This is a call to action!
Let’s recover, revitalize and prepare to build a body to last a lifetime.
Let’s age with our mental faculties sharp, our bodies mobile and our spirits strong. Don’t wait until it is too late. Start preparedness NOW.
Have you recently been ill, had unusual stress and in need of recovering, rebuilding and revitalizing your body, mind and soul? I have learned that it takes time to integrate a self care practice that serves all parts of us. Let’s step into our senior years with vitality, sharp mental faculties, a mobile body and a strong spirit.
Our senior years are the time when we have ripened to be full of wisdom. We have something to contribute, and our state of wisdom and leadership are what the world needs. Let's look ahead and prepare ourselves with a new vision of vitality so that we can enjoy the fruits of our lives, and serve in the way we know we can and know we want to. Our world needs healthy seniors.
My Story & My Year To Recover
It’s May 2018. I am 72 and I think I am healthy. I have been a life-long student of nutrition, metaphysics, and environmental issues, with a focus on agricultural practices and policies. As an author and activist, I have worked with the top scientists, authors and experts in the field of all things health related, including the health industry, it’s economics and the infrastructure that fosters the growing movement in the USA and abroad.
So what? Because my body is strong and I practice excellent self care, perhaps I think I am immortal, and I know it all. Really, 72? This does not seem old at all. I am rockin it without a thought of anything otherwise. I know what I am doing and why.
Then one day I feel as though I could be having a heart attack or something weird. that throws me a big curve. I can hardly breathe. I am going down. “Take me to the hospital,” I demand of the friend who is with me. After checking in they decide they want to keep me overnight, saying that at my age they need to monitor my heart and vitals over time. “No way, there is nothing wrong with me, really, me?” Yes, me.
I stay the night and I am fine despite trying to eat something they call food. I am a bit arrogant, and humbled all at once. Within the next month it happens three more times, yet I never spend the night again, thank God. By the time I get to the hospital or am in the ambulance all the symptoms of dizziness, rapid heart beat, and shortness of breath stop. They send me home thinking I might be hallucinating. I wish. Am I having panic attacks? My doctor asks if I am stressed? Who isn’t?
The fatigue that has taken over my body and now life is overwhelming, but all my vitals and tests are fine. Living the mystery I take leave from the job I had recently taken on. July 4th, 2018, a few months later, another birthday rolls around and I am with friends at my home, unable to spend this special day like I am used to. Suddenly a pain starts stabbing me in my back. “What the f’ was that?” It stopped. Then another came about 30 seconds later. This continued while worsening with intensity until my guests left. I dove into some old meds, and found an outdated Vicodin, took it and fell asleep. I wake up the next morning with an ugly rash from the left side of my spine, wrapping under my arm and across my left breast to my sternum. My heart center was encased in shingles. Although I was in pain I was not that concerned as I thought it would be over soon. At least something inside had erupted outside. Good? Not sure. Hope so.
July 5th, 2018 was the beginning of a nightmare that lasted several months and then took a year to fully recover. The entire experience transformed me. Any arrogance about being super healthy and immune to aging evaporated. Humility seeped into my pores, as desperate agony took over my life. In an already thin frame, I lost 15 pounds, and could hardly walk. The pain I experienced was deeper than the skin or anything I could feel physically. It was pain that lived in my soul, in every cell of my body. It scared me as I cried out for mercy in the middle of the night. This might sound overly dramatic. Trust me, I am only scratching the surface.
My story has significance in how I transpired during the next year, how I rebounded, and what it took to recover and build my body back to strength and vitality. Since it started on my 73rd birthday, it was an easy mark to say to myself, “On my 74th birthday, I am going to live in a rebuilt body, fully recovered and back to a renewed vitality. I knew there was no normal to go back to, but there was something new to learn, integrate and practice. I began looking ahead with a dedicated and prudent eye.
In retrospect, I wonder if I had not been as healthy as I was, would this have taken me out, because it sure took me down. As a health professional I realized several vital factors that are of value as we look toward healing, restoring our health and aging.
As most of us know, achieving health is an integrated job that includes the body, mind and soul. We have been saying it for years, but we are still learning what it means. Since I have been a spiritual seeking health food junkie for years, perhaps you would think that I should not get sick. My family and friends would say, “What’s wrong, you eat so healthy?”, like I should never have an ailment or trauma of any kind. There is still such a mystery to our existence in that we are all, no matter how committed and educated, treading in uncharted waters. None of have lived tomorrow yet, and we do not know what it will bring. The statistics for where we are headed are alarming. We must shift the vision of doom and become proactive in getting ready for vitality. For this reason I am embarking on a new course of preparedness to Aging With Vitality.
Let’s prepare ourselves for moving ahead and getting older . Because if we are lucky we will end up there. It is not so much about preventing a disease, in that it is preparing to live in a body that functions, is mobile, with a sharp mind and our evolutionary wisdom ready for sharing. We have something to give that our current culture is missing. We also have a life that has tremendous potential of joy, satisfaction and contentedness.
Many of our elders are demented, on medications and dulled down. They are dying in pain, many alone, weary and decaying. We are being deprived of the gift they could give, or as I would say now, we can give. We know so much now about health and life. This is the new opportunity to prepare ourselves for a vibrant old age where we are alert, vibrant, relevant and feeling good about ourselves.
I knew a lot of self care practices that I simply was not incorporating into my life. I had taken on a job that created a lot of stress for me in that it was new and different. Of course it was fun in ways, but also demanding. The stress it caused catapulted me into cutting corners, eating poorly, running my ass off, and abandoning my regular yoga and meditation practice. Skipping what I knew to do caused even more stress in that I felt bad and guilty that I was not doing what I knew I needed. I had been in business for myself for years, and thus developed a deep empathy and understanding for the 9-5 working population. I had fallen into their rut.
It is a shame that so much of our learning has to be experiential, but it seems it does. Health practitioners have been preaching to us for years what we need to do to stay healthy, but like me, many throw caution to the wind and make other things, that are actually less important, a priority in our lives. If we can incorporate an excellent self care practice then perhaps we won’t hit a crisis, or even if we do, it might not be as bad and we can recover faster and perhaps with far less pain and expense.
Self care, in this day and age, must come upfront and center in our daily lives if we want to avoid a life threatening disease and age well. Some of us, even with excellent self care might still need to undergo some major surgeries. This is another reason to prepare a strong body so that it can withstand a trauma or set back.
Below are some of the vital steps I took to recover and revitalize. I practice them in my life today as part of my continual preparedness package. They are the vital self care practices I will be covering in my upcoming programs.
Community - Ask for Help - Get Support
After a couple weeks of being down people kept asking, “Is there anything I can do?”. “Yes”, I would exclaim, but I could not manage the coordination of what was needed. Finally, in desperation, I asked one of my friends to coordinate an effort to help. I sent her a list of my needs, and a list of names and contact info. She took it over and before I knew it angels were at my door to clean, wash, cook and provide love, affection and body work. OMG, I let go and surrendered completely, something I had needed to do for a long time. As a single woman, I did not realize how independent I was and how much I relied on just “me”. Grateful, cannot even describe how I felt from the out pour of help and love I received. I felt held and supported, which is a vital part of the healing process. Word traveled and farmers I had worked with, stores, restaurants, and more showed up for me. When I got well, I gratefully wrote 38 Thank You notes.
We have to be able to ask for help when we need it, and have community around us. In fact, we should seek support before we need it. Studies show that when we are trying to achieve something we have an 85% more chance of success if we have support. Get support for whatever it is your are wanting to do if at all possible. I wanted to allow myself to completely surrender and feel what it felt like to let go, rest and not worry about a thing. I believe we all need to do this sometimes in our lives. Perhaps that is why we get sick in the first place. Allowing ourselves to be loved and cared for it vital. Even if you are not ill, become part of a community and socialize. This is vital to your physical (including your brain), mental and emotional health.
I would like to hit this one hard. Eat organic food, no GMO food, and eat from the Earth and not the Factory. Simple.
I chose the Medical Medium’s diet and here is why. Many people referred me to Michael William’s book, the Medical Medium when the breakdown and fatigue hit me. I could not read, so I listened on Audible. He opened a whole new world to me, which was funny in that I thought I knew it all. His diet has become a way of life for me that I enjoy. I believe it is because it is focused on what to eat, not what not to eat. There is a purpose to putting wonderful nutrient dense food, and lots of it into your body.
In his book, he speaks to autoimmune diseases, including Shingles, so of course, it resonated with me. I believed him and my body loved the food. If anyone wants to lose weight, this diet is for you. It is a way of life diet that is so easy to follow. In a nutshell, all things plant and animal are allowed with the exception of eggs, dairy, most grains and all processed foods. It is such a pleasure to enjoy an abundant variety of fruits again, and things like dates, real sugars like honey and maple syrup in moderation (these are real foods). It works if you are a vegan or meat eater. The layers are important to know, so I recommend a read or listen on Audible. I find his story, and the stories in his book to be fascinating and believable in that there is remarkable healing. There are many recipes on my Blog and I go into more depth of why I love this diet.
