A Real Reset Part Three

 

Something that has been profoundly beneficial in my life is the practice of looking across disciplines, and drawing from a wide range of perspectives and practices to help make my life better in terms of health. This has gifted me with all kinds of healing that I have come to rely on for myself, my family, and for those I work with. My only criteria in this gathering is that whatever it is that I am drawing on, serves real human needs, supports the body without harm, includes all of me, and carries with it a resonance of truth and wisdom.

For a while, I did not fully see the value in the amalgamation I was engaging in. At times, even going so far as to hide or downplay what was working for me. I thought maybe there was something wrong with this kind of approach; that I was being some kind of flighty mutt by not committing to just one thing. But then I spoke with my daughter whose degree is in interdisciplinary studies. Not only was there a name for what I was doing, but a deep understanding that when it comes to the really big issues in Life, it is only by drawing from a number of perspectives, that we can hope to come to real and lasting solutions.

Which brings me to where we currently find ourselves with the health crisis we are in. One, by the way, that we have been in long before a virus showed up, but that is revealing all the more, all of the ways, that our current medical paradigm is just not working. Unfortunately, instead of opening up the view around what we are up against, we are further entrenching ourselves in a system that emphasizes disease, insists an expert knows more about your body than you, deals in fear to gain compliance, and justifies the treatments offered as being the only way to deal with what we are facing.

What would it be like though, if on a national level, our conventional medical system opened up the discourse around how best to approach what it is that stands before us? What if the vast array of health approaches that have been safely and effectively practiced all over the world for hundreds and thousands of years were included in how we bring health back to our people?

But that would require a loosening of the monopoly the current medical system in power has over our health. It would require that the AMA stop demonizing other traditions. (Something that dates back to its inception when it declared other legitimate approaches like herbalism, midwifery, indigenous healing and more, unlawful). It would mean the accusations from a system that routinely kills people every year through properly prescribed medications and procedures, would need to stop. This one has even got a name. Iatrogenic illness. Which translates to “doctor induced,” and which claims hundreds of thousands of people’s lives each year, while disabling millions.

If there was ever a time to explore and include other traditions, it would be now. Right now.

The Indian system of healing, Ayurveda, is the longest continually practiced health care system on the planet, being 5000 years old. Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Herbalism, Naturopathy, just to name a few are hundreds and thousands of years old with rich traditions of not only healing in general, but possessing the very solutions we need right now. There is also the old, accessible standby, food. The very same thing that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, spoke so eloquently about when he said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”

Alternative health care approaches need two things from us to claim their seat at the table. They need to stop being referred to as “alternative;” being pushed to the periphery for the whackos or as last ditch attempts. And they need our trust and our willingness to explore their vast offerings. We, as the consumer, have the right to determine what it is that makes sense to us in terms of how we care for ourselves. And we have the right to demand medicine that does not hurt us. With that said, the biggest shift in our current “health” care system will never come from the government, the doctors, the hospitals, or those who train and credential them. It will only come from us.

This will require an enormous shift on our part. One where we must learn to take full and personal responsibility for our own health. One where we begin to question what is not working, recognizing that it is not, as we have come to believe, that the lack of results is due to the virulence of something, but that it is an indication that we are looking in the wrong direction. And that is where we begin.

Is there some place inside of you that wonders if there is a better way? A place that is willing to ask another question, look a little deeper, challenge what is being offered when what is being done is not working? If so, start there.

A Real Reset Part Two

 

There is a big ask in front of us right now on just about every level of living. That being, can we take what is happening and open ourselves to new possibilities? Or will we hunker down, lock down, and wait for it to be over?

The reason why it is such a big ask is that when we are in a state of trauma, which we all are now and have been long before this past year given the world we live in, we are locked out of accurately assessing what is happening. In other words, stuck in a collective trauma response, we are destined to see everything through the lens of false fears and exaggerated dangers. We are subject to looking at the world and what is happening through the window of all the past hurts and harms, large and small, that we have ever experienced, and that have never been recognized or resolved.

From this place, creativity shuts down because truly who needs to be creatively solving a problem when you feel as though your very life is at stake? I know this may sound extreme, or that it might be impossible for you to believe you have been traumatized because our old way of understanding trauma was to believe it had to be the really big things like being abused or raped. But all of the current understandings in this area now rest on the fact that trauma occurs in all shapes and sizes. And that it is subjective with the impact depending on so many things. Like the level of support you do or do not have, constitutional factors, your ability to re-write the trauma experience, and more.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because without a thorough and deep examination of what each of us is bringing to the table at this particular time in history, we will never be in a position to effectively and accurately resolve what stands before us. Instead, we will be fated to repeating over and over again what we fear most.

