Back to Normal?
How soon will I get back to my normal life, my normal way of being?
This is a common question I hear from clients who have developed a serious illness. For some, "normal" means returning to an 80-hour work week. For others, "normal" means juggling a job, raising children and managing unhealthy relationships - or eating whatever they want without considering the effect of certain foods on their bodies. I remember one woman complaining that she could no longer eat a McDonald’s fish sandwich or macaroni and cheese without experiencing a storm of symptoms. This was the normal she wanted to return to.
Although we all ask this question when we're not feeling well, there is much we can learn from illness - to slow down and take better care of ourselves, to eat a healthier diet, perhaps cutting out things like sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol in exchange for feeling better. Some clients who have learned the lessons of an illness say they don't want to go back to their old way of working, eating and living because they feel these patterns were making them sick.
Illness in the body is a signal that something is out of balance. Chronic stress - long-term overwork, poor eating habits, toxic relationships, etc. - can weaken the system and allow dormant issues to come forward or new conditions to get started. The lesson in maintaining our individual health is always to look deeper - at the whole picture of a person's life and experience - and do our best to address the elements that are out of alignment.
Like many of us, our planet is sick because of our way of living - too much waste, greed, pollution and destruction of natural resources. At this moment, we are putting all of our attention on eliminating a virus that has surfaced, but this effort will mean very little in the long run if we do not explore what's out of balance with our planet. What must we change to create equilibrium in our own lives, in our communities, in nature?
Our aim should not be to return to pre-pandemic life and business as usual. Now is the time for those who understand the deeper imbalances in our world - who have a different vision for the future - to speak, to step up and lead the way into a new, healthier "normal." If you have recovered from a serious illness by making profound personal changes, you know that the work of healing is not political, moral or ethical. It is the work of survival.
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