Friday, May 4, 2012

The Things I Think Of In The Bathtub

I used to work in a gym that was Female Oriented and celebrated a Total Lack of Quality Exercise in a Rapid and Condensed Amount of Time. (There are a few of 'em out there, but they're all the same, really. It's like the difference between Pepsi and Coke; it's still carmel-colored bug-dissolver and engine degreaser.) During a tour of the club for one prospective client, I motioned to the bulletin board we had by the front desk that we updated monthly with different exercises and posts on natural ways of achieving and maintaining health. One such article was about the benefits of frequent baths-- increasing circulation, processing metabolic wastes, relaxing tense muscle tissues, promoting rest and well-being, etc.-- and the number of simple ways they could be enhanced-- epsom salts, essential oils, apple cider vinegar, orange and/or lemon slices or extracts.

Apparently, this was her bathtub...
I can see why she didn't like baths
She looked at me like I was suggesting she smear her skin with human excrement and sit on her front lawn to attract leeches.

Her exact words to me were (and I remember them because they burned their way into my brain as I fought, with every ounce of willpower, to maintain eye contact and bury the overwhelming urge to laugh in her face when she said them), "Why would I want to soak myself in my own filth?"

My first question: What the HELL are you doing during your day that makes you so freakin' dirty?!

She then went on to praise public pools and hot tubs because they had things like chlorine and anti-bacterials in them, and were therefore safer... ahem, safer... on porous human skin than water, salt, or, god forbid, sweat.

My second question: What the HELL color is the sky on your planet?!

This understanding that humans are fully capable of surviving without the interference of modern synthetic chemicals is not unique to Paleo. It's embraced by all functions covered under the homeopathic umbrella, not to mention highly regarded in many religious or spiritual disciplines. Paleo applies it more towards food and the conditions of its growth than anything, but try a Google search of some natural remedies or common illnesses/symptoms with "paleo" as part of the string: there are endless discussion boards and articles about efforts extending well beyond food.

And this mindset is exactly what I dislike about modern society; we are so willing to embrace medicine and chemicals when they tend to cause more disease and suffering than they fix, yet thumb our noses at treatments and cures that have been proven effective over the course of millions of years. Just because it's 'modern' doesn't mean it's 'safer' or 'more effective'. I will happily, if not eagerly, admit that there are thousands of life-saving procedures and safe-guards available through modern scientific breakthroughs; I for one will skip the acupuncturist in the event of being mauled by a bear and go right to the hot ambulance guys in the tight-fitting uniforms. But often times, these 'life-saving procedures' are recommended as the first line of defense or correction when all it really takes is an examination of lifestyle factors like sleep habits, dietary habits, exercise habits, and so on. Yes, certain efforts to make things sanitary and sterilized result in a longer lifespan for the population at large. But look at how much of our country is drug-dependent and draining the system in an effort to preserve a poor quality of life over a longer period of time, and tell me that that is effective.

Mmmm... adult candy...
Maybe that's the whole point: it's easier and more convenient to take a pill than to change your life. Changing your life means you have to first realize that it's not working for you now, which points out your own faults... you made the wrong choices. Then there's the tedious examination of the portions of your life that need to be altered, and then the actual breaking-of-bad-habits... just gimmie the Vicodin instead and we'll call it good!

I am nowhere near as good at this as I'd like to be (but that's only because I'm a self-chastising perfectionist), but as far as I know, this is the only life I get to live. I'd rather not waste time being flagrantly unhealthy because to change would be (seemingly) too hard. (I say this whilst laughing at myself because of where I am in my professional and spiritual journey... rock bottom, and am having a hard time summoning up any sense of bravery to put my money where my mouth is.)

What I can attest to is that I was once bloated, always in some form of pain or discomfort with my body, and didn't want to admit that the simple solutions that were right in front of me, next to me, behind me, and in all ways surrounding me were the ones I should try. But once I realized that I wasn't a complete moron for turning a blind eye to this, and in fact worthy of something better, things changed. It wasn't overnight because nothing worthwhile ever is, but it was faster than I knew, and more expansive than I anticipated.

Please, please, pretty please... ignore magazine ads and infomercials that offer you amazing results in the blink of an eye. They are selling you something; chances are, they're gonna lie. Instead, I beg you, understand that you are fully capable of healing and living at the same time. Hell, they support each other! To live well keeps your body in a constant state of self-repair, and to use that natural healing ability is to fuel the reason to stay alive.

Be a human 'being', not a human 'inanimate object'!

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