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“When I first started coming to Yamin as a patient I thought I knew how to take care of myself through exercise and diet. Every year, my annual physical would result in page after page of numbers that confirmed my outlook. It reaffirmed my core goals: Keep doing what you’re doing, don’t change. But then my numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) started trending upward. I was forced to evaluate my relationships to food, to exercise, to stress. I didn’t really want to do it and it took quite some time to get into that flow. Eventually, I was able to do that and make significant changes in my life. My most recent physical (February 2012) gave me a clean bill of health. My numbers are down where they need to be.

How did I get to that position? A lot of hard work on my part. But I could never have walked through that door without Yamin. First of all, she made me aware that there was a door. Then, when I wanted to ignore the door (although the room I was in was getting stuffy and very uncomfortable) she persuaded me that it did exist. Ultimately, Yamin was a huge factor in getting me to walk through it.

The results of my most recent physical do provide a basic assurance and endorsement of how I am trying to live. But I now realize that the numbers from my physical reflect only one aspect of “good health.” “Good health” is not a static state of being but is always changing and so demands ongoing change from each of us. Constant self-awareness and mindfulness with numbers, yes, but so much more. Our journey in life is primarily a spiritual one. Who are we? Where are we trying to go? The never-ending struggle to answer these questions involves not just physical health but spiritual, emotional, and mental health. Indeed, all aspects of health interpenetrate each other in a constant dance. None of this can simply be reduced to a formula, a list of daily dos and don’ts (although I do keep one). I have found that the most important thing is just accepting the challenge and facing the obstacles that are part of that. I am happy to be there. I thank Yamin for working with me to make it possible.–L.B.

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