“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -Teacher & Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti
Do you ever get tired of the world telling us there is something wrong with us when there is actually something wrong with the world?
Whenever someone tells me about a health issue I feel compassion – and then, anger at the society we live in.
Anxiety, depression, insomnia, weight issues, digestive problems, acid reflux, high blood pressure, headaches, autoimmunity, cancer, the list goes on and on.
I just want to place my hands on your shoulders, look you deeply in the eyes and tell you- there is nothing wrong with you.
Philosopher Krishnamurti reminds us,“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
We numb and dull and fix and mend on the surface so that we can continue to exist in a world that doesn’t serve our health at all.
We’ve been made to be so disempowered with our health.
Lately I’ve been hearing people say, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’ve just been feeling off/tired/depressed/sick/
Almost with a sense of shame, we feel as though we’ve somehow failed at life if we just can’t seem to keep it together on the surface. As though we’ve done something wrong.
In the middle of a flipping world pandemic. Barraged with news that keeps us stuck in fear. Terrified of something we can’t see or control. Provided with no mass-scale information meant to inspire hope or empowerment. Trying to hold together our lives while we navigate the constant changes. Trying to figure out why life just seems like one big struggle sandwich. Trying to figure out how to get off of the damn hamster wheel of sleep, work, pay the bills, repeat.
You’ve done nothing wrong.
These are the symptoms of living in a world gone mad.
This is the expected result.
Do we truly understand this?
In the society we’ve created,
with the cultural values we uphold,
you being sick/unwell/unhappy
That’s messed up, right?
Who wants to live in a world where being unwell and unhappy is the norm?
But our world demands so much of us that of course we are unwell. Of course we are sick, depressed, anxious as heck. Of course we’re exhausted, worn out, spread too thin, trying to keep up. Of course we feel we must numb in some way in order to continue participating in the very world that is making us sick.Our whole western conventional medical system is complicit in this unfortunate game. Well-intentioned but with eyes wide shut, we swallow our prescriptions to take the edge off, to increase the happy, to decrease the pain, to suppress the symptoms.
We take all those uncomfortable and pesky feelings we’re feeling and we shove them way down deep into a dark corner of our bodies and spirits, supposedly out of the way.
We speak of victories over illness, of fighting against disease.
All so that we can keep moving forward, keep the wheel turning – and nothing ever changes.
Something has to change if we ever want to feel truly healthy, empowered, and fulfilled.
We too, are complicit in this game.
We take so much ownership over our issues, yet so little ownership over our health.
I always cringe just a little when I hear “my” anxiety and “my” depression and “my” fill in the blank.
When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 11 years ago I discovered that in the support groups people liked to call themselves “Crohnies.” I was sort of horrified.
The last thing I wanted to do was map this disease process into my being in such a way that it became my identity.
It’s time to give up ownership over our sickness. Not to deny that these issues are deeply affecting us – but to give up owning them as the price we must pay to play in our culture.
We must raise the societal bar.
What I’ve personally spent the last six years doing is trying to deeply listen to the lessons of Crohn’s disease.
I didn’t understand that concept right away. It took me five years of FIGHTING it first. Desperately trying to make it go away so I could go back to my life as I knew it.
It wasn’t until it got so bad that I was forced to surrender to it that I was finally able to learn from it.
The lessons I’ve learned from Crohn’s disease have been endless. It is one of the many strange teachers in my life.
It’s what taught me to deeply appreciate western medicine and the role it can play in our lives; it’s also what taught me to deeply abhor western medicine and the role it plays in our lives.
It took me awhile to realize that I could never go back to my life as I knew it because a much better version of myself and my life was waiting for me on the other side.
It’s almost funny to think that I ever wanted to go back to the small, frustrated, deeply unfulfilled version of my life that I was trying so hard to FIGHT for.
This isn’t about denial. This is about empowerment.
I never denied that I have Crohn’s disease. But I don’t let it into the core of who I am.
Instead, I respect it as a great teacher. I ask it, why are you here? Why did you come 11 years ago? What imbalance were you pointing out in my life then? Now? What growth are you propelling me towards? What lessons do you come bearing? What are you here to teach me? Why this part of my body? Why this time in my life?
If we map a disease process into our identity we energetically prevent it from ever leaving.
But it doesn’t need to stay forever.
I understand that when I’ve surrendered to its teachings, learned the lessons, and made the changes, it is free to exit my body. The process is complete.
I also tell it, thank you for being with me and teaching me some of the greatest lessons in my life. You may go now.
And I also understand that it could come back.
As I progress upwards on the spiralic path of life, it or some other teacher in some other form might return to propel me to the next level of my growth, or to remind me to once again seek balance when I’ve lost it, or to whisper another great teaching in my ear.
