Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's been a year!

So, it's been a year! The calendar has come full circle and since things are sprouting outside, we know it's that time of year again - the annual spring cleanse. I've been subsisting on strictly vegan foods for close to 40 days now, and have felt good enough to attempt a longer, 5-day no solid food cleanse and liver flush that will finally be resolved tomorrow with some fresh juices and a large fresh salad. The year behind me has been intense, even arduous, the general feeling of the universe spinning a little out of control has been too familiar to many of us lately; therefore, it felt like to cleanse these cobwebs out one would have to apply oneself a little more consistently, and with a bit more direct intent. It was as if I chose to send myself a message to stay true. As always, this type of consistency bears fruit, and I can safely say that the feeling of inner puritication has been worth every minute of forgoing certain, or all, foods.

The energetics of foods have long been a focus of Chinese Medicine, and while it would probably only rarely agree with forgoing solid foods althogether, it would concur readily that certain foods drag you down, speed you up, balance, noursish or, conversely, exacerbate health conditions, based on one's state of health and constitution. There is nothing that feels more healthful to me than hitting the annual reset button and getting to the work of balancing from scratch. I've come to love and anticipate it as much as any other annual routine I favor. This post is not about how to do a cleanse (you can read my post of exactly a year ago, March 25, 2009 to find out a bit more, and generally, cleansing is better done with some forethought, planning, and when appropriate, medical supervision). These are just some thoughts on coming around to another anniversary - fortunately, a good one, of a beautiful health practice and not least, of writing this blog. As I am getting ready to conclude my cleanse, I hope for another year of health for all of us!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cutting for Stone Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I totally got into this book. It has everything good lit has to offer - unusual settings, explosive characters, a dose of foreign language sprinkled throughout, and last but not least, medicine! Detailed, terminology rich, with symptoms and procedures vividly described. Compassionate, intense medicine, with every patient standing in front of you, as if you were the one examining or performing a procedure. There is joy of success and tragedy of passing, and ultimately, a constant search for a way to practice the best way you can - every day you are out there.

Just as the action moved away from the vivid descriptions of Addis and I was about to consider the whole thing a done deal, I was in for another surprise - the action moved to, of all places, the Bronx, in New York City (my current stomping ground, although, I have to say with some relief, not the exact part); after that, the action and tension did not relent until the very closure. I find it ineviatble that novels accelerate toward the end, losing detail, whole stretches of the time continuum getting omitted to move the story toward closure. With Cutting For Stone, this effect is lessened due to the metiticulously described scenes of surgery, hospital activities and goings on in New York City. Years do pass faster as the protagonists grow and age, but it does impart the effect of a continuum with a few time-freeze frames rather than an unfortunate acceleration.

I am a slower reader that I would like, who also gravitates toward 400-500 page novels with elaborate plots and descriptive language. Fortunately for me, lately I've been blessed with a string of pretty outstanding fiction that pays you back and then some for the time invested in reading. Overall, an excellent book that I was happy to receive from a generous friend and to share with another friend when I finished.

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