Reflections from a Naturopathic Doctor
Sacramento, CA- Being healthy, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, and physically, has been important to me, as early as I can remember. As a runner, I always felt that I had an advantage because of my extra energy, bounce in my step, unending endurance, adaptability, etc. I felt I could do anything.
A while back, having practiced Naturopathic Medicine for 15 years, and being an extreme, and some might say, an “insane” long distance runner of 50-60,000 lifetime miles, I was contemplating, long and hard, how best I could reach the heart of the average American to care about their health through living a healthy lifestyle. I have always wanted every human being to be optimally healthy, because, I would think, why would anyone not choose to be healthy if they really knew how much of a difference it made (that is if they had the financial means to do so).
During this soul-searching, it dawned on me:
Because of my never give up attitude and discipline from running, I have always thought of myself as being pretty tough, both mentally and physically, but, the truth is, one of the reasons I have worked so hard to stay healthy is because I am afraid to get sick and be at the mercy of the conventional medical system, and their painful, expensive, de-humanizing biopsies, colonoscopies, side-effect laden pharmaceutical drugs, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all of the amazing things that mainstream medicine can do, I just don’t want to end up there because I didn’t take care of myself. I love the saying, “if I knew that I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself. “
I have to admit, pride will not allow me to not have the necessary discipline to not take care of myself. As a person of faith, and life-long calling to advocate for social justice, and defend those without power or a voice, and protect a magnificent, but fragile planet, I have always wanted to be in a position, health-wise, to help others, instead of others having to spend their time and energy helping me. I want to inspire others, as former President Jimmy Carter has inspired me, to live a healthy life and be of service to others. All of this is not possible if I have eaten, or not exercised, or have not forgiven my way, step by step, into an early grave.
The Naturopathic Doctor profession has allowed me, and thousands of other women and men, to help ourselves be healthier, so that NDs are able to help patients to transform their health by identifying and treating the causes of poor health, by trusting the body’s wisdom to heal, encouraging healing of the WHOLE person, and preventing disease.
I can honestly say, there is no journey that I would have rather have taken than becoming a Naturopathic Doctor. I love the saying from the Hebrew Scriptures, “I have put before you life and death, choose LIFE!”
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