There are variations of the Keto diet, the Paleo, the vegan and whole foods plant based diets. They vary with carbohydrate and fat allotment. I like choosing my protein of choice first, and building my meal out from there with lots of plants. If you are a vegan. The protein choice might be beans or tofu. If you are a meat eater, then it might be chicken or fish. From there a variety of vegetables are recommended no matter what diet you choose. Then your fat allowance comes in. Variations depend on the person, their age, activity, lifestyle, finances, and their likes, dislikes and principles. There does not seem to be one size that fits all, yet the basics remain the same: Eat from the Earth and not the factory. My advice is to become educated, watch your body, and adjust until you find what is right for you. This is what I love helping people discover. Eating whole foods can be transformative.
Detoxing & Supplements
The Medical Medium suggests many supplements, which sort of blew me away. There were more than I could handle, so I chose carefully and intuited which ones to start with. Over time, I came to know what was most important, particularly for detoxing the liver from medications and heavy metals. There is much to say in this area, yet it can be made simple if you understand the importance of continually detoxing your body and supplying it with the nutrition it needs. I have a blog post coming on a few of my favorite ways to detoxify and nourish that can easily be put into your daily regime.
Emotional Clearing - Staying Present
The emotional pain that erupted from my body during my late night crying sessions was deep. This is extremely personal which I will get to in another Blog post. What is important is that we must keep our emotions moving instead of letting them stick inside our cells. Trust me, everyday we have feelings about one thing or another, fears underlying many of our actions, quiet thoughts, worry for loved ones, and/or ourselves. We are human, and the human experience feels things all day long. It is vital to journal, or sing your shit out loud. Dance it, express it, let it flow through you. If anyone has read Dr. John Sarno’s books (The Mind Body Prescription, or Healing Back Pain), where he cites the curing of thousands of people with back pain, you will gain a conceptual understanding of how vital it is to move your emotional energy.
Movement and Breathing
I am shocked at how many people slump over and have weak solar plexus, even those who exercise and work out regularly. They might build some muscle and look good, but their spines are not straight nor are they flexible or mobile. A mobile spine, I believe, is the key to healthy organs. It is vital to keep a healthy mobile spine as we age so we can move, stay free of pain and hold ourselves upright. Kundalini Yoga is my favorite. way to move, revitalize my organs and tissues, refresh my breath, and calm my mind. I received my Yoga Teacher Certification in many practices of yoga, with the exception of Kundalini. When I discovered Kundalini, my entire world changed. All yoga is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but including fire breath and some rapid, repetitive movements stimulates fresh blood and oxygen to all our organs, connective tissues, bones, and brain while stimulating a vibrant energetic attitude. In addition, it is one of the best ways to stimulate the mitochondria.
This was the first thing I learned to actually do everyday. I did not realize that I did not meditate as I knew how to and I used to, so somewhere in me, I thought I meditated. Gosh, we fool ourselves. Meditation, in addition to dancing, singing, having great sex, or laughing your brains out, is one of the best ways to alleviate stress that has accumulated in the body and mind. When your mind relaxes your entire body settles down and it is your opportunity to check in as well as check out. The Alpha state helps to reduce depressive symptoms and stimulate creative thinking. It is a great way to reduce your stress and reverse some of the damage caused by stress. Using some mind control techniques, once you have sufficiently taken your brain waves to an Alpha state you can begin to program your cells in a conscious way. There are countless studies of the benefits of meditating. Just 15 minutes a day will do you wonders.
Oh my, is there such a thing? Can we control this little monster that fuels us with non-truths? Yes, I do believe we can, but it does take practice. It is a skill that takes cultivating and inquiry. There is so much we do not know about our world, ourselves, and our bodies. But, we do know that the mind has a power we most likely under utilize for our benefit, and over utilize for our detriment. Along with my meditation practice I learned some mind control techniques that can aid us in creating a fulfilling a vision. It is the ticket to living on purpose.
Thank you for being a part of my world, for keeping me on my toes and for the inspiration to learn how to share what I have learned. I appreciate all of you. We learn from each other. So, let’s stay connected.
I will be going into much more depth within all the above areas and even more as they arise. Stay tuned.
Are you curious? Do you need some direction? Contact me for a complimentary consultation. Together we can discover your most vital next steps. Susan@ChefTeton.com. Or, leave a comment below.