Saturday, February 16, 2013

Diabetes: A Long Conversation with Your Body

Sunflower detail_from Spiritual Mechanics of Diabetes blog
Diabetes engages you in a long conversation with your body – even during those times when it seems you and your body aren’t speaking to each other.

Through this unending communication process, you gain access to a great deal of information that you may not call “spiritual awareness,” but which is just that. 

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1984, in my late twenties, it was a shock to have to handle such a sudden, far-reaching glitch in communication with my body. But I was so busy adjusting, I didn’t think much about what exactly this “I” was that had to take over for a lot of what my body used to do automatically, all by itself.

Then, a couple of years later, a close friend arranged a reading for me at the Berkeley Psychic Institute’s then-anchor branch. Midway through the evening, the other readings in the building ground to a halt as the institute’s director gathered the student readers to look at the origins and nature of my diabetes – not because I was unusual, but because diabetes offered a rich training opportunity for those learning to clairvoyantly view the human spiritual system.

I loved the communication and healing I received in that reading, and I wanted to learn to do what the readers did.

So I went on to complete most of the institute’s classes and graduate programs. (The Berkeley Psychic Institute as I knew it no longer exists, by the way.) I then continued my studies at the Aesclepion Healing Center in San Rafael, Calif. This training helped me make sense of the strong intuitive responses I’d experienced for as long as I could remember, which I had directed into writing poetry and making music. Working with poems and music had honed my innate skills as a clairvoyant (clear seer of energy), but I still unconsciously longed for other ways to understand the flood of data that often overwhelmed me. Finally, here were tools to do so.

More fundamentally, my intuitive training showed me in practical terms that I was not just a body, not just a personality, but also a spiritual or energetic being. It was as a being that I used intuition, and it was my intuitive abilities that helped me know myself as a spiritual being.

In 1993, I began offering professional intuitive readings, healings, and consultations. Meanwhile, I continued my creative work as a poet and singer, as well as conducting a third career as a writer and editor specializing in environmental science. It didn’t take long to realize that all three practices shared a focus on communication and, along with it, healing. In all three arenas, my job was to keep journeying toward knowledge – of self, others, and environment – and to facilitate this journey in others.

Diabetes asks the same thing of me: more self-knowledge. And it asks the same thing of you. It’s a request that we’re fortunate to receive – even if we may not like the way it comes to us.

Self-knowledge includes not just your body, but also your energy.

Diabetes is a message. Loud and clear, it alerts you to a glitch in your energy distribution system, whether caused by genetic, environmental, social, behavioral, and/or personal stresses.

You had to – have to – step in and more consciously run the body, take care of it, watching and responding to it even as you inhere within it. And in doing so, you directly experience that you are not just a body, not just physical matter, but a spirit composed of energy. 

Of course, other conditions and activities reveal this duality too. But diabetes especially reveals it, because it demands daily and even hourly attention – and you provide that attention as something other than the body itself.

It’s this body-being communication that’s at the heart of your diabetes. If you want to feel better physically, emotionally, and energetically, you have to get really interested in your communication with your body.

You can become more aware of and more skilled at managing the communication between you and your body by using eight essential tools, which this blog will go on to address. These tools will make it much easier to manage your diabetes, with the help of a conventional diabetes care program. Plus, they'll give you some new ways to have fun.

copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Covered California - New Info on California's Health Exchange Under Affordable Care Act

Covered California logo
Covered California! The basics are now online about California's health exchange (or marketplace) for 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

They look good. Premiums and health providers are not settled or provided yet, but the cost calculator's results look promising. This insurance is for folks not covered under a group or employer plan. It will sure make my life easier and lower my costs dramatically as a diabetic. And it will do the same for many others, as preexisting conditions will no longer be a factor. Yay!

By the way, I was interviewed in my home by a nice young market research team a few months back. I didn't know their client but figured it was some health insurance company. Afterward, they confessed they were working on this very website.

