Metabolizing Life

Metabolizing Life by Carole Burstein

The sum of all chemical reactions within a living organism is known
as metabolism. Metabolism is a vital process for all life forms — not
just humans It is present ‘from womb to tomb’. If metabolism stops, a
living thing dies


When we eat, we metabolize food into life force. Metaphorically,
humans metabolize life into meaning. Meaning is the life force of the
psyche. We are meaning-making creatures. Just as physical
metabolism goes on without our awareness, the metabolism of life
into meaning goes on as we go about living our lives. 1.

As in the body, psychological metabolism is a result of many known
and unknown factors, most which are out of our control. As we
perceive and experience life, meaning arises into our awareness.
Emotion, and thought play a role, as does human will. In the body,
we manifest symptoms that signal us to take notice that food is not
being completely digested so that we can and take enzymes or alter
our diet, or do a panel of tests to inquire further. Similarly in the
psyche, when a symptom such as anxiety, anger, jealousy , or any
“negative emotion” or undesirable behavior arises, we are not fully
metabolizing an experience. When experience is fully metabolized, it
adds to our sense of wholeness, our natural rhythm inherent flow.

Ultimately, both physically and psychically, metabolism is controlled
by the same Force that creates life; It is beyond human agency. We
could say that it is the sum total of all Self-regulating processes which
belong to human survival and growth. Since all experience happens
in and through our bodies, all metabolism is really both physical and
non-physical. We are never less than BOTH physical and nonphysical
organisms. As humans, we have the opportunity to
participate with awareness in the miraculous continuous happening of
metabolizing the physical and non- physical experiences we call “life’.

1 It is currently popular to refer to meaning-making as “the story I tell myself”. The assumption
here is that I can change the meaning I make out of a situation, by using conscious will to change
the story I tell myself. While this may succeed at times- “willing life” to change, a process quite
different from metabolizing


© Copyright - Robert Litman The Breathable Body at the Vashon Breathing Center