Perhaps it’s more accurate to say – Health Reflects Life. Or Health is Life.

We all have our unique constitutions, and we all have blessings and challenges that we’ve been given in our particular physical bodies. I’ve been traveling on an interesting health-related journey recently. I have always thought of myself as a very healthy person. But…I have had skin flare ups all my life. I got so used to these that I tended to lose awareness of it and “just live with it.” Part of that is an inner “put your head down and get through life” story that I seem to have. (Our stories are enlightening, aren’t they?) I could ignore my skin, and tried to. Before I knew any better, I slathered any number of cortisone creams on my skin. They’d work for awhile, and then their effectiveness would wear off. It was a problem that never went away.

As I grew older and wiser, and more interested in alternative healing, I became very interested in diet. I started to cut things out that might be offenders. Sugar. Coffee. Dairy. I tried vegetarianism. I tried the Blood Type Diet. I’ve tried many approaches. I still couldn’t quite get to the root of the skin issues, though. My skin would flare up and do its thing, and I couldn’t pinpoint the trigger.

But I think, finally, I may have landed what’s working for me.  I’m not going to go into huge detail here, because there’s plenty of detail online about the GAPs diet. It will be fairly intense for some. I had already been without wheat, bread, sugar for a long time. Getting on GAPS was not as dramatic or emotional as I expected. The thing is, my skin read me the riot act this December, and during the next few months. I had the worst flare up in my life. Never before had it been almost painful to sleep. Never had my skin been so bad. I had to do something. Yes, even giving up lots of carbs for a while – I could do it. I also visited a cutting edge allergy clinic and learned a lot about what was going on in my body.

What does this have to do with writing or yoga?

Everything.

Yoga – Yoga teaches awareness. The more I slow down and breathe, do the asanas with breathing, and meditate – the more aware I become of my body, my constitution, my world. When you start cultivating this kind of inner awareness, it’s impossible to ignore the signs that your body, or your world, are giving you.

Writing – I think it’s no accident that my health issues manifest in my skin. The skin is the part of you that meets the world first. I am a sensitive person. Ever wonder where those truer-than-true phrases come from – i.e., “thin-skinned,” etc.? Language holds truth. Sensitivity is a gift, and sometimes it needs to be managed. Add to that the life circumstances of your first book OUT THERE, and what that entails (joy, fear, ego, insecurity, a huge amount of work, constantly being on the edge and pushing your comfort zone) – and, it makes sense that the body may have something to say about it.

I’m really liking this GAPS program so far. It’s not too exciting yet (I’m in phase 1 – Meat, fish, broths green non-starchy veggies, probiotic stuff like good kefir), but I have a steady energy that is new and different from the crash-and-get-up-again energy I get with more carbs. I lost 4-5 pounds instantly that I’ve been trying to lose for TWO YEARS. My skin is clearing up and is not painful. Thank the gods.

It’s been a necessarily selfish journey for the last few months, but it had to be. My body gave me a wake-up call.