Glad to help Obamacare, however unwittingly.

copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bacteria R Us

Staphylococcus_aureus from Spiritual Mechanics of Diabetes blog
We are worlds within worlds, no?
“Bacteria make us sick. Do they also keep us alive?” is the subhead under “Germs Are Us,” by Michael Specter in the October 22 issue of The New Yorker. About five years ago, DNA-sequencing technology was harnessed to scrutinize the world of microbes (microscopic organisms). This effort revealed that the prevalent lust to scrub us of bacteria (a type of microbe) has had a downside: our internal ecosystem needs them. To stay well, we do need to kill some germs, but we also need to cultivate others. Unfortunately, so far we haven’t been able to pick and choose.

Widespread first-world obesity is one result, according to the article. That’s because without a particular bacterium identified in recent research, many of us no longer possess the stomach hormones that tell us when to stop eating. “Bad eating habits are not sufficient to explain the worldwide explosion in obesity,” says Martin J. Blaser, Department of Medicine chairman at NYU, in the article.

And with obesity comes type 2 diabetes.

The rise in type 1 diabetes also has been linked to the decimation of bacteria, as has the increase in celiac disease, asthma, and allergies.

What’s killing the bacteria? Well, of course, lots of courses of antibiotics. That, and delivery of babies by Cesarean section, which robs babies of the microbes they’d get from their mothers through vaginal birth. I was stunned to read that a third of the U.S. deliveries last year were by Cesarean section – and half of Chinese deliveries.

So now some doctors and researchers are imagining a time when they’d prescribe probiotics to repopulate the intestines of their patients, depending on family history and tests of the patient’s gut “microbiome” – the trillions of microbes each of us carries around. Restoring destroyed bacteria in childhood but then getting rid of it again in adulthood might be the way to go, according to some researchers Specter interviewed. Now, however, current claims about the reliability of probiotics available to consumers are not viewed as trustworthy by the Food and Drug Administration or by doctors. Our understanding of the human microbiome is still sketchy. Yes, we know that some good bacteria naturally act as antibiotics, but we still don’t understand the battles between bacterial species raging within our bodies – not enough to figure out how to handle them.

My gut feeling – the psychic, not the bacterial kind – had already told me that it’s not just the onslaught of processed, nutritionally bereft food that has kept fattening up the developed world and leading it down the path toward diabetes, and that other onslaughts – antibiotics and toxins – share the blame.

So what do we do? For one thing, find ways to consciously reprogram ourselves about when and how to eat, to make up for our missing chemical self-regulators. We need to harness a variety of tactics, which can work together – like a bunch of bacteria.

copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Acknowledge Your Unique Diabetes Journey

You didn’t ask to go, and yet you are on a journey: your diabetes journey. Whether you’re a new diabetic – wondering what the heck you can eat and grappling with the strange paraphernalia of self-care – or an old hand – confidently compensating for the curves that this day threw at your blood-sugar control, or puzzled by the fact that reliable tactics inexplicably didn’t work this time – you’re traveling through life on a pathway shaped by your diabetes.

This journey is shared by millions of other diabetics. Still, your diabetes journey is particular to you: your body, your mind, your spirit.

The diabetes journey is not just a physical one. It’s also a journey for your whole self.

And amid its repetitions, it offers constant change: new sights, new insights, new challenges. What can diabetes teach you about yourself and how you interact with the world? How can you find wellness with it, and keep growing as a person?

For nearly 30 years, I have framed my experience as a diabetic with those questions. With focus and practice, I’ve found some illuminating answers. From the shock of diagnosis long ago to the variations of this very day, diabetes has opened a path for me yielding – along with challenges and demands – more pleasure, insight, clarity, and power.

Part of the reason is that diabetes led me to access and expand my skills as a clairvoyant reader of the human energy system. Working and playing with my intuitive abilities helped me understand and work with diabetes – for myself and others. I came to know myself better and feel more empowered.

