We didn’t know it at the time, but probably most of us were introduced to cell biology via a favorite kids’ book series. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was first published 50 years ago, where we young’uns learned to fold (or “wrinkle”) time (remember tesseracts?) and travel to other dimensions.
In the sequal, A Wind in the Door, we discovered firsthand (in the way good fiction makes you feel there) about the workings of the mitochondria inside of a cell: “A human being is a whole world to a mitochondrion, just the way our planet is to us. But we’re much more dependent on our mitochondria than the earth is on us. The earth could get along perfectly well without people, but if anything happened to our mitochondria, we’d die,” explains the precocious Charles Wallace.
It may have looked like pure science fiction at the time, but these books gave us a glimpse of what turns out to be not so far from our current understanding of the truth: Mitochondria are the power plants of the body, where energy is made. Their DNA is different from the rest of my DNA. What I call “me” is an entire universe teeming with life. My conscious mind extends only so far. I can practice expanding it. But the body has its own collective wisdom. It behooves me to listen.
Which brings us to this special edition of CATALYST.
Periodically, we publish “The ABCs of Natural Health.” Natural healthcare implies a respect for the body’s innate wisdom. Natural healthcare begins from a state of health, and then cares for that health—sure, by acknowledging the externalities we learn about in grade school such as sleep, nutrition and environmental health—but also by paying attention to our inner hygiene: noticing the effects of stress and the thoughts that can raise or lower our energy. Perhaps simple gratitude —thanking all those mitochondria in our cells—would be a good start for self-care, right up there with brushing our teeth each morning and night. The practices described in this issue may help you start or refine that conversation.
Everyone can probably think of a circumstance when an ambulence and a hospital saved the day (and a life). We’re not saying western medicine has no role to play in wellbeing, but rather to choose the tool to suit the task. Call on the big guns if confronted with serious surprise. But be proactive. Do what you can to stay well. Serious health conditions do not develop overnight. Honor the inner workings.
Hold on to this issue of CATALYST as a reference tool throughout the year. It will, of course, be on our website as well.
Speaking of gratitude: Thank you for all the emails I received last month in response to my question, “Is CATALYST still relevant?” I will revisit this question—and share some of your comments—next month. Suffice it to say, for now, that the future seems more vital than ever. Thank you. I am grateful for you all.