Red, White & Blue

 

How we frame anything matters. How we talk about the issues that face us, and the questions we pose that result from that framing, matters. A lot. Why? Because it sets us in a particular direction; telling us what is important and valid, and what is not. It directs us as to what to pay attention to; what to ignore and what to include. What to make important, and what it is that doesn’t matter at all. In essence, how we frame anything, along with the particular words we use, sets the stage for how we will understand and interact with, what is before us.

In a world of unknowns, where there is much that a human mind cannot comprehend, know or control, we turn towards our particular frameworks to explain the world to us. But how well, or not, we frame anything determines how close, or not, we will land to the Truth. Why does this matter? Because the closer we get to the full and complete reality of what stands before us, the more accurate and true our solutions become; taking us to greater levels of understanding and meaning.

Because I only keep a tiny portion of my attention on mainstream media, and because I identify with neither the Democratic nor Republican party, I can miss some driving forces in how it is that our culture is framing certain issues. With that said, it has taken me months to catch up to a deeply concerning way that we are framing a virus that has changed our world.

Unfortunately, and erroneously, our culture has been framing how to address a virus as a political issue. In the process, we have set ourselves against one another at a time when we most need to be coming together. Compounding that, we have exacerbated, by omission, a longstanding epidemic decline in health and vitality in our country by ignoring the complications and death rates brought on by a preponderance of underlying chronic conditions that have left so many of us susceptible to a virus.

Because we have been framing this as a political issue, we have lost track that what is before us is neither a red state nor a blue state issue. It always has been, and always will be, a health issue. This is not about who is right or wrong, better or worse, harmful or helpful. This is not about “this side” cares, and “that side” does not. That framing of the issue is a sad and destructive distraction that has taken us away from creating an accurate and healthy frame. Dare I say, that frame being: What is health? What undermines it? What supports it? Specifically, what is it that will boost the immunity of a population that transcends agendas, special interests and conflicts of interest?

I know this may seem overly simplified. Or too contrary to the current narrative. But think about it. When it comes to having a healthy immune system to fight off a virus, what else could the frame be if not precisely that? Something simple and body based. But to see this would require dropping the political agendas and weaponry. It would take asking some difficult questions around how health care is framed and delivered in a world that values and is controlled by what makes the most money and who has the strongest political lobby. Most of all, it would require opening up the existing framework to healthy debate; with input from many, many different disciplines brought in to help reshape the framework.

If this makes any sense to you, you must start with yourself. So instead of aligning with a system outside of you to tell you what it means to be healthy-what if you started learning how to recognize and honor the truest needs of your body as the one and only foundational framework of health? A frame based in Biological Truth that transcends politics, censoring, mandates, and “hero likes” on social media.

Start now. Get in the habit of pausing at least once a day. Take a breath, and then, ask yourself “What am I feeling right now, and what is this feeling telling me I need?” From this one simple practice you begin to build a framework based on real human health. And from there, everything is possible. For all of us.

Walls

 

I recently read an article by a bodyworker who was talking about how we build false walls and false floors in our fascia and muscles to compensate for postural imbalances. Basically, all of the ways that we get ourselves positioned incorrectly, and then come to lean into those false constructions to free up the dominant side of the body so that it is available for action. I so know this process in my own body. And I so know how this way of holding myself both reflects and entrenches old, unhealthy states of mind.

In other words, how the walls in my body represent the ones I have built up inside of my own mind to keep me feeling safe. Balanced. Prepared and ready for action. Walls that have been created to give me a sense of security. Whether or not that is actually so having nothing to do with the maintenance of them in my life. Even going to great lengths to hold onto what does not work. What hurts. What is faulty.

Which is why coming to recognize that there has never been a single hurt that I have ever experienced as an adult that wasn’t connected to the past, has changed my Life.

For if you can come to see that how you view what is happening to you now as being somehow connected to long ago, you will have taken a most important step to freeing yourself up from the false constructions that set the stage for why you suffer now. This is not a rationale for staying stuck in the past. Instead, it is a reminder that what happens in the mind happens in the body, and that what happens in the body happens in the mind.

