Friday, July 14, 2006

We have the power to decide

Recently I came across an excellent article by Gail R. Mitchell on self care. She finishes the article with the following lines:

“Our lives are so dear and precious. We can get stuck and distracted all over the place if we get caught in self-inflicted victim hood, putting the power in everyone and everything else but ourselves.”

The thing is, it is so easy to think we are ok that we do not even realize how we play the role of victims. I form part of self-support group that meets every Wednesday. Everyone has an opportunity to express his or her feelings after our group meditation. It is hilarious how almost everyone starts with the phrase- “Oh, I am ok”…. And continues talking and as he goes on everyone realizes that well, maybe our friend is not so ok.

Our levels of denial can be so high that many times it takes a tragic incident to waken us up. Many moons ago, when I was in my late teens, I came up with a case of allergic rhinitis. After going through a battery of standard medical treatments, I just kept getting worse, to the point that the specialist declared that my tonsils where the source of my problems. His recommendation: Lets get rid of them.

So I was scheduled for surgery. Because I had to wait two weeks for the operation room to be available I had time to come across an article in Surfer Magazine that recommended semi-vegetarian diets to heal. As I was not too happy about going into an operation room I decided I would try that. So after reading one article and without consulting anyone else (teenage bravado) I decided I would become a vegetarian.

Of course my mother protested immediately: “Where are you going to get your protein?” I can’t remember what I told her exactly but the bottom line is that I changed my diet completely. Lots of vegetables, no sugar, no salt, no salami or cold cuts, no hotdogs, hamburgers, white bread, no processed cheese, no Chef Boyardee and no SPAM. Oh! and I loved Spam. I still do! However my tonsils were more important and I became a radical in a couple of weeks. I started reading about vegetarian diets and became the family’s rabbit.

In one month my tonsils went back to normal and I was able to tell my mother: “See, I told you, do you believe now? I became so self-righteous about my success that I must have been very difficult to live with. However I saved myself from future years of self-inflicted agony. Now I can give thanks to my “bad” tonsils for the early warning signals that they gave me.

But I also want to thank the M.D. whose name I cannot remember, for his uninformed decision about my tonsils. Had he read something else besides the medical journals he could have suggested something else. I say thank him, because he gave me the opportunity to challenge his decision and exert my power. At an early age I realized that I had to get involved with my own healing.

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