Photo credit: Michele Eckert

Embracing “both/and with discernment”– or “both/and with smarts”– means piecing together answers in small increments as I (or you) carefully draw from both sides of a seemingly binary choice. When I am confused at a tough either/or choice, I dig deeper.

To me, it has meant listening to my intuition and body, doing my own research, thinking creatively “outside the box”, and weaving together differing opinions from credentialed experts.  It takes perseverance and patience. 

Ultimately I am the expert on my own wellness, just as you are of yours.  Only I live in my body.

It took me years, but I eventually embraced a “both/and” approach to long-term medical conditions in my life.  On the physical level: Healing through diet and lifestyle?  Healing through human-created and bottled medication?  Both/and…  with discernment.  Hopefully also…  with wisdom.

And the decisions continue on mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.

Both/and with discernment means making choices that turn into dead ends or only partially work, sometimes repeatedly.  Sometimes it means results that contradict previous efforts.  It can mean frustration, even despair, and the persistence of the original problem.  The approach can be disheartening, and is no quick fix.

Occasionally I hit the jackpot on a single try.  Most time, not so much.

I’ve been bent on responding to medical needs through natural means like nutrition and proper sleep, and then if needed: natural (from the Earth): supplements.  I don’t trust Western medicine and packaged medicine for a lifetime list of reasons—but I have softened my rigidity.

Walking both paths and listening to my body carefully from moment to moment, day to day, and having patience has paid off. I now have two different long-term solutions to two different long-term conditions.

We hear the words “hybrid” or “mixed” lately because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  I cheer on the recent acceptance of both/amd!

Thanks to cultural growth spurts of the 1960’s and 1970’s, like the Civil Rights Movement, women’s movement, Americans with Disabilities Act, LGTBQ pride movement, and more, (all of which I wish were integrated), some individuals have had (sometimes only slightly) more choices in this lifetime than their cultural ancestors, at least in the United States.

Thanks also to technology and the internet, if we have the privileged access, we have choices expanding exponentially as new websites, services, and products are invented.

Between cultural changes and technology, some of us have more choices than ever.

Human nature and basic brain function want to simplify complex circumstances that ask us to make choices.  The problem is thorny and detailed enough—can’t the solution be simple?  I want simple. 

I want it now.  And then, when simple and immediate don’t work—hence begins the path less traveled—if we are willing.  Sometimes, we’re forced.

Over the course of the past three years, I met with five or six different medical doctors/specialists, in addition to doing my own research and consulting with my favorite nutrition kinesiologist (Joseph Strickland in Austin, Texas.  Yes, there are ways to work with him by phone!  Tell him I referred you.  Better Body Nutrition is his office.)

Wisdom and discernment can be hard-earned.  It takes fortitude, experimentation, willingness to move through disappointment, and a commitment to possibility. There is hopefully in your personality the grit to get up every morning with a “can-do” attitude, despite the failures of the days, or even years, before. 

The turtle that wins the race might be the one that weighs all its options, one day at a time, until the finish line is crossed.  Both/and with discernment can apply to almost anything in life.  When it comes to wellness and health—it is up to each one of us to piece together our answers, if we are willing.

I’m willing.  Are you?  Please post or email!