Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: health (page 1 of 2)


Yes, dear children. That man was sick. That stinky pile over there, where the bugs swarm and the dogs sniff, remains evidence of his sickness.

No, young twenty-something. There’s no need to lie or cover up. He didn’t have the flu.

The simple truth is this: too much of anything in this world will poison you. 

Last night, for this man, it was drink. It probably happened to many people, with the holiday and all. But it’s easy to point out someone else’s poison and label it bad, wrong, evil. But abstaining from alcohol won’t help you if your poison tends to be carbs, shoes or a growing Swiss bank account. You can give yourself a little pat on the back for shying away from the brown bottle, but it won’t heal your soul of its own tendencies to self-medicate.

Honestly, our numbing agents are relatively powerless until they’re mixed in to our souls. In and of themselves, the contents of a bottle, a shopping bag or a wallet have a neutral effect. They simply are. Until your soul attaches meaning to them, gropes for them in the midst of heartache or jealousy or hatred. Then those potions become poisons.

First it affects your body. Your body is the first line of defense. It’s where we feel, where we experience, where we synthesize what is happening in the world. And when you let in too much of anything, your body is the first part of you to tell you it’s too much. Listen to your body.

The poison will also begin to effect your mind. Your thoughts go toward it in the light of day and in the deep of night. Beware, sweet child. When you find your mind saying, “if I could just have one more…” then you’re probably being poisoned by your own hand.

Sadly, it will settle in your soul. It doesn’t make you an evil person. Our society tends to believe that a poisoned soul is the result of poor decisions and a lack of fortitude. No self-control, self-sufficiency, self-respect. I have trouble believing the exaggerated versions of our own struggles can be so other.

Fear not, my children. For every poison there is a remedy. Our sicknesses of self can be healed. The most common antidote is freely available and widely popular: love. Love for self, love for others, love for God, love for the created order.

Many old farm houses came equipped with 2 water sources: a cistern and a well. I imagine we all have within our souls two deep reservoirs. One is more like a cistern, catching whatever comes in. When it goes sour, it takes some work to return it to health. We use this kind of water for flushing and rinsing, maybe watering the garden. Another place in your soul is rather like a deep well. The water there is pure, good for drinking. Incredibly, it can meet the thirsts of others. The key to a good well is to dig deep.

You can spend your days trying to fill the cistern. Or you can put your energy into digging the well deeper. With every loving action and every generous intention, we drill another meter closer to the source. God put a well of love in you, an unlimited supply from which you may draw forever. If you find it running dry, perhaps it’s because you’ve been going to the cistern instead of the well.

When you start seeing evidence of poison, it’s not because the well went bad.  You’re simply living off of what you put into the cistern. Get to the well, my children and keep digging until you drink clean water.

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Currently changing my life: Ayurveda

This past year I made one major life change to make me a better mom: I aim, with an 80% success rate, to be asleep (not just in bed) by 10:00 pm and out of bed (not just awake) by 6:00 am. I have seen a night and day difference in my approach to my waking hours. One would think that climbing out of bed at 5:20 would leave me tired and disgruntled, but after sleeping during prime rest hours I can arise and spend quality time in the peace and quiet, which is what I need nearly as much as added hours of sleep.

Allow me to let a little more of the crazy out. Recently I’ve talked with my yogi gurus about my, ahem, issues. We’ve all got them. Right now, without getting too personal, let it suffice to say that my body is trying to remember what it’s like to not have another human being sucking the life out of it. I’m all sorts of crazy, specifically in my emotions and in my midsection. To think that any of this is a single issue would be silly – I’m a complex being with complex issues. Deep in me, I know I cannot find the miracle vitamin to make it perfect (although, magnesium is pretty close. I’ve been supplementing for quite a while, but I hear it pays to read the directions on your package and take all 3 doses, not just one, to make it effective. Life tip, right there. For free, just for my friends.)

Enter Lia, and Ayurveda. Ayurveda isn’t a diet concept like eating gluten free (which I do) or vegetarianism (which I don’t); while eating plays a leading Fotolia_14177618_Subscription_XXLrole in understanding our health, Ayurveda looks at life as a whole person: when and how you sleep, when you’re productive, how you exercise, and temperament. We’re each uniquely built and Ayurveda asks me the question: what adjustments need to be made to return to my natural, optimal state of being? It operates around the concepts of doshas, which I will not attempt to explain. Why?

