Spring is in the air and summer is just around the corner! The excitement is palpable as we anticipate the days we will spend playing at the beach, lounging poolside, taking strolls in the mountains, and just enjoying those things that make our hearts happy.
This spring, for the umpteenth time, I have decided to plant an herb garden. I love to cook with fresh basil, cilantro, dill, parsley and mint, and every year I start out great for the first two weeks. Then life gets in the way. Slowly but surely my herbs wither away because I forget to water them and pluck out the weeds that threaten to choke them. But I always keep hope alive and reassure myself that this year I will do better. I will finally take time out to tend to my little patch of herbs.
My herb garden can be seen as a metaphor for those things in life that we hold dear and wish to accomplish. We know we want something, but we usually don’t make the sacrifices necessary to have and keep it. Patients share with me daily how they really, really, really want to lose weight, but they cannot find the time to work out regularly or change their eating habits by cooking healthy food at home. They tell me how stressed they are, and that their intimate relationships are on the rocks, but that they are still somehow unable to carve out the time and energy the relationships need to flourish. Health and relationships are like my herb garden: without water, sunlight and weeding, they die, too.
So, this spring, I invite you to join me in rededicating yourselves to regularly spending time doing what is good for you and what makes you happy. Unapologetically clear out the unhealthy, smothering weeds in your life. You might find that your blood pressure will improve, your tension headaches will lift, your shoulder pain will ease, and your stomach and digestive system will calm down. Stress sits in all these places, and our bodies speak to us daily asking us to please make a change. Instead, most of us just go to the doctor to get medication, which treats the symptoms but not the causes of our discomfort. The best treatment may simply be to water your desires and needs, give them some sunlight, and weed out whatever may be hindering your growth.
Dode Washington, MD