In my last post I challenged you to examine who you’re trusting. In chiropractic we have a saying, “The power that made the body, heals the body.” Are you trusting in that power to heal you and keep you healthy? Or are you putting your faith and trust in man (your doctor, medication, surgery, chemotherapy, etc.)?
Listen, I know that for most of you, learning to trust your body’s ability to heal is a completely new concept. For so long you’ve been told that your body is weak and defective. You’ve been told that it doesn’t know how to fight an infection without medication, give birth without intervention, heal from injury without help, or digest your food properly. I understand that for me to come along and tell you that your body is amazing, that you are extraordinary, that you were made for complete and total health, that when you experience a symptom it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is “wrong” that needs to be “fixed” may seem a little weird. I get that. I was there. Totally. Let me share a little bit of my story and maybe you can see where I’m coming from.
I was a fairly sick child – teenager, really. I’m not really sure why (it doesn’t really matter, though, does it?), but I started to experience a lot of health challenges once I reached high school. I would go from sinus infection to sinus infection, strep throat to strep throat. In one winter I had walking pneumonia along with several bouts of sinus infections and strep throat, all of which I was given antibiotics for. In fact, I was given so much penicillin and erythromycin that I developed allergies to both of them. I’m pretty sure I had my first of 3 sinus surgeries during that year and I was told that I was one episode of strep throat away from having my tonsils removed. As if that wasn’t enough, I got to begin my spring with mono. Lucky me. I missed so much school that year that they almost didn’t let me move on with my class. And so cemented my high school saga.
My heart goes out to my mother. I can only imagine how helpless she must have felt watching her child get sick over and over again. She did what she thought was best for me. With every fever, every cough, every white spot on my tonsils, every tissue full of green snot she took me to the doctor where they did what they thought was best for me. They prescribed antibiotics and when that failed, they recommended surgery. I can’t fault anyone for that period of my life. Everyone involved in caring for me had nothing but my best interests at heart. I truly believe that. Unfortunately for me, there was no one in my life who really understood WHY I kept getting so sick, and more importantly, HOW I could support my body so that it could heal and keep me well.
The sad thing is that during this time I wasn’t getting adjusted. My mom started taking my brother and I to a chiropractor when we were about 9 or 10. After we’d been seeing him for a while (few years, maybe) he changed his technique and my mom didn’t like it (honestly, she didn’t understand it and he never took the time to explain it to her), so she stopped going, which meant we stopped going. I truly believe that had I been getting adjusted during my high school years, I would have had a completely different experience.
Anyway, this pattern continued into college and early adulthood. I would get a sinus infection and immediately treat it with antibiotics. I would get a migraine and immediately reach for the Advil or Alleve. I started getting adjusted again once I got to college, but only a few times per year. You see, I played rugby in college and so I knew enough about chiropractic to know that rugby probably wasn’t all that great for my spine and I should probably be checked and adjusted at the end of each season. Smart, huh? NOT!
But then along came chiropractic school. And I thank God every single day that I chose the school I did and that I had the teachers I did. Wow! What an eye-opener. I FINALLY started to get a glimpse into WHY I kept getting sick. I started to learn about the vital brain-body connection. I learned how without that connection, it was impossible for me to be truly healthy. If I wanted to function at 100% (as I was designed to do), then I needed to have that connection. I also started to learn about how the body works. I learned about fevers and their purpose. I learned that a fever is my body’s first line of defense against a viral or bacterial infection. I learned that it was my body’s good and perfect way of dealing with a stressful situation. I learned about why we get stuffy and runny noses. I learned that a cough was my body’s attempt to expel something that shouldnt’ be there (i.e. bacteria or virus). I learned that I got run down and low-energy because my body was working really hard at fighting an infection. I started to really gain an appreciation for just how amazing my body was. All my life I thought fevers were something to be “fought,” not embraced. I thought coughs were to be suppressed, not celebrated. I thought mucus was to be dried up, not applauded. My entire paradigm shifted once I got to chiropractic school.
I started to see all of my symptoms as my body’s attempt to restore balance and harmony, instead of as a defect. I began to embrace my symptoms and started to see them as signs that I was alive, that my body was working and that it was doing EXACTLY what it needed to be doing in that situation. Whenever I started to not feel well, I would stop myself from saying that I was “sick,” and began to say that I was “expressing health.” That little shift in thinking made all the difference in the world for me. Instantly, I would start to feel a little better. I started to feel empowered and in control.
Then, my world really changed when I finally realized that I was in control of my health. Once I started to realize that I could make choices every day that would make my body stronger and a more powerful fighter and better able to handle all types of stress, then I really turned a corner. Every day that I chose to get checked by my chiropractor or not, every day that I chose to eat fresh, live, whole foods or not, every day that I chose to exercise or not, every day that I chose to go to bed early or not, every day that I chose to have quiet prayerful time or not, every day that I chose to focus on what was good in my life instead of what was wrong, were all days that I chose to get a little stronger and a little healthier. Without even realizing it, I started to focus on adding in to my life was what necessary for my body to function optimally. By making choices that were helping my body be strong and healthy, I was naturally displacing the behaviors and attitudes that were keeping me down.
I learned to trust my body. I became so empowered. As I started to add things into my life that were beneficial and that strengthened me, I started to experience fewer and fewer symptoms. I had fewer and fewer sinus infections. My migraines became a thing of the past. I got more energy and more confident in my body’s ability to handle what came at it. Most importantly for me, though, was that I learned to trust and appreciate my symptoms. I no longer felt like medication was the only answer for me. Instead, I would embrace the symptoms for what they really were – signs that my body was working as it should – and focus on giving my body what it needed to best do it’s job. And really, that’s all it needed and all it will ever need.
What can you add to your life today that will help you Live Life and THRIVE?