So why "Lemons & Beets"? Long story but worth it. It features another “turban” guy; my early healing days were heavily populated with these folks. But this time, the twist comes from Yogi Bhajan, the man who brought Kundalini yoga to America.
Two years into feeling better, I got my certification as Kundalini Yoga (KY) instructor because KY definitely helped put my RA into remission. I had begun teaching at a college in Sylmar, CA, when a short woman with a raspy voice asked me if I could copy her some sets for the liver. I was a neophyte and a zealot, so of course, I did even more than that. Over the next 3 months, she continued to ask questions; and I joyously provided answers.
One day, the woman took me aside and told me that, just before she had started my class, her doctor had given her 3 months to live. When she was young, she had been a call girl - in Japan, no less - and as a result she had contracted HIV, cirrhosis and more. But, thanks to me, said she - in truth, thanks to the discipline she herself had developed from answers to her questions - she had reduced the size of her liver in half and put her AIDS into remission.
After I picked my jaw off the floor, I connected her up with more helpers and healers, and soon she became a Kundalini Yoga teacher herself. Her story was miraculous.
BUT… pay attention to this BUT! As she felt better, the miracle wasn’t good enough. She wanted to share her story in exchange for fame and fortune. She wanted to be on Oprah!
It so happened that we both had an opportunity to meet Yogi Bhajan - the turban guy in the picture. She told me she was going to get him to put her on Oprah. Well, Yogi Bhajan, from what I’d heard, was nothing if not a shrewd judge of character. He did not waste his time or suffer fools. So I said something like, “He’ll clobber you if you aren’t absolutely straight with him, and that means being straight with yourself.”
BUT rather than say straight out that she wanted to share her story on Oprah, she asked - somewhat coyly, I imagine, probably with fluttering lashes - “What is my Destiny?”
“Your Destiny?” he snapped. “Your destiny is beets and lemons, lemons and beets. Good bye.”
She hated the response. But actually, if you think about it, he told her the absolute truth.
Beets and lemons are known to cleanse the liver. This woman not only had a liver disease she was also taking drugs for AIDS that could further damage it. Daily, dedicated, and life long care for her liver was indeed her destiny. Her health discipline was a gift - and she was neither grateful nor accepting of it.
It’s hard to embrace such a destiny. We want a quick fix, a miracle cure, and acknowledgement of our struggle (though not all of us want to be on Oprah.)
Staying on the path to wellness is harder than it sounds. I have fallen off the path many times myself. Sometimes I just get bored with my discipline. Sometimes my ego jumps in and tells me to eat a cookie or have a glass of wine, to be like everyone else.
But 99.99% of the time, I appreciate my discipline; it's made me stronger, wiser, and, oh yeah, it keeps me well.
On this, my first blog post, I wish all health seekers luck in finding your discipline. I'm not a zealot
anymore. 30 years of my personal "lemons and beets" has taught me that every human - healthy or not - is on a unique path. I can't show you the way, but I can inspire your journey.