About Sue Westwind
“Westwind” is a name I chose for myself as a young undergraduate trying to find my way with poetry and teaching. Originally a pen name, it morphed into a spiritual name when I learned about ancient and indigenous cultures’ views on the Elements of nature: air, fire, water, earth, and ether (spirit). Cultures assign correspondences differently, but in the system I was exposed to, the West links to water and the emotions, and East/Air as the wind can signal the changing velocities of the mind. Feelings and intellect: always a difficult balance.
I had all-out wars with depression and anxiety from the teen years to my mid-forties, when I made some of the connections this website explores. There were bouts with agoraphobia, and in younger years too much alcohol and any altering substances I could get my hands on. I had no idea my migraines fatigue, and gastro problems were interconnected with my state of mind. Schizophrenics and suicides in my family’s past and present made my malaise appear “genetic” (inevitable).
Finally, the adoption of a baby girl later diagnosed with autism propelled me onto the nutrient path. I learned that so-called mental illness is part of our environmental crisis–our minds assaulted by synthetic chemicals, toxic metals, stealthy infections and bad foods that not only take their toll on the body, but profoundly affect behavior, thoughts, and feelings. As my daughter and I took nutrients, detoxed, and made significant diet changes, we both shed long held afflictions.
But vitamins, supplements and food changes, while astounding in their effects, fostered a greater openness toward spirituality and creativity. With a practice in mindfulness, I deepened my ties with the Earth as a source of strength and hope. I learned that doing yoga and other forms of self-care bring the body into league with the mind and the possibility exists, once fully embodied, for a person to act with greater compassion toward self, others and the planet. I hit on the name, “the nutrient path,” because it seems to me that body, mind, and spirit must be partners on this journey and that there exists much out there for the nourishment of each.
Hardly a finished product, (neither my daughter nor I), my mood these days can be summed up with sharing a practice I try to do daily. I make a list of all I’m grateful for, in the moment or for the long haul. Either written, spoken out loud while driving in the car, or just thought silently with heartfelt attention, this practice engages mind (thinking outside the box) body (endorphins result when you review the feel-goods) and spirit (the wonder of all the Good we tend to overlook can be a pathway to the divine). It’s a small thing but for me essential to staying steady and optimistic on the nutrient path.