That we can go in through either doorway to change all of us.

Try it. Find one thing that bothers you now. Something you feel slightly hurt or disappointed by. Come up with a headline. For instance: “Feeling Unsupported.” Then, follow the bread crumbs back. Where in the past have you felt like this before? Drop all the names, the places, and the circumstances. What feels familiar to you from then to now? Name what it was for you, and then move. Dance it. Shake it. Wiggle and writhe it. Move your body in random and unusual ways until you feel like something has completed itself.

Then, watch yourself throughout the rest of your day. Is how what you lean into, or what is dominant, different somehow?

In Whose Hands?

 

I have been thinking about health for more than thirty years. Reflecting on questions like, What is health? What supports it? What undermines it? In whose hands does it belong? It has been a wondrous journey. A frustrating one. An illuminating, maddening, and empowering one. One that even on my worst days I would not trade for it has brought me health, and it has brought me into contact with that which still needs healing. Both personally and collectively.

But more than anything else it has brought me to me. Creating and shoring up a kind of sovereignty that I did not even know existed. Or needed. One that emanates from the inside out, and transcends the lobbying, the marketing, the hidden agendas, the outdated and narrow-minded science, and most of all, the fears and conditioning of my past.

But it has been arduous. Requiring that I come up against the places where I have abdicated my responsibility to another person. Or system. Or limiting belief. Mine or others. Or…fill in the blank. For to explore and claim total responsibility for your own health and well-being is an intensely deep, nuanced, and all-encompassing endeavor. As in, no stone left unturned.

So, let’s turn over one of the heaviest and most difficult of all stones to turn over. Playing the victim card. This is the part of you that says someone else is to blame, and therefore is ultimately responsible for, what happens to me. This is the voice that says I have no power here. I cannot possibly stand up for myself, fight back, or choose another way. Most especially, whenever I feel threatened and am up against that which I perceive to be bigger and more powerful than me, because I am too weak to hold the line and keep myself from being violated, accepting what does not feel right to me, I hand my power over to another.

Caroline Myss writes, “The core issue of the victim is whether it’s worth giving up your sense of empowerment to avoid taking responsibility for your independence.” Health is a central and guiding aspect of your independence. Where are you abdicating your power in this regard?  This one won’t be easy to get to as we live in a world that embraces, encourages, and justifies victim mentality. Meaning that, because so many around us have given over their power, we have come to believe that this is normal. The way it is. We even go so far as to bond with others around how we are being F’d with.

So if you want something else, you will need to look more deeply. Much more deeply.

 

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss

Engineering The Nature Out Of Humanity

As the technologies continue to make their way into more and more aspects of our lives, our biggest challenge becomes, how do we continue to recognize and honor real human needs? How do we stay human? Such a strange thing to say, or even think about. Of course we’re human. What else could we be? Well we could, we actually are, becoming lesser and lesser versions of who and what a human being can be. Sadly, the examples continue to mount.

Our basic needs for sleep, downtime, sharing a meal, time spent in nature and more have all been hijacked by the endless parade of shows, Youtube videos, social media, and gaming.

Our children’s truest developmental needs for face to face contact, exploration of the environment, movement, and creative time have been commandeered by the digital babysitters.

We exist physically in the same house with our loved ones while we spend increasing amounts of time separate from one another; preferring to hunch over our screen companions instead.

And our Western physicians are losing their diagnostic skills; choosing to use the technologies as the modern day diagnostician rather than to observe, listen to, and collaborate with the person who sits before them as a way to come to an educated medical opinion. Believing machines superior over human-to-human contact and healing.

Basic human needs, the ones that keep us alive and keep us healthy, the very ones that define the human experience, are being engineered out of us at great cost. Many of us no longer have any idea what those needs are, or how to satisfy them. No longer connecting to what feels good, right, natural in our own bodies, leaves us opting instead for what distorts, undermines, and confuses. And then, at a great loss for what to do, we look outside of ourselves.

