By: Bettina – Bolinas, CA

Life is a great teacher.  It’s funny how if we listen for a minute, the universe will tell you what you need in order to feel more balanced. And isn’t that what we all strive for?  Do we even want to be blissful all day, everyday?  We want to be balanced and content, with a sense of achievement and meaning, right?  Well, my body reminded me through some sciatica pain that I was in (desperate) need of some balance.

We so often talk about achieving life/ work balance or more balance in anything in our lives.  But how often do we visualize our bodies as whole systems that need balance??  Think about it for one second.  Visualize your body and where do you see imbalance?  Do you have back pain, digestive problems, pain in your heart, sadness?

When our bodies are out of balance, we get sick.  And balance isn’t the same for everyone.  Each person’s individual balance starts with their natural consistency.  Mine, for example, is a bit high strung.  I am a do-er.  (For those of you who know me personally, you can laugh now).  Sitting still is not much my thing, I inherited this from my mother.  I always have a To-Do list the length of a roll of toilet paper.  I wear many, many hats both in work and in my personal life, I have various careers / social obligations a full tribe of people I adore and, well, I tend to overbook myself.  This is my natural constitution.  If I am not doing, I feel like I am wasting time.  This is not right or wrong.  It is simply my way of being and something that merits observation from my self.

Being out here in remote California has forced me to slow down ONLY because I have no social obligations outside of my relationship, but I am still working all day, signing new clients, exercising twice a day, cooking, serving, photographing and writing about my food; doing housework,and staying in touch with my family and friends around the world.  Even in this idyllic setting, I somehow still feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Until… I started getting an unbearable pain in my right hip.  I have sciatic nerve pain because of a very tight tiny muscle inside of my thigh (the piriformis) that squeezes on the sciatic nerve which runs all the way from the top of your hip to your ankle. Lately that muscle has my nerve in a chokehold so I can barely walk.  

When I went to the acupuncturist yesterday she asked a bunch of questions about how I am as a person.  Questions a regular doctor may never ask like: How do you make decisions?  Do you deal well with uncertainty or do you need more order? Are you often in a hurry? Do you travel a lot (hahaha)?  What are you sad about? What do you want in your life?  And then, even better, she sat and listened to my funny answers.  She subsequently told me something that I have found in the past… as a body and soul, I am more yang (constricted, dry) than yin (loose, moist).  She placed various needles in my hands, feet and knees and glute.  But she also made food recommendations.  Food recommendations?  To me?  Yep.


In listening to her I realized that in all these day of cooking, perhaps I was ignoring the rest of my life balance.  Even in my plates perhaps I was not thinking enough of balance.  I was thinking of colors and variety which usually will lead to accidental balance.  But we need to think of our current state when we think of our food.  Currently, I am very yang (activity, action) a little tightly wound.  So I should eat some moistening foods (this morning that I am sadly cooking for just one, I opted for broccoli, tofu and beet kraut- beets are blood strengtheners and the fermentation of kraut just make my gut even happier). Then I should go sit in my beautiful yard and enjoy some sun and peace and quiet.  Not with a cookbook, not with my phone, nope, not even an iPad!  What will I do?  Just sit.  And who would’ve thought, but some tiny pins and needles and my sciatica is totally bearable today.  🙂