Most Western medical institutions and industries, nutrition industry included, are based on a patriarchal, war model.
Rarely (or barely) factored into these information silos and reductionist views are the emotional, intuitive and inter-connected realities of nutrition and life.
In Taoism, an Eastern philosophy, these domestically under-valued qualities are considered yin, or feminine. To embrace a balance of yin and yang or masculine and feminine energies is to accept paradox, not absolutes. Note: yang/masculine and yin/feminine are unrelated to gender. One is not more superior than the other, rather they are different.
Eastern philosophies don’t require faith. Rather, by observing the whole, the big picture, paradox is obvious. Sayings like “what you resist persists” and “to go fast, go slow” originate here.
It’s predictable, not comical, that as a country, the more fanatical and controlling we are of our food and bodies, the more our waistlines and diseases expand.
What no politician or nutrition “expert” trying to sell you on the challenges we face will admit: there aren’t clear-cut answers. Dogma is a disease. Without ushering in the feminine to create balance, you, our country and I will be left asking the wrong questions and misguided answers.
Health-care offers a prime example. The excessive-masculine approach has given us a forty-plus year war on cancer that is at a high casualty stalemate (unless you are the chemical companies who also “conveniently” make certain cancer drugs). Fighting fat and food has dramatically increased chronic disease, heart-attacks, diabetes, and auto-immune conditions. And those left standing who are restricting and depriving themselves on diets are emotionally wounded.
Embracing and valuing feminine qualities transform these ideas into more effective, pleasurable, and thus, sustainable processes. One refreshing beginning in healing the design of a dis-eased patriarchal system is the creation of an empathy chart doctors must measure for themselves at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. Studies have shown empathy from doctor’s can improve their patient’s outcomes.
At Columbia University, medical students take a narrative medicine class. They learn that the patient’s story is an important part of a diagnosis. And in the book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink highlights studies that show how soothing surroundings help patients heal more quickly and with less medicine. Not only are empathy, emotion and beauty feminine qualities, but these foster a partnership relationship with the medical system. The patient and her/his body are given a voice and responsibility.
On a micro level, I experienced this eight years ago after a long fight with my body as I faced an insufficient medical system. By finally being curious and understanding my symptoms, I was able to see the interconnected physical and emotional nature of my acne, asthma, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), depression and 30 stubborn pounds. And the main contributor to my success? Food. Real Food. From whom? Mother Earth.
I’m not the exception but rather the rule with this integrated approach. Here is just a snap shot of my client’s stories with femininity as a theme in their successes. You’ll see in their stories the feminine is already there. It’s not something you have to try, buy, or earn. It’s more about losing the masculine excess.
Now, I’m not expecting this shift from Congress. But, I hope you want this shift for yourself. While you can’t outspend Big Pharma, Big Food and Big Ag, you can start today to bring the feminine into balance in your own life.
The first step is to change the metaphor in your mind around food. Stop battling food. Call a truce.
Soften your judgments. Embrace the inter-connected nature of food, emotions and life. Wonder. A special hint: you can’t storm yourself into a loving relationship with yourself overnight.
Change is beautiful and bumpy. With a feminine poise, food becomes meaningful, simple and joyful. Balance is the new radical.
Image Credit: Sacred Spiral.