Our healthcare system is like a train with a bomb on board speeding toward a washed out bridge and it will carry many of us with it unless we change our attitude about staying well.
The evidence everywhere—our healthcare system is in trouble. Pick up any recent magazine and there is likely to be an article related to the subject among the pages. For example, a recent Connecticut Magazine had an article titled, “Primary Care: Is Medicine’s Front Line Crumbling?” It described how primary care physicians are packing it in and leaving their profession behind because of all the obstacles they have to overcome simply to practice medicine. Doctors fleeing their practices is just one of the bombs on the train. Skyrocketing costs for medical care and rising obesity rates among adults and children are two more.
The amount of money we spend on healthcare is so huge it is impossible to even grasp the meaning. We spend over 2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000) dollars annually on medical care, 78% of it on chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It’s enough to make us all want to dive deep into the river de-nial. Supporting a government managed solution--especially one based on the current medical model--is putting the responsibility for creating a timely cost effective system into the hands of politicians and the people who make a living on sick people. I don’t feel very confident in that approach. Do you? Putting our faith in a government and medical care system that is geared toward managing symptoms rather than finding and treating the cause of disease will not work. It is sort of like hoping Superman or Spiderman will come and stop the speeding train. What’s more it puts us, the consumers of medical care services, in a mostly passive role in one of the most important aspects of life—feeling good.
The truth is we the people have created this problem by turning our backs on ourselves. We have abdicated responsibility for staying well. Instead, we have slowly accepted a passive role in a huge complex system that does not have wellness at the forefront of its reason for being. Ours is an illness management system. Now is the time to recognize what has happened and begin to change.
If you want to relish the joy of living rather than fear the cost and pain of being ill, there is good news. You can take responsibility for all aspects of your health by using an integrated approach to maintaining wellness. By so doing, you can minimize your dependence on the western medical model. Other societies do it out of necessity. We must choose to do it. Active choice may seem harder and scarier than being passive and relying on experts to provide all the answers; and at first it may be. But it is possible and the rewards to individuals and society are incalculable.
Maintaining an integrated approach to your health depends upon you being at the center of it all. You are the first line of defense, the one with the greatest stake in the quality of your life and the deepest knowledge about your body and its systems. Begin with these three simple concepts and see the results.
I. You Are Worthy
First and foremost your new integrated approach to health and wellness begins with the belief, “I am worthy of feeling whole and well.” If you harbor beliefs that run contrary to this universal truth (and we all have some of them), your body will tell you. Sit with this thought and really feel how you react to it. Do you believe deeply that you are worthy of being in the best health possible and that you know your body well enough to feel when it is out of sorts? If you are not sure, that’s ok. Incorporate the other steps into your life and keep coming back to this one. It is important.
II. Listen To Your Mind and Body
Next, take time to understand what is going on in your life when your body starts poking back with an ache or pain or illness. Use your mind to understand the language of the body. Are you pushing yourself too hard? Are you taking care of everyone else first and neglecting self care? Are you making a life change that is scary? This does not have to be a big deal. You do not need to go to a therapist and explore all your deepest secrets, unless that’s what you want to do. Simply acknowledging that the body does speak its own language can be enough to have an “aha moment.” It does not matter what the physical issue is, just take it as a cue that something is out of synch. Then listen to the internal dialogue in your mind and pay attention to negative self talk. Those thoughts are a reflection of what you believe and they may not be true. Trust your body as you would an old friend. It does not lie and it has your best interests at heart.
III. Take Charge
Third, take care of the body before, during and after there is dis-ease or discomfort. Do this in a way that reflects the belief that you are worthy of the best health possible. At first, this approach to health looks very similar to the typical “healthy living” advice we hear all the time: Eat a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, exercise regularly and surround yourself with a community of people who care about you. This is sound advice and a great foundation. When you are ready to step more fully into the role of primary care person for yourself, expand your tool kit to include more and more therapies to keep in tip top shape. Incorporating daily meditation and yoga in your life helps to deal with the debilitating effects of stress. Adding regular therapies such as massage and Reiki into your life will help even more to reduce stress. Using integrative therapies and natural remedies like acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal therapy for health maintenance and to relieve many health problems can reduce your dependence on more invasive medical intervention. When you have a need for western medicine, by all means use it. The technology we have at our disposal is miraculous. Applied judiciously it saves lives. Applied indiscriminately it is costly and masks the root cause of many diseases by treating and managing physical symptoms without addressing the underlying cause.
We are on a bullet train to disaster. If we continue to abdicate responsibility for our own health the outcome is clear. Obesity alone with its host of consequences, such as diabetes and heart disease, will bankrupt the current healthcare system. There is another way and you can choose it. Do not let the conductor punch a hole in one more stop. Follow these three simple steps to better health. Care enough about yourself to get off the train and take charge of your life now.
Cheryl Roby is a Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Kripalu YogaDance Instructor, Certified Spiritual Healer and Competent Toastmaster who spent over 20 years developing her leadership and communications skills as an IT project manager and as an active participant in her local Toastmasters chapter.
After changing careers and beginning her Reiki studies, Cheryl was diagnosed with cancer. The disease was treated successfully with western medicine’s holy grail of chemo, radiation and surgery. The experience caused Cheryl to study energy healing and the mind/body connection more deeply, leading her to a three year energy medicine school where she studied energy healing techniques, the chakras, the mind/body connection and her own spirituality. After graduation Cheryl realized that in order to help herself and others, she needed to go even deeper into her own “stuff.” That journey of self discovery has unfolded through a regular Yoga practice, Kripalu YogaDance training, meditation, healthy eating and continued study of a variety of spiritual teachers including Byron Katie, Caroline Myss, Anodea Judith and Eckhart Tolle.
Cheryl has practiced energy medicine in large city hospitals; counseled individuals on the messages their bodies send in the form of dis-ease; and has lectured on the mind/body connection, the law of attraction, chakras and the affects of stress on health and wellbeing.
Cheryl’s Roby Chart is a favorite teaching tool among body workers and students of the chakras and the mind/body connection.