Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. so it is wise to address prevention as soon and as often as possible. These 10 Tips, published in Total Health magazine are a good place to begin.
Politics, Medicine and War – Part II
Let’s continue our exploration of politics, medicine and war and how this “attack and conquer” mentality permeates many parts of modern our life all the way down to our relationships with others and most importantly with our one and only self. How can we shift towards integrity, healing and peace?
Of course, there are many types of strife, conflict, and war. Politics, medicine, agriculture, food production and the environment are all examples of ways in which traditional “attack and conquer” approaches have had negative consequences and where a more integrative approach can have long-term positive results. This is also true of course in our personal relationships, where conflict often begins with our inner turmoil and affects our inner peace, how we relate to others, and our overall health.
We create war, or develop the concept of war, as an imagined solution to conflict, and this often begins as children from our parents’ attitudes and approach to the world. We are also affected by the environment we are exposed to with the media’s onslaught of violence in movies and the everyday news. All of this affects our own behaviors, messages, and approach to life and relationships. Most of us have problems or challenges in our personal alliances at home with family members, at work, and in love relationshps. Our programming, once developed, is difficult to change.
So, it starts with each of us, asking such questions as, “Were our parents peaceful, or were they fighters, angry, and mad at each other and/or the world? What makes us want to give and help others, especially those less fortunate?”
To read more in my article for Total Health Magazine – please click the link below
One of the maxims of being a doctor is “First Do No Harm.” I consider myself an advocate and activist for peace both personally and professionally. My formal Conscientious Objector application to the draft board back in 1971 was one of the first times I really expressed this philosophy of life in writing.
The war machine that I was objecting to still manifests in many parts of our society, not just in literal warfare and in fact things have only got worse in the last 45 years. We are at war both abroad and here at home – look at the vitriolic atmosphere of our politics today. We continue to decimate our environment for profit with potentially dire consequences for future generations.
I have also come to the conclusion that Western Medicine itself can be a form of war. I see much modern medical intervention, whether through drugs or surgery, as an “attack and conquer” approach to our body. We must ask what is needed for real healing and not just symptom removal or suppression? These are questions that have a more integrative and philosophical approach to health and life care. They seek more harmony and new balance, and take a deeper view.
I have written a more complete discussion of these ideas in two articles for Total Health Magazine. I hope you will click the link below to read Part 1.
1. What is healing? Let’s look at that in contrast to what is disease, or dis-ease. Illness is a lack of harmony with nature and with our true selves, a dis-integration between mind-body-emotion-spirit. We become out-of-sync, so to speak, when one of our levels, usually the mind, is superseding or overriding our heart and soul’s path. Healing often involves allowing and supporting our different and multiple components to come back into alignment. It’s way beyond just taking the right drug to alleviate pain or clear a symptom. Illness and disease is conflict and represents the ways we block our growth and development. For example, we block our growth with fear, doubt, worry, etc., and illness represents these blocks. Healing is the resolution of conflict and progressing along our evolutionary path. Many teachers suggest that our primary purpose on Earth is to grow and learn—to evolve.
2. Relationships are important to all of us, and so they should be. Yet, this is where most conflicts arise, from the lack of integrated relationship with our self, with others in our lives and with nature. Women tend to be more open to work on relationship communication than men and keeping all lines open is usually necessary for successful and loving relationships. Men will do best if they also support this process. When we hold onto emotions and don’t express ourselves, these energies create turmoil, conflict and dis-ease in our body. That’s why talking preventively, even when things aren’t bad or there isn’t a fight, can really keep our relationships healthy. Communicating openly, clearly, honestly and thoughtfully is very important, especially when there is a delicate or sensitive issue at hand. Being this caring can prevent misunderstandings or hurt feelings, and keep things harmonious and open to growth. However, most of us must evolve to live this consciously, but we can move toward this with some professional counseling on an individual, couple, or family basis to help us stay out of trouble. Classes related to conscious communication can also help us grow. Our issues can be with our love partner or spouse, child or parent, or a work associate. Communication pays off in the long run, much like practicing Preventive Medicine. Talk is only one way to work things out and heal. Try a walk and talk, especially along a flowing river or at the beach. Plus, write a list of your issues and relationship goals and know that healing can take place on many levels, although they may take time. Give it that space and know that even if you change, it often goes slowly. Have patience and take some time to organize your thoughts and feelings, rather than react and vent. Learning to “fair fight” (see below) with a loved one is one thing, yet being able to prevent confusions and altercations is best.
Do we go for things that are not true or unrealistic? Are we looking for ourselves in others or who we wish we were, which shocks the relationship off its foundations? From Bethany Argisle, “It’s a relatio-quake ratio…that so many wander from one to the other and often once it’s begun, it’s then too late because you are not properly prepared for the respond-ability required for rational relationships.”
3. Opening to the Spirit and asking for help from the higher levels of our self are often helpful for healing. As mentioned, much illness comes from this lack of connection or ability to listen to this Higher Self. If and when we do, we can receive the guidance we need and the new ideas and actions necessary to fulfill our purpose and move us forward in our life. We can heal and evolve. Healing the male-female conflicts will help each of us, as we have these issues within our core. Some of our most brilliant psychology minds, like Dr. Carl Jung, suggest that we each have our opposite sex energy as our subconscious. He termed these the anima and animus. The relationship between our thinking mind and deeper selves affect our lives and outward relationships. Thus, working in this inner healing realm and resolving the conflicts we all have between father-mother and male-female can fully improve and heal our worldly relationships. The more we evolve within us, the better our personal connections become. I have had many patients experience and tell me that they were able to improve their love relationships (and work as well) when they stopped running away from the conflicts they encountered in their personal lives. They tended to reach the same impasse with each relationship and until they took a break to work out these very intimate and personal issues they had about intimacy and personal relationships, they couldn’t meet and be close with the right person for them. At least, this is the ‘more right’ person, since with every relationship there are some issues and growth to experience.