I’ll give you an example. Because I grew up in an alcoholic home where the wrong things were in charge, where real human needs were denied, and where we were all controlled by something harmful, I have a tendency to look out at what is happening now and fall into a kind of fear and desperation when I see agendas or mandates that I believe are not in keeping with real human needs. So this has been my work for the past year. The process of clearing up those old hurts and trauma-based projections so that I am in a position to not only heal myself, but to be part of a real solution for the world.

Make sense? If so, try this. Pinpoint what you are most afraid of at this time. And then see if it in any way links to anything you have ever experienced. It is a kind of following bread crumbs through the forest with no agenda other than to find the next one, while allowing it to lead you where it will. It is helpful to do this when you have some space. So make the space.

And if not for you, how about for the rest of us?

A Real Reset: Part One

 

The opportunities for greater clarity around health abound at this time. Why? Because as we come up against all that is not working, there comes an opening of such magnitude for greater well-being, that it might actually be difficult to imagine given what we have come to expect as “normal.” But what I am talking about is available for each and every one of us when we allow ourselves to be open to creating a greater understanding of, and connection to, the very bodies that we inhabit. The very bodies that we are. The very same ones, unfortunately, that we often fear, disparage, criticize, harm, ignore, and deny.

How can this be? We are mammals after all. That one biological truth alone serves as both a cautionary tale when it comes to where we have separated from our own nature, as well as being a True North in our ability to return to caring for ourselves. You see, as mammals, it is built into us. It is innate. Inherent. Available always. So it becomes both interesting and essential to wonder why it is that no other mammal other than us makes choices that undermines it health, well-being, or very nature. What’s the deal with us anyway?

It can be summed up in one word: Conditioning. We have literally been trained away from the basic biological truths of our bodies. Without which we become lost and susceptible to what is not true. Either through our own confused minds or through the information we receive from the external world, we convince ourselves of the wrong things. And because we see the results of this conditioning on other bodies nearly everywhere we go now, it can be easy to believe.

Want to find your way back? Go to the body. Be with the body. Learn about the body. Get some basic information, and I do mean basic, on how a body works from a source that is not trying to sell you something or get you to do anything. From a source that is actually living what they are talking about, as opposed to experts who give lots of disembodied and unlived information.

I have been working with something that I think of as The Body Primer 101 that may be of service. A set of understandings and nourishments that are a prerequisite for health, and that without the satisfaction of, you actually do not know what you are looking at when the body becomes unwell. These are universal satisfactions that must be met for health. I see them both working together as one, as well as having a bit of a hierarchal nature to them at times.

They are: The Breath, Hydration, Whole Food, Sleep, Movement, Good Company.

The Breath is your single most important nutrient. Literally every one of your trillions of cells requires a continuous, unobstructed flow. The sad truth is that we can breathe enough to stay alive, but not be thriving.

Hydration is critical for many things. One of them being to keep your tissues moist enough to serve as a protective shield against invading microorganisms.

Whole Foods speak directly to the old adage: You are what you eat. The food you ingest makes you; your body, your mood, your energy, your thoughts, your actions, and your contributions.

Sleep is an absolute biological necessity. Did you know that Johns Hopkins did a retrospective study after the 1918 pandemic and found that the single factor predicting how people fared who had gotten sick was how well they took to sleeping and bed rest?

Movement equates to vitality, aliveness, and the overall health of your body and your brain. Forget about exercise. Find something that moves you.

Good Company serves as an insulation against stress, and is an undeniable prerequisite for health and longevity. Loneliness and isolation kills.

Pick one, focus on it, and it will eventually lead you to all the rest. And in the end, all of it will lead you back to not only health, but to your truest Nature.

Life-Giving Mutations

 

I saw an article today reporting that the virus was mutating. The tone of the piece was that of abject terror. It was filled with statements built to push the panic button in the minds of those reading it. The solution offered? Out and out warfare. Measures that would annihilate the virus, and therefore, restore health. Along with peace of mind.

Sounds good. Just get rid of the offending organism, and all will be well.

