Testimonies of Nature

Now that the world is silent for a moment, may we again hear the cries of the wind, the whispers of the trees, and the cadence of the river, all, and at once, singing the song of their Creator, the source of trembling power and unexpected life.

Firestone Friday: Poem XXI

A powerful freedom

exists in knowing

that your identity,

your unchanging essence,

and your inextricable value,

do not rest

in production,

so whether you produce

triumphs or failures

or nothing at all,

you remain

as richly radiant

as you always have.

Ashes

It was

when I was

dust

that

I was

given the

embrace of life,

so I cry

into the wind,

“I can

scarcely

wait

to be

dust again.”

Firestone Friday: Poem XV

Consumed by deadlines.

Buried in unmet dreams.

Burdened by rejections

that press me farther downstream.

From beneath the water,

I greet the stones with a grin,

for it takes water in your ears,

to hear the voice within.

The Whisperer makes to speak,

and tells the wearied me,

that the things for which I labor

hold not my identity.

The essence, the potentialities,

the soul, and the heart,

your daily triumphs and your failures

hold not even part.

Ricochet

I ricochet

between

the feelings of

depravity

— the shame

of seeing God

yet still

choosing myself —

and the majesty

of there ever

being a moment

during which

self-interest

was conquered

at all.

How we

are irredeemable

and redeemed,

all at once.

Are You Suffering?

beach

That’s like me asking you if you’re staring, glossy-eyed into your phone. Of course you are, right?

We’re all suffering from something, because this world stubbornly refuses to pander to our needs — depression, arthritis, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, skin conditions, PTSD, digestive disorders, and sufferings unto infinity. We’re all burdened by physical, emotional, and spiritual frailty.

It’s good and bad, isn’t it, that all of those things are so deeply connected? When we struggle mentally, our bodies are without energy and health, and when we struggle physically, our minds just can’t operate. The good thing is this: healing and redemption, then, can flood all of our being. Making healthy choices, honoring our bodies, and pursuing a higher life washes over the full of us. When we pursue health, our entire being can’t help but to be redeemed.

Honoring our bodies

Sometimes, it feels like there isn’t much here to honor, right? Wrong! As frustrating (and disappointing) as they can be, our bodies are of incredible value. What else lets you consume an entire chocolate cake and somehow come out alive? Or who let’s you stay up all night, throwing back cold ones and then still wakes you up in the morning? Your body is your most loyal and forgiving companion.

And we can do better for it. Let’s make decisions a little better each day, choosing life over lethargy. Reach for the nutritious food, rewarding your body for getting you this far. Conquer your cravings by falling in love with new, super foods.

Yes, you know what’s next: exercise. Walk to the coffee shop to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Better yet, walk with a friend during lunchtime or after work. (Truly, you wouldn’t believe the health benefits of companionship. Here is a great Ted Talk about the incredible effects of companionship.)

Pursue health by making small, achievable steps each day to build a life that is both more uplifting and more fulfilling. You know it’s real, because you always feel better (and are better) after you exercise or go a full day eating according to plan. So let’s go.

Understanding health

What I hear most from people reluctant to embrace a healthier life is the misunderstanding of what it means to make healthy choices. It isn’t starving, it isn’t boring, and it isn’t a waste of time. It’s creating a menu of new, nutritious food, it’s self-care, and it’s rewarding.

Avoiding common offenders like gluten, dairy, preservatives, and chemicals and fueling your body with the nutrition it needs allows your body to overcome much of our suffering. When we’re burdened by physical and mental ailments, our bodies are crying out for relief. Let’s give it to them.

Here are some ideas to consider as you build a better, more fulfilling life:

  1. Eat healthy — no, I’m not talking about eating grass. I’m talking about local, farm-raised meats, eggs, and raw milk, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi.
  2. Exercise — get out there and explore a little.
  3. Sleep well — for probably the first time, make sleep a priority. It’s actually one of the most important parts of your day (yes, I mean night!).
  4. Relax and enjoy life — practice deep breathing, make time to read a book or watch your favorite TV show, eat slowly and savor your food, and cherish the people around you.

That sounds like a pretty good life, right? As our bodies heal, so too do our minds. May you find yourself more at peace.

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This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden.