are just uncomfortable, while others are more painful. As I do this more and more, I'm seeing a decrease in the frequency and intensity of my emotional triggers. The more quickly I feel and release an emotion, the less emotional baggage I have to carry with me into the future.

I am deeply grateful to Scott for sticking by me this past year. He continues to provide my body with gentle, skilled care, and shows me how to care for my body better, so it can heal. 

My other chiropractors tended to encourage regular "maintenance" visits and more frequent visits when pain was present, creating dependence...and then I was abandoned. Scott is focused on healing, strengthening, less frequent visits, and ultimately independence...and he stuck by me. I find this truly fascinating.

As I look for my path going forward, I was struck by what Kyle Cease said in his video. Don't look for your path. You are the path! Wow. How cool is that? I am the path. I may not see my whole path all at once, but I can at least see the next step. And that's enough for now.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Is Ignorance Bliss?

In the movie The Matrix, Neo is given the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The red pill gives him the unpleasant truth. The blue pill leaves him in blissful ignorance. The question being, would he rather know or not know what's really going on? This question has been on my mind lately. 

For decades I searched for answers to health related problems, for myself and my family. I went from one resource to the next, one expert to the next, one protocol to the next, looking for answers. If a recommendation sounded reasonable, I would give it a try, using myself as a guinea pig. Sometimes I would experience symptom relief for a bit, but the condition would invariably come back. Every resource I found was just offering guesses or theories about the cause, typically blaming the person (you're not thinking right) or the person's body (you have a faulty body). No one had real answers.

I watched my family members suffer through these conditions, while standing by feeling helpless. I did the best I could with the information I had. Even my own symptoms continued to get worse, in spite of my diligent efforts to try to heal. The more I researched, the more I learned how little knowledge and information was out there. "Cause unknown," "condition can't be cured," and "can last for years or be lifelong" were phrases I ran into over and over again. Symptom relief was the focus of all healing modalities, rather than cure, and even the symptom relief was typically short lived.

Then in July of 2016, after reading Anthony William's first book, Medical Medium, I exclaimed, "Answers! I've finally found them!" His detailed explanations about the causes of each condition made complete sense. He laid out recommendations for healing. Real healing. Actually reversing conditions and then curing them, using food, herbs, and a few supplements. This path is simple, meaning you can do it on your own if you choose, but it's not necessarily easy. Is it worth it? Yes. Absolutely. 100%.

The proof of the effectiveness of his information is in the healing stories, including my own. Not just a few of them, but thousands of them...hundreds of thousands of them, all over the world. People are healing conditions that were considered incurable. Many had been debilitated for years, decades, and sometimes their entire lives. Going from doctor to doctor. Trying one treatment protocol after the next. Spending the bulk of their resources in the search, only to end up bedridden, misunderstood, and in despair. 

A young woman who went through this, and would have dropped out of college if she hadn't discovered Anthony's information, summed it up well. "In a toxic world full of noise and disinformation, there is truth, there is real healing, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

And yet, for a variety of reasons, many people aren't ready to give this information its due credence. I respect that. Each person has their own path, their own perspective, and their own free will. Many people have trouble accepting the source of his information. Much of his information contradicts what is generally accepted as true. I'm also aware, first hand, that this path isn't easy. Simple maybe, using real foods and a few supplements to heal, but definitely not easy. For those who want science to back up their choices, there just aren't any studies on the healing benefits of celery juice, bananas, or potatoes. And it's really unlikely there ever will be, because there's no profit in it.

So let's get back to the red pill / blue pill question. In the past, I felt helpless because I didn't know the cause of a condition or what to do about it. Now I feel helpless because I have answers, but people often don't want to hear or implement them. This is the question that I've been pondering lately. Is it better to feel helpless with answers or without them? 

When I didn't have answers, I was constantly searching for them. If someone presented me with a health concern, I gave them the best information I'd come across so far. After learning more, I would sometimes come to a different conclusion than the information I'd previously shared. It was a frustrating process, but I felt good that I was at least giving people a few alternatives to mainstream approaches, even if I sometimes wanted to revise my previous response. 

Now that I finally have answers, I've found that many people either aren't open to them or aren't ready for them. I watch them suffer, while sitting on the knowledge of what they could do to start feeling better. It's really difficult to withhold information that could be seriously helpful. Painful even, in my heart. I take solace in being able to periodically plant a seed about other options, but I've learned from experience to not share the information in depth unless asked. 