With all of the technological insertions into our lives, how will we know not only who and what we are, but as importantly, what we need? This is such an enormous question to even ask. Maybe that is why so many of us don’t. Maybe that is why it feels easier to hand ourselves over to the technologies. God knows the screens will never demand an answer to that question. Nor will they provide us with a healthy answer. Despite what we have been conditioned to believe, the technologies are not the great white savior.

This is nowhere more evident than with our very own bodies. The very thing that makes us human. The only way we can be here, be in relationship, and know how to care for not only ourselves and others, but for the very body of the earth Herself. It is the ground out of which we exist. The only place we can inhabit to discern what is real and true, and what is not. Without an authentic and present connection to the body based on basic, directly experienced biological Truths and needs of the body, we are lost.

To be in a body is to experience Life. It is to know our wholeness. And our brokenness. It is a doorway into Self-discovery. A portal that takes us from the mundane to the lofty. To be in a body is to know yourself intimately. It is to be confused and scared, gain clarity, and do it all over again. It is to endure and to remain committed. It is to be sovereign and to surrender to Something More in a world mesmerized with the material accomplishments of man.

It is to walk a unique path that Graces you with compassion, patience, wisdom, and tolerance. And it is to find your courage while claiming personal responsibility for your own health. This is the gesture we need from you right now. An agreement with yourself to do some growing up. To know that you cannot outsource your health to another. Nor to the technology du jour. And it is to know that no one, or no thing, can lay claim to your sovereignty in this regard.

This is a big task. And a necessary one. Every single issue we face in the world has its origins in each one of us and how it is that we are showing up. Every single way we are hurting as a species can be found within the fears, imbalances, and abdications of personal responsibility living within each of us. This is the good news. This is the fix for all that you see around you. This is where you can weigh in and help change what must be changed.

So, begin within. Begin with one simple question and observation: “Beyond anything outside of me, what am I feeling in this moment?” This is not a thought. It is not based on outer expectations. It is you, being in you, while feeling and sensing what is there. It is a lifetime practice, and it is your way into the direct experience of the Truth of being alive. Something that can only happen by being in your body while claiming full and total responsibility for what you do with it.

The Brilliance of a Body Supported

 

Last night, after teaching a class, I awoke to a “small” miracle. The tension and pain that had been in my neck for months and months, was gone! “All” I had led the night before was attention in the body, breathing, and some simple movements focused on the neck and head. Can you imagine if this kind of an approach was the messaging we got around health and the body? I can.

But it takes an enormous shift of perspective. As big as going from the earth is flat to the earth is round.

It is not a movement of the mind as much as it is a return to embodiment.

It does not come from the outside-in, but the inside-out.

It is not in the hands of another, but found within the deeply lived experience of being in a body.

It is not dogma, but instead a kind of original faith and knowing in what the body is capable of.

It is not determined by the times nor the technologies available, but by an enduring and timeless understanding.

In essence, it is a return to the Natural Truths of our fully inhabited biologic sovereignty. Wow! What does that even mean? Beyond anything I have ever done, one of the greatest sources of personal freedom and empowerment has been to cultivate an honest, loving and respectful relationship with my own body.

Not based on a number.

Not based on a reflection in the mirror.

Not based on perfection or another’s expectation of me.

Not based on an expert opinion.

Not based on any system that would deny any part of me.

In the beginning, it was a lot of unravelling from what it “was not” in order to get to “what it is.”

The unmasking effort though is so worth it, for there is a profound solace, safety and sacredness waiting for each and every one of us to claim this inherent experience and healing potential. Is it hard? It is. In the beginning it was perhaps the most terrifying and difficult thing I have ever done; for both my own body and for the bodies of my children. There have been confusing times, painful times, and ugly times. But every single time that I could stand in the fear or the discomfort, something real and true grew inside of me. A kind of intimacy and courage that has gone on to serve as the ground on which I stand.

One that cannot be duped. Or coerced. Or bargained with.

Beyond even that, is the knowing that this body serves as a doorway to the Truth of who and what I am. Given that, why would I ever put that in the hands of another? And therein lies perhaps the most difficult of all paradigm shifts to be made. That being, personal responsibility. The arduous journey of shifting out of the mindset of the child who says, “Tell me what to do. Fix this. Make this go away,” to the exquisite status of a fully realized human being.

