Patriotism for War or Peace?
Patriotism can be a source of division and conflict or one of unity and peace. These days following the election make us ask which will it be for our nation going forward?
Being a Patriot means different things to different people, but it is typically defined as someone who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion. The origin of the word is the Latin Pater, which means father. When the US government created a new agency after 9/11 to defend the country against terrorism, it obviously couldn’t be called the Department of Fatherland Security (too many echoes of Hitler?) nor of Motherland Security (a reminder of the USSR?), and they chose the word Homeland. Perhaps we need to look beyond the limits of the nation for a deeper meaning of Homeland – perhaps look both closer in and much, much further out. In fact, we have two real homes and both of them need our love and support – the first is our body, the only one we have, and the second is Planet Earth, from which our body is made and without which we cannot survive. Both of them need our attention and our care. I propose that we become Body Patriots and Planet Patriots and I believe we can do both at the same time.
If we wish to create peace and health in our body, we must develop some devotion to conscious and conscientious care that enhances our energy and vitality. This can be simple and it starts with good food and a sustainable fitness program as well as getting proper sleep and learning to minimize stress and how we create it in our body and life. That’s where I suggest we can begin to stop generating internal struggle and war that manifest as symptoms and disease. When we learn to care for our selves in this way, it can carry over to our work and personal relationships and we can be part of creating peace in all areas of our life. This is the message of The 5 Keys to Staying Healthy which can be found on the HEALTH page right here on my website.
I also believe that we need a broader perspective about our lifestyle and its effect on the health of the planet as a whole. Fortunately many of the wise choices we can make for our personal health and what we consume can also benefit the environment. For example, eating more local and organic foods means avoiding the produce of factory farms and the use of fertilizers and pesticides with their toxic residues and damage to wildlife. It also means using less gasoline and trucks for food to travel. Eating less fast or packaged food has a similar result and also reduces landfill-bound waste. Meat production is a major contributor to climate change and deforestation, so a diet with less meat is also doubly beneficial. There are many such examples that I discuss in my Staying Healthy book trilogy: Staying Healthy with the Seasons, Staying Healthy with Nutrition and most recently, Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine.
At a time when our country seems so divided, maybe we could reconsider what we mean by “Homeland” and begin to take actions that will promote the peace and health of our small home, our body, our local communities, and our big home, Mother Earth, at the same time. Become a Body Patriot and a Planet Patriot!
Students and faculty from Akers and R.J. Neutra Elementary, Lemoore, CA.
- photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Gregory E. Badger.