My 2012 started off with disease, drugs, and death but that's not how it ended. Here are five powerful wellness lessons I learned this past year:
1. Cancer blows.
Cancer hit my 91-year-old grandmother (pictured) just about this time last year. She died four months later. My grandmother was like a second mother to me. She was spiritually strong, she was vibrant, she was active (she even did yoga), but cancer came and I saw her disintegrate right in front of my own eyes. My father dropped dead from a heart attack at age 46, and my best friend died suddenly at 27, and then there was 9/11... Dealing with death is never easy, but what I learned this year is that watching someone die slowly is more painful than losing someone suddenly. And what's the king of slow death? Cancer. Cancer blows. Cancer sucks. Fuck Cancer. This horrible disease is one of the reasons why we do what we do here - because you know what? A lot of cancer can be prevented through lifestyle and diet. Finding a cure would, of course, be incredible, but stopping it from ever rearing its ugly head in our bodies would be better.
2. Before you take any medication, no matter how trivial, ask questions.
My wife, Colleen, nearly died in May from a pulmonary embolism, which is when blood clots get caught in the lungs. The main culprit? The pill. (Yes, the birth control pill.) The odds of this happening to anyone are extremely extremely low. But it happens. And if you're on the pill then you should read my wife's post here.
3. Don't completely shit on Western medicine.
Eastern medicine is one of the most incredible healing and preventative tools we have in our health toolkit. It can help you feel your body like you'e never felt before. It can cure incurable disease. But sometimes there's a time for Western medicine. Western medicine can be an amazing diagnostic tool. Western medicine can save your life. It saved my wife earlier this year. Western medicine helped diagnose a parasite in my stomach. After feeling incredibly awful for a few weeks and trying every herb and asana in the book to no avail, I turned to my health care gurus (led by Dr. Frank Lipman, MD) and found out that I had a parasite. Thanks to Western medicine, I had the medicine to kill it. I'm totally fine now but how the hell did I get a parasite? Well, most likely through contaminated food somewhere/somehow, but I absolutely believe that stress can manifest, and can weaken our immune system - and stress may have played a small part in my stomach issues...which is my next point.
4. Don't try to outsmart stress, embrace it, listen to it, and deal with it.
One of my favorite lines from Seane Corn is "The mind forgets but the body doesn't." We have amazing health care tools such as yoga, meditation, food, acupuncture ... the list is endless. But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, stress finds its way into our bodies. Stress is a part of life. Everyone has it. Try to be mindful of it. Listen to your body. If you're feeling off, take notice. Take a step back and ask yourself what's going on in your life? What part of your body is feeling something? Check out what the chakras have to say about that area of your body or dig around on MBG to see if there's any info here that might be helpful. Don't try to outsmart stress, embrace it, listen to it, and deal with it.
5. The MBG Community is powerful.
Margaret Meade famously said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Well, we're not so small anymore. Our incredible growth here at MBG this past year made this crystal clear. Our readers and our contributors are thoughtful and committed. They (you!) are the best in the world. Meade would be proud. We can change wellness globally. In fact, this is already happening. I see it in the countless emails I receive, in the incredible thoughtful posts our editorial team sifts through, and the thousands of thoughtful comments that flood facebook. Together we are a powerful group of wellness warriors who are making change.
We have tons of amazing goodness coming down the pipeline in 2013. Grab your yoga mat, sip that green juice, and fasten your seatbelts, 2013 is going to be one helluva healthy ride.