A mindful practice to strengthen the immune system
April 19, 2020
This week I was thinking about our extraordinary bodies, in particular our immune system. It’s a miracle to be healthy with the millions of things that can go wrong at any time. And yet within that complexity, our bodies know how to heal. Our western lives spend so little time advocating how to prevent calamity from happening. The system awaits people to get sick, then we look for a medicine to deal with the symptoms and rarely the root problems. So we end up with diabetes, obesity, cancers, heart issues, plus, plus. What can we do to be more proactive with our health? Particularly in these times.
My journey with cancer five years ago came post an extremely stressful time in my life. I couldn’t even listen to the diagnosis because I felt that my body was screaming that it and my life were tremendously out of balance. I was no longer living a life of creativity and heart but rather a life managing circumstances, and not well, I might add. However I really felt the cancer was just a messenger. Although a scary one, finding harmony in life and health became my mandate through exploring and amending what was out of harmony.
How can we nurture our health mindfully in these unusual times? I have to remind myself many times a day that love is our true natural state. I scan my body and my thoughts to see if that is where I'm resting. Everything that is available to read or watch on the times is radically blaming something or someone for the state of the crisis and state of the world. I also see that humanity is awakening in a powerful way towards one another and what we can do to heal the damage we've collectively done to lives and the earth.
I listened to a talk by an indigenous elder from the Andes this week. Her message was simple and hit me very deeply. She said that above all be still and in a place of trust. When you feel negative energies like fear and panic to recognize that they are collective and not yours. The best way to be of service to others is to stay still, stay strong and in your own light.
In these intense times, I am listening to the present moment to find the inner calm and find the quiet. A few other things that are in our daily practice are to:
Eat clean food and less of it. The body heals itself best when it has time to digest and absorb. We are doing intermittent fasting and feeling really good. I find the 16-8hr split is easy to do. 16 hours of not eating, two meals within the 8 hrs. So we eat breakfast at 10ish and dinner before 6ish. Avoid fried, processed foods, white sugar or flour, etc.
Get plenty of vitamin C, D3 and 20mg of zinc daily. Avoid cold foods and drink plenty of warm water.
Practice meditation and get lovingly intimate with deep and full breathing.
Exercise gently to help your body know its strength and balance.
Be aware of your surroundings, be kind and loving.
When we recognize that ill emotions arrive to protect us like fear, anger, anxiety, resentment, jealousy, blame, shame, thank them for their presence then let them go. See them from the seat of the witness. Just like the sea that holds the waves. This raises our energy to that of love and gratitude, which I believe is the quintessential medicine.
Daniela shared with me an expression she grew up with in Italy. It really moved me. It was “We don’t die because we get sick. We get sick so we can die.” Dying is a natural part of everyone’s life. During the many scary moments on the cancer walk, I would remind myself that nothing will take me a minute before or after my time. This really helped me be present and again, oh so grateful for every breath.
I hope your every present moment has plenty of space for wonder, courage and much love.Come walk with me..
A little stroll never felt so sweet.. After walking 1000 km of the Camino pilgrimage in Spain last fall, who would imagine that a 1.5 km walk to the ATM would be so satisfying. ;-) These certainly are surreal moments. It was easy to sense in the few we met along our path an awareness of presence and gratitude to be able to gently walk the deserted streets with Spring in all her glory.
Thich Nhat Hanh would always say that the miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.
Perhaps when we feel safe and free to be out in the world more, we fall in love with this majestic living planet with brand new eyes.