By Sherrin Fitzer
My mental, physical and spiritual health is important to me.
I read many different books and articles and consult with a variety of doctors and friends. Not obsessively by any means, but I like to have a variety of opinions to consider. This is not meant to be one of those articles that I see so often that suggests “Oh we get contrary information all of the time about whether something is healthy for us so we may as well not do anything at all. We’re going to die anyway.”
I like these ideas and try to implement many into my life. I just find that there do not seem to be enough hours in the day to do them all.
One of Deepak Chopra’s books suggested a nice sesame oil massage before my shower. Oil pulling is also recommended. Andrew Weil has a wealth of wonderful suggestions in his books. Among them are breathing exercises, keeping fresh flowers in your house and taking a Chinese herbal supplement. Fleet Maul recommends drinking half of your body weight in water each day. My Ayurvedic doctor does not think I need as much water and suggests a tea made of fennel and cumin seeds daily.
And don’t forget: do you want to drink hot lemon water or apple cider vinegar to start your day?
I of course meditate every day and am trying to squeeze exercise in. When I told my gynecologist proudly that I was doing a half hour of aerobic activity daily, all he said was: “Well you have to get weight bearing exercises in there as well.”
In addition to the recommendations above I want to cook healthy, organic meals. I want to read amazing books. I want to write and see friends. I want to see films and plays.
Sleeping would be good.
But there are these pesky little things that can get in the way. I have to go work 40 hours a week and have a 40 minute commute each way to my job. There is the house to clean, laundry to do and groceries to buy. I can’t seem to get my fur-babies to help out with any of these tasks as hard as I have tried.
What’s a busy Buddhist woman to do? (Besides sitting on the couch eating pizza while watching Buffy reruns that is).
The Buddha said to take nothing on faith. He advised each person to experience things for themselves. He stressed that people should not just take the word of some teacher or text, but should directly observe their inner and outer worlds to see what was true.
So the first step for me I guess is acceptance—acceptance that as much as I would like to, I cannot implement all of these wonderful healthy activities in my daily life.
Then comes the experimenting and choosing. For example, I know meditation stays and as much as I dislike it I suppose I want to work on the exercise. Right now I am not so sure about the many other possibilities before me.
My chiropractor once told me I had two choices for some issue I was having; I can’t remember what the problem was now. She said I could touch the back of my throat with a tongue depressor until I gagged or I could put an ice cube between my butt cheeks. This was unusual for her, as acidophilus is her usual go to remedy.
I couldn’t help but imagining a cartoon where she is with a group of other chiropractors and they are laughing as she says “and then I told her . . .”
I do believe I am going to skip this one.
Sherrin Fitzer works at a large women’s prison in the Midwest (a place she never would have expected to be, yet it is exactly where she is supposed to be). She has been involved in teaching incarcerated prisoners since 1991. In addition to helping incarcerated women with their children, she facilitates a theatre troupe and meditation classes. She believes in the importance of the arts in prisons and tries to implement this as much as possible. Sophia—seen in the picture—is often her editor and generally a quite harsh one.
Editor: Dana Gornall