Monthly Archives: November 2018

Colds and Flu: Don’t Believe the Hype

As we careen toward the holidays, just remember that the “cold and flu season” is a fiction cooked up by the health care industry, which is undeniably brilliant at creating a demand and serving it, grooming a client base and appearing to cater to it.

In a nutshell, here’s how it’s constructed:

We are highly suggestible creatures and the health care industry exploits this human foible enormously. Since we’re taught by multiple sources to fear ourselves and the world when we’re children and at our most malleable, it only takes subtle reinforcement throughout our lives on a daily basis to keep this fear in place. The world is consistently represented as a place that is out to get us, rather than one that we’ve created and are holding aloft moment to moment through our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. We love to point out the stories about the frog that boils to death as the heat is increased incrementally or the elephant that is held captive only by a rope and a chair. However, we easily forget that these examples of perceived powerlessness reflect our own predicament as well. It may be funny to see a hypnotist make someone act like a chicken, but if it’s that easy just think how readily we can be manipulated around our emotions.

The fear that is instilled in us results in a profound state of disconnection between our minds and bodies, and the notion that we have any influence over our own well-being is sacrificed. This has the effect of making the health care system appear to be our only option and sets the table for the expert to enter the scene and allay our fears, tell us what’s wrong with us, and make us feel better. Mission accomplished—we’ve successfully abdicated our responsibility for healing ourselves. Since it is this disconnection between mind and body that is the source of illness in the first place, the health care system is well-positioned to play us a like a violin, All it needs at this point is to activate those fears by creating random bogeymen in its running narrative about health, so that it can cheerfully serve the illness that it creates.

Whether we succumb to a cold or flu turns on whether we are grounded or not. Being grounded is a state of the human energy field and it fluctuates many times throughout any given day. Whether we are grounded or not in any given moment depends on many different factors, but for this post we’ll just talk about fear. When we’re grounded we have at least a basic communication between our mind and body and we’re literally in a place where we can choose not to get ill. When we’re not grounded, the mind separates from the body and we are subject to whatever our mind makes up about health and that usually means defaulting to our conditioning, which is to be afraid. Now we’re a siting duck for a self-fulfilling prophecy around illness.

Here’s what it looks like:

It’s the dead of winter and I’m enormously grateful that I haven’t picked up the “crud” that seems to be taking down everyone else. I go into a meeting where there are a couple of people sniffling and in that instant is my appointment with destiny. Because of my aforementioned conditioning around health, my mind starts to perceive the conference room as a dangerous place. If I entered the conference room in a grounded state, I’m now in danger of becoming ungrounded based on how my mind is evaluating the environment through a filter of fear.

To make matters worse, I’m resistant to recognizing that I’m afraid, ‘cuz you know I’m an adult and all. Instead, my mind only recognizes its outrage (“Who the hell let those sick people in here?!”). Now I’ve lost my connection to both my body and my true emotional state, which is fear. Now I’m sufficiently ungrounded that I’m no longer in a position of choice and by the time I leave the meeting I’m starting to feel a familiar scratchiness in my throat. All the evidence now points to my own inevitable encounter with said crud. My appointment with destiny has degenerated into a blind date with fate.

Here’s how it could have gone:

If I have some experience with knowing the importance of staying grounded, the sniffling people in the room are my cue to make sure I’m grounded rather than a source of fear. Without a doubt, there is still some fear that surfaces but it is of the healthy sort that elicits vigilance rather than a fear that creates a state of helplessness. Throughout the meeting I check to make sure I’m still grounded, because I know I’m on the knife’s edge of either being in a position of choice or falling into my conditioned fear response. The more I can demonstrate to myself that I can be in a room with sick people and not get sick, the more it will override my conditioning. I used to get colds and flu as much as anyone until I became a chiropractor and recognized the connection between staying grounded and not picking up a sick client’s illness.