May our first instinct against illness not be to thrash, to FIGHT, to suppress. What if we instead surrendered to our illness or challenge as our greatest teacher?
My anxiety, my depression, my insomnia, my Crohn’s disease – let the ownership of this illness go, surrender to the lessons it brings you, and instead clear that space to take ownership of your health.
Not your sickness, your health.
We do not own our sickness but we can own our health.
Look at us right now as we continue to make our way through this pandemic.
What if we spent all this time trying to deeply listen to the lessons of the pandemic?
Instead of focusing our whole effort on FIGHTING it, desperately trying to make it go away so we can go back to our lives as we knew it.
Could it be here offering us lessons, a strange teacher in our lives?
At what point will we be forced to surrender to it and finally able to learn from it?
Do we actually WANT to go back to life as we knew it when it’s just as possible that a much better version of ourselves and our world are waiting for us on the other side?
Isn’t it sort of funny to think that all we want is to go back to the small, frustrated, deeply unfulfilled version of our world that we are trying so hard to FIGHT for?
This isn’t about denial. This is about empowerment.
I never deny that the pandemic is actually happening. But I do not let it convince me that this is all there is.
I respect it as a great teacher. I ask it, why are you here? What imbalances are you pointing out in our lives and in our world? What growth are you propelling us towards? What lessons do you come bearing? What are you here to teach us? Why now?
Surrendering means we’re not pushing something away, FIGHTING it at all costs; it also means we’re not denying the lessons it brings us. We’re allowing it to transform us.
Know that the pandemic will not stay forever.
Understand that when you’ve surrendered to its teachings, learned the lessons, and made the changes, you are internally free from it’s grip. Yet it might need to continue to be with someone else for a while in order to teach them the greatest lessons of their life.
Understand that it might come back. But HOPE that it won’t need to.
As we as a society progress upwards on the spiralic path of life, it or something equally chaotic might return to propel us to the next level of our growth, or to remind us once again to seek balance, or to whisper another great teaching in our ears.
May our first instinct not be to thrash, to FIGHT, to suppress. What if we instead surrendered to this challenge as our greatest teacher and allowed it to transform us?
If you ever wanted a magnifying glass to truly show the state of our health as a society and our broken system of “health” care – which is actually sickness care – you’ve got it right now.
We can now see how out of control we feel about our health.
We can now see how much we do not understand taking care of our own bodies.
We can see how much we put all of our faith and hope into the hands of western conventional medicine, white coats, and pharmaceuticals.
There’s nothing wrong with putting some of your faith and hope into these places, but we do so to such an extreme that we give up any ownership over our health at all. We give our power away to a system that makes money off of people being sick.
Do you want to be part of this system?
I also cringe a little when I hear “there’s no medicine” for such and such whether it’s in regards to an illness or the current pandemic because it makes me sad how narrowly we’ve come to define what “medicine” is.
Western and conventional medicine have contributed some amazing aspects to the field of healthcare.
But the wisdom of prevention has very little to do with western medicine.
The act of strengthening our immune system has nothing to do with pharmaceuticals.
The practice of reducing our stress cannot be bought or ingested or created.
What if medicine wasn’t simply a pill or prescription?
What if it was a broad set of actions and beliefs taken upon ourselves as a collective society to prevent, heal and empower?
What if being healthy wasn’t just being well-adjusted to an extremely imbalanced society?
What if it took into account our spirit, our soul, and our feelings?
What if it revered illness as a great barometer of imbalance and sought to regain balance, wholeness and homeostasis at all costs?
What if we didn’t keep buying into a broken system of sickness and disempowerment?
What if we allowed ourselves to feel just a little bit angry at this system of sickness we’ve developed and become complicit in?
If enough people started to get fed up with the system, and decided to take it upon themselves to make change at the level of the self, would things change on a grander scale?
Would they finally have to?
For what is a society other than a collective of individuals adhering to an agreed upon set of cultural expectations.
And what if we changed and raised those expectations?
All changes start with awareness.
So let’s start somewhere. Start with yourself.
Take a look at an illness or challenge in your life and ask it, why are you here? What was going on in my life when you first arrived on the scene? What imbalance are you pointing out in my life? What growth are you propelling me towards? What lessons do you come bearing? What are you here to teach me? Why this part of my body? Why this time in my life?
Allow yourself to contemplate, meditate, or reflect on the lessons this challenge is bringing to your attention and the ways it wants to transform you and your life.
May you step outside the confines of society, raise your personal expectations for your health and your life, and refuse to be stuck in a system of sickness care.
May we as a society one by one awaken, dream a bigger dream for our health and happiness, and truly be the change.