A Healthy Balance: A new fisherwoman’s musings on the journey of catch and release
A weekend salmon fishing in Westport and a stop by my sister’s garden sent me home with a cooler of salmon, homemade goat cheese, fresh eggs and lots of veggies. I also came away with a renewed respect for Chinese medicine.
I was the only one onboard without a motion sickness patch. I was determined to live or die by my natural remedies- my SeaBand acupressure bracelet, some ginger tea, and some crystallized ginger-all found at Fred Meyer the morning I left Ballard. As a sponsor of the Seafood Festival, the only way I would have left was in search of even fresher seafood, like right out of the water fresh.
Armed with my thermos, my bracelets and ginger and about a year’s-worth of experience down-rigging small sailboats on Lake Union (where the waves were considerably smaller, to put it mildly), I set out on my first deep-sea fishing trip ever. Everyone was in high spirits until we had to go over the bar. Then, only the kids were excited. They are still of an age to enjoy roller-coasters.
While various members of our family began feeding the fish, I landed the first fish, but it had to be thrown back. It seemed like most of our catch had to be thrown back, but by late afternoon, we’d all limited and were ready to go back in.
Coming back over the bar is much easier than going out. All in all, a great way to experience fishing in the ocean for the first time, from my perspective. But then, I never puked. My medicine had worked.
On our long drive back from the coast, I got to thinking about the different methods we used to achieve the same end. Whether it was pharmaceutical, herbal, nutritional, or Chinese medicinal, we were all trying to get the same result.
Is there really a benefit to using one route or another to get to the same destination? In the end, it’s all about what you want to experience on the journey. Now how does this all relate to natural medicine?
The goal of my medicine is not only to achieve wellness in all of my patients. While that is, indeed, a goal, it is accompanied by the desires of my patients to take more control over their lives, build healthy decision-making skills, and learn to accept responsibility for their successes and failure.
Producing the neccesary encouragement to learn from those failures and continue to get up and try again is also a goal. While we journey towards optimal health, we meet many challenges in our circumstances and attitudes, and the attitudes of others around us. Overcoming challenges can be as simple as choosing a salad when everyone else is having onion rings, or asking ourselves, “What do I really want to eat?” before mindlessly chowing down on whatever is easy.
Or, when you think you’re hungry, drinking a glass of water first to see if it was really thirst disguised as hunger. It can also be as difficult as leaving an abusive relationship or breaking a cycle of addiction that has existed in your family for generations.
But in the end, facing these challenges themselves, not simply the rewards that come from overcoming them, are a major part of wellness as I know it.
Dr. Katie Baker is the owner of Stone Turtle Health, a naturopathic family clinic here in Ballard on 8th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 62nd Street (www.stoneturtlehealth.com). She can be reached at email@example.com with questions and or suggestions for column ideas.