Only…

What this piece failed to tell its readers is that viruses, like all forms of Life, constantly, continuously and naturally mutate in order to adapt to the current environment. This is to be expected. This is biological truth. This is a survival mechanism built into everything that is alive. Something that is constantly going on both around us, and within us.

But this is hard for us to be with. We want to be in charge. We want to be the ones controlling what Life does. We want to be the ones wiping out what we don’t like or are afraid of. This is “normal” and to be expected. But it is pure arrogance, ignorance and fear that drives this behavior. Producing in the end all manner of negative consequences we never thought to consider or saw coming.

But we do have our cautionary tales that if paid attention to could guide us as we step forward. We have already seen the virulent superbugs that have mutated into something we cannot treat due to our over-use of antibiotics and hand sterilizers. So deadly that 14,000 people a year die of impossible-to-treat infections that they picked up in the hospital.*

So when we are considering what we are up against now in the form of a virus, if we look at numbers, what we find is that those of us who have succumbed to the virus, or have struggled the hardest with it, have been deeply and alarmingly out of balance. Have been living with chronic, often lifestyle-related conditions that weaken us and leave us more susceptible to things like a virus; which then comes in and tips the scales of a system already dangerously out of balance and at odds with itself.

And because we are at odds with ourselves, we are therefore at odds with every form of Life that surrounds us. Given this, it would seem that the wisest, most visionary course of action would be one that would address the underlying root causes of these chronic, life-depleting and soul-sucking imbalances. An approach that would bring people back into balance, leaving them less susceptible to a virus because they were no longer serving as a drained and ravaged host.

But because our modern day epidemics of life-style related diseases, autoimmune problems and chronic conditions have become our new normal, have become so widespread and commonplace, we fail to recognize these deep states of imbalance as being not only the problems that they are, but also the root of future problems.

Consider this. What do you believe would be more difficult to do? Fight a virus? Or address the causes of the chronic conditions that cripple our world? For as difficult as it is to be living as we are now with all of the fears and the restrictions, it is nothing compared to the energy that it would take to go back to the drawing board and change the way we are living.

Changing a collective way of Life is a tall order. But as always, all you have to do, is do you.

Where is your life out of balance? Do not seek the answer to this through the intellect. Go to your body. Go to how it feels to be alive. Are you exhausted? Addicted to something? Unhappy? Unfulfilled at work? Unseen in a relationship? In pain? Do what you can to address this and you will not have to live in fear of your own body. You will not have to live as if a virus is a kind of diabolical serial killer from the microbial world out to get you.

Just like us, the virus is trying its best to stay alive. To simply live. Therefore, could we learn to be the best mutators of all? Willing to adapt ourselves back into balance with all that is around and within us; thereby rendering the impact a virus has on us, less impactful.

Intelligence is inherent in everything that is here. Wise ones have been telling us that since the dawn of time. Even medical science is finally catching up. But for all of us to catch up, we have to make a shift, an internal mutation if you will, where we let go of the falsehood that the human prefrontal cortex is the highest form of intelligence. This requires recognizing that there is Intelligence out there far more knowing than we currently behave. And that to learn to align with that, is to be truly wise.

We are part of something. Something we have been fearing, underestimating and demonizing, as opposed to living in harmony with. But maybe, just maybe, we can learn through a virus; letting it teach us all something about how to live in accord with others.

 

The Microbiome Solution: A Radical New Way To Heal Your Body From The Inside Out by Dr. Robynne Chutkan A great, accessible and practical read on learning about the world of microbes that we live with. Lots of fantastic recipes as well.

Power

 

I have been thinking a lot lately about power. Who has it. How it is accumulated. How it moves. What it looks and feels like. For to be in a position of power is to influence. It is to control. It is to have authority over. It is to determine. It is to be sovereign.

Given the life-giving or life-denying impact power has on us individually and collectively, it would be wise for us to explore its role in our lives. As in, who has it and who doesn’t. As in, how one gets it, and what it is that we are truly going for here.

To understand power more fully requires going to what lies behind it all. In other words, what’s the motivation for what’s being done? Or required. Seems like as good a place as any to determine for ourselves whether what is in power is in fact in one’s best interest, and the best interest of the common good, or not. For there is a vast and life-altering difference between power distorted and power authentically come by.

Here’s what I have come to so far:

Power distorted is concentrated, self-serving, and exclusive.

Power that is authentic shares itself, considers the whole, and is inclusive.

Distorted power separates, forces, and demands the status quo be upheld.

Authentic power brings us together, invites, and dares to walk in the unknown.