So which one is better? Being allowed to share information that won't be significantly not be allowed to share information that could make a huge difference in someone's life? The first one is frustrating. The second one is seriously painful. 

I'll take the pain. I'm a red pill person. Give me the truth. With all of its scary implications and disruption. Let's get it all out on the table, out in the light of day, so we can start dealing with it. It hasn't done us any good to keep it hidden...quite the contrary, actually. 

Now that I have answers, I no longer have to search for them. If someone asks for my take on a health issue they're dealing with, I'll give them the best information I have to offer, as I've always done. If they're not open to what I have to share or aren't ready for it, I might be able to plant a seed of possibility. At some point, the person may be back for more in depth info, after trying other methods and seeing little improvement, or they may not. At least I was able to let them know that more information and options are available, if they ever want to go there.

At the end of the documentary about Linda Ronstadt, Linda explained that she had to stop singing because of Parkinson's disease. I now know that Parkinson's is caused by heavy metals in the brain, primarily mercury. These metal deposits disrupt the electrical impulses and neurotransmitter activity in the brain, resulting in the tremors. The condition is aggravated when these metals begin to run and oxidize, which is largely due to a high fat diet. 

Getting the metals out and lowering fat intake are essential with Parkinson's. If she were to consume the Medical Medium Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie on a daily basis and adjust her diet to significantly lower her fat intake, maybe she would soon be able to start singing again...even if just for her own pleasure. But I've learned, by trial and error, to not offer these suggestions unless asked. I won't be calling or writing to Linda to let her know. How sad, though, to see her spirit diminished by her inability to continue singing, at a time when information is finally out there that could make a difference for her.

If I didn't have the answers, I would just express sympathy for the person's situation, offer help where I could, and accept the situation as unavoidable. Actually, even with answers, I've learned it's better to continue to embrace the first sympathy and offer help. The third one, though, I can no longer do...accepting the situation as unavoidable. 

While I've had to learn to not offer help unless asked, it's not easy. And yet, I know that everyone has free will and their own belief system, and that has to be respected. In the meantime, I'll continue to acquire more answers and a deeper understanding of the information I already have. I'll continue to heal and strengthen my own body, share what I know when requested, and wait. Because some day, possibly decades from now, people will be ready to hear it. When that time comes, I plan to be ready.

As far as the blue pill goes, I've tossed it in the trash. Give me the truth...every time.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Coming Full Circle

The location sounded real familiar when he described it to me. When I learned the address, that confirmed it. I had been there before. My current chiropractor was moving into the same location where I saw my first chiropractor 13+ years ago. 

Walking into that office again was a strange melding of past and present. The essence of the past superimposed on the present. The reception area had been redesigned, but a hazy image of the way it used to be was still there. When Scott showed me around, we went into a room where I had had a neurological test on my legs after my back surgery. The memory of that flooded back. Things were different, and yet the same. I was different, and yet the same. The condition of my back was different, and yet the same. 

For more than 13 years, I've been seeing chiropractors in an attempt to heal my back. During that time I've seen seven different chiropractors, and now I was back at the beginning. Back where I started. Back at the office of my very first chiropractor. 

The first question that kept popping in my head was, "What does this mean?" Coincidence didn't seem enough to explain it. It felt deeper than that. The second question, which got more to the heart of the issue was, "Did you achieve a healed back? Are you better?" The sad answer My back currently has just as many issues, and actually a few more, than it did when I was first motivated to see a chiropractor all those years ago. 

A more encouraging question then presented itself. "What have you learned?" The knowledge and experience I've gained through all this is where my progress lies.

I settled on chiropractics after trying homeopathy, rolfing, herbal medicine, mind-body connections, acupuncture, and more. I didn't like taking pain meds, which I limited to ibuprofen infrequently, and I wanted to avoid back surgery. Chiropractics was my best option, based on what was available at the time.

Hindsight is a fascinating learning tool. When looking forward, we can only see through the lens of what we know. When looking back, we can see through the lens of what we've learned. "If I only knew then what I know now" is the phrase that often comes to mind. And yet, our past decisions need to be honored. We made the best choices we could with the circumstances and information we had at that time.

