Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Change: 4

I'm Giving Up Gluten

(This is an ongoing story. If you want to start at the beginning, click here.)

There were a couple of other things going on right around the time I first saw AE.

One was I started working for a new client and the work did not come easy. I began writing for a non-profit that does good works internationally and my ignorance about geography and world politics required me to look up everything I was writing about. That. Makes. Work. Go. Very. Slow.

Another was that I joined a Buddhist chanting group last spring, so besides learning about the geopolitical affairs of Africa, I had to learn the (also foreign) ritual of chanting for an hour in another language. This kind of learning can be very invigorating, but in the beginning it just makes you feel like a big loser.

It was also around this time that I learned that three friends had been diagnosed with cancer.  Nine months later, one is in remission; one is still fighting her battle; and one just passed away.

Early in the spring, before I ever considered seeing AE, I had gone for a walk with my friend Jillian, a yoga teacher who is wise beyond her years. Jillian has historically popped into my life at precisely the moments I need her most.

I told her about my knee pain and about my theory that maybe gluten had something to do with it. 

“I’m giving up wheat to see if I can make my knee better,” I said.

“It doesn’t sound like a wheat problem,” she said.

“I think it’s inflammation,” I said.

“When you say ‘knee’ problem, I don’t think ‘wheat’, I think ‘foot’,” she said.

This is not at all what I wanted to hear. I wanted her to corroborate my theory that wheat was creating inflammation in my joints and a few weeks without it would make me good as new.

Instead, she started talking about our base, our foundation, our center. She said when you have problems with how you stand, it can, over time, affect everything in your body. And when she said “everything,” she was including our psyches, our cognition, the ways we relate to the world.

“If your feet are not planted solidly on the ground, you’re out of balance. The relationship of our feet to the ground is at the core of everything,” she said. She thought I should go get private yoga lessons to learn how to stand more solidly.

I nodded and smiled and gave no credence to a word of what she said. I felt certain that giving up wheat would clear up what ailed me and I went home and threw away all our bread.


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