The Illusion of Perfect Health

St. Vrain Backwater

We all want perfect health, don’t we? No more physical ailments, no more pain. We each crave a perfectly shaped body that silently and efficiently does whatever we demand of it. But is that even possible?

Human life is about finding a balance point between opposing forces; to be healthy, we must strike a balance between motion and stillness, between liquid fluidity and grounded earthy stability, between shadow and light, between creative and destructive forces. So, our miraculous bodies cannot stay stable and static for long. Our body processes also shift in response to changes in our environment. The world is constantly shifting and changing around us; temperatures rise and fall, one day it rains, the next is sunny. Human bodies are designed to constantly shift and change as well.

This idea of health being a dynamic balancing act becomes so clear when we look at natural environments. Balanced nature is never static; healthy ecosystems are diverse and contain many elements that constantly interact with each other. And the entire natural system finds balance through an ongoing dance between the elements; water wears down stone and sweetens the dirt with minerals that the trees use to grow. And the trees on the riverbank also draw river water up into their bodies and in doing so, slow down and calm the river’s wild currents. The trout rest in the shade of the trees, waiting for bugs to get blown into the current by the wind and become dinner. True balance lies in the web of interactions between bug and wind,  fish and tree, stone and water flow.

There is no perfect physical state that we can attain and be ‘finished’ or ‘complete’.  Look again at nature – Nothing is perfect in nature; tree trunks are crooked spirals, flowers are not symmetrical,  and each animal has little quirks and imperfections in its shape; eyes are slightly different sizes, ears are uneven, spots are imperfect or missing. Perfection is a human delusion, it does not exist in nature. (despite what dog show judges hope and look for!)

Healthy balance is a wobbly, imperfect and dynamic process; much like riding a bicycle requires continuous tweaks and changes to stay upright, so do our lives and our bodies cycle through continuous shifts and changes in order to stay in healthy balance.  And it is a waste of time and energy to strive for perfect health. Perfect for what moment, what situation? Our bodies and minds  are designed to shift and adapt to each place, to each situation we find ourselves in; it is our strength as humans to be adaptable if only we will allow ourselves!

Allowance of our own imperfections and life’s many wobbles and imperfections is actually a key part of getting healthy. We do ourselves and our bodies a huge disservice when we reject and judge and try to annihilate our issues and imperfections. This is why yogis and sage healers throughout history keep telling us to relax and breathe; to smile at ourselves and our foibles!

Balance and healing will elude us until we can surrender to imperfection and constant change. True healing is about allowing ourselves to be complete just as we are in this moment, warts, bad hair,  temper tantrums and all. In the end, healing is not a fix yourself project. And it’s not about finding someone to help you change and improve either. True healing is about learning to wholeheartedly love and embrace the wonderfully quirky, imperfect, amazing and unique creatures we already are.

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