I find the whole “This food prevents cancer” and “That food causes cancer” mentality to be incredibly unhelpful in my day to day life. I don’t believe that there will ever come a day when I am immune to the perils of a human existence.
I can eat organic kale till my poop turns green, but that doesn’t mean a thing if my overall relationship with my body is unhealthy. I can live a picture perfect lifestyle–go to the gym every day, walk when I can, eat organic, go raw, do yoga, meditate daily–and still be abusing my body.
A healthy goal for me these days is being truly mindful of my personal relationship with my body, including my relationship to my thoughts, emotions, sensations, and any and all other layers of experience arising from being in a body.
Sometimes I even imagine that I am sitting across from my body at a dinner table, having a conversation with her. That conversation might go something like:
“You are such an amazing creation. I can’t even fathom the miracle that you are. You have probably gotten and beaten cancer 10 times already without me even being aware of it. Wow, thank you. You have probably been exposed to hundreds of nasty viruses that you fought off without me even noticing. You balance out all the fungus, bacteria and carcinogens that you are exposed to every day. You are doing that right now, as I sit here and breathe this toxic air. Thank you.
“You created an entire human, and then pushed it into the world. You’ve been cut open multiple times, and then sealed yourself back together. Good god, how you even do that, I have no clue…but thank you. Your intelligence is something I could never even scratch the surface of understanding. I am in awe of how you work.
“I am so sorry for all the times those multiple virus attacks pushed you over the edge and I experienced uncomfortable symptoms, and I cursed you, and kicked you when you were down. I am so sorry that I didn’t remember how hard you were fighting for our survival.
“I am so grateful for how hard you work to keep things homeostatic, no matter where in the world I am running off to. And I cherish the moments when we are both feeling good, and can enjoy the intimacy of just breathing.
“I know one day you and I will have to part ways. Like a Tibetan sand Mandala you will whoosh away into dust, and I will soar free, apart from you. But until then, I cherish our time together, old friend. Thank you so much for all you do, you are a perfect and beautiful mystery. I love you.”
It wasn’t always like this, however. My current relationship to my body is the result of a complete and total transformation, from the ground up. Every aspect of it has changed over the years.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I was in a full-on abusive relationship with her before, without even realizing it. I would constantly pressure her to be healthy the way I thought she should be, without even considering her own intelligence. I never listened to her. And if I could no longer ignore her because she was screaming her metaphoric head off, I’d yell at her and call her names. I feel very humbled now, looking back.
I am grateful she is so forgiving, and that we are friends again.