Confessions, Concessions and Decisions
When we did our Fresh Starts program at the clinic, Inverness Chiropractic & Family Wellness Centre, I reflected on all the things I could be confessing to patients, with a little more frequency than I normally think of this. I could be confessing about my own habits, lifestyle and at times difficulty sticking to self care routines that aren’t always what I recommend. Our program included helping people adopt a number of lifestyle habits and food choices that would naturally increase feelings of well being and energy. The program was a great success and I’ve had the pleasure to attend some of the fitness classes with women from the community. The kick off event was attended by 50 women and there really was a freshness and excitement in the air with people excited to try new classes and ideas. (By the way men you are more than welcome any time - we would love to have you!)
Naturopathic Medicine is a holistic approach to health in which no stone is left unturned so to speak, when investigating causes of ill health and disharmony. We investigate diet, environmental toxicity indoors and through occupational exposure, inherited metabolic tendencies, regular blood work, mineral deficiencies, mental health and attitude and the list goes on. Naturopaths tend to be quite passionate and love freedom to innovate and learn, delving into the many possibilities that can contribute to disease; sometimes it’s simple and sometimes very multi-factorial. At times our training can be an overload because the factors affecting health are vast and this can lead to a sense of perfectionism and feeling anything can be fixed if we just dig deep enough. It can also create the sense that if you learn enough, eat well and clean enough, meditate enough, exercise enough and so on, you’ll be perfectly healthy and forgo suffering. However, there is no perfect and there is a limit to how much we can realize or heal both as naturopathic doctors and as people who seek naturopathic care. And at this point in my life and career I can’t see how suffering or some ill health can ever be completely avoided no matter how you live. I do think naturopathic care can help ease or eliminate lots of suffering and it’s amazing when I get to experience that in my practice with people. Perhaps these are just the type of traps I find myself in; I certainly can’t speak on behalf of the profession. So that’s my first confession.
The second confession is that I often don’t stick to amazing self care routines, sometimes I eat bacon, sometimes I drink more wine than I intended, I’m often up later that is good for me and get stressed out with my aforementioned rather perfectionistic tendencies and neglect my need for stretching and meditation! But I’ve been learning that if there is an ideal way in which to live (a very smart homeopath once said to me ‘idealism is born of need’ - food for thought) then many concessions must be made on the path towards it. There’s a wonderful peace in accepting what is (GMOs, pesticides, antibiotic resistance, lots of chronic disease, childhood obesity, vanishing wild clean nature, as examples) but then taking one little step towards a cleaner, brighter and healthier world. When we break things into small bits, sometimes we’re making concessions but we’re also making decisions. Often we fail to realize how powerful making one decision, or the same decision over and over can be. Things like food choices or going to bed early enough to get a great sleep, are good examples of this. What causes us to make decisions that don’t lead to happiness or that lead us towards feeling crappy instead of great? That is a pretty fascinating question in my mind.