But you don’t have to become a clairvoyant reader for diabetes to help you access more of your personal power. Every diabetic has been handed an opportunity to find more awareness, more capabilities, and, paradoxically, given all the demands of this syndrome, the freedom that comes with greater wisdom.

One of the main reasons diabetes offers increased wisdom is that it’s about energy management.

As a diabetic, you already get to focus in a practical, intimate, and, yes, unrelenting way on keeping your body’s energy running, under varying conditions. Whether you know it or not, you’re paying attention not only to your physical self, but also to its invisible but very real driver and companion: your energetic self, that is, your spirit.

Paying attention to the interplay between your body and your energetic self – between the physical car that you’re in and you the driver running it, between the you that is matter and the you that is spirit – is rich with possibilities and revelations.

Fine-tune your energy system – and expand your awareness.

You can learn to fine-tune this interplay between body and energy system using tools that I call “spiritual mechanics” – eight intuitive tools that complement the conventional medical approaches you’re using. Like it or not, you’re already on this journey. Why not bring along some not-quite-visible equipment along with your obvious diabetes paraphernalia for a safer, more exhilarating, and more fruitful ride?

The reward is that you get to play and work more consciously with your own information – that intelligent, shimmering, changing energetic entity that is you and all that you know – to find better health, a better time, and a better life.

copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein

Monday, February 4, 2013

Savoring the Golden Apple

Lisa B_Lisa Bernstein_holding peach"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could." -- Louise Erdrich

I fell for fiction-writer Louise Erdrich after reading her wonderful novel “Love Medicine” and have since gobbled up her short stories in The New Yorker. I’m overdue to read another novel by her. I’m not sure where this quote came from; I found it in the Facebook post of a good friend today.

I love the imagery of eating and food Erdrich gives us. After bluntly stating that “life will break you,” she reminds us that the reason we are here is to be swallowed up by life, even to the point of being broken and bruised. Next she calls us to notice that the earth’s bounty also often experiences the same cycle, the same falls, the apples “wasting their sweetness.” We are like that bounty. And as we become witnesses to the apples in both their deliciousness and their sad fates, it makes our own suffering somehow more natural and bearable, even lovelier. We have companions in the sweetness “in heaps” all around us.

Finally there’s another turn: we’re not only like the apples, but we get to taste them – taste each other. So the thought comes full circle – we taste, and we are tasted, and it’s this experience that swallows us up. Life is the grand eater and we are its food; and at the same time, we are grand eaters of life.

As a diabetic I love being told to engage with sweetness – to listen to it, to notice its natural source, to tell myself about it, and to taste as much of it as I can.

Of course the apple means knowledge too, knowledge that is both sacred and inextricably involved with the body. No perversion of the story of the Garden of Eden can erase that. The golden apple shines in the stories of many cultures, promising divine information and immortality. How tantalizing that timelessness is offered in such a savory, physical package, one so transitory as it is devoured.

Diabetes gives me similar tantalizing knowledge – glimpses of the precious gold of the present moment in all its physicality, and of the spirit (that is, me) who chooses to savor that moment, over and over.

Taste the day, and enjoy.        

copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein   

This Is a Test

Testing, testing, testing....

We diabetics get used to gathering a lot of data. Especially data on blood-sugar levels, taken many times per day.

I try to marshal a spirit of amusement as much as possible about this. Amid the repetition, and the unpredictable results, or maybe the expected results, and the analyzing of the results to tweak a response through diet, exercise, and medication... I do my best to remember that I'm much more than this precious number about my beautiful blood sample. It's serious, but there's a drop of effervescence in my response to it too.

Actually, I just wanted to see how this blog post looks in my brand-new blog design here. Hence the "testing, testing..." And then I went on to tweak that (this design) too. Always knowing I can change things based on the data. See how resourceful diabetes has helped me become?


copyright © 2013 Lisa Bernstein