Everyone at some point in life must confront loss and grief. In December of last year, my friend Bill Gottlieb, CHC, lost his beloved wife to breast cancer. His writings of his experience of loss and grief and his path to healing touched me deeply. Bill has generously agreed to share the tools he has discovered that have helped him through this most difficult of life passages. The following is his personal experience:
Loss is an inevitable part of living. You can lose those you love — a pet, a friend, a sibling, a child, a parent, a spouse. And you can lose your health — your energy, your physical comfort, your clarity, your confidence, your joy.
In the last two years I have lost three of those I loved the most. In November, 2012, my sister and dear friend Jan died from 4th stage breast cancer. In August, 2013, my cat of 19 years — Suzie, my sweet, free companion — passed away.
And on December 29, 2013 — after an 11-year battle with breast
cancer, including the last 16 months of her life, when the 4th deadly
stage of the disease destroyed the body of this tall, lovely, loving, smart,
vibrant woman — on the Sunday before the kiss of New Year’s Eve, Denise, my beloved wife of 18 years, died at home in my arms, her last words, “I love you…”
Most people are aware that essential fatty acids are a necessary part of a healthy diet, and are familiar with omega 3’s, omega 6’s, and omega 9’s. But you may not have heard of omega 7’s, also known as palmitoleic acid. This rare fatty acid occurs abundantly in Siberian sea buckthorn berries (Hippophae rhamnoides), and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic, Chinese, Greek, Russian, and Tibetan medicine. In Tibet, the berries are revered as the “Holy Fruit of the Himalayas.”
Siberian sea buckthorn oil (pressed from the bright orange colored berry and seeds of the plant) has come to the attention of the Western medical community because of its unique fatty acid profile—it’s the only known plant that contains all four essential fatty acids. Studies show that omega-7 fatty acids contribute to healthy skin, hair, and nails; enhance cardiovascular function; boost brain health; and improve gastrointestinal health. Sea buckthorn is also distinctive in that the fruits and seeds contain an extensive array of antioxidant compounds.
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
This has always been one of my favorite quotes—for me, it is a beautiful reminder that spirit is always present. I consciously pay attention to the miracles that are so abundant in everyday life, including the miracles in the healing work that I am called to do.
I have humbly discovered in my 25 years of practice that nothing in or about in medicine works automatically, no matter how technologically advanced we become. The Spirit (theology) must embody the mind (mentality), for the mind cannot heal without the spirit, and the spirit employs the mind in the quest to heal.
“I Fear the Day That Technology Will Surpass Our Human Interaction” ~Albert Einstein
There’s no question that technology has made our lives easier in many ways. I use my laptop daily for research and writing, and it’s useful to be able to communicate via email and cellphone. However, the progress that we’ve witnessed in the past century—and that has exponentially grown in recent years—has not brought us increased freedom and leisure. In fact, the result is just the opposite.
There are significant and far-reaching consequences of technology that Einstein predicted. Every day, I observe people talking on cell phones or texting instead of interacting with those who are right next to them. Time on the computer—whether working, surfing, or playing games—consumes the majority of waking hours for many people, and in many instances, has replaced outdoor activities, leisure pursuits, and social interaction.
This disconnection from life is a direct result of overdependence on technology. I believe it is important to ask yourself, “Is what I do an expression of who I am?” How are you spending your precious hours of life?
As an herbalist with 25 years of clinical experience, I witness on a daily basis the remarkable healing properties of plants. Although the foundation of my healing approach is deeply rooted in traditional medical philosophies and practices, I draw extensively upon modern scientific research as a vital cornerstone for my work.
The majority of my patients have been diagnosed with cancer, and many turn to me after they have exhausted all that modern medicine has to offer. Merging traditional nature-based medical systems with modern, scientifically based conventional medical knowledge enables me to significantly help the difficult cases I so often encounter. I have an inner drive to do anything and everything I can for each person I work with to utilize all lens and tools of the various toolboxes, finding the pieces that fit together to promote and sustain healing. It is a true integration of the mind and heart, thinking and praying together. Researching and reviewing the latest scientific studies is part of my daily routine, and this continual stream of research contributes to the rationale for my clinical recommendations.
For many people, weight loss is a challenge. Sure, it’s easy to drop a few pounds on a crash diet—but as you’ve likely discovered, this type of weight loss rarely lasts. Many people end up in a seemingly endless cycle of dieting/regaining weight/and dieting again. The side effect of this approach is that each time you diet, you lose muscle; and each time you regain weight, the muscle you lost is replaced with fat.
Developing A Healthy Relationship With Food
The first step in having a healthy relationship with food begins with your spirit, which connects with your mind (intelligence), emotions, and physical self. It’s important to consider your cultural heritage when choosing a diet, and to pay attention to choosing foods that are balanced and appealing in taste, smell, color, and texture. It’s essential to also consider the source; in other words, to choose fresh and wholesome foods from the earth, prepared with love and consumed with the intent to deeply nourish.