Self Medicating with Peanut Butter

A friend who has been struggling with illness and was frustrated with the quality of medical care she had received recently remarked to me that she worked hard to nurture all of her cells in an attempt to get better. Her disappointment with doctors stemmed from their failure to notice she was a complete human being; they had focused on her symptoms alone, as if these phenomena had landed on her like a strange bird, and didn't ask her any questions to determine what might have brought on her maladies.

The idea of nurturing every cell struck a chord with me. It reminded me of a Buddhist mealtime meditation in which one thinks about every aspect of the meal--from the landing of the seed into the soil to consumption at your dinner table. Obviously, you have to meditate and eat at the same time with this one or your soup will get cold. By the end of the meditation, though, you realize everyone on the planet played a roll in creating your food. You walk away from the table with a whole new respect for your mac and cheese.

So why not apply this to yourself? To think of how every bit of your being feeds and supports your soul, is you, your consciousness, the heart that beats in time with every other heart?

At the time Rita wrote these words to me, I was struggling through two long-term infections that had robbed me of all my physical strength. I was tired, low in spirit, and fed up. My own experiences of the medical establishment have convinced me to stay away from it at all costs. So I made myself the one and only really great sandwich--Skippy super chunk peanut butter on Martin's potato bread. I sat down and thought about every mouthful. I savored the smell, the flavor, the texture, the sheer weight of the stuff.


Peanut butter sandwiches are the things that put you back in your home, safe and sound, in the middle of a long day at school when you're a kid, after all. It's all good. They sit their wrapped in wax paper inside paper bags waiting to remind you that the person who made it for you loves you.

I thought about feeding every cell. I thought how the whole world made my sandwich. I would be at home with myself again soon. Peanut butter is medicine. In the slowing down, the focusing, the believing, and the taking in of good food, I felt better in every way. Self medicating--when the medication is care and kindness--is a good thing, indeed.

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