Sunday, August 30, 2015

Health Care or Disease Management?

It's really very simple.  The health care insurance companies and all of our predominant health care industries, like bio-medical corporations, pharmaceutical companies and various physicians groups or research laboratories often sell stock and have shareholders.  Because of this they are obligated by law to hold the profits of their investors as priority number one.  If profits are primary, health care is secondary.  

Since these companies must legally put their stockholders first they naturally strive to always show profits in their financial portfolios.  This is why insurance premium rates, that the public pays, are always steadily rising.  And this is also why we were not given a public option in the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

In his campaign, President Obama promised a "Single Payer Option" for health care.  This meant that a governmental organization would pay for and care for the health of all of our citizens so that the ones who couldn't afford it could still receive treatment.  Some call this socialized medicine.  It is what is available in England and in Canada and in much of the rest of the world.  Patients may need to wait, but everyone receives state of the art treatment, for free, and all the doctors and other providers get paid.  

Our fire departments, police departments and many other governmental organizations are "socialized."  We have free libraries, paramedics come to the house in emergencies and our children go to public schools.

But, because of existing vested interests in the health care industries, if a "Single Payer Option" type of plan was to be initiated in the United States, it would represent considerable competition for all of the existing health care industries.  Many from the public would choose the free option for their care and the profits for the health care industries would go down.  So, in order to avoid this, the "for profit" health care industries raised a considerable ruckus and thus became the ones who were selected to design our nation's health care plan.

Sadly, what feeds the "for profit" health care industry is for all of us to live fairly long, but to be sick and require lots of tests and procedures.  So, this is in part why Congress is lobbied so extensively to keep existing food subsidy laws in place.  The result is lots of very poor quality sugary and salty foods, which are very addictive, being widely available and offered very inexpensively.  Corn is subsidized and most of it is made into corn syrup.  Wheat is subsidized and is converted into refined flour which is purely empty calories with little to no nutritional value.  And then there is meat, which without subsidies would cost something like $36 per pound.   These are the foods that we know erode our good health.  We are not subsidizing lots of organic fruits and vegetables even though we know they would help all of us to become healthier.

Another piece to this puzzle is that medical professionals are rewarded with more pay for more productivity.  This means that the more patients they see in a day and the more procedures and tests they order, the more they get paid.  The result is very short office visits with no time to educate patients, or do coaching, about healthy life style choices.  Clearly this system is broken and must be fixed.  But how do we free ourselves from such a sticky bog of disease management.

Fortunately there is an answer.  It is taking the care of our health into our own hands.  But it requires  stepping out of that system that seeks to keep us sick, but still alive.  Many of our contemporary alternative health care pioneers have shown us time and again how to care for ourselves.  Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Paavo Airola and Dr. Richard Schulze, all tell us that diet and lifestyle changes will keep us healthy.  Not only that, they will keep us out of doctors offices and reduce our nation's health care costs significantly. 

If we pay careful attention to avoiding the things that we now know cause us harm, like: food additives and processed foods, GMO's, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and diets heavy in animal products and refined carbohydrates then we are likely to live long and healthy lives, especially if we meditate and get our exercise. 

What really matters here is your health and the health of your family and the health of the people you care about, not corporate profits.  And your best health insurance is love, how you love and care for your body, how you love and care for your family, how you love the food that you eat, the people who grew it, and how you love your environment.  It is really very simple, the foundation for excellent health is love.

© Josephine Laing, 2015


Monday, August 24, 2015

Forgiveness and Understanding

Sometimes it's not so easy to forgive.  We find that we are stuck and can't move ahead in our lives.  When this happens, it is most likely because somewhere in our psyche we are holding onto emotional injury.  But the best way to free ourselves, when we are stuck like that, is through forgiveness.  So, this presents a challenge, because forgiveness is the key that opens the pathway to love in our lives.  

