My body, my teacher

Jan 23, 2022

This is a repost of an article that was first published on Cherished and Successful on 18 Feb 2013

I was talking to a poorly friend the other day and was reminded of the poem I wrote a few years ago where the different parts of my body were talking to my Self and giving it a good telling off for the abuse that I was putting my body parts under. 

Which reminded me of the post I have been meaning to write and share with you regarding how my body has been my Teacher once again.

A few years ago I developed a fruit allergy.  Most people I tell this to get surprised as they have never heard of anyone being allergic to apples, pears, melon, or the PLUM family - plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots and my favourite fruit: cherries.   And to add to that list....almonds.  I can eat peanuts. :)

My allergy isn't severe.... It involves itching of the throat and lips, and if it's a strong reaction then I get a constricting of the throat and have a little difficulty breathing, and sometimes I get blisters on my lips.   I'm cringing whilst writing this, knowing full well that I've just written at my allergy isn't severe.   Compared to a full-blown nut allergy where an epi-pen is required it probably doesn't sound bad.   Which is probably why I just ignored it.

I learnt that I could eat the fruits I was allergic to in small amounts and also in fruit salads, so I would enjoy the fruits I was allergic to in this manner.   Once or twice I had a lot of discomfort so I would take some antihistamines and things would calm down.   No harm done, right?

When I was studying for my NLP masters, we looked briefly at allergies, and I volunteered to have my allergy cured for my group to watch.   I realised that my allergy started when I started my journey of self-development.  My trainer Paul told me that at some point during that period of my life I had made a decision that I needed to protect myself for certain places/people and my body had decided at that point that I needed to protect myself from certain fruits as well.

So we went through the allergy cure process, and during the tea break I went to the fruit bowl in the dining room and picked out an apple and took a bite, filled with safety that this apple was safe for me to eat, and allergies were a thing of the past.  But no, a few minutes later my throat started itching once more, and I returned to the training room to report that the allergy cure 'hadn't worked'.  My teachers Dee and Paul told me that it was most probably something deeper that needed to be worked through.   I decided that this allergy wasn't really a top priority for me to fix and just left it simmering on the back burner.

Fast forward two years, and I'm sitting at a friends house and there in front of me is a plate of huge red cherries, and my daughter takes one and bites into it, and I hear it go pop! Deep red juice squirts all over her face and on her dress as well.   Mmmmmm cherries! I reach for the plate and take a few and mention my love for cherries and how I'm allergic to them so don't buy them anymore.  Everyone stares at me as though I'm loopy.  Double cringe. They ask me why on earth I'm going for the cherries when I'm allergic to them. I brush it off nonchalantly and tell them reaction is not that bad.  They still give me funny looks and tease me that my lip is swelling.  I smile and laugh it off.  I know I'm okay.   I've figured out how to live with my allergy.  It's all good.

Later, I ask for a wet tissue to clean my daughter's face.    So I clean her lips, around her face, then her hands.    She says 'me too!' So I hand her the tissue and she wipes her face again and her hands.  She then says 'now you,' so I let her wipe my face, she wipes my eyes, and then my hands.  Triple cringe.

Ten minutes later I think I get something in my eye, so I rub it.     It itches more, so I rub it more.   It itches a lot, and there I am chatting away with friends whilst my eye itches more and more and gets redder and redder.   I complain that I have something in my eye.  My friend asks, 'Are you okay??' And I reply yes, I just have an itchy eye.  Quadruple cringe.

Then a friend says to me 'Sara, you know you just ate those cherries? Well, you are getting hives all over your eyes!'  I rushed to a mirror and yes, my eye was totally blotched and swollen.  Before leaving my friend's house, one of them advises me to be careful regarding my allergies.

Oh boy, what comes after quadruple?

I am bewildered.   How could I have had such a reaction? Rushing home to take antihistamines, my husband is shocked to see how small my eye is and how swollen it is.  I stare at myself in the mirror amazed.

And then my body, my wonderful teacher, reminds me of what my trainers told me: 'at some point during that period of my life I had made a decision that I needed to protect myself from certain places/people and my body had decided at that point that I needed to protect myself from certain fruits as well.'

We'll of course, I argued with my great Teacher,   I have protected myself from those certain place and people.   So why haven't you quit the allergy? What am I meant to learn from this?

And all of a sudden, I know.   I know that although those long-gone days of me being a doormat are over, years have passed and I am still as busy as ever.    I still do too much.   I still risk getting burnt out.   But this time I have no one to point fingers at..... But me! I've been doing too much! I'm always busy.   I never have any free time.   I'm always exhausted.  Doing things I love. I love cooking.  I love being with people.  I love helping people.  I love DIY.   I love self-sacrifice for my kids.   Goodness, I am the star character out of the books Women Who Do Too Much and Women Who Love Too Much.

And so my dear Teacher pointed out to me that there are certain things that I need to avoid, even though they feel/taste good.  And that there are many amazing things in the world that are good, that are amazing.   That are delicious.   Wonderful.   But certain things may not be for my better interest.   And certain things might actually damage me.    And rather than just taking the damage, because 'it hurts but it's really not that bad' to actually honour my body by not allowing myself to cause it any damage.  To honour my limits, and treat them as sacred.

And then I saw those cherries as truly beautiful.  A gift.    A reminder that there is a fruit which I love, which tastes amazing, that I am NOT going to eat because it's not good for me.   And there is a new venture which involves something I am passionate about and is something that would Make A Difference, and I am not going to go MAD about it because it is not going to be good for me.  And there is that extra chore that I really could complete tonight and it will make the day go so much better tomorrow, but I'm going to leave it as it is, because it is not going to be good for me.

I am so grateful for my body to have given me this allergy, and I am truly glad to have all these culinary reminders to stay within my limits, so that when I think of going out and saving the house/kids/family/world once again, I can remind myself of the deliciousness of those beautiful, popping cherries, and the bliss of eating juicy nectarines, and to embrace the fact that I mustn't eat them because they are not good for ME.

Instead, I can stick with the bananas, grapes, oranges, pineapples, mangos and peanuts because they are not bad for me.

'A WISE WOMEN KNOWS:  God has created somebody to do this job, and that person may not be me.'  - Patricia Sprinkle, Women Who Do Too Much.


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