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Chapter 1: Journey to Awareness: Reality Check

If You Make the Rules, How Come You're Not the Boss: Minding Your Body's Business
Elaine Smitha

I rode my bike northward to the coastal cliffs of Huntington Beach, California, where surf crashed in irregular beats, after a particularly stressful day in June of 1983. Life at home was increasingly difficult as I grew into new understandings. I attempted to discuss them with my husband, Paul, who resisted. Looking out over the waves for solace, I thought how hard I'd been on myself setting unreasonable expectations that, more often than not, thwarted my progress and caused me to fall back and reorganize.

Positioning myself on a rocky boulder, I propped my feet on another for balance. A mild breeze wafted over my body to soothe my aching heart and cool the afternoon sun. Sailboats graced the horizon in leisurely pace, bobbing white on gentler waters, while clouds drifted by as if on cue. A hundred feet below, children squealed as ocean waves and wet foam caught them off guard. Approaching tides enveloped picnic sites only recently abandoned. Dogs barked, anticipating the retrieval of tossed driftwood from the dancing surf.

What is it about bodies of water that invite romance, yet clarify dreams? Perhaps our transient moment with the hypnogogic temptress is in rhythm with the flow of possibilities. Perhaps the opportunity to view a huge expanse without any blocks unleashes freedom to create anew. My thoughts pierced the ocean depths looking for answers and inspiration as had so many others before me.

Paul and I swung together on punctuated moments of joint interest, only to split off again as we swung back, out of phase. Shouting solved nothing, and the dreaded inevitable silence that pockmarked our marriage plagued attempts at reconciliation. Nagging uncertainties tolled the bells of change.

But there were contributing factors to our out-of-sync relationship. I knew that my earlier ulcerated duodenum was indicative of an inability to stomach my misery and discontent. Unexpressed emotions ate away at me, though, at the time, I had no awareness of possible cause. Any romance Paul and I had left was ground to dust by frustration and blown into oblivion through misunderstanding. The youthful ideal of finding fulfillment in marriage was now all but dead.

Making the decision to separate after a lengthy marriage was not an easy one, but the consequences of staying in a relationship that wasn't working made it imperative. Our children were treasures of happier moments, and we purposely avoided dragging them into the fray. Finding resolution to our relationship dilemma met with fear-based excuses. Confronting the issue head-on would take more courage than I'd been able to muster so far.

I thought about my parents, who had their own relationship issues, about mother's multiple surgeries being the result of her unhappiness. As my health problems were also triggered by emotions, it made me realize that if I didn't do something soon to change my life for the better, I could easily duplicate her conditions. I recognized that I had given away control of my life--to my husband, the medical establishment, and self-defeating thoughts as my mother had done.

The pain of a lengthy divorce left both Paul and me devastated, and the children torn in allegiance. Now, I had only to trust "self" and my intuition to tell me when I was on the right path. I closed my jewelry business and moved to Washington State to begin life as a single woman.

As I had stared at the ocean that summer day, looking for answers to life's difficult questions, I never realized the journey would increase my understanding of how my body and reality really worked. Nor could I have predicted the direction or extent of my personal growth.

Like rhythmic waves of an active ocean, life carried me into another world much different than I'd known. I rode the wave of each experience, as would a bobbing cork on the sea of change, adapting as I went to the ebb and flow of life?s events. I tangled with choice, met death head on, and achieved a healthier, more fulfilling life. Everything I did made a difference.

And everything you do makes a difference. As with the cells in your body, all you need to grow is more information. With more information, you make better choices, ones that focus on enriching your life with health and happiness, and take you off the radar screens of medical professionals. The journey's worth beginning. ...

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