Here is the easiest way I know to get grounded: Sit down and make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Visualize the soles of your feet connected deep into the earth and bring your breath down into your belly. Imagine a line passing vertically through the length of your spine into the earth. Lightly touch the top of your head with your fingertips to bring your energy down from your head and into the rest of your body. Lastly, make sure the tip of your tongue is resting against the hard ridge of the palate just above your teeth. Rotate your attention between the soles of your feet, the line through your spine, and your breathing. When you’re grounded again, you may feel a subtle shift of being back in your body, more connected to the earth, or just in a more relaxed or stable state.

It can make a huge difference to start your day in a grounded state. For an investment of just a couple of minutes you can insure that you’re not leaving the house with a bulls-eye on your forehead. Checking to make sure you’re grounded throughout the day has many benefits. For starters, you’ll be much less susceptible to colds and flu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Epidemic of Healing

I’m going to start this post by invoking the spirit of Emily Latella and asking, “What’s all this I hear about healing?”

Whether it’s our leaky gut, our traumas, our inner child, our relationships, the nation, the planet, or humanity as a whole, it all seems to be up for a good healing. It is rapidly acquiring the status of a word drained of identifiable meaning as a result of its generalized application across disparate contexts. Healing the planet is perhaps the most dubious one of all, since the planet will attend to its own healing, thank you, and all it needs is for us to stop destroying it.

Not surprisingly, this is also a banner time for healers of any ilk. The prevalence of the word healing in the mass consciousness magnetizes the healer to the forefront, just by virtue of resolving the similar language (healing requires healer). The healer identity needs to find something to heal, of course, and is enlisted to both initiate the healing process as well as judge whether healing is taking place or not. This takes full advantage of our resistance to recognizing that we are our own best healers, and our inability to reverse this conditioning from the systems that own us. We are unfortunately not encouraged to see our practitioners as partners, but rather as those primarily responsible for our health and recovery.

And yet, if all this healing were actually occurring, wouldn’t the world be a much different place? Let’s talk about what may be going on behind this word instead.

The logical starting point is language, because first and foremost we are intellectual creatures regardless of how badly we’d like to believe we’re feeling creatures. Language is occasionally useful for clarification, creative expression, and having a good laugh, but is more often a tool for obfuscation, justification, rationalization, ass-covering, and intimidation. Let’s face it, we’re talking about human beings here.

Language is also the interface between the repository of our acquired beliefs and the reinforcement of those beliefs. It’s a sobering exercise to review what beliefs we hold simply because someone told us they’re true vs. the ones we’ve developed ourselves on an experiential or visceral level. It goes without saying that the former outnumbers the latter by far and language is a key component to holding this imbalance in place.

We’re doing this all the time in many different situations: behaving and operating from our assumptions around language because we believe we understand or know what we’re talking about, when really we’re using language to describe as best as possible our experience of the unknowable, which is human existence.

The original meaning of the word heal is, “to make whole,” but the spirit of its present usage as delivered by our health care system and its associated institutions is “to fix that which is broken, to return to a non-symptomatic state.” The assumption is that we’re broken or damaged and require fixing (by someone else), not that we’re trying to be more whole, which means becoming more of who we are. It is the difference between coming out of the other side of healing an authentically altered person rather than just returning the system to a non-symptomatic state. The typical strategy to return a system to a non-symptomatic state is suppression, in contrast to expression and integration, which results in more wholeness.

The farther a word has drifted from its original meaning the more power it acquires and the more people can be manipulated around it. Ambiguity of language is a powerful weapon for manipulation because it keeps us off balance not knowing exactly what’s being said, while at the same time we’re reluctant to look foolish and admit that we don’t know, or we lazily adhere to a meaning we believe is mutually held.

Until we’ve experienced healing first-hand as something other than suppression, then our mind will continue to frame it as such because it has no other reference point for the word. It doesn’t matter if your choice of treatment is alternative if you can’t get beyond the meaning of “healing” that has been drilled into you by mainstream western medicine and the culture at large.

