Elephants never forget

During hurricane Katrina, New Orleans drainage system was simply overwhelmed. All there was to do at the time was reacting to emergencies.
As an economic machinery of the Golden Calf, our healthcare system has been immensely successful by being reactionary – churns a revenue of $250B dollars a year. As a mean to reduce pain suffering and illness, it has performed dismally. 30% of Canadians are either diabetic or pre-diabetic, 80%, having modifiable risk factors and 50%, having a mental health “diagnosis” by age of 40. Our healthcare system has for a long time, at the least, enabled lifestyle illness by defining disease based on symptoms or test results rather than cause; mostly directing resources to draw attention only to immediately profitable interventions; training care providers to follow clinical guidelines informed by research that focus mostly on modifying symptoms and test results rather than modifiable root causes. Sooner or later everyone is a patient. We are in it together. I think it’s in everyone’s interest to wake up to the lunacy of our situation. The objective should not only be helping each one of us navigate and pay the Golden Calf for our passage through the river of illness; it should be to discover together alternative rivers of wellness.
I think the fundamental obstacle to wellness is the inability to differentiate between real needs vs discretionary needs. Oxygen is a real need, smoking (even if you don’t inhale) is discretionary; water is a real need, Coca Cola is discretionary ( even though we have been told “It’s the real thing”); 400 grams of non-starchy vegetables and fruits daily is a real need (WHO), chocolate cake daily is discretionary (some may disagree!); appropriate physical activities is a real need, running a marathon is discretionary (unless I am stuck in a desert and the oasis is 42 km away); the body has real needs, the mind only has discretionary needs.
No amount of innovative policies or system redesigns will be enough; without individual’s developing the ability to differentiate between the body’s real needs and what the mind wants. I think as death and illness effects everyone it is everyone’s business to learn, live and share wellness perspectives. I think my purpose is to participate in Talking Circles where everyone have opportunities to directly and authentically share and learn perspectives; and where everyone’s diversity is appreciated and valued. During our weekly groups, we place a feather, a wooden elephant and a foam model of a ear on a little box placed in the middle of our circle. They are used as talking pieces. Feather represents transparency. Elephant never forgets. Who holds the ear has everyone’s attention.

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