My most treasured possession is my body. This may seem obvious, but I’m guessing that most people have trouble honoring their bodies and the ability to heal. I am grateful for the many gifts time has bestowed upon me.

My body does so much for me without even having to think about it. Breathing, heart beating, five senses and the ability to move, to name a few. It seems to be human nature to take our bodies for granted – until something goes out of balance, or we lose some faculty.

One of those gifts is my immune system. It is there working tirelessly to protect me from alien invaders. Collectively, it has been gathering information for thousands of years.

We didn’t even know it existed until relatively recently. For many thousands of years, it has been storing and sorting what is working and what isn’t.

I’ve felt connected to the principles of nature since I was a child. Maybe it is because I was raised on a farm and had a mother and grandmother who cooked for me. Love was a part of it! If you have had a family member who lovingly cooked meals for you, you know what I’m talking about! If not, you can break that cycle by finding things you love to eat and cook.

I was lucky to have a stay at home mom during my early formative years. She chose to breastfeed us. She preserved the foods we grew and cooked all of our meals. One day, she announced that I would have to learn how to cook. It was my duty as a girl. Well, you might imagine how that demand landed on me!

It has taken me years to overcome that, due to my resistance to her order. Now I know that the foods I consume carry energy with them, and it is best if we infuse our foods with love and joy. They also need to be as pure and unprocessed as possible.

I want to get maximum nutrition from what I eat, and I know what I put in my body has the ability to create health or imbalance. I’ve found lots of ways to make the process easier and still maintain the maximum nutritional value. I’ve even learned to enjoy the process of nourishing myself in many ways.

When I’m stressed, my entire system is affected. Making decisions in this state is very challenging. When I notice this, I know it’s time to increase my self care!

Self care relates to the best efforts I can provide myself in the areas of diet, exercise, rest and relaxation. This is also how I support and protect my immune system. It all goes hand in hand as a beautifully orchestrated system.

If my emotions are running wild, I know I need stress relief — outdoor walking or cross country skiing. I also practice qigong and do other floor exercises.

I have a daily breath practice and drink adequate clean water with no added chemicals. My foods are top quality. Daily meditation, prayer and study support my spiritual needs.

As I grow older, I realize it takes a lot more effort to stay in balance. When I was younger, I felt invincible and had robust health. Most health problems don’t show up until many years have passed.

I have been lucky. I inherited good health from my parents. They lived in an era before there were so many chemicals coming at us from all directions. They also had a much slower lifestyle. We played outdoors every chance we got without parents hanging over us.

We were left to learn from exploring nature and to discover life. We had childhood illnesses and they boosted our immune systems and gave us a lifetime of natural immunity. We even had chicken pox sleepovers.

As a birth educator and Asian medicine practitioner, I pay attention to what is going on around me. I was a public school educator for almost 20 years. What I hear from parents and teachers concerns me a great deal.

I’m concerned about what is happening to our education system and our children. Many, many more children now qualify for special services. I have heard almost one third. Only a small percentage did when I was teaching.

Are we asking what is the cause of this?

I’m grateful for the health I have. Slowing down during the health crisis has allowed me the chance to reflect on the choices I am making. I’m evaluating my lifestyle choices and making changes if I can see the benefits.

I trust my self care choices will protect me from disease. I also put a lot of effort into staying well. It’s much easier than trying to fix my body if it gets broken down in some way.

My goal is only to use the medical system as a last resort. Every form of treatment has possible benefits and possible harm. One size never fits all. We matter first and foremost. Our health matters.

Jo Ann Lindberg is a City of Verona resident.

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