I intend to live to be very old. I have put my request in to the Universe. Old, please. Hella old. Old enough to see grand-babies and great-grandbabies (even if these babies are covered in fur because whether my children have children is not up to me) and old enough to be completely confused by the world I live in by the time I die (I’m halfway there already anyway). Part of this request is also that I maintain my mind, my mobility, and my ability to listen, speak and write until the day I die.
Yes, I’ve made the request. But, it is entirely up to the universe whether or not my request is fulfilled.
Human beings are organic creatures. Everything in our body is alive. Like every living thing, it is part of our NATURE to die. Most of us don’t have a clear understanding of why that is; not really. We explain it with religion or science but emotionally, spiritually this is the mystery of our bodies, of our lives; that we WILL eventually be severed from everything we have ever known and loved. The simplest and clearest explanation for this that I’ve ever been able to wrap my mind around is that, knowing this, our lives (and sometimes life itself) becomes precious to us.
So precious, in fact, that we have developed a specific mental illness around the inescapable fact of our death: Obsessive Health Culture. We believe that we can out-Diet, out-nutrition, out-weigh, out-exercise death. But my sweet Readers, we can’t. We can’t. We can’t.
The effect of this belief is that we see our bodies as problems. We see death as a challenge that those of us “willing to put in the work” can somehow avoid completely.
I have put my request in to the Universe for a long long long long life and to show I’m serious, I DO put the work in on my part — to the best of my human ability. But recently, part of that work for me has been trying to accept that, ultimately, WHATEVER I do, it is NOT my decision. The Universe decides. And that decision, that timing, that reason for that decision at that time— there is absolutely no earthly way to understand that. THAT is the Universe’s business. Fully beyond my comprehension.
I have heard — as nauseum — people say: “everything happens for a reason.” Well, yes, that is absolutely true because humans are reason-seeking creatures and the beauty of our minds is that we WILL find order however we can.
I have said that both my parents died when they did because they would not have been able to bear watching one of their sons die slowly and painfully. They would not have been able to bear losing one of their other sons suddenly and unexpectedly just a month before that! Two sons in one month! Death spared them this tragedy and this grief. But the truth is, I don’t know why they died WHEN they died. They just died. That “reason” is just my human brain creating order out of what truly is the ultimate chaos.
My parents were not particularly “healthy” people but that is not WHY they died. They died because people die.
One of the most aggressively stupid and cruel things that Obsessive Health Culture does is make death our fault. People can’t stop thinking, talking, obsessing about WHY someone becomes ill, WHY they die — and eventually, almost everyone gets blamed for their own death. I did this to my own mother when she died. If she just would’ve lost weight, if she just would’ve been more active, if she just would’ve taken care of herself... what? If she had done all of these things, she would have lived... forever? No, she would not have. She STILL would have died. MAYBE she would’ve died a little later BUT I’ve seen enough seemingly “healthy” individuals die young to know that’s not the case either.
It is OFFENSIVE to me now when I hear people talk about WHY my brother was diagnosed with and died from ALS; about WHY his wife died so young and unexpectedly. I have heard every possible “reason” thrown around. They ate too much venison. They are too much fish from the Great Lakes. They didn’t take proper vitamins. For real! I’ve heard people say this. And now... I want to say, “no, bitch! They just died.” It wasn’t their fault that they died. People do not live forever!
Obsessive Health Culture will fuck you up. It will lie to you about the kind of control you have over your body. It will tell you that the very nature of your living, breathing, body is “wrong” because part of that nature is death. Obsessive Health Culture wants you to believe you can avoid death by doing guess what... buying its products. Buy the challenge package with the daily protein shakes! Buy the organic vitamins! Buy the skin-care products made without animal products! Buy the bread that has whole seeds in it! Buy this magazines that somehow has all the secrets to immortality in it for just $4.95. Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy. But, oh babies... the Universe doesn’t take bribes.
The result of this inundation from Obsessive Health Culture is that we see our bodies as having something inherently wrong with them which, ironically, makes us careless with our bodies; makes us unloving and unkind toward our bodies.
“So... what then?” You say? “Is the answer to just stop trying to be healthy at all?” You say.
No. Authentic Health and Obsessive Health Culture are not AT ALL the same mindset. Obsessive Health Culture pathologizes our understanding that life is precious and greedily attempts to horde and stockpile health. Authentic Health accepts that yes, life is precious and thus lives in this moment — because it is all we have. Authentic Health creates people who care about other people, who treat themselves and others with kindness and gentleness, who behave in accordance with the understanding that all we can do is the best we can do.
Obsessive Health Culture tells us there IS a way to cheat death — simply achieve “perfect” health. But there is NO “perfect health.” Perfect Health is a lie. Perfect health’s goal is an endless life which is impossible. If you can’t achieve an endless life, which you can’t, you will always be imperfect, wrong, a problem, according to Obsessive Health Culture.
But... in Authentic Health your goal is not to live forever (which, I will remind you again, is NOT possible), your goal is to live well RIGHT NOW. How do you want to feel right now? How do you want to behave right now? How do you want to treat the people around you right now? What kind of relationship do you want to have with the world around you right now?
Obsessive Health Culture — with its focus on an impossible goal — creates mental illness in its practitioners by making them greedy for what they could not possible obtain and hateful of what they already have. Ironically, Obsessive Health Culture creates even more physical disease, mental illness, bad behavior, self-hate, and other problems.
Authentic Health — with its focus on the now and its acceptance of the natural facts of what it means to be human — creates peace, love and clarity.
Death is nobody’s fault. You will not escape death by participating in a culture that shames and blames people for their own illnesses and deaths. You will only become more frightened of your own death and more hateful of your own human body.
Put your bid in to The Universe. Then, do your best to love your body here and now by respecting that here and now is the only time the Universe has actually promised us.
Get Free from Obsessive Health Culture, Teamies
and accept Authentic Health, with love.