My Childhood Health Struggles
If you are struggling with chronic health issues and a lack of vitality, I can certainly empathize with you. My hope is that this article will confer some value and assistance to your journey back to robustness. Many people who meet me these days, can’t imagine that I have not always been and looked this way (healthy). In truth though, it has been a tough journey for me to feel and look the way I do, with improvements happening daily.
I suffered from a lot of different health issues in my youth. The less severe ones have been (all of which occurred in youth): I was hospitalized for bulimic tendencies, had high cholesterol, was severely overweight, had frequent urination, horrible sinus infections that threatened my life and had many hospital visits because of a mysterious and crushing abdominal pain. To top it off I also had terrible anxiety, so much so that my parents struggled greatly with dropping me off at kinder garden, having to literally take weeks off of work to hang around the school so that I felt safe.
The above though was actually the mild stuff, the two that have given me the most resistance to work with (and the most lessons) have been my flat pituitary gland and horrible joint pain in knees, shoulders and elbows. The pain was so bad that running just a few meters would cause me to collapse in horrible pain. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the “master gland” as it controls most of the body’s hormonal functions, especially our sex and vitality hormones like testosterone, thyroid hormone, and growth hormone.
The gland looks like a little pea that sits in a thrown like structure called the Sella Tunica, and this thrown normally has cap on it that keeps cerebral spinal fluid out; mine does not have this cap and thus it full of CSF; this essentially flattens it. This flattening can have a suppressive signal that causes a decrease in some or all of the bodies’ primary hormones. This was the case for me and at age 13, I was given a 6 month round of testosterone injections in order to jump start my puberty, which was being delayed. External hormones always shut down your internal creation of that hormone, and thus with the flat gland, it set me up for issues for many years to come.
These days, I am healthier, stronger and more alive than I have ever been. It does not mean there is not room for improvement, just that if I were to compare myself no, to myself even just 5-6 years ago, the difference is night and day in how I feel most days. The process of healing and becoming vital has been arduous with many setbacks, though each time I was setback, I came back stronger and better, having learnt from my mistakes. In this process the outer transformation has been a reflection of the inner one.
Healing the Human Animal
Healing The Human Animal is a framework that has evolved from my own journey and through the distillation of universal principles in the arena of health and healing, placed within the forefront of evolutionary theory. It holds that we are animals (primates) and that animal magnetism, and the wild health it brings are birthrights.
If the conditions of our wild spirit our unleashed then the health of body and mind follows.
It does not take a prescriptive stance in that we want to modify disease states; our goal here is to modify health states. What we want is the amplification of our innate robustness and our focus lies on that end of the spectrum. What I am sharing in this article are perspectives that may be useful to you in your journey to “radiant health”, what Chinese Taoist referred to as "health beyond danger".
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein
Health is so much more then the absence of disease or the managing of symptoms. Yes, sometimes you have to start there, or potentially return there for small periods of time, but the goal needs to be to move beyond it, into wholeness and dynamic wellness. In this way of framing it the thoughts go from disease to vitality. How vital do you feel? It may shift from time to time based off of the variables of your life, however there is a underlying current. Not "I feel good for my age"- age is a number.
Vitality is not just the ability to train and be athletic , or about pushing yourself into overwork in your job and pushing forward (that is mental toughness): it is your ability to live fully.
Having a healthy sex drive, moving with freedom in all your joints, being strong, sleeping well most nights, not needing to rely on stimulants, having consistent energy, needing to move, having passions, being open, wanting to be touched by others and wanting to touch, being able to relax, being connected to your soul, being able to love and give yourself fully, and wanting to learn new things- this is health.
The process of Healing the Human Animal is the process of becoming fully alive.
"Keeping the body totally fit and functional is no job for the uninformed or the careless person. It requires an understanding of the body, sound health and eating practices and disciplined living."
So below I have organized the 8 primary areas (that I am aware of at the time of this writing), that if given consistent attention, can help you unlock your innate health and reawaken the robustness of the wild animal, which is your birthright. If you remove that which is in the way and give your body/mind what it needs, it has been my experience that healing just occurs. This article does not delve into the details of how to apply the technical aspects of the principles, it just outlines the major landmarks in order to give you perspective.
1. The state of your mind needs to be addressed.
The way you think about yourself and what you think is even possible, is going to affect the outcome. The stories you hold in your head about aging in general, about what it means to be healthy, and about how much vitality you can unlock in yourself, will determine and set the stage for the rest.
If you know and understand that superior health is your ancestral birthright, then your actions and thoughts will align with that truth.