Power coming from distortion derives from without and imposes from the top down; demanding control and domination while insisting on obedience.

Power coming from an authentic source springs from within and grows from the bottom up; seeking consensus and partnership while claiming sovereignty.

Distorted and coercive power manipulates the lower survival centers of the brain through its messages of fear, while authentic power speaks to a kind of Truth within that reverberates through every single layer of us.

Look around at what is happening now. Feel it in your bones. Sense it in your guts. Look for it under your skin. Do you know the difference between a power that takes advantage of your fears, and one that seeks only your highest good and what it is that truly heals?

If not, get help. Help around how to tell the difference between real and imagined fears. For if you would like to contribute at this moment in time, this is one of the greatest contributions you will ever make. For when you can determine for yourself what it is that you will believe in, and what it is that you will not, you will find your way to authentic power, rendering distorted power, obsolete.

Ten To The Thirty One

 

I have been on a bit of a whirlwind of learning over the past several months. Something in me is feeling very, very hungry for as broad and as deep of a perspective as I can open to and integrate into, in understanding the world, the circumstances we find ourselves in, along with my place in all of this.

For as things crumble and churn, if I can open to a wider understanding of Life itself, I am then offered a seemingly infinite number of opportunities to create anew. To get it “right.” Right being choosing for a life based on what it is that a human being needs to live and to live well; what it is to exist in the world in a life-affirming way. But I can only entertain new possibilities if I am willing to be open and curious to what is before me and who it is that I actually am. As I see it, this kind of willingness offers me a chance to see what we “affectionately” call the pandemic as a harbinger of good will, change and possibility.

What the Bleep?

Stay with me. For if we could see the virus as a messenger and catalyst of change and adaptation, we would not only line up with biological truth, we would come together with a Greater Reality helping us to understand that everything that is here is here for a reason. Here for us, actually. Not against us, as many of us would believe.

Because this can be so very different from how many of us think about this, and because we are in a time when the rallying cry is “the science says,” let’s go there. Let’s look at the science. Actually, let’s go even further by looking at a cutting-edge understanding around viruses and their essential place in our world.

According to Dr. Zach Bush, a triple-board certified (this is rare) physician and educator who speaks on the microbiome, he would say that we need the virus. He would say that the life-giving ecosystem of viruses, bacteria and fungi that inhabit everything in our world, including us, are essential for health.

Dr. Bush would say that there are ten to the thirty one viruses inhabiting our world. Can you even begin to imagine what that number is? That is a 10 with 31 zeroes after it. To give you a sense of the magnitude of what we are talking about, there are 10 million times more viruses than stars in the universe! This is perhaps somehow unimaginable to the human mind that we could be surrounded by, covered by, and inhabited by something that vast, and that invisible to us. Yet it is true nonetheless. More to the point, it is worth our time to catch up to understanding what is noteworthy and beneficial about viruses.

For instance, Dr. Bush would say that if the viruses really wanted us gone, we would be. That’s how many there are, and that’s how virulent some can be. Far more than we could ever combat. Which begs the question, if there are that many, and if they could wipe us out, why bother trying to fight a select few when the reality is that there are no “bad” microbes when we are in balance.Therefore, why not find a way to live in balance with all of them?

Biologically speaking, we are part of, inseparable from, a microbial stew. Always. And in all ways. From this viewpoint, it would be counterproductive to focus on eradication of, and far more prudent to focus on how we can be in harmony with. But that’s not been our way. Historically, we would rather wipe something out rather than learn how to co-exist with.

That needs to change.

Here’s something else to consider. According to the new science, viruses are here to help update our genetics. In other words, we need them to continue to adapt in a healthy way to our environment. Now, this might be brand new to you, so don’t take my word for it. Go check out a progressive source around viruses, the microbiome and how it all comes together in the health of an individual and a planet. For if what I have just passed on to you is in fact biological truth, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do in our attitude, beliefs and fear-based “reasoning” regarding our current approaches.

Looked at in this way, we are called to come to grips with the stories and the behaviors that we have embraced and that leave us living out of balance and apart from our true inheritance. All of the ways that our separating ideas are in error biologically and spiritually. All of the ways that we go after and attempt to eradicate the offending entity as opposed to finding the balance, has got to stop. And we have got to open our eyes on a very common sense level, that something is not working here, and has not for a very long time.

Will we be willing to recognize that and chart a new course? Will we be willing to wonder what is possible here if we open to everything that is available to us as opposed to only one source of information around what to do?

