Choose Your Path
I have been struck by the beauty of an azalea that is just now blooming outside my door.
It is a late bloomer... The rest of the azaleas have already exploded in a well-timed orchestration of color: whites along the driveway, reds around the house, pinks in the courtyard, each coming in and out of bloom in accord with the early springtime clock. They've already donned their more modest green cloaks of summer. But this variegated pink and white azalea blooms to its own clock, its own rhythm, its own frequency.
It is the quintessential soloist, a loner: it has its own color, timing, beauty and pitch. It stands out of the crowd and expresses its beauty now, a month after the rest of the azaleas have already faded.
For so many of us, the idea of stepping out of sync with the larger part of society is unthinkable. Much of this is conditioning. Sometimes we don't know that there is any other way. Sometimes we are afraid to be different, to potentially face social ridicule or banishment; at other times we are so attached to the superiority of our world view that we reject the possibility of any other offering a better alternative.
Yet, when it comes to reclaiming control and ownership of our health, we may have to step onto a different path.
It can be tempting to turn our journey over to another: surely they know better what we should do. But, we are always our own healer. Whether we follow a western healing journey or an eastern healing journey, or we choose our own path and integrate healing modalities from many traditions, we are our own healer. When we cut ourselves, the body heals the wound; stitches may help the body's self-healing; but the body does the healing. So, what can we do to support our self-healing and on-going health?
The eastern model of health posits that we have both an energy body and a physical body that are inextricably linked. If we improve the quality and quantity of our energy, smooth the transport mechanism and pathways for that energy through the body; then the physical body's self-healing ability and overall health will improve. All facets of our life affect our health: the quality and quantity of food we eat; the exercises that we choose; the music, books and movies that we select; the environment that we surround ourselves with; the people that we spend time with. In each of these areas we have choices. In each of these areas we can ask: Does this food, activity, environment support the improvement of the quality and quantity of my essential energy? Will it help me to rebuild, strengthen and transform my health and wellbeing?
When the answer to these questions is no, we have the option to choose a new way of living. We can choose a gradual or a radical transition. We can choose to moderate none, some or all of these aspects of our lives. We are the conductors of our healing journey. When we choose to step onto our own path we become like this azalea: a soloist in the chorus of life. At first it can be a bit frightening to assert the independence of choosing a different path, but with practice our skill at hearing and providing support to the body improves and we become comfortable in the knowledge that we are doing what is best for us.