It is important to remember that forgiveness is not condoning the wrong doing of another person.  Forgiveness is simply letting it go.   Our emotions can be like broken records sometimes, playing an event over and over again.  And this takes our energy.  The negative emotions or feelings that we may have toward another person have little to no impact on the wrong doer, but they have a big impact on ourselves.  So it is a good idea for us to figure out how to clear those angry or resentful thoughts and let them go. 

Given our own situations, our past difficulties, challenging upbringings and what have you, sometimes it can seem impossible to forgive.  But a very wise friend of mine once shared with me that in those tougher times, she could become "willing to forgive" or "willing to let go."  This is a good step in the right direction.  Another strategy is to, "Fake it until you make it "    

Years ago, I came across this forgiveness affirmation that Louise Hay teaches.  It goes like this:
 "I forgive you for not being the way that I wanted you to be.  I forgive you and I set you free and thereby free myself."  I love this one because it includes some self-responsibility for our own assumptions and expectations that we so often hold about other people.

I also like to use this set of three forgiveness affirmations.  I don't remember where I got them.  But they have certainly served me well.  These let us see forgiveness from three unique perspectives.  And again, they remind us of our own self-responsibility.  They also help us to remember that pain is most often a two way street.  Here they are:
I forgive you for any pain that you may have caused me.
I ask that you forgive me for any pain that I may have caused you.
I forgive myself for allowing you to cause me any pain.

A practice of forgiveness helps us to move beyond our holding patterns.  As Gabriel Roth, the modern dancer said, "If we are not holding on, we don't have to let go."  But, if we are holding on, spirit is not free to move…and our healing becomes stuck.   My spiritual mentor, Jana Massey used to refer to forgiveness as "The Law of Erasure."  She would say that it erases the hurt so the truth can be made known.

Another mentor of mine is Peace Pilgrim.  Her book is titled: Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work in Her Own Words.  Peace Pilgrim would often say that our problems in life are here to help us grow spiritually and that a life without problems would be a barren life.  I've come to see the truth of this  because our problems are our teachers.  They help us to learn and grow.  

When speaking about forgiveness, Peace Pilgrim once said, “One thing that helped me a great deal was the realization that no outward thing, nothing, nobody from without, can hurt me inside.  I realized that I could only be harmed spiritually by my own wrong actions, which I have control over, or my own wrong reactions.  They are very tricky things, but I have control over them also.  When I realized this, I just felt so free.  And I stopped hurting myself.  Now, someone could do the meanest thing to me and I would recognize that person as a sick person, as an out-of-harmony person.  I would put him in the same category as a mentally sick person.  I would feel great compassion for this sick person who is capable of doing mean things.  I would pray for that person.  I would certainly not hurt myself with a wrong reaction of bitterness or anger.  You have complete control over whether you will be hurt inside spiritually or not.  And anytime, you can stop hurting yourself.”    

I find the insight in this statement to be so very profound.  Here, Peace Pilgrim is teaching us that with deeper introspection we can reach for understanding.  This can help us to move, even beyond the need for forgiveness, because we come to see that those who have done us wrong are coming from their own set of circumstances, which might even be deep psychological imbalance.   If we look at a situation like that, from Peace Pilgrim's perspective we can see that someone who is that unsettled, actually needs our compassion.   Sometimes this can be very hard to swallow but, digging deeper for understanding is the key that helps us to keep our own souls from becoming entangled. 

Our job when we feel that we have been wronged is to rise up out of the mire and not stay there, or to not even fall into it in the first place if we can.  We can take a different street and avoid the whole mess.   We can realize that no matter what someone else may have done, they can not harm us inside.

© Josephine Laing, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

What the Bee Said.

My friend Kassandra grew up feeling more comfortable with the animals in her life than she was with the people.  Her parents and siblings were sometimes volatile while her dogs, cats and rescued baby wild animals were consistently loving, appreciative and kind. We all respond well to gentleness.  And gentle is what Kassandra was.  