Seven chiropractors over 13 years might seem like a lot, but it was often the chiropractor's action that forced the change. My first chiropractor decided to stop practicing, giving me only 30 days notice, two others left the area, with even less than 30 days notice, and one cut way back on his hours and changed the focus of his practice. With the remaining two, it was my decision to make the change, due to unhelpful adjustments that required fixing by another chiropractor.

As disjointed as my path may seem, the chain of events ultimately led me to my current chiropractor, Scott Kolofer, who is providing me with a unique style of care that my body desperately needed. He is helping me move forward and actually heal. My chiropractic path led me directly to him, and for that I am grateful. 

My previous chiropractors provided varying levels of benefits, but the focus with all of them was on symptom relief, rather than long-term healing. In early 2008, after four months of nearly constant pain, my first chiropractor recommended back surgery after seeing my MRI. From a symptom relief perspective, the surgery worked. I woke up in the recovery room virtually pain free for the first time in months. It did not, however, help with any long term healing. The scar tissue build up from the surgery has been an aggravating factor in my current condition.

To get on the path of real healing, I had to learn about the specific factors that were causing my condition. From Medical Medium, I've learned about the viral component of low back pain; what to do about it using foods, herbs, and a few supplements; how to knock back the variety of Shingles that commonly aggravates the low back; which foods to avoid that promote scar tissue build up; and which foods and herbs to embrace that break up scar tissue and reduce it. 

Scott is the first chiropractor I've seen who takes the time to help me see the musculoskeletal reasons for my back problems. He shows me exercises and stretches to promote healing, and how to do them correctly. He doesn't just hand me a few xeroxed pages of exercises and say "Do these," like my previous chiropractors have done. He actually gets me on the floor and gives me instructions about what my various muscles should be doing during each exercise. My ability to heal is now at a place it's never been before. I'm actually feeling the difference, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

So here I am, 13 years later, back where I started. My future looks far different than it did all those years ago. At the start of my journey in 2007, I was desperately searching for answers and for a practitioner who could fix me. My healing would move forward for a while and then backslide, and I didn't know why. The process was so disheartening.

Today my back issues are at a more challenging place, but my outlook is brighter. I finally have answers. What a difference that makes! It's so empowering to know the real causes of my condition and what I need to do to fix them. My current chiropractor is an equal partner on my healing journey. I am so grateful for his skill and compassionate care. I'm no longer looking for a practitioner to fix me. That's my job. 

Healing is simpler than we've been led to believe. Simple, but not necessarily easy. It takes focus, study, determination, and work. I had to be willing to change my daily routine and make healing my top priority. Has all that effort been worth it? 

Absolutely. I can see a healed back in my future, and it's no longer just wishful thinking.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Trusting My Body

I've never felt really healthy. I've always been dealing with something, especially respiratory and digestive issues. Once my back problem kicked in, that has been a constant issue as well. Having had chronic symptoms my whole life, it's been pretty easy to conclude that my body was just not as strong or resilient as other people's. 

My mom told me I turned blue at the age of six months from asthma. I had my tonsils out when I was 2 years old and again when I was 10, allergy shots in my late single digits and again in my teens, frequent bowel issues from diarrhea to constipation, several broken bones, a few strep throats starting at 18 months, pneumonia when I was 9, and that's just some of the highlights from my youth. Problematic symptoms continued into adulthood, and more were added to the list. 

I've always seen these symptoms as being who I am. I am a person with allergies, weak bones, back problems, and weak digestion. I came to accept that my body had faults and all I could do was to manage those weaknesses. When I broke a bone, I accepted it because I had weak bones. When springtime came around and my allergies made me a wreck, I understood that I'm a person with allergies and did what I could to manage the symptoms. When digestive symptoms kicked in, I did my best to help my weak digestion. When I came down with a cold or flu, which happened often, I attributed it to my not so strong immune system.

I never thought my body was working against me, I just concluded that the one I had been given was faulty. Not as strong as other people's. When my mom's diagnosis of Lupus was described as her body attacking itself, that made no sense to all. It wasn't logical for a body to do that. The ridiculousness of that diagnosis got me to start questioning how much doctors really know about illness and how to heal.

