via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve felt like a Frankenstein monster, bolted at the joints with metal pins that grated and popped. It was my sophomore course in arthritis, since my freshman lesson was the torn ligament in my ankle.
Ever since I read the wonderful book Shaman, by Kim Stanley Robinson, I’ve fallen into the habit of naming persistent pains. In that book, the main character also had a torn ankle – he named his Growl, and I named mine the same. His fictional pain and mine are not just similar, they are the same one.
After I was able to climb stairs again, Growl continued to talk to me – he continues every now and again even now. I didn’t name the other passing pains that hit my other foot, my elbows, my wrists, or elsewhere. They came and went, strangers in the subway that were just friends of Growl.
Arthritis and Spirituality
The pains led (and lead) me ever deeper into spirituality. At one point in my life, I would have despaired and called it unfair. Fortunately, I matured enough before Growl to be able to sit with him, to meditate on him and give him focus – which made him happier and also helped me develop deeper focus. We’re not enemies, Growl and I.
Out of those deeper meditation sessions, I felt the call back into vegetarianism. I felt the pain and suffering in the meat I’ve consumed in my three year sabbatical from veganism. When we eat of the slaughter, we consume and inherit that pain. When we eat of the slaughter, we become conspirators in the industrial complex that destroys the minds and hopes of our furry friends.
Unexpectedly, Growl and his friends quieted down when I once again abandoned meat. But I’d gone back only to vegetarianism, not veganism, and my soul started whispering to me about sinfulness in my consumption of dairy. I love treats like cheese pizza and they’re also a favorite of my son, so I didn’t listen right away.
About three days ago, I started listening to my soul and abandoned all dairy. Yesterday, I had only the tiniest of pains in one wrist for a while. Growl himself had nothing to say.
Arthritis and Veganism
I hadn’t done my due diligence in terms of natural and holistic remedies for arthritis. I trusted in my doctor, and then in the specialist he referred me to. I went for x-rays, MRIs, and wore the supportive boot. This wasn’t some cold, after all, I needed a professional. I was a good patient for a while. I abandoned them when they had nothing left to talk about except surgery for Growl and drugs for his friends.
The more often you allow the medical professionals to intercede with you, the more often you’ll need them to intercede. I learned that in a birthing coaching class. I didn’t feel like I was yet at the point of intercession, and in hindsight that seems to be validated.
Yesterday, I laughed off the kind-hearted and well-meaning sabotage of my mother-in-law, who left cheese pizza open in the kitchen right around lunchtime. Then I did some research. It turns out that dietary factors are really big in arthritis, and that dairy and meat are some of the biggest offenders.
The information’s right there, but I didn’t know about it because I deferred responsibility to my “experts.” I took my guidance through authority, rather than spending five minutes to look it up. I absolutely should have known better, but I needed a reminder.
Arthritis, Spirituality, and Veganism
Today, my joints feel fluid. I feel fairly graceful. Gone is the lumbering pieced-together monster that had regular conversations with Growl. I’m sure we’ll still talk every now and again, as old friends will, but it seems like he’s moved out of town.
Had I listened sooner to the whispers of my soul, I would have abandoned dairy sooner. Even drinking milk from free-range cows feeds the industrial complex and collaborates in the pain. It’s unnatural, we’re not meant to drink milk after infancy.
Had I looked it up sooner, I would have made dietary changes and tried to remedy my arthritic pains on my own sooner. The doctors are still waiting for me to come in to discuss surgery. That conversation isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I have become my own physician, once again.
But what’s the most interesting here is this: both spirituality and worldly knowledge were guiding me back toward wholeness, back into healing from arthritis through veganism.
Spirituality was pulling me back into veganism from the stance of animal rights and the consumption of pain. Yet, I postponed it out of a selfish body habit and gluttony.
Worldly knowledge was pulling me back into veganism from the perspective of body attachment using a compass bearing of pain. Yet, I postponed it out of a reluctance to assume responsibility for myself.
Do you understand?
It won’t get better until you take responsibility for it. It won’t get better until you obey your soul.