Many people can remember talking with their animals telepathically while they were children.  I do, and so did my friend, Kassandra.  But, she simply never let go of that skill.  Then, seeing a need as an adult, she began offering her services as an animal communicator.  She would help concerned owners to understand the underlying problems their animals were experiencing.  That is how I met Kassandra.  A friend told me about her and I had a question about my horse's well-being.  So, Kassandra came out to the barn and put both my horse's and my own mind at ease.

As the years went on, Kassandra and I got to know each other quite well and became friends.  One day, we were out walking and came upon three hebe bushes in full bloom.  They had lovely purple and white flower spikes that were rising up from the tips of all their branches.  They were putting on a beautiful display and hundreds of bees were busily buzzing around them gathering nectar. 

I wondered if Kassandra had ever spoken with an insect, so I asked her.  She said to me in her characteristic drawl, "What do you want to know, Josephine?"  I thought for a moment and asked, "Do bees know God?"  Kassandra turned toward the hebes and bees.  She got quiet for a moment with a open expression on her face.  Then, instantaneously one individual bee came right up to us, hovering just two feet away from our faces and remained perfectly placed in the air before us.  Kassandra's eyes grew a little wider and then she said, "The bee says, 'We all serve The One.'"  With that and my understanding of her words, our bee zipped away and became lost in the crowd of her fellows busily working away.

All of life holds such incredible beauty and profound wisdom to share.  May we all remember how to listen with such care.

© Josephine Laing, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Beauty, Joy and Love of Water

The Beauty, Joy and Love of Water

Click on the Picture to Link to the Video
In this half hour long video, Josephine weaves story telling with dream-time-journeying to guides us into memories of peak experiences with this vital element of life.  Her words transport us all into an understanding of our participation in the energetic flow of and the interconnectedness that we all share with water.  She reminds us that water is life and that if ever there was a Goddess, she is water.

© Josephine Laing, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Being Kind to Allah, Krishna, Buddha and Christ

Being Kind to Allah, Krishna, Buddha and Christ would be easy, right?  It would feel natural to honor and love whichever one was in alignment with our spiritual beliefs or with those of our family of origin.  What about Sophia, Quan Yin, White Buffalo Calf Woman or Innana?  Turning the clock back a few hundred or a few thousand years may challenge us a little, as it opens the door to the feminine expression of the Divine.  What if we go even farther and leave race and gender behind?  What if we were to soar into Rumi's poem about seeing our own selves as Divine? 

Behold the body, born of dust, 
how perfect it has become!  
Why should you fear its end?  
When were you ever made less by dying?  
When you pass beyond this human form, 
no doubt you will become an angel and soar through the heavens!  
But don't stop there.  
Even heavenly bodies grow old.  
Pass again from the heavenly realm and plunge into the ocean of Consciousness.  
Let the drop of water that is you become a hundred mighty seas.  
But do not think that the drop alone becomes the Ocean, 
the Ocean, too, becomes the drop!

Here we are talking about a whole new level of self love.  To see ourselves as a part of Divinity, as being an expression of God, Goddess, all that is, opening up to the idea of moving beyond our sense of separation from Divinity, this is almost too far for us to go just yet.  Can we love ourselves with the same fervor and passion as we have loved our human-like images of the Divine?  We can, and we must.  For when we have finally learned to be kind to ourselves, we will have learned how to love, honor and be kind to each other and to all.  We will have learned to see the God Source in everything. 

I have certainly seen Divine glance winking out from the deep seas of my horse's eyes or from the chrysalis as she splits and unfurls and spreads her wings to dry, even in lightning and thunder as they rage across the sky.  And, when we finally awaken to the truth of this we will have come to the understanding of Namaste, to see the Divinity in each other and in all.  We will have rounded the bend that is becoming known as the great turning of humanity away from war and destruction and into the golden Age of Peace, with Kindness, honoring and love for us all.

© Josephine Laing, 2015