The belief that we’re broken is a convenient departure point for building and supporting personal agendas. Our pursuit of healing can become another chapter in the life story we’ve meticulously constructed and a distraction from real growth that requires vulnerability and letting go of beliefs and identities. A stable of practitioners may be employed to massage, tweak, medicate, and salve the boo-boos, to demonstrate to myself and the world that I’m a responsible person who really wants to improve and do the right thing for my healing.

We may allow our practitioners to suppress our symptoms just enough that we can bear living with our pain and justify continuing with our healing agenda, because the mind knows just how much pain it will tolerate to be reassured we haven’t completely healed yet. In effect, if we ever completely heal (whatever that means) then it is a threat to our identity of being in healing or recovery mode, and who would we be then? I served that merry-go-round for 10 years as a chiropractor until it began to feel like both myself and the client were missing something much bigger here, like maybe an actual experience of healing.

All of this effort can be a very convincing alternative to simply focusing one’s attention inward and hearing the message the symptom(s) is trying to deliver, which is usually something devilishly simple like, “I’m going to twist your intestine into a pretzel until you admit that you hate your sibling because he was always the favored one.” At least the Smother Brothers worked that out in public.

I’ve seen entire families and hospital staff willingly held hostage by a person’s perceived attempt to heal, simply because everyone feels as though they’re doing the right thing in the whole mess. The ones who persist in the delusion that they are healing are gladly served by those who yearn to be of assistance because it gives their own lives meaning, not to mention a way to earn a living. Meanwhile, nothing resembling “wholeness” is occurring in this love fest.

One person’s trauma is another person’s adventure, rite of passage, or amusing story to tell the grandkids, but we’re being gradually coerced into believing that all trauma is equal. Do we really think that someone who was groped once at a party has suffered the same level of trauma as someone who was held captive and gang-raped daily for months? No, but that is where the language is heading due to the increasingly misguided goal of inclusivity. Pretty dangerous stuff considering how we human beings will milk an angle of entitlement for all its worth.

It has even become standard for contestants on shows like The Voice, American Idol, and America’s Got Talent for contestants to shoehorn in a description of the trauma that they are healing through their music or other talent. What could be powerful in small, isolated doses is instead an exercise in emotional manipulation when it becomes as predictable as the person saying what instrument they play. This is an aspect of American culture that is insidiously dehumanizing: the dulling of our potential to feel compassion through overexposure and subsequent desensitization.

When someone announces to the world that “I’m attending to my healing,” this often implies that there is something positive and empowering going on here and don’t you fucking forget it. Such pronouncements around healing have become dialogue squelchers on par with “She’s a racist,” “He’s a deeply religious person,” “It’s a matter of national security,” and “I have special needs.” The group agreements and unspoken quid pro quos around these statements is deep and far-reaching, as evidenced by the shit-storm that is unleashed if one questions their legitimacy. Rather than voicing an intention to heal, it would be refreshing just once to hear someone say something like, “I’m getting to know myself better,” “I’m trying not to blame my body anymore,” “I think I’m starting to grow the hell up,” or “I’m learning how to get out of my own way.”

There can be a significant difference in what constitutes healing between someone who starts with the belief “I’m broken and I need to find someone to fix me,” vs. “I know I need to stop blaming other people if I’m going to stop this cycle.” There is a little matter of personal responsibility and holding oneself accountable for how one’s life has played out. Believing you need to heal can be a way of being right about the perceived trauma because it suggests something was done to us and misses the point that it was a necessary event in one’s life to get them to where they are today. Indeed, a self-indulgent, myopic focus on healing can result in the erosion of relationships, significant limitation of life experience, abdication of responsibilities, and being a real drag to be around.

Just as those who are truly helping others in need do not need to put out a press release about their latest philanthropic venture, the people who are truly healing are rarely the ones talking about it. They realize the effort they invest in sharing their story with the world subtracts from the precious energy that could be applied toward an honest vulnerability that results in that healing. The ostensible motivation for sharing one’s story is that it will help others to heal. That can certainly be the case provided the overriding motivation is not to be the center of attention or fill the coffers, and the person has come to a different perception and appreciation of his/herself from where they started their healing journey.