The standards you hold for yourself in this arena will play a huge roll. If you’re okay just “managing” your diabetes or believe you’re supposed to be in pain because of old injuries, then your ideas will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Switching your thinking from “symptoms of disease” to “degree of robustness” is the biggest shift necessary here. Learning to let go of self-imposed limiting ideas is paramount. If this shift does not take place then you will undermine yourself with self-destructive habits, in order to create the reality that matches the framework in your mind. The way your thoughts lead to the right actions or the wrong actions, is the path to pay attention to.
2. You must release emotional trauma.
While conventional “thoughts” are in the head, the rest of the body stores and holds on to emotional patterns and these patterns can and will interfere with the healthy functioning of the body. Patterns of feeling are patterns of tension. Your life force is distributed along the path where there is the most energy. Look at the balance of proportion in your body from left to right, front to back and top to bottom; is one significantly larger than the other?
What parts of your body feel stiff, heavy, sluggish, deadened, cutoff, lax, weak, inhibited, over active or tense? Do you have the urge to bite, to strike out, to yell, to scream, to cry, to self-destruct, to stomp, to laugh or to collapse? Are you exhausted because your keeping your pain, anger, frustration or sex drive bottled up?
These emotions need to be felt and expressed in order for healthy flow to return. Time and time again when I stall or plateau, I find that a good cathartic session breaks through my current limits. I am a trainer in movement and physical training, but I can say with an absolute certainty that catharsis has proven to be essential in going from sick and depressed, to well and vital.
Seek out methods of trauma release. Learn to let go of the wounds that trace all the way back to infancy. Take a look at Lowen Bioenergetics, Primal Scream therapy and Osho’s Dynamic and Gibberish meditations. Also, looking into Bioenergetics grounding, can take you very far in this realm.
You will face resistance, there will be failure and there will be setbacks. If you allow these to deter you, you will stay where you are at or degrade further.
Understand that there is always going to be failure and times where your consistency drops off. This is 100% guaranteed in any endeavor that you choose to undertake. The key is to know this beforehand, and not allow the momentary setback to prevent you from continuing your chosen path.
Being resilient is all about standing back up after a hit, not preventing the hit in the first place.
The setback can be used as a step back to re-evaluate and readjust your current path. Success is really about controlled and calculated errors. Constant refinement and an attitude of persistence is the way. You may have a few really good weeks and then crash (I have). The goal is to slowly make the ratio of up days to low days larger and larger. Even then, hibernation is essential and lower energy days does not necessarily mean something is wrong; learn to embrace the space between the notes of music.
You must be 100% committed to your health and build your life to support it, not the other way around, in turn, your will be rewarded with more life.
“Remember your body moves slower than the mind. This is on purpose. The body is the tree that bends itself to the mind’s light over time. Show it continual love, give it continual care. It will yield to your intent, if you stay steady as the sun. Steady with light and love.”- Aubrey Marcus
This relates back to commitment, while commitment is the yang side, patience is the yin side of this equation. You have to wait. You have to be immensely patient. Your lack of health did not occur in a day or a month, it has probably been something that was created over years and years of sub optimal habits and perceptions.
You have to be willing to give yourself the space and acceptance to have back slides, to not see immediate changes and for progress to just move slowly.
Sometimes you will have quantum leaps and sometimes progress will slow to crawl. Stay with it and be patient.
Even if you’re not trying to overcome health issues and you are trying to make changes to your body, give yourself the gift of patience. Learn the path of the turtle and with time the rewards will be immense.
5. Over nourish yourself
Simply put you have to create a nourishing environment for yourself and give your body-mind a surplus of the necessary elements it needs to restore, repair and build up.
First on this list is your sleep. Sleep is a nutrient. Sleeping deeper, is the most important thing, as better quality sleep is more important than more sleep. Take supplements, use meditation or breath work before bed, use a sleep induction mat, use white noise machines, use ear plugs, and blacken out your room. Learn how to let go. This is one of the simplest things you can do to start getting healthier right away.
Second on the list is your nutrition. Your diet is meant to support you, nourish you and enrich your life, empowering you to do the things you want to do. Make it as restorative as possible by making sure you have an ample amount of vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, phytochemicals, zoo chemicals and water.
Think of having a high amount of everything, instead of demonizing any aspect of a truly restorative ancestral omnivorous diet.
Eat the rainbow and eat the zoo. If you are trying to get way leaner, create a “small” caloric deficit of 10-15% and resist the urge to crash diet. Waving your calories up and down intuitively can also be beneficial, as it stimulates natural cycles of feast and famine. Without an ample supply of nutrients, your body will be dealing with an unnecessary stress and not have the required resources to heal. Take a look at “The PerfectHealth Diet” written by Paul Jaminet.
