Excerpts from Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas
II. Taking Care of Our Health (excerpt from the introduction)
In this part of the book, we update the advice and information that can help us take care of our health and maintain our well-being. We start with a chapter on traditional medicine that emphasizes the importance of harmony and mutuality among ourselves, in our relationships, in our communities and with our environment. Traditional medicine links us to our cultures and with our spiritual and religious traditions. Our life’s energy nourishes its roots with the love and connections we embrace as bridges between our ancestors and our future. As creators of life whose bodies prepare us for this task every month, we must nourish ourselves in every way: in mind, body, and spirit. Our vital energy and health are born of the love and harmony of our interdependence and connection with others and with all that surrounds us in nature and in the spiritual world. If we fulfill our responsibilities with the joy they deserve, we can achieve a re-enchantment of the world.
How can we attain this vision of good health? To have good health we must love and appreciate each other. We need to nourish and cultivate our self-love, not out of egotism, but as a first step in recognizing our interdependence. We need to discover our capacity for both solitary and shared pleasure. We need to sensually nourish ourselves with images, fragrances and textures, in the kitchen, in a garden or a museum. We need to surround ourselves with music, participate in dance, stimulate our minds with conversation. We must seek out all the embraces and kisses we can, remembering that the more we love, the more we will be loved in return. We must discover our natural beauty, cultivate it and appreciate it; don’t be lured by Madison Avenue’s limiting and unattainable model of beauty: the slender blonde with artificial breasts willing to sacrifice all in order to attain an unreal image of what a woman’s body should look like. All of these examples of loving acts, individual and shared, show us the right path when we are seeking relief through dangerous escapes instead of healing ourselves in a natural fashion.
These chapters offer advice and recipes for maintaining good health. If we eat well and pleasurably, sing or dance every day, offer prayers to God or the gods and goddesses that you know most intimately, whether in our communities, churches or under a tree fragrant with flowers and resonant with birdsong; if every day we share strong, warm embraces, kisses and caresses, feel accompanied in the small and large struggles of life, and share with others around us the vision and mission of bettering our daily lives and our communities, then we are more likely to enjoy good health.
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