The ocean does not just make up the majority our planet; it makes up part of my soul as well. It is a magical transformation: the salty air nourishes my body and frees my breathing, allowing me to center almost immediately.

It seems like recently the environment of where we are living and the toxins stored there take my breath away. Literally. I hope to determine on this shore vacation if the toxins are my own manifestations, or that of the physical environment. Or perhaps they are my own projections of unresolved issues from my past in Life 2.0.

Timing can be a curious thing. In May of this year, I inhaled a significant amount of pollen and dust from the environment around my home. This occurred as my wife completed her treatments for breast cancer. Did this trigger a subconscious desire to get sick, just so I could be taken care of?

I also find it curious to know that to myself and others, I am not an “inflammation patient.” Despite suffering from inflammation since infancy thanks to dairy and genetically altered modern wheat festering within my body, as well as environmental toxins in Pittsburgh and other inland cities, I do not consider myself to have a disease, although this condition kills millions prematurely.

However, my wife and others that have grown cancers are forever labeled as “cancer patients.” We can always characterize ourselves by these trials and tribulations. Ultimately, inflammation responses in the body produce a disease that we can allow to define us, but I refuse to do that. At the end of the dark tunnel of disease, there is a light, which can actually teach us a thing or two.

When I was six I had pneumonia, and through the “miracle” of antibiotics, I was healed. At eight, I had my tonsils removed, and through the “miracle” of surgery, I was healed. At twenty-eight, I had a ruptured appendix, and through the “miracles” of surgery and antibiotics, I was healed.

Over the years that I lived in Pittsburgh, and then on airplanes, and then again in Pittsburgh, through the “miracle” of antibiotics three to twelve times a year for forty years, I was healed. I also had the pleasure of tossing down steroids a number of times in order to reduce inflammation. What is the common element in all of these diseases? Inflammation.

As part of my continuing journey, I removed wheat and dairy from my diet in 2012, and my health, specifically my inflammation levels in my body, drastically improved. That sinus-infection-free year-and-a-half of my life was well worth the sacrifice.  And suddenly I had no need for “miracles”. Or so I thought.

So, on June second of this year, I found myself with an ear infection. Three antibiotics later and one dose of steroids later and I was almost symptom free. Key word: almost. The symptoms eventually returned. Proving to be a stubborn condition, the inflammation would not budge.

Refusing to let this uphill battle seize my life, I sought help from a naturally gifted healer: my chiropractor, who is able to tune into her patients at an energetic level. Taking it a step further, I also visited an acupuncture practitioner. With their help, my body began to heal itself and drain the fluids caused by my body’s natural inflammation response.

Hopefully, this week at the shore will put an end to this disease once and for all.

In Life 3.0, we do not have the ability to ignore our bodies any longer. In my case, I was born and raised on Long Island, and my body is used to the salty air and humidity of that environment. Unfortunately, I was also given dairy at birth and I am allergic to caisson – the protein in dairy.

We have a choice when we reach this stage of life. We can be defined by the labels of the disease, like cancer, or like the outcomes of chronic inflammation – including conditions like adult onset diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and a plethora of other ailments, or we can change the way we eat and live to be on core with our own bio-individuality.

This blog entry is the first in a series of entries that will deal with how I use the food that I eat and my primary foods of career, spirituality, relationships and exercise in Life 3.0. Each Saturday, I will post a personal entry about my Life 3.0 experience.

Some will be reflections extracted from my gratitude journal that I started in December of last year as my wife began her cancer treatments and we changed our lives. For the most part, the entries will be current accounts of what’s happening now.

For now, I leave you with a question: When are you? I tell my clients to ask themselves three questions in order to center themselves for meditation. Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose? The implicit answer to when am I, when we are centered, and when we meditate, is now.

With the stress of disease, I found that I am often not in the now, but in the drama of the past. Or wishing for a future. In truth, we only have the now. And for those of you with an illness, or living with someone with an illness: you are not your disease. You are beautiful. As another Fred in Pittsburgh always said, “I love you just the way you are.” Be now here and not nowhere.