Last week I was lost in a client’s lab reports. Teasing out truths, looking for patterns. She had presented to me with a list of concerns which included fatigue, irritability, sadness and anxiety. Oh, and of course she was convinced that she needed hormones. She was supplementing progesterone and DHEA and asking about testosterone. In the course of our first meeting we reviewed her medical history, her family history of breast cancer and her psychosocial history which included parents that divorced when she was 5, an absent father for much of her young life, a mother working full-time, job insecurity in her current company and a brother with a life-threatening illness. Because of the job stress she was working 50+ hours/week and admitted she often skipped breakfast, ate take out food for lunch and frozen food for dinner. She was estranged from her family and had stopped going to church after her divorce 5 or so years ago.

Not surprisingly, her testing reflected the chronic life stresses in which she was entrenched. I am not naive enough to believe that my list of suggestions will do more than give her much needed building blocks to make the GABA and serotonin she needs and the B vitamins and other supplements that will support her liver function; the rest will come from my ability to paint a picture of where her health is headed without a relatively drastic “course correction”.

I wish I could tell you this scenario is isolated and rare. I am aware that more and more of my time is spent looking at nutrition and life style strategies that blend with today’s day to day realities. Home-cooked meals and daily meditation are lovely goals, but in this world of soccer practice, piano lessons, dinner meetings etc it makes more sense to find alternatives and ideas that feel achievable. And maybe explore ideas about choices and how to listen to inner wisdom and truths. And lately I’ve come to believe my role is really to listen and repeat what I hear my clients say. “You said you don’t have time for Breakfast because you often have 7:30 meetings and there are always bagels and doughnuts at the meetings” to someone who is struggling with weight loss or “You said you wish you could decrease your time on your computer and mention that you check Facebook several times a day and like to have the email alert on your phone turned on in case the message is important” to someone who is having problems sleeping soundly or “You said religion is important to you and you liked being part of the bible study at church” to someone who has recently developed anxiety. In none of these cases am I giving an opinion; in all of these examples I saw a recognition and awareness that my client had the answers all along that she was looking to ME to find.

“Even a happy life canot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” – Carl Jung

Patience and equanimity. Nice words that say balance, resilience, faith and trust to me. We don’t learn patience and equanimity from our current culture, we learn multi-tasking and connectivity. If there is a message that’s clear, it is that we are the ones with our own answers. Turning down the turmoil and listening to what the voice in the darkness is saying…