We have got a big, collective chance here my friends. What are you going to do about it? Will it be business as usual? Will things have to get completely desperate before you entertain another perspective?

Or are you ready for Something else?

 

 

Cloaked

 

I was nearly ready to send something out for this week’s blog when I ran into an image that feels far more pertinent to comment on regarding where we are at in this pivotal time as a culture. I won’t go into all of the details around how I came upon this image. Instead, let me share it with you.

It is a simple, line-drawing, black and white cartoon sketch of a Klansman decked out in the usual cloak; body and face covered head to toe in white, with only small slits cut out for eyes. He is righteously (aggressively?) holding towards you, with a kind of “in your face” stance, a picket sign. It reads: “I ain’t wearing no mask. Re-open ‘merica.”

Okay, okay, so this is what we are up against is what I think as I take in the full implications of what this means for us. To be direct, there are far more choices here than those wearing a mask being on the side of right, as the someones who cares about others, and that those not wearing a mask are on the side of hatred and lack of concern for anything but themselves and the economy. There is a more nuanced picture around why a person would choose to not wear a mask that has nothing to do with Klan leanings or disregard for others’ health and well-being

As someone who does not align with the mandatory policy of mask-wearing, and as someone who is simultaneously for the health and welfare of the greatest good of the people, and as someone who also holds the conviction that it is each of our rights to decide in this regard, I find the polarization around wearing or not wearing a mask to be misinformed, dangerous and divisive; whether it is openly stated, implied, insinuated or unconsciously driven.

For more than two decades I have been a student and a teacher of the breath. It is my ultimate go-to in all that I do. It has changed my life, and it has changed the lives of so many people that I have taught in more ways than I or them could ever enumerate on in this space. Not only does the breath play the most essential role in keeping us alive, it is a powerful agent in connecting heart to head, unconscious to conscious, and matter to Spirit. Not to mention its role in equilibrating the emotions and quieting the mind. I could go on and on and on. And when I am teaching about the breath, I do.

Bringing the breath to the current circumstances, here is what I know to be true. On the inhale, covering your face restricts the flow of oxygen; a nutrient every cell in your body needs a continuous supply of, and without which we go into a state of hypoxia. At the extreme, this state is dangerous enough to kill us. In its “milder” iterations it leaves us with just enough oxygen to survive but not thrive; reducing the health and well-being of body and mind on a subtle yet sweeping systemic level. Ultimately serving as an invisible foundation for dis-ease.

On the exhale you are releasing the waste product CO2. This eliminatory function is absolutely essential to your survival. Respiratory waste is not meant to be reabsorbed into your body. But when your face is covered that is exactly what is happening. It is curious to note that with all of the emphasis being placed on the necessity of well-ventilated public spaces, we would choose to mandate such an intense lack of personal ventilation.

Lastly, when your body does not receive the oxygen it needs, you put your system into a stress response where you release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol suppresses the immune system. So what we are left with are bodies not getting the most essential nutrient in healthy amounts, who are then reabsorbing metabolic waste products and all the while trying to be healthy in the midst of a suppressed immune response.

And to those who would say that the mask is not for me, it is for others, I would say that my compromised health is far more of a risk factor to you than whether or not I wear a mask. I would say that my personal health is the very foundation of collective health. I would say that the body’s most basic and truest needs are simple and that we would be well served to learn what those are and to adhere to them.

I would also say that when we find ways to divide against each other in fear, we lose the insulating capacity and immune health that is available through our social connections and well-wishing of others. I would say that if instead of boiling things down to un-useful, unhelpful and untrue dichotomies, we instead spent our precious life force coming together to look at what it is that makes for a healthy population, we would find our answers. I would say that shrouding any issue in mandates not based in real human needs has always served throughout history as the root cause of the wrong things taking hold in us and between us. Let us not be those people with each other.

P.S. Do not take my word for it. As a matter of fact, never, ever take my word for anything. Instead, learn about your own body. Learn to decide your own mind. For if you truly want to keep others “safe,” this and only this is what it will take.Do not be misled by quick fixes and guarantees of safety issued from outside of you.

P.P.S. Hypoxia is when not enough oxygen makes its way to the cells and tissues of the body, with the early signs being anxiety, confusion and restlessness. Isn’t that exactly how many of us would describe ourselves? To go one further, is not the inability of the body to take in the oxygen it needs exactly what the virus brings us to? How ironic that our fix is the problem.

