Sweat the Small Stuff Before It Becomes Big Stuff

There is an African Proverb that says, “Don’t look where you fell, but where you slipped.”

“Oh he is in a nursing home,” is what they told me when I inquired about a friend of mine the other day. My, I thought, he is only 59 years old and in a nursing home. “Can’t walk,” they said, “and has a hard time speaking and the doctors say he needs a liver transplant.” Here is a person that went to church every Sunday and drank liquor on a regular basis in between. But it was no problem; after all, he said he could hold his liquor. Getting intoxicated on a regular basis, small stuff. Residing in a nursing home waiting for a liver transplant at age 59, big stuff.

Exactly what is small stuff?

Small stuff is smoking cigarettes.   No big thing when you had your first second third fourth cigarette, everything’s cool until after smoking 15 years you get throat cancer. Cancer is big stuff.

Small stuff is a diet that includes processed foods, white bread, cupcakes, soda and high fructose corn syrup. What’s wrong with that? It makes you feel good. In fact you can eat donuts and drink soda together. Actually you drink soda every day to wash your meal down. No biggie. Small stuff. What is one soda? Ten years later you find yourself mal nourished, over medicated, obese, and you have type 2 diabetes. – Diabetes is big stuff.

Small stuff is when you are in a dead end job that you don’t like. You have to take on a part time job to make ends meet. You hate your boss, you fuss with your spouse over nothing, you are tired all the time, but you keep on going because it’s the right thing to do. You grab a burger, fries and a soda for lunch. You juggle three things at time. You have constant indigestion that you “cure” by taking over the counter pills so you can keep eating your fast foods. You are taking another pill to get to sleep at night. The doctor says you are under a lot of stress and tells you to slow down. What does he know? Small stuff. One day you have a heart attack. A heart attack is Big Stuff. (Stress is enormous stuff).

Fast food, fast living, lack of sleep, spending all additional hours in front of the big screen in the living room, energy drinks, ignoring your bodies attempt to heal, popping pills when you get sick so you won’t miss work – Small Stuff. The fact that your life span is actually decreasing – Big Stuff.

Yelling at your kid and telling him he is no good, and if he does not do such and such you are going to bust his A–. Small stuff- Him or her growing up to be the school bully, big stuff.

The moment between the small stuff and the big stuff is the “tipping point” the time when everything hits the fan. The time when it is too late to go in reverse.

How do we sweat the small stuff and avoid falling into the pit of obesity, diabetes, and cancer? It’s easier to prevent bad things from happening to you if you can understand why they happened in the first place.

Why is it that we can be so connected to the claws of what I call the fast food world, doing all those things that are against the very nature of our bodies, and expect anything different than cancer, heart failure, diabetes, asthma, and even gun violence? How is it that people can go to their places of worship every week and disrespect their bodies with over consumption of alcohol, sugar, dead devitalized food and medications?

The body speaks in whispers and if we do not listen, the body starts to yell and you either take notice and begin to heal the social and emotional issues that are contributing to our illness or we grow a tumor. The human body has incredible ability to heal itself when maintained properly. If the three areas of human health, which are physical, mental and spiritual are cared for and balanced, most of our need for medicines would be eliminated. Daily attention to diet, movement and mindful thinking is all that is needed.

Here is one simple tip. Let’s start at the beginning. First we breathe. We bring our attention in on our breath. This is not easy for many of us to do, because to focus on the breath, we have to slow down.

Food can kill and food can heal. It’s really not that complicated…When you give the body what it needs, it naturally returns to a state of health. Work to not only heal the biological issues going on through eating more plants and whole foods, but also to heal the social and emotional patterns that contribute to our illnesses.

Reading a book does not count. As Dr. Alberto Villoldo (psychologist, medical anthropologist and author of Dance of the Four Winds, and Shaman, Healer, Sage) wrote, (explaining the difference between knowledge and information) “Information, is understanding that water is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen (H 2 0). Knowledge is comprehending the nature of water so well, that you can make it rain.”


First: Observe – You can’t fix what you can’t see – pay attentionSecond: Acknowledge – What are the forces at work? Third: Investigate – What steps can you take to change thingsAnd always remember, love yourself. Get rid of these words: ‘could’a’, ‘should’ a’, can’t.

Yvonne Stafford is the author of From Fast Foods to Slow Foods: How to Wake up Laughing. Naturalharlem@gmail.com — naturalharlem.com

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