Guest Expert Sayward Ayre BY SAYWARD AYRE

Sayward Ayre, ND, is the Retreat Director for Juice Fast For Health and has been holding retreats in the Palm Springs area for five years. She holds a Naturopathic Doctor degree as well as several other degrees and certificates. Find Sayward's listing in OPEN EXCHANGE's Retreats category.

The acquisition of "things" is part of the American Dream our own house, car, nice wardrobe, flat screen TV, computers, boats, planes, you name it. "Things" are available everywhere, at every turn, and the urge to purchase or attain "things" appears to be a human trait most members of all cultures world-wide display the behavior of collecting "things." Usually these "things" have necessary functions for our lives, like the items listed above, and yet they still are nothing more than "things." This is made ever so clear when one falls into those times in life where the importance of friends becomes more valuable than any "thing" you own.

Take this summer, for example. Two of my "things," my truck and my RV, caused me much anguish with motor repairs, bad mechanics, faulty work, more mechanics, more money evaporating. Three mechanics later the problem was finally fixed. After all the grief, it was my friends that elevated my spirits and helped turn my days to sunshine again.

Recently, I've been visiting some old friends that I haven't seen for many years. It's as though time never passed the warmth, the communication, the laughter, the hugs are still there. When I wave goodbye to the ones who so generously welcomed me back into their lives, I am a new person, refreshed with energy, joy, and a sense of well-being. It is similar in feeling to when I take the time to recognize and honor my "house" my body - as my friend, and make the effort to treat it as such.

Like most people, I don't always stick with the healthiest of food choices, or stress levels. Sometimes I overdo, too much of something that isn't particularly good for me, and I'm usually aware of what I'm doing. But when I finally decide "Whoa! This has gotta stop I'm changing this habit NOW!" I start to feel fabulous again, partially because I'm renewing my relationship with myself, and partially because my body truly does feel better when I take better care of it.

Our relationship with our body is similar to an old friendship it requires maintenance in order to reap the most joy, the greatest highs, the distance of longevity. When we honor our body by keeping it healthy, we honor our lives and our spirit as well. It has been said throughout history that the body is the Temple of the Soul. I think of my spirit and soul as interchangeable for consciousness, but whichever way one chooses to perceive it, keeping the Temple, the body, the friend, well-maintained and operating with great energy and zest certainly makes a world of difference in the joy and lightness we experience in daily life. And those "things" have values far greater than money can buy.