I have been waiting to write this blog a long time. It came to me, as many blogs do, in meditation a while back and I wrote a note down. But I hadn’t written the blog yet, and the reason is my health. Let me explain this health issue first before I explain the more important part of the blog.
In Chinese health terms it is called “cold and damp”. When I started reading Paul Pitchford’s “Healing with Whole Foods”, I came across this and thought “cold and damp” might apply to me. But at that time I was not drinking a healthy amount of water so the condition did not show fully. It would show when I got the flu, then I would feel cold and have a lot of phlegm. In fact when I was teaching I used to be concerned about the number of flus I got. There were plenty of excuses for flu and virus, the kids always had them, the job was stressful, so I didn’t think too much about it; but I would usually have a “flu”every half-term – mostly just one day but sometimes more. I was even concerned that my immune system was weakened.
In fact I now realise it was, it was weakened by “cold and damp” amidst my bad state of health brought about poor eating and drinking. There was one of those coincidences that has helped me with this “cold and damp” problem. I spoke with a friend who knew of a Chinese herbs shop in the next city, and she was going there the next day. These herbs have been a Godsend, but because the problem is deeply embedded and chronic (30 years) it is taking a while to work through. The herbs have left me tired – that is why it has taken a while to get to writing the blog. Incidentally when I visited the Chinese herbs shop the woman asked me about water, and when I explained that I had just started drinking the proper amount of water she seemed to understand – another confirmation.
So what can I expect from my health now I am retired? Despite my current setback I am generally of good health for my age, people recognise that I have old folks’ remedies and do ask me. I carry football injuries – a locked knee and a damaged achilles tendon, but I swim a good distance comfortably and I am able to run now – with treatment from my massage Grannie. Within limits (given my age) my body does not constrain my physical activity and I am quite active. That is why I am so surprised by this cold and damp, and the impact of the herbs making me tired.
The healing process is like an unfolding. Starting with detox I got rid of toxins that I can best describe as weighing my body down. I then went through the various stages described in the Zandtao Healing Plan reaching where I am at now through the addition of 2 litres of warm water to my diet. As I unfold I lose the “weight” the particular condition imposes on me. Just prior to the water and raw foods diet change I felt complacent, and then I have been knocked back. This is what leads me to asking “What can I expect from my health?” To be honest I am waiting until I have got rid of the past – my life of stress that produced disease and the stages of detox the different “unfoldings” produce. Whilst it is good to know the body is healing itself, I often ask myself “how much more healing is there to do?”. And at some stage the body must start a process of dying – as age takes its natural toll.
One of my justifications for spending time on my diet is that I want to be fully able for as long as possible. This reaction to the herbs has worried me. It has taken a long time for me to get down to this blog – because of the herbs and my condition. Meditation has suffered as has some exercise. People argue that you should discipline yourself to do these things even when you don’t feel like it, I am not so sure. Without health all of your life suffers, and at my age it is especially essential to concentrate on health. Fortunately I have the time and the resources to do that – the money not to buy the cheapest foods, access to internet for advice, and some Thais who can teach me about their Traditional Thai medicine and culture.
Ultimately all this is about my Path. Am I following my Path? In the last 10 days I haven’t been because I have been tired – weighed down by the reaction to the herbs. I don’t like this, if I am not following my Path I am not happy. Over the last couple of days in meditation I have been focusing on Path, what is it? Am I on it? Without my health I cannot be on it, health is so important.
This brings me to others, something I am always concerned about with health. I have friends dieing of cancer, suffering from diabetes, and just generally weighed down by disease. Most people don’t connect this with what they eat – especially this disease in ageing they just put down to part of being old. When I think about my last years of working I think of my lifestyle. I got up went to work, worked hard and I think quite well, then came home slumped and watched TV. When I compare this with the vitality of my youth – one of my more crass drink rationalisations was that I needed to drink to dissipate my natural vitality, it is a sorry picture. But I accepted it. In some ways it was easy to accept, the lack of energy meant that I didn’t always have to be doing something – that was what my youth vitality meant. But at the same time I didn’t have the energy to do what I wanted – although none would have noticed at work. But I was prepared to recognise that as we get older we cannot do what we did when young. Understandably most people accept the food and water situation bringing with it disease – as dished out by BigFood and BigPharma. How can we believe that fellow human beings can do this to us? But we live in a world where wars are fought for profits so it is no great leap to accept that processed foods are toxic because they increase profits. That is just the suffering that is our lot to come to terms with, accept it, do what we can and be happy with what we can do.
I don’t have an answer to “what can I expect from my health?” I still don’t know if there will be more to unfold. This “water and raw” change has been significant, more so because I thought I was on top of things and it was quite a shock to realise I had slipped into such arrogance. I accept I don’t have an answer but I must always do the best I can – the Fourth Agreement. Others – please learn about your health.