Ella and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon in Manhattan, exploring Central Park, the Upper East side and enjoying a tasty dinner at Candle Cafe.
In the morning I met with patients, including a mom and daughter. What a wonderful mother’s day gift – the chance to bring attention to her mom’s body and health, the foods that are hindering, and those that can help, as well as an increased awareness for how stress impacts the immune and nervous systems, amongst others.
I’ve always begun any type of treatment, whether as midwife or naturopathic doctor, by asking my patients to share their awareness of what they are experiencing. (feel free to ask yourself these questions as you read)
“What symptoms are you experiencing? How does your body feel? What’s going on with your minds—alertness, sense of motivation, efforts to focus and concentrate and remember? What about your emotions and mood? Are you feeling anxious, depressed, irritable, volatile? When does it happen and what makes it feel better?”
What I always hope for, as treatment continues, is for my patients’ awareness to sharpen. I want them to notice how they are affected by what they eat, how differently they respond with different amounts of sleep, how their balance of hard work and leisure affects them.
I want them to fine-tune their sense of their bodies, their minds, and their emotions so that their awareness becomes ever more vivid and specific. I want their awareness to become so great that when they take any action that improves their health and well-being, they notice it and continue to do what works for them…and when they act in any way that disturbs their body’s synergy, creates symptoms, or makes them feel less well, they will notice that, too.
Why is awareness so central to my idea of mastering wellness? Because ultimately, my patients have to make their own decisions about their own health, every moment of their lives.
If I could give patients one simple formula that they could simply follow, maybe awareness would not be so important. But in fact, our relationship to life is always changing, always interacting with multiple factors.
To respond optimally, my patients must be at the center of their own experience, aware of what is happening in each moment and able to respond on the spot. Anything else is less than optimal.
I spoke with a patient today who had an experience of feeling anxious, achey and upset on mother’s day. She explained how helpful it was for her to be able to be aware not only of the symptoms, but also that those symptoms indicate that her adrenals are stressed. With that awareness, she was able to make choices to help her adrenals recover (rest, healthy food, licorice tea and nurturing).
The first step to improving our health is noticing when our body is indicating that it needs support. What is your body telling you?
Sending bouquets of gratefulness and awareness to you!