But it takes time, and your effort. It takes beginning where you are. So, where are you when it comes to your body? What might it be like to begin to ask questions like, “Into whose hands have I placed the Intelligence of my own body?” “What fears drive my choices?” Let the answers, as uncomfortable as they might be, guide you into your own unravelling process.

For a little support, check out: Reclaiming Your Body by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana or Heal Your Body by Louise Hay.

 

Bioindividuality

 

We live increasingly in a world that loves the one-size-fits-all medicine. Depressed? Take this pill. Heart troubles? Have this operation. The wrong thing out of control in your body? Here’s the chemo. Can’t sleep, digest your food, settle down, have the energy you need? Have we got something for you. Don’t worry about the side effects. We’ll play some nice music and pair it with uplifting images so you don’t have to notice what’s actually happening to you.

But it’s not working. The observable evidence is everywhere. You do not even need to wait for the research to know this. Instead, look to your own life. Look to the left and to the right of those standing next to you. Look forward to those ahead of you, to the older generations. Worse yet, look behind you to the children. What’s going on? Why is there so much dis-ease? With all of our pills, procedures and technologies, why has it become so common, so “normal” now for so many of us to be so sick? Talk about a devastating new normal.

Many years ago, during a Holistic Health Counseling training, I was introduced to a concept called bio-individuality. A perspective that says, while yes there are universalities to our biology and experiences as human beings, we are all also, individuals. For us to be truly healthy and well, on all levels, inside and out, all of us must be taken into account. Hearing this was like being in the desert for decades, my parched needs unmet, only to discover there was an oasis of understanding and inclusion that deeply resonated with what I most needed. A perspective available that included all of who I am. One that could go to the depths and breadths of the truth of my experience. One that did not deny, exclude or override my truest needs.

This flies in the face of our conventional western model of medicine which has its roots in splitting the body from the mind, while completely ignoring the soul. A paradigm that says the mind is too unwieldy to include; and therefore not applicable. One that sees emotions as too hysterical to be part of the equation; except as they can be medicated away. A model that sees environmental factors as irrelevant. Social connection fine, but not health worthy. A perspective that does all that it can do to exclude the energetics and soul of a human being; with any mention of it being viewed suspiciously. One that separates us from the very fabric of the natural world and our ancestral lineages; believing they have no basis in real medicine.

That’s a whole lot of us left out. Not to mention the interactions and the interplay between all these aspects of a life that would need to be included to offer a full picture of what was going on for someone. But from the conventional model of medicine, all of these things are too messy. Too uncontrollable. Too unknown. Too beyond the scope of doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. Too much care to manage.

What’s left? The view of body as machine with parts that can be replaced. Where physiological mechanisms, pathways, and our genetics can be altered and fiddled with, without consequence. Body as machine requires its mechanics. It requires technologies that are superior to Nature. And it runs on a level of money, expertise and influence we do not possess. Nor ever will. So, of course, we must follow their mandates. What else is there?

But the Truth with a capital “T” is that our health is not separate from our thoughts, how we feel, what we eat, how we move, where we work, the environments we find ourselves in, and the company we keep. It is not separate from our past, from the times we are living in, from the media messages we receive, from the fear we hold and the disappointments we harbor. It is not separate from how many hugs we get, whether or not we feel safe and whether or not we are engaged in Life in a meaningful and satisfying way. It is not separate from how we breathe or whether or not we sleep well. It is not separate from a personal sense of sovereignty when it comes to the agency we experience over our own health and well-being.

There is not a single thing we experience that is not part of the equation of a healthy, or sick, human being. This is not acceptable in a system that puts the expert at the center of the equation. It is not welcome news in a system that promotes the quick fix, the 7-minute office visit, the inputting of date into a machine, the proper codes for what insurance companies will pay for and what they will not. None of this fully considered in a system where the experts themselves are so uniformly un-cared for, that they themselves have no basis for what real health is. Basically cogs in a machine that must go on. No matter the cost. No matter the level of pathology.

