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My Health – A Journey into Terrier Consciousness

allergies nutrition Jun 16, 2014

Here is an article I wrote a while ago for elephant journal:

Waylon has wanted me to write something for elephant journal for a while now.

While I appreciate that he enjoys my writing , I have been at a loss as to what to write about… until a friend on Facebook posted the above photo of me (2nd from the left) when I was 10 years old. Then something started to come together…

Sure I am a naturopathic doctor… I could write about that… Sure I spent time at an ashram and with spiritual teachers and learned a few things about myself… I could write about that… I have had a solid yoga practice for a while… yeah yeah yeah…
Boring, boring boring, blah, blah, blah…

Yet when I look at that photo I see myself as an emaciated child with multiple food allergies, a full head smaller than my friends who are pretty much the same age as me. But something in my facial expression is a harbinger of the journey I will undertake, first to health of the body, then the journey of the healing of the spirit. I call it “Terrier consciousness” in honor of the new Chihuahua mix named Nano that our family recently adopted from the Humane Society.

Nano weighs 6 pounds. He growls at big dogs who do not show him proper respect. I think that a certain ferocity is required for the healing journey. Though I am not sure if Nano knows that he is on a healing spiritual journey yet.

So all I can write about today is my own journey…

It began with wanting to feel better, happier, more energetic. In my early teens. I started to become obsessed with health food. I stopped eating crap. I slowly started to feel better. But there were residuals. I started exercising, I went to college, I started to do some yoga. I started feeling a little better still. Still residuals…

Going to naturopathic school led to an awareness of more things that needed healing. Physical things. Spiritual things. Karmic things. Off to the ashram I went, I meditated, I did intensive bodywork inside marble pyramids… some things improved thanks to the teacher, but no thanks to the ungrounded people I met within the community — the hangers-on, the needful, and yes, the corrupt. Well, perhaps thanks to them too, since they were my mirrors at the time. I tried a few other spiritual communities; similar story.

I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga , stopped eating gluten and dairy, started eating a little animal protein again after 20 years as a vegetarian, 5 of those as a vegan (yeah, I know I will get flack for that from the vegans, more on that and my own take on “ahimsa” another time)…

Now I am almost 50, climbing and skiing in the mountains, raising my family, pretty darn happy most of the time… healthy, vital…

Attention, focus, service.
Humility, sense of humor, asana.
Right diet, fresh air, exercise.
Sustainability, nurturing relationships, community — terrier consciousness.
Attention to the earthly existence, 2 feet planted firmly on the ground in Samastittihi.
Preparing the body for meditation, and then doing it.

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