Back by popular demand...and yes, the book is now available worldwide.
As I write, a fan blows away insistent mosquitoes, palm trees sway in the wind and clouds overwhelm the last of a blue sky. Rainy season has arrived. Seventeen years ago, a whirring espresso grinder uttered its last irritating whine and I unknowingly began this work, the book I wish I had found the day I walked into a small store called Health Foods on France. Having just completed a writing degree, retired from flight instructing and managing a coffee shop, I entered a world both foreign and exotic. There I poured over thousands of pages on diet and nutrition, colon cleansing, wonder cures and multiple meditative arts, while keeping my ears open to soak up the many years of knowledge from the owner and staff. Soon hired, I continued to learn from thousands of customers (disturbingly younger by the day) struggling to find answers to their problems. As eyes turned toward aging baby boomers looking to beat back time, complementary health information grew into a torrent. The sheer volume and complexity called for a singular dedication. In the years that followed I studied further, took up Tai Chi and yoga, became a Reiki Master, a Certified Shiatsu Practitioner and Certified Instructor for Taoist Grandmaster Mantak Chia’s Universal Healing Tao.
What I found most difficult during those many years was the absence of a silver bullet and the incredible time commitment. I once read a Qigong book that would have required a minimum of eight hours a day to follow. I wasn’t really interested in spending my life obtaining health, but rather having health, so I could live my life. In fact, my dedication wasn’t singular. I craved simplicity, and as I stripped away excess to make room for living, I found essential truths both simple and clear, although still no silver bullet. From this, a teaching curriculum evolved into a book-length manuscript, yet hopefully more. What I’ve tried to create here is a comprehensive yet simple plan. Rarely does a health title come out at under 300 pages or more. Among the many great works is a deluge of often contradictory and certainly overwhelming information. I do not claim to hold all the answers. These are simply methods that have worked well for me along with millions of others. They are flexible, easy to do and varied.
In 2006, while studying in Thailand, I met a soon-to-be friend who encouraged me to stay and focus solely on the book. After a brief trip home I returned to a cozy cottage to write among the palm trees and geckos, finally adopting that singular focus. Thailand was an unambiguous reminder that healthful living isn’t a go-it-alone practice. Moving from Minnesota to the tropics took a heavy toll. The unrelenting heat and humidity grew insufferable. A chili-heavy diet stoked an internal fire,
battled by torrential night sweats as I slept. This, a pseudo-menopausal journey of compassion for the opposite sex, took about six months of dwindling weight and energy before I found help from a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Before I made the move, my practitioner in Minneapolis warned me to be careful (a warning I later learned was aimed at matters of the heart and not health). I wasn’t born with the heartiest of constitutions and I’ve had my fair share of health
problems. Leaving behind piloting airplanes for a position in customer service isn’t exactly a vertical career move, but when I turned to natural health solutions at age 26, it was because my body and mind weren’t holding up. What finally became acknowledged as a 30-year bout of depression (a family tendency) was just past its midway point. Hypoglycemia had me on a roller-coaster ride, hurtling my energy through highs and lows. I suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome, a ganglion cyst,
hemorrhoids and a borderline eating disorder. Three car crashes between 1995 and 2004 made the hole I was in that much deeper. Thanks to the insights ahead and the help of many skilled professionals and laypeople, without the use of pharmaceuticals or surgery, I have emerged from that hole healthy. In the future, I will have the wisdom to step around it. I hope to be listening
at the time.
Do as I say, not as I did. Knowing your weakness is one thing, but using that knowledge to care for yourself is another. Had I sought out help to aid in the transition the first week I was in Thailand, I could have spared myself great turmoil. Traditionally in China, the village doctor would get paid to keep people healthy. When a person became sick, the doctor worked without a fee. So what’s the lesson? Be like Rambo and ignore the pain? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? There are three questions to keep in mind in any situation. What does your head think, how does your heart feel and what does your gut say? Find an approving balance among those three arbiters as you move forward, and may the following pages of prevention be your ounce of cure.