It could feel daunting to consider breaking away from such a system. Or you could feel excited by the possibility of what it might mean for you to be part of something where all of you was considered. Where all of us were considered. Can you imagine it? Health care that was actually based on health, and not pathology, what’s covered, or conflicts of interest? One that recognized and honored the exquisite interconnections that make you who you are? One that said I see you. All of you. And I will surround you with the support you really need as you make your way into your remembrance of wholeness.

Could you open to that? Could you step beyond the force-fed, shame-inducing model that says “Do this or else?” Could you as the person whose body and life this is begin to insist upon health care that invites you further into yourself while aligning with real biological, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual truths around what it is that a body, mind and soul actually need to be well? One that had no hidden costs or agendas?

This would take some re-imagining. But here’s the thing. You’re worth it. We are all worth it. Our children are worth it. We deserve better.

Try this. Take out a piece of paper and in the center draw a little stick figure. That’s you. All around you put the names of the things you do and need each and every day to be alive. Put the things you must have to feel supported. Write down all the encounters you have. The places you go. How you feel. What you think. Put down your hopes, your dreams, your fears. Include your ancestors and your past. Write down the things you worry about, and the things you feel inspired by. Jot down how you move, eat, sleep, breathe and relate. Include it all.

Look at how much impacts you. How could a drug ever begin to do justice to all of you?

Use this exercise to begin to create your own personal model of health. What are your must-have’s? What would you get rid of? What would it be like to create something that honors the totality and the preciousness of who you are and what you need? What would it be like to claim your basic sovereign right over your own health?

You do deserve better.

Biological Truths

 

These are curious, confusing, and even dangerous times to be living in when it comes to the truth. In a world that is being described as a post-truth era, it is time we chose for something else. It is time to say we have had enough. Enough of political agendas, for-profit motives, fear-driven mandates, and control by the few, that have got absolutely nothing to do with the health and well-being of a life.

But where can we go? What truths can we tap into that truly are in the best interests of Life itself? And are there some Universal Truths that transcend the times, fads, opinions and agendas? Yes. It’s called your body and your breath.

Swami Kripalu, the Master Yogi who inspired the yoga lineage of which I am a teacher, practiced something called Sanatana Dharma. The Way of Eternal Truth. Where the practitioner, through practices focused on body and breath, comes into direct experience of Reality. As it really is. No filters. No preferences. No hidden agendas. Bias suspended. This becomes, as they say, guide, guru and god when it comes to the Truth of being alive.

This is the opposite of what we typically encounter where many of us are looking to sources outside of ourselves to tell us what to feel, what to put on and in our body, and now through “social currency,” how to behave.This only works because of how many of us are so disconnected from our very own bodies. This is dangerous not only in terms of health outcomes, for we do not care for what we do not value, there are also major sovereignty issues at play here. As in, if you are not inhabiting your own body, there are plenty of agendas and mandates that will.

But the Truth is, your body is your proving ground. It is the home of your soul and psyche. It is the only place where you can experience the world from. If you are not fully connected and fully embodied, the transmissions and signals of your inner world, along with information from the outer world, will be lost to you. Therefore, you will be lost to yourself. Victim to things that have got nothing to do with the real needs of a human life.

Like your very own breath. Like how without a continuous supply, your cells will go into survival mode. Can we still be alive on reduced breath to the body? We can. But not without consequence in both the short and long term. Have you felt it in yourself? The shortness of breath? The dizziness? The mental agitation? The headaches? The lack of clarity? The laboring? The sleep troubles? This does not even include the more “invisible” effects on the immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

When does the cure become more deadly than the disease?

Learn to inhabit your body. Make your breath your companion throughout the day. Pay attention when something hurts. Don’t tell yourself a story about why it is okay to keep doing what you are doing. Feel closely into what changes when the breath is free, and when it is obstructed. Learn to take your cues from the inside. No matter what the outside insists upon. Be your own personal experiment into Biological Truth.

