Our fingers in the dike
In my 38th year in 5 ELEMENT Acupuncture and Natural Medicine I find myself reflecting on and meditating deeply into the state of our profession at this juncture in history. We should all be very proud of the amazing accomplishments, collective efforts, and all of our personal contributions, in all of the western nations. The long tradition of Oriental and Nature cure medicine floating strong around the globe; our professions mirroring the diverse mix of ideas, philosophies, belief structures, from the conservative to the arcane, present in the general culture. It is a beauty to behold.
I also find my “still waters” being disturbed by a “sea change” which I sense, if we do not deal with now, we will find ourselves deeply compromised in the not so distant future. There are two issues I find myself reflecting on. The first issue is how we are approaching our and our teachers’“Well~Being, exploration, layout, logic”. The second issue is the current“Medicinal administering development” that we seem to be blindly rushing into by caving into the current “consensus hallucination” of modern western medicine.
I will begin with the “Well~Being”, exploration, layout, logic”[Well]. Although the Oriental/Natural medicine premise of “patient centric~care” better serves our clients as teachers [CaT] than the current“one drug fits all”western medicine approach, I believe that at this moment in history, it is failing the future of not only the individual care seeker, but our professions, the general culture, and the future heath and well being of the planet.
WHY?... Simply put; I would urgently suggest that beginning NOW, not one or ten years from now, we need to embrace a model that has two components and which places the Whole~Planetary~Biome as the number ONE focus in our care package with each individual we contact: To ask the question of our selves and our teachers.”What are we doing, on an ongoing daily basis, in small and large ways, to individually contribute to being part of the solution,“to clean up our act” and restore planetary health and wellbeing to guarantee security for our children seven generations out in the future”. As the saying goes “How do you eat an Elephant? ~~~One bite at a time!’ AND THEN FOLLOWS~
Focus #2: How can they AND we improve our health and wellness through simple achievable, tangible actions; The 8;8;8 option: 8 hours sleep; 8 hours of minimally consumptive exercise and play, for example, walks, playing cards, debating, reading; 8 hours work in a personally meaningful profession. WHOLE FOODS, preferably personally grown ~ not “tortured food” in a plastic bottle [= part of the problem! More on this subject later]. Some kind of community involvement with others, not necessarily of our own “tribe, or to our liking”, mixing it up with people of other ways and beliefs helps to broaden our horizons! Volunteer work has been proven to help clinically depressed people feel included, wanted, hopeful. Good water, not from plastic bottles [5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every 5 minutes in America]. The simple treatment plan we co~evolve for our CaTs’to empower them to restore balance in their inner worlds and outer lives.
Contrast this model with the “Doctor as fixer model” so prevalent throughout the health care delivery world now, including among the so called ‘nature cure professions’
Included in this “exploration” I would suggest we need to factor in the Buddhist concept of CHUD. Again simply put in Kiwi farmer speak “to face our own, and others ‘brilliance & bullshit’ ” on a daily basis, in a gentle and respectful manner, offering ourselves, and others, positive, gentle, respectful, simple alternatives and solutions. I will give you a couple examples of my own CHUD: I am a fierce advocate for Planetary Wellness and the rights of ALL species to personal security and safety; the right to “thrive and exist” if you will. Yet I fly all over the planet wall on Jets that leave a VERY LARGE carbon foot print; drive a 1973 dodge van that gets about 15 miles per gallon instead of a Prius. Do not use public transportation as often as I wished because I am too involved to the “last minute”, rather than planning and timing my day [Liver/Gall Bladder], thus ending ending up driving my gas guzzler instead of enjoying the Portland MAX. By so doing I add another layer of suffering to my life trying to find parking near our office, miss out on good exercise. My personal CHUD.
What are some of your CHUDS’? How Can WE ALL in a respectful and playful manner strive to improve. [remember Shakespeare; “the plays the thing”].
And now to the MAD [Medicinal administering Development] part :
Growing up in New Zealand everyone grew their own vegetable garden, even if you had a tiny yard. Then came the supermarkets, providing food so cheap that the gardening stopped, along with the exercise and fresh organic self-grown deliciousness. The taking of pills in any form was considered to be a last straw, an oddity, an abhor ration.
You cannot “torture” food into a pill and end up with the same energetic effect in our bodies, as we will receive from real fresh food or herbs in my opinion! I know that the makers of these substances can produce all sorts of “test results” to prove their commercial enterprises. I would invite us to consider this. Are we better of to sell a pharma-nutra-cutical [thus further “padding by percentages”our already rather generous hourly wages!], OR offering and suggesting to our CaTs the idea of the delights of gardening and eating from that self created wonder. When I bring this concept up to the majority of my colleagues they have all sorts of self-justifications about the need for supplementation in the chemical age. My counter is that anyone can grow a garden; even in an apartment we can build an indoor garden and have year round fresh food. There are many delightful books written on the subject.
Naturopathy used to be called “nature cure” medicine! I think of some of the “doctors” I used to teach with in the 1970s and 80s, Bernard Jensen; John Christopher, etc, who where truly great healers and actively promoted the JOY of gardening and its nutrition/ Yoga/ exercise benefits as part of their well care education. There is another issue associated with “pill pushing”, Millions of plastic “natural medicine” bottles being thrown into landfills per day all over the planet. The pollution it takes to manufacture those bottles, the added cost to our clients medical bills, the fuel to transport said packages around the nation, the loss of contact to the earth by urban dwellers from not gardening.
My concern at this moment in history is that unless we start to face up to these two issues and adjust course the ever-increasing pollution that we are producing as a species will result in illness’s 10 or 20 years out into the future that we will not be able to cure. The ominous feeling that I have in my gut now is that we are all of us, in the natural and western medicine world “sticking our fingers in the Dike attempting to stem the hemorrhaging of the flood while there is a Tsunami gathering on the horizon.
But maybe I am just suffering from the Cassandra syndrome.
David Ford, 26 of April 2011
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