they said: we are afraid.
come to the edge, he said.
he pushed them…and they flew.
ayurveda- translated as “the science of life,” this is native indian traditional medicine. all over the rest of the world it is considered alternative, but in india, it is still in the mainstream. ayurveda has many methods, including massage, meditation, and yoga, and is based on the metaphysics of earth, air, fire, water, and ether, which compose the human body (and the universe). the body is just a microcosm of the entire universe, and the same rule is paramount: when the body is healthy, it is in harmony, and thus it is naturally self-correcting, just like the universe. the focus of ayurveda is really about balance between mind, body, and spirit. this is accomplished through everything from diet and skincare to physical exercise and meditation regimes. they also use a lot of herbs and vegetable products. i think it is a beautiful way of looking at the world.
naturopathy- naturopathic medicine is an entire medical system of healing and beliefs which has developed over time in different cultures all over the world. it focuses on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. it believes in a minimal approach to surgery and drugs and actually has its modern origins in europe, although the ideas that belong to this school of thought really began with hippocrates in ancient greece. there is a big focus on preventative medicine and stress reduction, and is not invasive. it is about removing the cause of the illness, not the symptoms, and providing the least risk to the patient. it encourages patients to take responsibility for their own health. naturopathic medicine includes modalities such as: acupuncture, kinesiology, colon therapy, homeopathy, reflexology, meditation, and iridology, to name a few.
homeopathy- The term homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo, meaning similar, and pathos, meaning suffering or disease. Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted substances. This therapeutic method was developed in Germany at the end of the 18th century. It believes that disease can be cured in a sick person by a substance that produces similar symptoms to the disease in healthy people, and that the lower the dose of medicine and the more it is diluted, the greater effectiveness it has. homeopathic treatments are individualized and the remedies they use come from plants, minerals, or animals. nothing synthetic. this form of medicine came to india in 1810 and in the 1900s was widely recognized by the government as being a preferable option for medical care.
reiki- reiki is a japanese healing technique used for stress reduction. it is administered solely with a person’s hands and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. if one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. reiki ability is passed on from teachers to students, but one does not have to learn this intellectually. it is about being able to tap into an unlimited supply of life force energy, and everyone is capable of this. reiki has been found to be effective in many illnesses as a complement to treatments, and it holds harmony and balance in high regard, just as the other forms of medicine that i listed above.
if you haven’t already watched it, i urge you to take a look at jamie oliver’s show, food revolution, fridays on abc.
to most of us evolved human beings, what he is doing makes perfect sense, but as you can see by the obstacles that he must overcome in order to change the way we eat- not everyone has been enlightened yet. we are being presented with the possibility to raise a generation of children who will grow up with a sense that it is more fun to eat legumes than lunchables. this will in turn affect the way they live their lives and raise their own families.
this is one of the most important conversations going on in our country, as our mental and physical health is truly at stake. although alice waters and many others have been pioneers of this movement for quite some time, jamie is the first person to take the podium from a level that is wide-reaching and capable of getting through to millions of americans who don’t understand the often elite world of local food and organic agriculture. whether we want to believe it or not, we are a nation whose education comes mostly in the form of advertisements. so, while the whole country is constantly glued to their television sets, i can only hope that they will turn it to abc on fridays at 9pm and listen to this important message.
the madness cannot continue and it’s so crucial that everyone get behind the cause.
please check out his site and sign the petition to support the food revolution.
I am fully committed to the liberation of the human spirit and I will start with my own.
i heard this Maya Angelou quote many years ago. it reminds me of a feeling i have often experienced but which, until recently, has never totally propelled me into action.
i know i sound cheesy– what’s new, right? — but i do believe that in order for me to make any kind of impact on this universe in all the ways that i hope to, i need to set myself free. just as a person cannot really love another until they fall in love with themselves, the same appears to be true of making your mark on the world.
it takes inspiration, education, and self-exploration — grabbing hold of a certain sense of aliveness– that i really think is key to making the world the place that we hope for it to be. i have always loved traveling and seeing the world, doing the things that my heart tells me to do, but I realized about a year ago that going to college in the midwest, moving to ny on my own, traveling to mexico and the carribean and living in europe, however foreign they may be, are not exactly the same thing as truly testing my limits as the independent, adventurous person i know that i am.
last year, the threatening hands of Loss and Fear took me by the collar and held me up against a wall. i realized that the only way to break free from their control was to turn that wall into a mirror and break through it. now, it’s hard to imagine what you can really DO to chart your own destiny during times like that. changing your attitude is the first step, but in my humble opinion, i think that the only other way is really to leap out of your comfort zone. now, i’ve done that a handful of times, as i’ve said. but the extent to which i’ve done it is, personally, a little bit lame.
so, after a long examination in the proverbial mirror, i decided it was time to change things up. my yoga practice had gotten intense, as had my passion for health and healing. my path was definitely a spiritual one, but more along the lines of the LA/NY version of spiritual. now, that’s fine– i have to be gentle with myself– but i yearned for something MORE. i decided on india around may 2009. i desperately wanted to see the places i have read about in my favorite books, most of which happen to take place there for some reason. moreover, india is a place that my mom always talked about wanting to go with me one day. she had studied under j. krishnamurti and was a yoga instructor. one of the major things she seemed to regret in her life is that she did not follow her own spiritual path more closely. and of course, india is the place to go to learn about holistic health.
i found a program through child family health international which allows all levels of people (even inexperienced ones like myself) to explore public health in other nations, gaining a sense of cultural competency and education about the structure of health systems in third world countries. the programs are all amazing, but the one in india is just my cup of tea. while i will be in clinics for some of the time, i will also be in an ashram doing yoga and learning traditional medicine, studying first-hand the way that allopathic (western) medicine intersects with traditional ayurveda, reiki, and naturopathy. i think one of the most important lessons i’ve learned in life is the virtue of moderation (aristotle was right on target with that one). being able to balance extremes usually leads to success in whatever situation you want to fill into the blank. modern medicine saves lives every day– i am bewildered and inspired by science. however, i also think there is much to gain from an openness to other paradigms- in the case of medicine, holistic approaches that treat the body and mind as a whole.
the motto of CFHI is let the world change you. as i said above (and in line with the name of this blog), in order to make an impact on the world, i think it needs to sink into our hearts and minds and affect us first. we need to learn to live well- in all senses of the term. everything else after that comes naturally. i want to learn about these people, and i want to learn FROM them, in order to influence my goals in making health and healthcare better.
we are so quick to go into situations and countries with the mentality that our way is the best way. our globalized mentality has made many things possible, but in doing so it has also made it impossible in many cases for the people it is trying to help to actually get the help they need, at least for very long. what’s that quote about teaching a man to fish and feeding him for a lifetime? you can’t just give people what you think they need based on your limited scope…you have to first understand their perspective and traditions, and then give them the tools to make your big ideas work in their world. and hey, maybe even learn a few things from them (what a concept!).
i know this blog started as advice simply on health, but i would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the learning experiences that are coming my way on may 1st. i’ll have more details about my trip and where i will be in the coming weeks, and hopefully i will gain some valuable information to share with you all about health and healing.
looking forward to keeping you up to date on my journey, and if anyone has advice for me, i’m all ears!