Humans are wired to seek security. It’s how we survived, individually and as a species. It’s in our genes.
Seeking security leads us to entrench in the familiar, which includes the way we do things and how we think. We become “set in our ways.” We forget how to venture out and explore. We develop a fixed mindset.
That’s the contracted state I found myself in a couple years ago. I had the security of familiarity. But I wasn’t very happy. Truly, I was bored with myself. Continue reading →
I started posting weekly blogs on my birthday a year ago. Since I’m the leading edge of the Baby Boom, and am now a year older, aging seemed a good topic for today.
But first, a video of my absolute-favourite song about getting old. When I first heard it, I couldn’t imagine being 64. When I got there, I made sure to listen to this song on my birthday. Today, I’m happy to share it with you. And if you want the lyrics to belt it out with them… Continue reading →
There have been parts of the last 15 years that were neither easy nor fun. People sometimes ask what kept me going. That is something I have wondered myself. I’ve distilled it down to innate optimism, a strong connection with my inner knowing, and an intense sense of purpose. I was born with all of them, and have consciously cultivated them over the years.
Choice is our greatest power. It’s what allows us to use all our resources to live our best lives. But the consumer culture trains us to make decisions by default rather than by conscious choice. Truth is, questioning the status quo and making conscious choices can seem daunting. Many of us are happy to let others decide because we don’t know how to make choices consciously.
When Pamela Wible MD held a meeting to find out what would create an ideal medical experience for patients in her town, she discovered they wanted an integrative approach to their medical care. What exactly is that? And why would they want it?
Just who is fixing the healthcare system? That’s the question I asked at the end of last week’s blog when I discussed having empathy for our doctors, who must work in a broken system.
So, who is trying to make it better? Apparently not our governments who, despite sometimes-good intentions, become bogged down in bureaucracy. And not conventional medical channels, through which it takes 17 years for new information to make it into clinical practice.
In a limited way, we can contribute to making things better by keeping ourselves as healthy as possible so as not to over-use the system. We don’t have to ask permission or medical sanction to eat fresh food, plant a garden, think differently about our stress, take probiotics, get a pet, meet new people, move our bodies, improve the quality of our sleep, and be of service to others.
Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of active engagement in our health-related decisions. To do this effectively, it helps to know several things about the healthcare system. This understanding will relieve your frustration with the way things are, and it may also make you more empathetic toward the doctor who doesn’t listen when you try to participate.
1. The healthcare system is a product of the consumer culture, and is designed around money.
Doctors are paid for a very short appointment time with each patient, usually about 10 minutes. That means appointments are booked close together and the doctor is invariably running late by the time the first patient leaves.
From the patient point of view, this means a long wait after arriving at your scheduled time. It also means your doctor may seem rushed, harried, and unwilling to listen to your explanation of what’s going on with your health. And, if you have the impression that doctors only want to hear about one issue at the appointment, that’s true. Ten minutes doesn’t allow enough time to sort out even one problem, never mind a complex health issue.
Take a book, listen to your iPod, or decide to enjoy leafing through magazines you don’t normally read.
Meditate. Put on your sunglasses and no one will be the wiser. You’ll be refreshed instead of frazzled by the wait.
Book your appointment far enough in advance so that you can get the first slot in the morning or after lunch.
Don’t plan your next activity for the day based on the time you would be free if you got in to see the doctor as scheduled. You know it isn’t going to happen, so be realistic and save yourself the stress.
I welcome reader comments on my blog. They get me thinking. Here’s one, in response to my post, written after I tripped and gave myself a black eye.
Great blog today. I love how an unfortunate event becomes blog fodder. 😊
It made me aware that I hadn’t actually thought of my black eye as unfortunate. And with that awareness, I remembered the story that first shifted my thinking about good and bad fortune.
Here’s a charming version, narrated by philosopher, writer, and speaker, Alan Watts. Born in England, he moved to the US in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Watts, who died in 1973, is best known as an early interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.
I found Barbara’s story particularly poignant because so many people experience variations of what she described. And it happens all the way along the age continuum…from children with learning disabilities of varying degrees to adults with dementia of various types and severity.
Barbara Arrowsmith Young’s vision is a lofty one—that cognitive exercises become a normal part of curriculum, and that school becomes a place that we go to strengthen our brains. The good news is, she has done something about it. The Arrowsmith Program is offered at schools throughout North America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.