I searched for answers for decades, in an attempt to find out what was really going on with my various health issues. My tonsils had clearly been inflamed, but something must have caused them to become inflamed. My ongoing and lifelong allergies had to be caused by something that made my body more sensitive than other people's. I hadn't had a low back injury, and yet my back seemed to be collapsing. What was causing that?

For years, all I was able to find were suggestions to manage symptoms and theories about what might be causing them...and the theories didn't make much sense. Then, finally, in 2016, I discovered Medical Medium and got the information I'd been desperately searching for. The real causes of my various conditions. Explanations that made total sense and rang true. To heal, he says, you need two things. You need to know the real cause of your condition and you need to know what to do about it.

Allergies are caused by streptococcus, which is antibiotic resistant and settles in the liver, digestive system, and respiratory system. Low back problems, when no injury has occurred, are commonly caused by a variety of shingles virus. Rosacea, which I developed as an adult, is a form of eczema caused by the combination of the Epstein-Barr virus and heavy metals, particularly copper. And the answers kept coming.

To heal, I needed to stop feeding the viruses and bacteria, get the toxins and heavy metals out of my body, and bring in foods and supplements that would help my body heal. Simple, yes. Easy, no. But it has been worth it. I'm healing in ways I never thought I could.

My body is showing me that it's not faulty. It's not weak. It was just overwhelmed and trying the best it could, given the circumstances. Our bodies can be challenged by pathogens and toxins at birth, as was the case for me. With the knowledge I've gained, I look back at my diet over the past six decades and cringe, especially so with my first two decades. Later in life I tried to eat healthier, but my diet has always been high fat, which totally bogs down the liver.

As I've learned what my body really needs, and what it needs me to avoid, it feels like my body and I are learning to work together better. With each step forward in my healing, my trust in my body increases. With each day that I give my body the tools it needs to heal, I hope my body is learning to trust me as well. 

After decades of unknowingly bombarding my body with unhelpful foods and exposing it to so many toxins, it wouldn't surprise me if my body were to just get fed up with me and say, "You're on your own, lady!" But it doesn't. It keeps doing the best it can to keep me safe. Medical Medium says our bodies love us unconditionally. I've sensed that my body is now cautiously optimistic, now that I finally have the knowledge I need to heal. It's my intention to build on that optimism and turn it into confidence. 

To encourage supportive communication between me and my body, I have a few mantras that I like to say on my walk to work:

  • I trust my body's intelligence and its ability to heal.
  • Now that I finally have the knowledge, I will strive to give my body what it needs, avoid things that cause it trouble, and work to earn my body's trust.
  • My body is a healing machine. It desperately wants to heal. All it needs is the right tools.

My trust in my body continues to grow. With each symptom that improves or heals, my faith in my body's capabilities increases. I'm not faulty. I'm not a person with allergies. I am a person with a strep infection that's causing my body to develop allergy symptoms. Once I kill off and heal from the strep infection, I will no longer be a person with allergies. Once I kill off and heal from my shingles infection, my back issues will stabilize. Once I kill off Epstein-Barr and cleanse out the toxic heavy metals, I will no longer be a person with Rosacea. 

Knowing the true cause is essential. Knowing what to do completes the puzzle. I'm now seeing what my body is really capable of...and it's truly impressive.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Perceived As Homeless

I was walking down Broad St, going from work to yoga class, when a bicyclist rode up behind me and said "Excuse me. Are you okay?" I smiled and said, "Yes, I'm fine." We stopped and chatted a bit. He said he'd experienced challenges in the past, so wanted to see if there was any way he could help. It didn't take long for me to realize he thought I was homeless...and I knew why. 

I explained that I was barefoot by choice, and that my feet often caused people to conclude I'm homeless. He admitted that my bare feet were the exact reason he came to that conclusion. We chatted a little longer, I thanked him for his concern, and we both went on our way. When he left, he went back the way he had come. He had gone out of his way to come check on me.  

Now I have to admit a couple of things. I'm not the most fashionable dresser, sometimes referring to my style as upscale bag lady. My bags are knitted rather than plastic. And in this instance, I was talking to myself. I had recently listened to a podcast that recommended free form brainstorming and the advantages of doing it out loud. I'm not sure if the bicyclist saw me doing that, since he came up behind me, but it's a possibility. 

Even still, this is not the first time someone thought I was homeless because of my bare feet. It happens quite regularly...and began immediately after I kicked off my shoes eight years ago.

