I used to have a magic car. A burgundy-colored 1988 Pontiac Sunbird. I could drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles on ¾ a tank — about 6 gallons of gas. The car never broke down, never needed repairs. I remember driving from LA to Lake Arrowhead with the guy I was seeing at the time. We pulled a round trip, and the gas needle had barely budged. “Does this car ever need gas?” he asked incredulously. “Nope,” I replied evenly.
Then the radiator overheated. Then I got the radiator replaced. Then my car fell apart. One thing after another broke and needed to be fixed. Suddenly the car was a gas guzzler. And finally, it broke down completely – coughing out its last sputters of little car life right in front of my house. (Which was really quite thoughtful of it, I might add.)
I remember waving to my car, as it was towed away by some children’s non-profit that was going to put it to good use. I thanked it for all the mileage we’d cranked out together.
Cars and bodies are not that dissimilar, I have found. When you’re healthy, you’re healthy. Then when something happens that destabilizes your body, whamo! The domino effect: One thing after another after another gets all bent out of shape – making it quite overwhelming to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Which is why I believe my life turned around when I stopped trying to diagnose and fix every little thing on my body, as my doctors would have me do, and began pursuing overall health – ie, implementing in my life anything and everything that promoted a sense of wellness: good nutrition, good sleep habits, good relationships, feel-good movement, you name it.
As I came to understand intuitively over the years, my nervous system had been thrown out of balance, leaving me more vulnerable to injury. With each successive injury, my nervous system got even more bent outta shape, and the cycle continued.
So as your own human radiator, transmission, windshield wipers, gas pedal, and carburetor crap out on you, and you yell in desperation, “What the f*** now?!;” and as you race in your jaggedy little car from doctor to doctor, holding it together by your bare hands, as the driver’s side door falls off and the right rear tire rolls away, remember this:
Maybe what your car needs is to stop burning fuel, sputtering from mechanic to mechanic who throws his hands up in the air. Maybe your car just needs to point its front bumper to the ocean, to a friendly face, or to a deep green salad. Maybe it just needs to do a little car dance to music playing over the one channel still working on the damn stereo. It’s not a quick fix, but over time, it just might get your car back on the road again.