 

Each Other

 

The air is cold and crisp. The sky clear blue. New fallen snow sparkling everywhere. I am where I most want to be; out on a run with the person I most want to be with. Pure perfection. Except for one thing. I feel like shit. My legs are heavy. My mood is murky. My motivation and energy level barely enough to keep me going.

How did I get here? By violating myself because that’s what I thought I needed to do to stay in belonging.

It all started innocently enough the night before when we had our neighbors over for dinner. They brought a bottle of home-made wine. Now, at this point in my life, I rarely drink, but it seemed worth the experience, so I accepted truly the most minuscule amount. The first few sips were great. But then I was done. Only some part of me would not let myself be done. So I took a few more sips. And that was all it took.

Now I could argue that it is ridiculous that a grown woman can only handle a few sips of alcohol, but that would be missing the point. That being, that my body and mind responded the way that it did out on the run, and for the rest of the day, because I overrode what I actually wanted in order to do what I thought I needed to do to keep in connection with others. I saw my mind as I took those extra sips, believing I was doing it because I did not want to hurt another person’s feelings. But below even that was the fear that I wouldn’t somehow belong. That I would be seen in an unflattering light. And that is what we often do, make it be about hurting or offending the other person, when in fact, we are terrified to be on the “outs” with another.

I am going on my sixth year of writing this blog. When I think back, I see some themes that regularly show up. One of them is life with other people. Specifically, how it is that we can be the truth of who we are while being in satisfying relationship with others. It is something that I daily work on, write about, and contemplate; having become some kind of lifelong puzzle and pursuit of mine to figure out.

I do it because I was raised in a family, in a time, and in a culture that did not include who I was. Did not recognize or support what I really and actually needed, and so I became what others wanted of me. It left a big, painful imprint. One that I thought was exclusive to me because for the longest time it didn’t seem like others were struggling with this. It seemed to me that others were just fine making concessions and leaving off parts of themselves in order to fit in.

Lately, I see that many of us either do not even know that it is happening, or that we are too afraid to exert ourselves for fear of losing the relationship, being shamed, or being accused of being a problem. As I have written over the past year, this terrible dilemma has gotten worse. For me, culminating today in a piece I heard on NPR, where a health professional was describing people who were getting the vaccine as being on the V.I.P. List; vaccine injected people who were going to receive “the promise of future privileges.”

My god, what have we become that we would do this to one another?

As far as I am concerned, one of the central Truths of human existence is to come to know who you truly are, and learn how to live that openly and courageously in the company of others. And that, and here is the difficult yet necessary part, that who and what you are is honored and met; by both yourself and others.

But as long as we are creating V.I.P. lists, and ways to make some people “in” according to mandates and fear-based standards, the precious expression of Life as it runs through each and every one of us will never happen. Why? Because we will never dare to not be on that list.

Please everyone, learn to live what truly makes sense to you, and let us honor the same in others in ways large and small. Even if we don’t understand it. Even if we fear it. We are all subject to violating ourselves for the exact wrong things just to belong. Let’s not do one more thing to each other in this regard.

 

“No man, for any considerable time, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitudes without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

Self-Care

 

When I was in my late twenties, after years of trying different diets, I made a commitment  to stop attacking myself over this thing called being overweight. My first act? Getting rid of the judge and jury I submitted to every day. Better known, as the bathroom scale. My second act was to begin the lifelong process of looking more deeply inside for why I was using food the way I was. Decades later I understand a lot more about where that initial impulse to change came from.

It wasn’t about measuring up to some external, or even internal, standard. It wasn’t about getting something, or becoming something that I wasn’t already.

It was about remembering. About turning towards, and putting back together, an inherent Truth that was already built into me. My ability to care for myself came with me at birth. It is hardwired in. It comes with me everywhere I go; remaining throughout my life as an essential aspect of my ability to not only survive, but to thrive.

Has it been derailed? Yes. Forgotten? Absolutely. Misled? For sure. Lost for good? Never.