4. The way we eat is crucial to health or illness. Much disease comes from poor food choices, mostly over decades, but also in the short term. That is why establishing the foundation of healthy eating should start in childhood. If we’re parents, we need to follow the #1 rule for feeding kids right, and that is “Setting a Good Example!” This is where nature comes in and eating foods closer to the source, which is our Earth Mother. She blesses us every season with foods that are best for us—fresh greens in the spring, cooling fruits and vegetables in the summer, lots of richer foods like grains, beans, nuts and seeds, plus many veggies in autumn to help us last through the cold or wet winter. Connect with this and minimize all the processed junk foods and chemicals so readily available everywhere in our modern societies. This one area can help protect our health and keep us well throughout our years.
What about NURTURANCE? Nourishing ourselves with care, food from loving cooking and quality friendships is a personal investment and this investment can comfort and heal us. Being sensitive to our own needs, truly caring for ourselves by knowing what will nourish our body and spirit, can teach us the uniqueness of our own person, as every human is different.
5. Exercise activity is crucial to staying healthy and vital, as well as to good circulation and a strong immune system. A balanced daily and long-term program includes stretching for flexibility, aerobic activity for endurance and weight work for strength. This all leads to better relaxation and getting our minds out of the way so that healing can happen more easily in our bodies. A vital body rarely gets sick. Yoga and other flexibility-enhancing movements are helpful at keeping us youthful. “We are as young as our spine is flexible.” So, stay young and healthy with regular exercise.
6. Nutritional supplements (besides good food) support balance and healing. They nourish our cells and tissues, and support optimal function to allow healing to happen biochemically and physiologically. Deficiency symptoms such as fatigue and coldness may require nutrients and hormonal balance (and a more nourishing diet), while congestion and toxicity problems like headaches, allergies, aches and pains, and digestive maladies can be helped by detoxification with herbs, a more cleansing diet and nutritional support. Make sure you or your health guide knows what they are doing and don’t overdo it. We can find the right program for each of us if we listen to both our inner guidance, as well as outside wisdom and experience.
7. Avoid the victim and blame game. Most of us get into trouble because of the way we think and the judgments we make, both for others and ourselves. When we say things to others out of anger and with an attempt to hurt them, we generate a war of words and feelings. These are not healing feelings and thus they create separation. Upset emotions and separation generate dis-ease while love and connection/cooperation toward unity help us heal. Many people have bad habits and self-destructive behavior because they feel victimized by life, and don’t feel deserving of love, health, good food and other ways of nurturing and pleasuring themselves. Sometimes, the number one thing we can do is to heal our attitude towards self and life. I encourage my patients to adopt the philosophy that “this is the only body I have, and I want to treat it in a loving and respectful way.” Then, if we can really feel and believe this, we will begin to eat better, exercise more, find ways to handle our stresses, get proper sleep, and have a new and different approach to life. Wow!
Don’t live on the “harm farm,” where no matter what you do ends up out of balance, or so it seems. Re-learn to think positively and act confidently. Read the biographies of those who have overcome great obstacles to live fully and use their inspiration as motivation. Live simply, Live well!
8. Where can we go to heal? The answer lies within. Some people tap their deeper levels only when they get away from home or work and their everyday world. This may involve a retreat or just going into nature. Others may benefit from some workshop or therapy program. Getting out of the way, relaxing and letting things flow allows healing to happen—it’s a natural experience our body wants. When everything is flowing through our channels (blood, lymph, energy), we are healthy and vital. Tune in and go to your stress; allow the conflicts to surface. Also, allow your dreams to bring you insight and give you passion for action.
Dream Exercise for Healing — Before you go to bed, write down these three important questions and then meditate on them a few minutes as you drift off to sleep. Our subconscious has the answers we need to solve our health dilemmas if we are willing to listen to this innate wisdom. Make sure you write your questions on paper, ideally in your personal journal by your bed as this brings them into form. The key questions are:
- Body, why am I experiencing this problem right now?
- What do you wish to tell me?
- What is needed for healing?
Or use some variation of these questions and you can make them specific to your personal issues. This is also a technique in guided imagery work to have an internal dialogue with the wise part of yourself. Give this a few nights or even weeks to see what comes back; you may be surprised and delighted, and certain conflicts may be resolved.
9. Shifting and balancing with the seasons is vital to staying healthy. Being aware of your own cycles within nature’s is key knowledge to acquire and use throughout life in regards to personal choices, activities, diets, etc. How did you feel last year at this time and what were your dreams then and now? If you journal these things, you’ll have some reference for yourself and this will help you learn. Tune in and you’ll find yourself in there; yes, you’re in there…meet up with yourself and have some fun. Discovering the many dimensions and mysteries of our humanness can be quite an adventure. We were all gifted with treasures — that is the gold at the end of the rainbow of love. We are loved, we are love, love is all around us, let us celebrate and radiate love, which is healing. There is love to light the way. My first book, Staying Healthy with the Seasons, is a guidebook for traveling through the cycles of light and dark and the effects on inner and outer climates.
10. In summary, imbalance occurs primarily from a dominance of thoughts or excessive, stressful emotions, or from a diet that causes congestion or deficiency (too much or not enough, usually both). The balance and healing lie in the inner work and enhancement of spirituality. Explore all parts of yourself and work/play to integrate them by working through weaknesses and other challenges, and allow yourself to become your full and true Self. Blessings to each of you.
© 2015 by Elson Haas, MD