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Gee, I sure hope so. Wisdom is hard to measure in oneself.
Yes, today is my birthday and, as is my nature, tends to cause much somber pondering and reflection.
I have not been exactly looking forward to this one. You see, I am 43 today, beginning my 44th year on this planet. And I have had 3 friends die of cancer. All were 44 years old at the time of their deaths. I believe all were diagnosed with cancer around the age of 43. One from breast cancer, one from lung cancer and the other from pancreatic cancer.
Although, I don’t have any indication that cancer is part of my future, one really never knows for sure, does one?
My friend who died from breast cancer challenged all my beliefs around cancer. At the time, I thought changes in diet and lifestyle, living completely by macrobiotic ideals, would cure any cancer. She was very healthy by the standards at the time: vegetarian for 20 years, engaged spiritual life, fulfilling relationships, etc. And she tried all the alternative treatments available, macrobiotic diet, IV vitamin C therapy, other injection treatments, all to no avail.
By what I believed to be true, she shouldn’t have died. But she did.
I am no longer as naive as I was back then. I don’t think anything can protect you from disease; reduce the chances or likelihood, probably, but protect... no. Not even the blood type diet promises protection. I remember a quote from someone years ago that went, “If you eat only healthy, organic food, drink only pure water, exercise and meditate regularly, get plenty of sleep, but do so from a place of anxiety you are in no way maintaining your health.” That phrase has stuck with me all these years. I now measure my wellness by the amount of anxiety I feel, my willingness to challenge myself in all ways, the sense of ease and flow I feel within my bodymind. That is my definition of health.
Now on to brighter musings....
On Saturday, hubby took me out on a rare date (no kids) for a pre-birthday dinner. A wonderful little loaf of freshly baked bread, still warm, arrived on the table. I asked my husband to cut me a piece and as I was taking my first bite he said, “Well, is it worth the wheat?” I chortled at this comment and he responded, “That is the question, isn’t it?” Oh my yes, isn’t that ALWAYS the question when debating avoids. So easy to avoid at home, so tempting elsewhere. And in this case, no, it wasn’t worth it. I did order the rack of lamb that came with a small salad (removed the tomato and onion slice), wild rice (no, not worth it) and lightly steamed asparagus, carrots and snow peas. The lamb was served with tomato butter. I had no idea what that was and being the curious sort, did not asked for it to be removed. The tomato “butter” was just pureed tomato (definitely not worth it)! I scraped it off the meat.
I always order a pot of herb tea when eating out and in this case had peppermint. Warm tea is so soothing and even when eating compliantly I sometimes have trouble with restaurant food, usually due to anxiety or feeling a little tense in restaurants. When in a state of balance, restaurant food doesn’t bother me much... another health indicator.
Sunday, we went on a lovely hike in the high country, at about 10,000 feet. In the past, if hiking above 8000 ft. I would, after a while, begin to feel lightheaded. This hike felt like I was climbing in my own backyard, no dizziness or feeling lightheaded at all. The trail climbs to a secluded mountain meadow called Horsethief Park. Legend has it that horse thieves used the meadow as a hideout. Many trails here follow mountain streams and this one was no exception. We followed the stream to Horsethief Falls, an extraordinary cascade down a granite face. Water sliding like liquid poetry. I went to sit by the falls and noticed some more falls above it, climbed to those, and again, more falls above. I never did get to the top of all those falls. We also began the ascent to Pancake Rocks, a sandstone formation that looks like a towering stack of pancakes. As it was late, we did not make it all the way up but savored some fabulous views of the valley on the way. And absolutely no noise of civilization whatsoever. Then, and only then, can one really hear the song of the wind. It has such a beautiful voice in the trees...
I could go on forever, you know, trying to describe the serenity and unsurpassed beauty I see in the natural world but my words really cannot contain my experience...at least not yet.
From death to life... full circle.
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