TAKING CARE OF MY RAW TEMPLE
We are powerful beyond imagination when we replace human needs with the desire for spiritual growth and enduring joy. The less we need, the richer we are? Looking closely at my health, my wallet, and my children… It sounds like a fabulous plan.
She held my left wrist on the inner side where my green and purple veins show through. Her stillness and attention made me hold my breath. “The pulse of your liver is weak”, my acupuncturist told me gently.
Why was I not surprised? For the last year and a half, I had been drinking practically every single day. The need to unwind and detach myself from my world of divorce led me to use alcohol as a way to cope with the tension and the dark days. My justification was that I drank moderately without it interfering in my life. Now I had some physical evidence of how it was affecting me.
“The pulse from you kidney is also low”, she told me. Multiple coffees every day were also to blame. My lifestyle made me tired so I needed lattes to keep me going. Lying on my back in her office I suddenly became aware of my self-inflicted harm. Why am I doing things that damage my body? I should stop for a while, I told myself. The Chinese medicine woman suggested I do a detox in a few weeks once I had reduced the consumption of the detrimental alcohol and coffee. Right after my session, I drove to Whole Foods to buy the recommended kit: three small bottles of natural ingredients would clean my body of all the accumulated toxins. I marked the initiation date of the treatment in my calendar.
That evening I eyed the bottles of Smirnoff ice as I walked past the beverage center with its inviting glass doors. My legs slowed down and I scolded them for not collaborating with my intention of having a dry spell. Another time I caught myself unconsciously opening the door and kneeling down to pull out a bottle. The temptation was strong and the downside of just one drink seemed insignificant. I remembered my promise and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. The satisfaction of accomplishing my goal at the end of the day was immense because I realized that the challenge was actually harder than I initially imagined.
What is desire but a reminder that we are trapped in human form? Alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Tobacco. Caffeine. Material goods. Any addiction. We fall prey to petty needs throughout the day without realizing how they control our lives, how they keep us away from facing our fears and anxieties straight on. Many times we can’t go on without a drink, without the puff of a cigarette or without buying something. We believe coffee is absolutely necessary to stay awake. I didn’t realize I was trapped by alcohol and coffee until I tried to live without these vices and the effort was beyond my imagination.
How can I expect true love to be in my life if I can’t love and take care of myself? Recognizing my weaknesses is the start of my journey to break free from the blind impulses created by my basic human desires. It is the start of truly loving myself and treating my body as a temple through which divinity can flow.
Set a goal to have healthier habit. Focus on the alternative rather than that which you want to avoid. Sometimes it’s easier to do just one at a time. See what your personality and lifestyle can handle.
Write it down and share it with a friend or family member to reinforce your commitment.
Congratulate yourself for one more day of success. Do not add guilt when you relapse into an old way, let love flood that part of you which needs the light.
I love you! I love me! Let’s do it.