Power

 

How much of what happens is because we are expecting it to happen?

 

Our minds are so very, very powerful. Powerful enough to heal our bodies with sugar pills and medically “faked” procedures. A mere suggestion from a doctor can take us to new health heights, or find us dead in exactly the amount of time we were “given” to live. And while this and more falls under the term “placebo effect,” it is so much more than that limited phrase suggests.

Likely you have heard of the placebo effect; described as being an experience where the brain convinces the body that a treatment not known to cure what is ailing you, somehow has the capacity to do so. Taking it further, maybe you have even had the experience where you were thinking something or feeling something in your mind so strongly that something happened in your body. Negative or positive. An experience where you created health or disease; “just” by a thought, “just” by an emotion.

The first time this ever happened to me I was in my mid 20’s and I was coming down with some kind of womping respiratory illness that I knew was going to leave me very sick. I knew it because the symptoms that were arising were the indicators of how I would typically get sick; having already gone through multiple bouts of bronchitis that would lay me up for weeks, and sometimes even months. At the time I had been going through an enormous amount of stress, and was very unhappy.

Somehow I convinced myself that what I needed most was a night of some hard core partying to blow out the deadly stress and difficult emotions that had been building up inside. I believed fully, absolutely and completely that a night of smoking and drinking was what I needed to set myself straight.

It worked.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that health depleting practices like getting drunk and filling the lungs with smoke is a remedy for respiratory health. What I am suggesting is that I so fully believed it that my body responded in kind. With my expectations somehow internally producing the exact combination of chemistry and more to render me well.

Expectations have an enormous impact and effect on bodily functions and systems. Our minds make a prediction about what is possible with our health, and then make it come true through our own internal pharmacies and healing processes.

This then begs the question: If we have something so powerful built right into us, why is this not the leading approach in all that we do around health and well-being? A timely corollary being: Do we continue to experience what we are experiencing now because the “expert” predictions, the very same ones that so many of our minds have taken to be true, are creating expectations in our minds that our bodies go on to fulfill?

Think about it.

What if all around us, we were bathing in messages that made use of this power instead of ingesting messages that predict, plan and expect for ill health? Can you imagine it? Can you imagine charting your own health in this way? Not easy. Not at all.

But so very, very possible.

(I highly recommend Joe Dispenza’s book, “You Are The Placebo”)

 

 

Receiving Risk

Not long ago, a practitioner asked me, “Could you receive what it is that you do not want to receive?” What? No! Are you out of your mind? What are you talking about? Why would you even say that to me? Why would I want to receive something I did not want? What a weird and disturbing thing to say to someone!

And yet, what a deeply, profound and truthful question to ask. I know now why she asked it. She was wondering how close to reality I could get without balking. Without denying what is there. Without trying to reconfigure the Truth of what stands before me. And she asked it because it is so. Because it is here. Because a willingness to receive what we do not want, and to find a way to be with it, maybe even make good use of it, is a big part of being alive in a healthy and satisfying way.

What we are talking about here are the risks and the conditions of being alive. Of the fact that there are no guarantees. No definites when it comes to how our lives will go. And even though, way down deep, each and every one of us knows this, we fight tooth and nail for it not to be so. In fact, we create lives, individually and collectively, based on the denial of the realities that stand before us.

The question I am asking myself now is, “Can I surrender and become the one who embraces it all?” Not because I want it. Not because I like it. Not because I hope what I do not want sticks around. Not because I am a masochist feeling the need to be punished. But because I have come to see that until I can fully and completely say “Yes” to what is before me, I cannot choose from a clear and balanced place. A place by the way, that because it includes it all, is the most reality-based, true to form, comprehensive assessment of what is actually happening. Warts and all. Including the unwanted.

This as opposed to choosing from fear and resistance. From a refusal to receive what is before you. From a place of trying to control what is not yours to control. For the Truth is, whenever we choose from denial, scarcity, fear, avoidance, control, resistance etc. we will always, always create unintended consequences, along with a whole set of  problems we never intended. Or saw coming.

It puts me in mind of a book I once read by a medical doctor called Less Medicine, More Health: 7 Assumptions That Drive Too Much Medical Care. The first assumption being that all risk cannot be eliminated, and that trying creates risks of its own. Which brings us to what is happening now. That being, the current obsession with sterility and how it is creating a world of unintended consequences in the form of increased devastation to the planet through the excessive and fear-driven use of resources. We see this in the forms of paper towels, disposable gloves, masks, cleaning supplies and more being consumed at volumes the earth will not be able to tolerate without repercussion.

