As I’m sitting here with a mean ear infection and a nasty chronic flu, with my entire face feeling like a stuffed up house of horrors, I ask the questions: Why is health only important when we lose it? Why do we only realize the importance of being healthy when we are sick?

Of course, we all read the articles and blogs, watch the doctor shows; we know how important health is, intellectually, in our heads. We try to eat right, exercise, and take our vitamins. As we get older, we take our medications, and visit the doctor regularly if we’re good little patients. But, many of us don’t fully appreciate the value of good health, until we lose it, albeit temporarily, through some injury or illness.

It’s true: Most of us take our health for granted, until something happens, when we get sick, and we don’t feel so good. The reason is that most of us live in our heads; our minds; our thoughts. We believe that our mind is everything. We forget about our body. Of course, we walk, we work, we make love, we do physical things, but our mind is not often fully attuned and aware of our body. We are so preoccupied with what is going on in our thoughts--of the past or the future--that we are not fully aware of our body in the present.

How many times have you actually observed your body as you walked through a doorway? Do you feel the pressure on your fingertips as you pick up a cup? Do you truly feel the pleasure sensations of warm droplets of shower water cascading on your back? Many of us don’t. As an exercise, begin to be more aware of your body and the sensations you experience on a daily basis. Make friends with your body; honestly; it is the last friend who will leave you in life, staying with you until you die.

As I sit here in misery because of my flu, I have a better appreciation of my body and how it connects with my mind and soul. The body relays messages of delight or pain to the mind; the mind’s upbeat or downbeat thoughts can affect the body, and give it more or less energy.

When I feel sick, I use a little mind trick you can also try: I merge with my sickness. Although I take the appropriate medicines and doctor’s advice, I also decide not to mentally fight the sickness--to be afraid or sad over it. I realize that my mind and body are now working together to get me back to feeling healthy, so I visualize my mind and body as one healthy unit fighting off the foreign invaders of sickness and disease. To become one with your body is the most beautiful thing you can do, in sickness or in health.