We live our life believing that every decision that we make is our own and the consequences also solely impact us alone. At other times we may think that our decisions have no consequences at all.
Life is to be enjoyed. Food and drinks are to be enjoyed. Yet, in those moments of enjoyment, we may not reflect on the real purpose of food and drinks. We eat and drink based on taste, social norms, cravings and habits that we have accumulated over our lifetime and we rarely step beyond that unless we fall ill.
Our body is a temple. Without it, we would not be here and with it malfunctioning, our quality of life would be greatly impacted. Food, drinks and our lifestyle choices make up the foundation of that temple which can make it sturdy and strong or vulnerable to falling down.
As children or even as adults, we were often not taught the impact that food has on our body and that there is a direct relationship between our food and how we feel and our health. It would seem obvious, but unfortunately, for many it is not. Food and lifestyle are rarely seen as the actual sourceof our health and well-being.
Never learning about the consequences our choices have, we follow our habits and desires, rarely listening to our body. We don’t use food for what it’s intended, namely for nourishing our body, but instead we use it for dealing with stress, to dampen the load of our pain, to run away from uncomfortable emotions or simply to fulfill our desires and cravings. Tension, stress and excessive negative emotions weaken our digestive system over time. A tense muscle cannot function efficiently and our internal organs are muscles. If we hold our hand as a tight fist for 5 minutes, we will realize it is painful to even open our hand again. This is how negative emotions, tension and stress slow down the efficiency of the digestive system. The more tension they create within our system, the less flow there is, just as the tight fist. In time, this weakens the functions of the body. In order for our body to function optimally, our body needs to be relaxed. A river can only flow if there are no obstructions. Therefore our lifestyle and our food can either be nourishment for our overall health, or they can be a poison, destroying us gradually.
Though we like to believe that if we fall ill, or if we have pain, it’s our problem alone, this is far from the truth. Any time that we are in pain, it impacts those close to us, whether they are friends, family or colleagues. At the beginning we may be experiencing apparently insignificant symptoms such a stomach pain or a headache once in a while. But those small problems, if they continue and remain ignored, are what gradually set the ground for more serious issues. The body is always trying to give us signals in small ways, to be alert, to make a change, to come back into balance and health, but often those signals are ignored and the next time, an even bigger issue arises. Before we know it, we are in need of medication or surgery and we need help from our family and friends. We may lose time from work and our quality of life is reduced since we are no longer available for our work or family in the same way. Not only do we lose time, but concern over our health sometimes causes even more stress for the one’s around us, who may be dependant on us. If we fall ill, we may earn less and not be able to support our children. If we fall ill, we may need our loved ones to take us to the doctor frequently, taking away from their own personal time. If we fall ill, our children may suffer at school, subconsciously worried about us and unable to focus in class. Our loved one’s may lose sleep over our health issues. As such, our health is never ours alone. It directly impacts those in our life. The consequences of our choices go beyond our life, beyond our sense of discomfort.
By listening to our body and doing our absolute best to take care of it, not only are we supporting our own well-being and quality of life longterm, but we are showing true love and care toward our family. We can make a decision to educate ourselves in order to make healthy decisions for our own sake as well as for the sake of our family. Everything that we put into our body has consequences, both positive and negative. Every lifestyle decision that we make has both positive and negative consequences. We need to look at the long-term consequences rather than short term and we need to look at the consequences beyond our own personal life, but expand it to others in our life.
Rita Panahi, L.Ac. holds a Masters in Chinese Medicine with 3200+ hours of pre and post-Masters training. Over the past decade, she has trained under a renowned master in the ancient teachings of Chinese Medicine rarely found in traditional training programs. In addition she has trained over the past two decades with numerous indigenous healers of South America. She is licensed by the California Acupuncture Board and the National Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
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