Because Lia does it better. And she will! She’s hosting a workshop on October 4 from 12-2 pm to give a basic understanding about Ayurveda in life and health. It gets better: she’s willing to lead a group of us through a seasonal reset, immersing us in an experience of examining life through the lens of Ayurveda. Last year I couldn’t make the workshop and I was nursing during the reset so opted out of the experience. I’m oh-so-jazzed to be getting in on it this year.

Also, if you’re in the Troy area, she’s hosting a free book club through Yellow Tree Yoga on the book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Dr. Claudia Welch. Yep, I’m getting in on that one, too. It will be every other Monday in October and November, starting 10/13.



*Full disclosure, I’m compensated with yoga to help Yellow Tree Yoga get their messages out to their people. But I tell you this of my own accord, not by any request of YTY. They’re just that super.

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Jesus and Preventing Babies

Fact: I never went to law school. I have, however, read a large number of John Grisham books, which is kinda the same thing, yes? Ok, not really. What about those Law & Order reruns I became addicted to my freshman year of college? Certainly those count, especially when they’re “based on real life events”?

Now that we’ve established my credentials on posting about a Supreme Court ruling, let’s also bring out my achievements in the world of health care. Like the fact that I hate it. If health care insurance companies showed up at my party, I would politely ask them to leave or, at the least, I would spit in their food. In general the American health care model of all forms has made my life miserable.

And now, on to Christianity. Ding ding ding! A winner! I’ve got a degree in that. I’m pretty well practiced when it comes to loving Jesus. I even have a pretty good grip on my Bible. So allow me to direct you to the chapter and verse where it says we should make all healthcare decisions for one another because we value life. Just let me find my Greek and Hebrew concordance. It’s around here somewhere…

I fully support the right for businesses and organizations to exert their “personhood” and I don’t believe they need to foot the bill for products and procedures which oppose their values. Catholic institutions have been doing it for years (and I believe their success lies in their consistency – they didn’t get all picky-choosy, allowing the pills yet leaving out the IUD). Yet I would ask Hobby Lobby to think again. They can continue to make their personal healthcare decisions based upon their view of when life begins but enforcing it company-wide might not be the best form of proselytization.

My Christian Ethics class, and professor, taught me that our ethic should inform all areas of our life, parts that seem unconnected. Small things do matter and if it matters, then we should live it – kudos to Hobby Lobby for wanting to remain true to something they identify with as wrong. However, that course also taught me what seems the obviously right choice might not take into consideration the very people whom Jesus spent his life ministering to – the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised and the unreligious. Jesus had very high ethical standards for the religious elite; for the common folk, he tended to speak with words of grace and compassion before jumping to behavior modification.

In fact, we can see in Jesus’ stern words to the priests and Pharisees in Luke 11 (verse 46) – “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” This came in a whole series of harsh remarks toward the religious ones. I think if you want to wave a religious freedom flag you have to put yourself into the category of “religious” when it comes to Jesus’ teaching. These warnings are for us, the ones who love our religion.

We the religious tend to take our stand against something, anything, to differentiate ourselves. But in taking a stand against issues, we’re creating distance between our values and the people we’ve been directed to love. “Us and them” is the very language Jesus opposed; you can see throughout his life and ministry he wanted people to begin to understand that all of creation belonged to God, not just the ones privy to the ancient texts and their meanings.

I don’t love Hobby Lobby’s policy because it rejects the only form of birth control my OB will allow me to use (the copper IUD is the only non-hormonal option) and if I’m in that boat, surely others will be as well. It’s not “my right” that an employer cover every health care need (more on our poor view of health insurance later), but to feel singled out and even accused of moral shortcoming because of it and using Jesus as the reason, makes me uncomfortable. According to this, in order for me to remain un-pregnant, I am un-Jesus-like and practicing something on par with abortion. I’m not sure that’s the message Jesus would want to give women.

I also don’t love how again the fellow Christians have responded in outright support of such a decision simply because it’s “Christian.” Which leads to the division it creates, a direct opposition to the way of life for Jesus. (You want to come at me with the the “I come with a sword” and division of family verses? Bring it. Post forthcoming.) Any time we the Christians want to exert “our rights” I have to wonder at the expense it comes. The cost may be the invitation for a civil chat at the table about issues that matter because we’re all the time yelling about our beliefs, unable to listen.

I have to wonder how Jesus would deal with issues of reproduction and health care and working. How would He love all parties involved? How would he consistently point toward God and reveal our own selfish tendencies when choosing a “side”? I can’t think that he would vilify anyone but those who use religion to their own advantage (because that’s how he dealt with most issues in the Gospels).

And I’m positive he’d be cool with the IUD.

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