Life is precious, yes? Especially at these holidays that we all love to love, or love to hate – to me one thing is crystal clear – life is precious. Generally, it’s a pretty damn good gift.
Maybe it’s more poignant at winter holiday time because we are often spending it with people we call loved ones. Usually this group includes some babies and some elders. Babies; with their fantastic ability to remind us about potential. Elders; to remind us that, in the end, it’s about how well we’ve expressed our passions that really matters.
There is nothing like hanging with an aging Grams or Gramps to remind us that:
- our youth is not something to squander away — the ease of use of our limbs, our minds, our vision, even the ability to poop – for realz — is a gift (this is not to ignore that plenty of people in general do not have this ease),
- any day could actually be our last, and
- enjoying ourselves is important… it’s not about the money, money, money…
So, what am I getting at here?
Well, a few weeks ago, Joy and I were having a chat. Someone we know and love had just been to a new health care provider who asked to see them in person for appointments and treatments every day for two weeks, to begin to get things back into balance.
Now, in my world (this is the health practitioner world) this makes a ton of sense. When things are really jacked up, we want to get you pointed back to your true north ASAP. So I can appreciate the “I need to see you very often in order to help you get yourself back to wellness” approach.
On the other hand, for the average working American, this can seem really hard for a few reasons. Even if you have health insurance this can be tough on the wallet, and if you don’t, it can seem impossible. And, if you have limited “paid time off” this is a suck on your vacation leave and hence your wallet, again. Then there’s the figuring out how to either get to work late, do this with -or- instead of a lunch break, or leave work early enough to beat traffic and get to the provider’s office in time. Depending on your status there are added issues of childcare or the ability to even keep the job you have.
This is just the beginning. After that first stint of treatments and visits, it’s likely to space out from daily to two – three times weekly. If things are going well, your appointments will continue to space out until the you are in a steady state of improved wellbeing. This can take months or more depending on the healing modality and other lifestyle circumstances at play. One of the ways I sometimes explain this to patients is that it could take one month of acupuncture (weekly or biweekly) for every year that they’ve been dealing with the issue(s).
So, Joy and I are talking about this and acknowledging out loud that “wow, this is a big commitment for [the person] to make” when I have an epiphany:
Wait a second! What is it about us humans? Someone diagnoses us with cancer and fast as hell we are out of work daily or weekly for surgery, chemo, radiation…whatever it takes. We’re changing our diet, routine, everything. But a healthcare provider tells us we need to come in often or make some changes to benefit our health so that we DON’T end up super sick with some debilitating and difficult disease that may arise from a series of lifestyle factors and imbalances building up slowly over time…and we can’t figure out how to make that work? We humans are crazy.
And I didn’t just mean individual humans, I was pointing to our culture – work too hard, play too hard (or not play at all), no time off, lack of sleep, eating shit, symptoms that we attempt to override with OTC drugs and/or prescription drugs to manage things that can then cause other issues that require more medications… etc.
We have a culture that seems to only give us permission to heal if we are dying…W.T.F.
What the f*$% has us bending over backwards only when we are very sick (I’m talking life and death sick) while we can barely inconvenience our regular daily lives to prevent things from getting that bad…what the shit is that about?
Now, I am gonna let you sit with that for a few minutes.
If I stop and sit back to think about it I realize that there are some “immediate gratification payoffs” to choosing the road unwell. Maybe it’s because I want or need that bonus from work for a new purse or a trip to the Caribbean. Maybe my soon-to-be finance requires a ring the size of a quarter so I am busting tail to get the money to make it happen. Maybe it’s because I want my boss to see me as the one who is worth the next promotion and “burning the candle at both ends” is the key to success at my company. Maybe I work two jobs, take the bus three hours each day and live in a small apartment with both my kids and aging parents and I need to pay rent and feed people. Or maybe that latte just tastes too damn good in the moment to even consider how it’s affecting my body. I do invite you to think about it, considering what its worth to you…I can guarantee there is some good or silly reason (or an excuse) in there somewhere that has each of us putting our well being on the back burner in some way.
Or maybe there is some small fib we’ve been telling ourselves for so long that we think it’s actually true…like, “I’ll lose my job if I leave before 6 p.m. so I will forgo healthy dinners and exercise,” or “I’m totally great with 5 hours of sleep,” or “I could never be happy if I stopped eating sugar.” Sounds ridiculous when you read it like this, doesn’t it?
I’m being tough here, it’s true. And if that offends you, oh well. Most of the time in the treatment room and in life I am a pretty tolerant, patient and relatively open-minded person when it comes to wellness (unless you are a family member, sorry bout that). I exercise curiosity with people. I ask questions. I do my best to help empower. Though every now and then, some of us need a good ass-kick to get things moving. It’s called tough love, and I really mean it – it is love. I exercise this with careful intention, on special occasions, because I am so committed to you living a vibrant and full life that I am willing to kick you in the pants to get that to happen. I’m exercising my intention now, peeps. We are moving into the New Year, a time when many of us will conjure up the wherewithal to make changes we cannot seem to execute our willpower to do at other times of the year.
So I am asking you, what choices are you willing to make for yourself in 2015 to love up your well being in a way that really honors yourself?
Yep. Happy New Year.