We are mammals. We all instinctively know what works for us, and what doesn’t. As humans though, we have to contend with our own growing up where real human needs were not always honored, recognized, and met. Leaving us too often believing the wrong things about what we need, how to take care of ourselves, and where to look when we are hurting and confused. We also have to contend with the fact that we live in a culture that actively works against us taking better care of ourselves. Except of course where self-care is being increasingly monetized in the form of the big business that is growing up around our doubt and confusion around who we are and what we need. Selling us not only lots of stuff, but worst of all, the belief that we don’t know what we are doing.

One more place in our life where we aren’t doing it right. Aren’t doing enough. Need something outside of us to be the truth of who we are.

Where to begin then in the midst of this? We begin from within, and we begin with what is most simple. But in order to get to what is basic and built in, we must first bypass all of the erroneous conditioning and unsound advice around self-care. We can do that with a simple question. Not one that needs to be answered right away, but instead, one that is contemplated, considered, and referred to.

What needs to go in your life? What punitive and critical “scale” do you use with yourself that not only beats you up, but keeps you from being with yourself in a real and deep way?

Magic Bullets

 

Not long ago, a friend was frustrated that she was just learning now from mainstream media about the healthful impact Vitamin D has on overall immune functioning. Specifically when it comes to the virus of the moment. At first, I felt uplifted with the knowledge that other effective approaches of being with our current situation are making their way into mass consciousness. Something for which I am profoundly grateful.

I am also of a mixed mind.

On the one hand, that viable, effective, studied approaches with long histories of helping are starting to make their way into the mind of the western medical system is, though long over due, a great blessing. On the other hand, we are running the risk of doing what we in the West tend to do. Look for the quick fix. The magic bullet. The one thing that we can do, and do fast. An action we can take, without much effort on our part, to bring an end to our suffering. So very human to want expediency without too much expenditure of energy. And yet, that very same want has brought us to our knees when it comes to our health and well-being.

Why? Because the demand for quick fixes is based in avoidance, and with it, a fatal lack of understanding of how health and the body actually works. None of which will bring us to necessary truths or needed perspectives. None of which will reveal to us that what sits at the heart of our current health care crisis, what ails us most, is avoidable. But only if we are willing to understand ourselves and our health as inseparable from what we do, think, and feel. As inseparable from our environments, our beliefs, the company we keep, how we grow our food, and how are with ourselves on the daily.

Without including all of ourselves and all that we come in contact with, we run the risk of leaving our vitality up to something separate from how we are living. A fatal flaw actually in its denial of what it takes to keep any living thing alive and well. An unfortunate perspective that has separated us from the fabric of Life itself. It is far more difficult to look in this way. Not because it is unnatural, but because we have been conditioned to believe otherwise. We have been trained to look at the root causes of an illness, a pain or an imbalance in the body as being something we need to make go away.

As opposed to understanding its presence in our lives.

This is the proverbial band-aid approach. I cover up the symptom. I gain a little relief.  I go on. Never addressing that whatever is underneath that band-aid, remains. Untended. Ignored. Denied. So no matter how much vitamin D I take, if I am not getting the sleep I need, am endlessly propped up by caffeine, and staying too busy to notice how out of my mind I am, my immune system will still be flagging. No matter what I put into it.

As we open ourselves up to new perspectives around health and healing, it is essential to remember that magic bullets can come in any form. They can come from conventional medicine or alternative medicine. The most important aspect here being how we use them. What our mind set is. For at its best, it is not about substituting one bullet for another. It is to stop looking for bullets all together. It is to create a way of being that honors the fullness and the totality of who you are and what you need to be healthy.

It is a perspective that asks the question “What do I need to feel well?”

What supports that in you? What undermines it? Though we are inclined to make this question beyond the lay person’s ability to know, that is just not true. I recently heard a physician say that if you listen long enough, all good doctors know, that the patient will not only tell you what the problem is, they will tell you what caused it. What enormous power and possibility lies in that perspective. To go from looking for a magic bullet that someone else shoots at you, to understanding that nothing within needs to be annihilated.

Try it. Carve out some time when you can be alone with yourself. Put your hands on whatever is hurting, and listen. Just listen.