- Third on the list is movement. Katy Bowman, M.S in her book “Move Your DNA” delivers an amazing idea, and that is that we have a movement “diet” and that some movements (running on a treadmill, sit-ups) are equivalent to junk food.
Likewise there are movements that are very nutritious. The human body has evolved for complex movement across a multitude of environments. We are movers and our capacity for it far exceeds that of any other creature on this planet.
The amount of different disciplines and styles of movement available for us to master are countless. With that said, there is also a set of “universal movements” that are part of our birthright and kinesthetic alphabet, that are essential to master and own. Crawling, walking, rolling, rocking, creeping, lunging, pushups, waving, squatting, kneeling and the use of tools, are all part of this alphabet and form the core of the human movement possibilities. We want a nutritious moving diet with high quality, stimulating and restorative movements that addresses our movement “needs”. We need certain movements as our entire genetic code expects these things to occur. Move more, move better and tap into the primal ancestral movement code inside you DNA.
Fourth are nourishing relationships. We are social animals and have evolved to need each other in order to survive and thrive. Study after study has shown that community and loving relationships are healing, and correlate with longer and higher quality lifespans. Without others, isolation, loneliness and a lack of touch infuse our lives.
Touch is one of the most powerful healers at our disposal, stimulating growth, restoration And development.
In the wild, isolation over long periods of time, would make our demise that much easier, as it would mean abandon and outcast. No man or women is an island onto themselves. Not wanting others in your lives is probably a sign of wounding and turning away from yourself and your own kind. This is where trauma release and the acceptance of the need for others comes into play.
6. Get Strong and Robust
This is the state we are aiming for with all the above. Robustness is the ultimate goal of health work. To feel vital, be adaptable, capable and not limited by the state of your body, but being empowered by it to do the things you want to do.
The get strong, you need progressive resistance training and proper recovery.
There are many ways to perform resistance training, such as with your own bodyweight, maces, clubs, sandbags, barbells and dumbells to name a few.
Find what you love. This is where you raise the ceiling of your capacity and what you can handle; this is where you ignite the flame within. Resistance training also helps the body release testosterone and growth hormone, while simultaneously lowering cortisol, the bodies’ primary stress hormone (if you don’t overtrain); all of this contributes to youthful vitality. Once the previous steps are in place, this is where the primary alchemy of vitality is ignited.
7. Sexual energy and sexual repression.
Your libido is a strong sign of your health as your fertility denotes virility and robustness.
Life force energy is sexual energy and vice versa. The desire that we live our lives with in general, the desire for love, accomplishment, growth, meaningful work, expansion and friendship all erupt forth from our sex drive (the drive to be creative and productive). If your life is listless and you lack sexual desire your health will suffer.
The sexual desire does not need to be directed towards another person, but being fully sexually potent, is simply a state of being. If you have fantasies (that you actually want to act out) that you repress, consistently ignore your sexual feelings, and/or do not feel sexy, then your vitality cannot erupt.
To be fully alive is to be fully sexual.
How does pleasure as a whole permeate your life? Do you seek out pleasurable situations and things you enjoy? Do you feel it is a good thing to do things that are fun and that feel good? Explore your sexuality, increase your fertility, ignite your desire for life and learn to allow pleasure to permeate all you relationships, your work and your life as a whole. The more health you have flowing through you the more of your “essence” you actually have access to.
8. Learn to use the new energy.
Health changes you by supplying you with more energy, thus, making you face what is inside you and outside of you. The more energy you have, the less space there is for apathy, repression and purposelessness. You will have to find places to put the new energy and distribute a new level of being “charged up” into the avenues of your life or you will be burned alive by it. It may not just be a process of doing more, but of giving more deeply.
The same person that existed in my broken body had to transform alongside my physicality.
Here is where we move from taking care of ourselves and our needs, to what you can give the world. Like a straw, you take in the new charge and funnel into the world.
Your gift will be magnified by your new level of energy, make sure you make a priority of giving it. If you are not using the new energy then you will self-destruct by tying to hold onto it. This is one of the purpose's of health and strength, as imbued by mother nature: to serve the whole.
Hopefully, some of these ideas can offer some useful perspective to you on your journey.
**This article is not meant to treat any disease or replace quality medical care if you need it. If you have a life threatening illness it is recommended you visit a good high quality natural health physician, which I am not. This article addresses health and strength rather than diseases and is strongly informed by my own research and healing process.**