Celebrating disease

This is not intended to be morbid or flippant. I was reading Ian Gawler’s first book the other day on surviving cancer and was inspired by his attitude towards death. He identified early in his own journey, the importance of changing thinking patterns and the freedom and peace that this can bring.
Most things we struggle with are made much bigger by our attitude towards them and in a similar fashion, by changing our thinking, can be turned around to the positive.
It often takes a life threatening experience to bring about these incentives to look a little deeper and some ideas, can even then, still seem far too challenging.

Life is a challenge. It is not for the faint hearted.

If death is a natural part of life as it most surely is, then disease is the driving force of evolution itself.

If dis-ease means not at ease, being not at ease drives us to seek or adopt a more comfortable position.

In this way, disease forces us to change or re-evaluate or move forward in order to discover a new way out of dis-ease.
It becomes necessary to appreciate the opportunity that arises to do things differently; to welcome change; to evolve.

Ian Gawler and countless others who have taken on this challenge will attest to the miracle of second chances. Our dear animals, if given the chance, will do this almost unconsciously on their regular life’s journey. It is a joy to observe them indomitably taking on these challenges and healing themselves and us.

Disease is the driving force that ensures that changes are made as we forge ahead. We have to change in order to recover ease. It also follows that disease will be ongoing. It will never disappear for that would herald the end of our progress. Hopefully it becomes less violent in its expression and hopefully we learn to recognize and accept its existence. Some of us can even learn to appreciate it.  Fewer of us still, will come to welcome it.

Ian Gawler is one of the evolved. There were doctors who were angry with him when he didn’t die because he challenged their thinking and their predictions.

Every one of us who practice integrated medicine comes under fire of this kind at times.
As those who think outside the box, we are very often criticized or ignored until something really amazing happens that cannot be overlooked.
In life, miracles do indeed happen very often. It’s whether we notice them or not that determines how we adapt.

I am reading and thoroughly enjoying Cindy Engel’s book Wild Health at present.
Cindy is a behavioural biologist who has studied animals in as close to their natural habitat as can be found in this world.
The innate abilities that these wild animals have of healing themselves are fascinating and inspiring.  One of the crucial insights she makes involves the acknowledgment of the role the environment takes in bringing about healing behaviours. If the animals are removed from their natural habitats they cannot find the plants and minerals they instinctively seek as medicines and moreover, if their environment is interfered with then their behaviour changes to the extent that they cannot even seem to remember what to do about their condition.
This highlights the possibility that we ourselves, given the right environment, would better remember what it is that we need to do to heal ourselves.

People like Ian Gawler are lucky enough to re-discover how to create an environment that is conducive to healing.

Many of our domestic animals although removed from the wild, still exhibit this instinct. I recall with a little amusement, a fairly recent article in the Australian Veterinary Journal, a scientific, peer reviewed journal, concerning the ability and tendency for sheep with osteoporosis (weak bones) to actively seek out certain plants that would assist to strengthen their bones.  This was apparently a recent scientific discovery of great import and perhaps indicated the possibility that animals could self medicate; but this article was published long after this type of behaviour was recognized by others, hundreds of years later in fact.

Another striking discovery, highlighted by Ms Engels, is that wild animals carry all or many of the disease forming agents that afflict animals in domestic and captive situations without the clinical appearance or symptoms of the disease itself. This has to be another clue about the true nature of disease and further testament to the need to redefine disease. These animals have the organisms, parasites and infections but NOT the dis-ease usually attributed to such pathogens. What makes them so much more resistant?

Much of the answer lies in their grazing behaviour and selection of plants that contain substances conducive to health but there are other factors yet to be recognized. It is a long established belief in natural medicine circles that if the system is kept in prime health then parasites and infections will not cause disease. This is why we use naturopathic and homeopathic methods to boost immunity and to assist in preventing worm burdens and heartworm and flea infestations.


It is a widespread and extensive misconception that these parasites always cause disease in our animals and the war we have waged upon them for decades with anthelmintics and other chemicals has largely resulted only in selecting for resistance on their part and weakness on the part of the host.
It takes different eyes to see that the existence of an organism does not necessarily correlate with the existence of disease.

chimpWild animals have long been vilified as harbingers of disease for domestic species when in fact they perhaps should be congratulated for their resistance to the diseases.

The search for cures and explanations for serious life threatening illnesses is, for many, a life long commitment.  If you want to find the right answers you have to know where to look and who to ask.

Paracelsus said in the sixteenth century
“There is no illness on earth for which God has not provided a remedy through nature” Paracelcus(1493-1541)
Despite five hundred years of searching it seems that much still eludes us but if we look to the wisdom of ages instead of believing that the answers are not yet available we may greatly surprise ourselves by what we already know.

I have immeasurable faith in Mother Nature and the lessons she lovingly bestows through the natural world of plants, minerals and animals.

We only need to take the time to look and listen.

The answers are all there.

2 Responses to “Celebrating disease”

  1. From Sharri Fioravanti

    Thank you very much for giving us some reliable recommendations on this topic. I have discovered a great variety of savvy suggestions about natural health and some unreliable ideas. Do you have any more good suggestions or places on the Internet that I can find more detailed recommendations? This would be certainly appreciated! So, keep up the good work!

  2. From Justine Carter

    Too often do we look past what is contained in our natural environment, for remedies of diseases we do not yet believe exist…yet species have continued to survive and evolve for thousands of years with only those elements present in their natural surrounds.
    For what was initially a google search on the advancement of holistic vet care in Australia (for personal interest), I have stumbled onto a potential area of study I have only just now heard of – Zoopharmacognosy. I look forward to ordering this book and learning so much more. What a brilliant potential Master’s/PhD topic this would make. Now to find a willing (open minded) supervisor!

    Thank you.

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