I've been regularly walking up, down, and across Broad St for decades. When I worked downtown, I walked the 1-1/2 mile commute once or twice a day. For a good number of my downtown working years, I was on a pretty regular walking schedule. To make my commute time more productive, I would often read, knit, or even spin while I walked. 

During my pre-barefoot years, it was not unusual for people I didn't know to stop and tell me how much my walking inspired them. These conversations happened in movie theaters, in line at various local businesses, and while I was walking...and they happened frequently. The conversation would typically start by them saying, "You don't know me, but I see you walking on Broad St every day." They would then share their desire to walk or bike, rather than drive. Some would follow that with the reason they can't, but others would say that I inspired them to pull out their bike or go for more regular walks. 

As soon as I took my shoes off and started walking barefoot, these conversations stopped. Now when people stop to talk to me, they want to make sure I know where the homeless shelter is. I've been told where I could get a meal. I've been asked if I had a place to sleep that night. And more than once, homeless people have offered me a pair of shoes. Nothing else about me had changed. I just took off my shoes. 

It baffles me that people associate bare feet with homelessness. I've encountered numerous homeless people over the past several decades, on my walks, working downtown, and on my current shorter walk to work, and they are all wearing shoes. I've been racking my brain to remember if I've ever seen a barefoot homeless person, and I may have seen one, once, from a distance, many years ago. That's it. 

I'm guessing this misguided perception comes from the phrase "they were so poor they couldn't afford shoes," because it seems pretty obvious to the majority of people that no one would be barefoot by choice. 

The other misconception people have about bare feet is that they're dirty and unsanitary. They believe that health and safety codes require customers to wear shoes when going into a business, especially a restaurant or grocery store. Actually, there are no health or safety codes requiring shoes in any business...for customers or their employees. The only time shoes are even referenced for employees are the requirement of steel-toed boots for construction and industrial workers. 

This perception that bare feet are a health or safety code violation is partly related to the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" era that started in the 1960s, when businesses wanted a way to refuse service to "long haired hippies." If people don't assume I'm homeless, they'll often conclude I'm a hippie. Sorry, I missed the hippie era by about 8 years. 

As far as bare feet being dirty goes, yes I do get dirt on my feet. It tends to be more noticeable against my skin color, than it was against the black soles of my shoes, but my feet are far cleaner than my shoes ever were. I wash my feet every night. I never washed the soles of my shoes.

The reactions I get from my bare feet continues to fascinate me. Many times when I've walked towards someone and smiled, they've smiled back. Then their gaze drops downward, they'll see my bare feet, and then they'll look at my face again. But this time their expression has completely changed to one of confusion and caution, while I'm still smiling just like I was before. 

I've learned to not assume a person's change of expression is a negative response to my bare feet. Many times people in that position have approached me after a few minutes and shared the joy that going barefoot brought them in years past. Rather than being confusion and caution, their expression change was actually reminiscence and longing. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between the two until they start talking. 

People ask me if I'm bothered by glass and hot pavement. Glass is not a big problem and my tolerance for hot pavement has increased. I generally don't need footwear on concrete or asphalt unless the temperature is over 100° or under 35°, and even in those situations flip flops will suffice. As far as foot and ankle injuries go, I've had far fewer of them without shoes than I ever did with them.

Eight years in and living barefoot is totally working for me. My feet are happier and my spirit is lighter. My alignment and posture, the strength and flexibility of my feet, and my stability when walking have all improved tremendously. Back when I wore shoes, I was always afraid of falling when going up and down stairs, especially so after my back surgery. As soon as I took off my shoes, that fear went away, because I was now able to feel each step with my foot.

My bare feet have also helped me improve my overall health. In my early years of barefooting, I had regular problems with periodic foot sensitivity that would kick in a couple of hours after eating. With the diet changes I've made, that problem has now been resolved, along with several other symptoms. It was my bare feet that made me aware of the problem. If my feet had been in shoes, I doubt I would have noticed the sensitivity. 

People who know me are comfortable and accepting of my bare feet. In fact, many of them now expect it and will call me out if I happen to have flip flops on. On more than one occasion, I've had someone who knows me, or who knows of my barefooting, ask me why I'm wearing shoes. I'm okay with that. It's awesome to have people encouraging me to take off my shoes, even on those few occasions when I actually put some on.