Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Diagnosis: Celiac. Remedy: Sweet Tattoo.

I've been speaking with a friend who is in a place that I'm sure many of us are familiar with. My friend was in a place of poor health on a very strict macrobiotic diet when her healer told her that she needed to be doing even more to heal herself.

Part of what's so hard about doing a healing diet is that the entire onus is on you. It's work. Not only is it work, but it's work at a time in your life when you are physically unable to do work. You're often not even able to do normal things like walk, bathe, eat, feed yourself, and do your job, and now you're expected to take responsibility for the entirety of your healing. Subtract from that the support of people in your life who think you're insane for not taking the Western medical route, and you've got one incredibly difficult time.

One thing I'd like to discuss here is that sometimes, illness is rooted to deep emotional or spiritual imbalance. Dredging up these issues can be difficult in the best of times, and overwhelming in the worst of times. Yet often, our body forces us to deal with them while we are at our worst. Our body and mind are weak, and the boundaries we set up to protect ourselves are totally torn down as our body weakens, and the problems overwhelm us. It feels like drowning, and it's terrible.

I wish I could say I've only had one or two of these moments, but I can think of about ten times in the past two years where I've thought that I would crack because I couldn't handle anything else. Letting go of my life in Boston last year and my dream of grad school and changing my identity because Tennessee isn't exactly a great place to be a liberal flamer... none of it is easy. And the illness itself can be painful, isolating, and embarrassing.

The only thing I can say is that it makes you tough as nails. Not hardened necessarily... just harder to crack. A lot of the emotional weight behind my illness is gone. There is a time for illness, but there is a time for healing. I believe that we stay ill with emotional and spiritual wounds much longer than we should, and it takes a serious physical illness for our body to teach us that there is a time for sickness and a time for health.

I read in a book recently about a town that burned down. A man said "The Creator willing, we'll rebuild. The Creator not willing, we'll do it anyways." That's the place I reached. Laying there cracked out on morphine from my kidney stone, I was like "Not only am I going to go to grad school, I'm going to Harvard. And if I don't get into Harvard, I'm going to earn enough money to buy a big, big house. And in the back yard of that big, big house will be the dog house for my big, big dog. And I'm going to name that big, big dog house Harvard. And then we'll see who makes the admissions decisions."

And when I've been better for a year straight, I'm getting a totally sweet tattoo.

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