As we attempt to control one risk and to quell our fears, we over-use anti-microbial products; imbalancing our personal, collective and earthly microbiomes. Those luscious, rich and delicately balanced universes of micro-organsims that cover our bodies and the body of the earth; serving as a protective layer and health-giving resource. Particularly for the immune system. And so, while we think we are doing one thing to protect ourselves, are we in fact potentially creating a “cure” far worse than the disease we are attempting to eradicate?

What of the increased use of water, disposable containers, and overall resource depletion as we wage a war on trying to eliminate one terrifying risk only to trade it for a host of other equally, or perhaps more terrifying sets of consequences? In our attempts to reduce one form of toxicity, we increase other toxicity levels on the planet through the use of bleach and other harsh and life-depleting chemicals. And now, after decades of lobbying and finally succeeding in getting plastic disposable bags out of the waste stream, they are back now because it has been determined that reusable bags pose a threat.

So even though the CDC states that while “it may be possible” for the virus to be spread through contact with objects or surfaces, “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” we can’t hear that. We can’t make that adjustment.

Back and forth, back and forth we yo-yo as a people. Trading one harm for another.

Where can we turn in times like this? How about to the hard core truths of existence? Those truths that lie at the heart of, and serve as the root of all else. Truths like the importance of each and every one of us learning how to manage our fears so that we do not create more harm through reactive and fear-based choices. Truths like we cannot control everything despite what we have to come to believe.

Biggest of all, could we learn to come to grips with the barest, harshest, truest and most precious of all realities? That being, that life has risks. That being alive is a delicate and risky business. And that facing our own mortality, while choosing to live as fully as we can is the greatest, sanest, safest, most honest and life-giving form of risk management that is available here on the planet.

 

 

Preventable

Each year in the United States, on average, here is what we can expect in terms of how people die:

435,000 deaths from smoking

Almost 112,000 from being overweight

85,000 from alcoholism

37,000 from car accidents

15,000 from gun violence (excluding suicide)

1,100 from bee stings

And somewhere between 210,00 and 448,000 deaths from medical errors

To date, 12 people have died from the Coronavirus in the U.S.

Do you have a sense of where I am going with this? Where is the outrage over medically-induced deaths? Where is the needed cultural change regarding deaths from gun violence? On and on it goes. And while likely we have not seen the end of the number of people who may die from this virus, the point I am making still holds. That point being, all of the ways we get unnecessarily and dangerously whipped up with, and are feeding on, unrealistic fears. Along with all of the ways we get so caught up in moments like this as to lose all perspective; focusing and gathering instead around culturally, communally and self-generated made-up fears that over-emphasize and exaggerate the dangers we are facing, and call it a life.

In the meantime, we ignore the real threats, devastations and tragedies in our world. In the meantime, the stress response we put ourselves in depresses our immune functioning leaving us more susceptible to the very thing we fear. In the meantime, we feed the wrong things by buying more. In the meantime, we miss the real ways we can healthfully address situations like this. In the meantime, we are so perpetually distracted that we miss the real dangers of our world; allowing them to go largely unnoticed and unaddressed. In the meantime, we prime our nervous systems for the next crisis; ever-ready now to live as if the world is just one threat after another. In the meantime, we lose track that life is both  finite and precious. With things we can control. And things we cannot.

This is not about more face masks and Purell for the vast majority of us. Instead this is about creating a way of life that supports a healthy body; on our own and together. It is about a way of being that encourages and promotes reality-based perspectives. Ones that understand the difference between real and imagined fears.

Did you know that the CDC reports that each year there are somewhere around 1.2 million preventable deaths? How about we take a look at that, and what it would take to prevent them. Guess what though? We already have the answer. Slow down. Be good to yourself and others. Move your body. Breathe. Eat real food. Stay hydrated. Keep good company. Get the sleep you need. Do work that fulfills you. Cultivate positive mind states and emotions.

Somehow though, this is nowhere near as compelling as the fear that is being generated over this virus. Somehow we prefer jettisoning ourselves from one crisis to another. Why is that? This would be the place to begin should you recognize there is another way to live; taking all the energy it requires to be afraid, and directing it instead towards what makes for a healthy human being.

How might the death toll change then? Beyond even that, how might your Life improve?