The fall is the season that, I personally, have traditionally chosen to assess, reasses and plan. usually around September my creative juices start to flow and I begin to think about what things I’d like to change about my life. How can I make improvements on my current situation? Sometimes its necessary to ask myself, “how can I escape my current situation?”
I try to apply self reflection to all areas of my life regularly but during the golden days of fall it is somehow especially important. What I often do is look back on things that I may have introduced to my life in the past year and re-evaluate them. Often I’ve forgotten them, that process, or simply become lax. If I can generate new enthusiasm then that’s a key indicator for me. For example, I just dug up a notebook in which I did an exercise from Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principals.” It was simply to write out 100 things you want to do before you finally buy that farm. I decided to type this list up and doing so was a big help in re-orienting me in a positive way.
Here I am on the left with my brother in the center and my father on the right. My father was just a little bit younger in this photo than I am now (I managed to inherit the belly but not the hair). I’ve included this photo because it serves as a rough estimate of where I’m coming from in terms of physical fitness and also gives me an idea of where my genetic blueprint might be taking me. Although no one seems to enjoy looking in the mirror and seeing their parents, the truth of what may be reflected there is a tremendous teaching. If you’re trying to stay healthy in a natural way with minimal supplementation and minimal surgical and drug intervention it makes sense to continue to listen to your parents. This way of listening, of course, is of a different nature but it matters.
My family physician wanted to start me on blood pressure reducing medicines but I disagreed. His reasoning was sound. As an African-american my family history abounds with diabetes, stroke, enlarged hearts, obesity and cancer. However I knew that although I had taken his lifestyle changes to heart, I hadn’t given it my best effort. Body and mind not aligned. Although I was worried about my weight and the terrible bio-markers I was seeing, I delayed taking the medicine, chose a homöpathic remedy and was able to normalize my blood pressure in about 8 weeks with regular exercise. Upon reflection I can say that my fitness program was not that good, but it was enough to reach the important goal of lowering my blood pressure.
When my doctor recommended an ACE inhibitor was he simply following protocol? Was he looking at the statistics and saying, “blacks have a high incidence of this and so…” or was his thinking guided by some clear knowledge of my genetics? My father who was a physician in Los Angeles for over 30 years often said medicine was both art and science. What does that mean? Does it mean we should question doctors that see cholesterol results over ‘x’ and immediately prescribe a statin? Perhaps we should question an insurance system that says, ” if said doctor does NOT prescribe a statin drug when a patients cholesterol level reaches ‘x’ we won’t pay him.” This situation doen’t seem to be very creative. To some extent I think that physicians have their hands tied, the amount information they have to sift through just to stay up-to-date is nothing short of enormous and often their patients (like me) are not as serious as they should be about their personal responsibility for their health. And of course, seeing 100 patients a day and 80 hour work weeks to boot can’t be conducive to cultivating a creative muse.
Shiatus therapist don’t usually have access to the devices that can give hard data upon which you can hack yourself. We’re masters of the parasympathic nervous system though. We help you turn down the noise your nervous system is making so that you can think clearly and be creative again; even if your doctor doesn’t have time to be.
Take time to look at where you’ve been and where you’re headed. You can do this at any level of detail you feel relevant. You can simply reflect on your own habits and trajectory, you can look at your parents at your current age or you can even today get DNA testing done to determine any particular SNPs you may have that could inform your health approach or give you an early warning for the potential for Alzheimer and other diseases. Yet knowing, for example, that you have a SNP that makes it difficult for you to obtain folic acid from food, does not mean there is nothing to be done about it. $the two controls are about epi-genetics. Remember our genes are just 25% of the picture, your enivroment and your thoughts and actions have and essential part to play.