Thursday, December 24, 2009

Relocating and Reculturing Myself

I have been in the process of relocating my life for the past few months. Living in Minnesota for the past 22 years with its winters was very hard on me physically, and therefore psychologically. I have been looking for somewhere else to be for years. This hasn’t been an easy task, but the primary focus has been to get somewhere significantly warmer with more sunshine so that I can gain another level of health. My aim is always to increase my capabilities and quality of life, to overcome my disabilities by addressing what causes or exacerbates my diseases.

Ironically enough, I had to get well enough to leave MN before I could get to a place that would increase my health and well-being. For the longest time, it seemed like I would never be able to leave MN because I was in a feedback loop; I was not well enough to relocate, but not ever going to get well enough to relocate due to the current location’s deleterious effects of my health. For years, I felt like I was on a mouse wheel, going around and around but getting nowhere different. In hindsight, I guess I was developing some “muscle strength” to run on something other than a wheel! At least I was perseverant in my efforts to get well despite the feelings and outward appearances of no progress for long periods of time.

Almost unbelievably, I am finally out of MN and living in Tennessee, where it gets hot and humid in the summer. This is a marked accomplishment for me. And, it is a testament to how well I am actually doing in the present due to my prior hard work. My determination has been rewarded! The winter is not white with temperatures constantly below freezing. Below freezing temperatures are infrequent here. As I watch the blizzards hit Minnesota one after another this year, comparing their negative degree temperatures with some days getting up to 60 here, I feel relieved that I am no longer living in the land of ice and snow.

It’s much easier to move around without constant frozen precipitation. I don’t have to wear as many layers of clothing. I don’t have to worry if part of my body will be exposed long enough to get frostbite in a matter of seconds. I don’t feel frigidly cold all the time. It doesn’t take as long to drive on roads that have exposed concrete and asphalt, without the help of salt and sand. No more slip and slide everywhere I go. No more fear of potentially falling down with every step. (At least once a winter in MN I fell. There were maybe a handful in the last few years when I managed to avoid it, but it is a common experience.) Life is less threatening in TN for the winter because there are fewer climate hazards to deal with here.

Since I grew up in the South, it isn’t a total culture shock for me to be in Tennessee, even after a couple of decades as a Northerner. And, America is America despite regional differences. It’s not as though I moved to a place in the world where wheat and starch products aren’t the major staple of “everyone’s” diet. My basic food challenges will still have to be met. I am hunting for a new meat farmer to call my own! I miss my Farmer Bob, and many other things about MN. After all, if it hadn’t been for the winter and it’s lengthy duration, I would not have chosen to leave that cultural milieu. But, the winters were enough of a burden for me to carry that I felt an absolute need to get out as soon as possible, despite the risks involved in relocating. My need for better health and well-being trumped all else.

It is hard to make “sacrifices” for my health- even though facing the fear of the unknown has become routine for me. I am constantly giving up things that I know for new things that I don’t know so intimately, if at all, as I create my new life. It is hard to give up known cons for the potential of worse unknown cons that come with taking any new risk for the potential pros involved. Sometimes, risk pans out and success is achieved. Sometimes, risk results in a failure, or a learning experience, otherwise known as an opportunity disguised as a challenge.

It is hard to embrace change, again and again- especially when I think that I have just “landed” somewhere “secure.” Sometimes, I just want to rest for a while instead of always being on guard. It would be nice and easy to live in a world of stable and consistent “facts” instead of change and ambiguity, which requires constant attention, effort, and learning. When I exchanged wheat flour for almond flour, I thought that I had found something permanent and safe to live by. As it turns out, I was incorrect. It was only temporary. Something even more different was waiting around the corner for me to discover and to embrace- a new way of being in the world, my very own special subculture within a subculture.

Learning different and new ways of doing things in the world, ways of being, ways of interacting with others around me, this all has to happen regularly for me to get well. My world view has to be ever evolving. I have to bend (and bend- this way, then that way, then yet another direction, blowing in the wind) or I will break. I have to choose to change my culture in order to live. It is not only the culture in which other people surround me socially as part of a location, but also the culture within my body that I am changing.

Relocating is part of reculturing myself. I am reordering my microbial balance, my intestinal flora and fauna, in the same way that I am changing my external surroundings. I am promoting what I want and neglecting to develop that which I don’t want in my environments. And, I went to the extreme of changing my larger environment to promote my own development. Support is positively correlated with success, so it makes sense to get as much of it as possible in all ways. I happen to need a lot of warmth and sunshine! (I often like to think of myself as a tropical shade plant. That kind of thing really can’t grow naturally in MN.)

I am reculturing myself daily with intention, even when it seems as though I am getting nowhere. It is only a space that translates nowhere into now here. I have a new opportunity to be in a more supportive environment for my health and well-being in Tennessee. I will not be spending so much energy fighting what hurts me, the cold of Minnesota. I can get on with more joyful experiences! I am beginning to relax from some of the tension that I have been carrying with me from always being on high alert.

The only thing constant is change, so the saying goes. What’s next, then? Now what?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pause in my blog activity

I am in transition from Minnesota to Tennessee for my health. I will post again soon, including my last cooking video from MN on meatballs and sauce...