Happy New Year (and a humble suggestion for a resolution)

As you are making your New Year’s resolutions, I would hazard a guess and say that what you want most this year is to be healthy.

You see, to me, being healthy means to be happy. It means to have enough affluence to be comfortable and reasonably free to pursue your dreams. It means having deep sustaining relationships and meaningful work in the world. It means feeling fulfilled, challenged, excited to live each day. It means having a fairly good grasp on how it is that you create so that you can create a life that is pleasing to your soul. It also means having your mind/body/energy working well enough to sustain you through it all.

And who wouldn’t want that?

Now you just have to answer the question, “How do I move from my present life to my ideal, healthy life?” That is what the Seven Tools of Healing are all about.

As you may imagine, there are several steps involved.

Your mind/body/energy needs certain things. Just as you need good food for your body, you also need sustenance for your mind and energy, such as high quality ideas to think about and good sources to replenish your energy. And, just as your body needs exercise, so does your mind and energy. They also need good rest. There are practices for all these things and your inner wisdom can help you choose which practices you need that also fit with your life.

Then you need to remove the factors that wear and tear you down and replace them with factors that build you up and sustain you. Again, your inner wisdom can help you figure out what those factors are and what to do about them. Practicing the Seven Tools of Healing puts you in contact with your inner wisdom.

Finally, for your ultimate healing, you need to go deeper still. Unless you want to continue spending all your time and energy chasing around trying to change what has already appeared in your life, you need to get ahead of it by figuring out how to take conscious control over the factors that determine what you are creating as your life.

This may sound a little esoteric, but it is the most important step in order to achieve real healing. At the same time, simple, reliable, and effective ways to change the determinants of your creative flow elude most self-help programs. The Seven Tools of Healing fills this gap. Practicing the Seven Tools is the best way I’ve found to find limiting beliefs and align them with higher truth. The more your personal truth aligns with higher truth, the healthier you get.

So, please, I ask you, put “Mastering the Seven Tools of Healing” high on your list of New Year’s Resolutions. Do this and I think you’ll find that most everything else on your list pretty much takes care of themselves.

The Seven Tools are really a set of skills that you can learn and hone with practice. Then, when you apply these skills to whatever is going on in your life, healing happens. See www.the7tools.com for resources to help you master the tools.

My Journey Writing "The Seven Tools of Healing: Unlock Your Inner Wisdom and Live the Life Your Soul Desires"

I’m not a bookish person. My wife and a couple of my kids are bookish people, so I know the difference. But I felt compelled to write The Seven Tools because,

·         My whole career, I’ve witnessed people working long and hard to make lasting healing changes in their lives.

·         They spend huge sums of money and untold hours seeking these changes: workshops, on-line courses, books, meditations, seeing a wide variety of practitioners, taking tons of supplements…on and on.

·         Most of the time, they have great insights and “aha moments” and make some progress, only to later fall off the wagon and return to their old patterns, or have some new health problem crop up with a similar symbolic significance.

·         I wanted a way to help these people: to help them make inner changes that last, that truly transform, that heal their lives on deep levels. So I started studying the world’s healing traditions.

·         But, more importantly, I also listened deeply and honestly to my patients, trying to understand their experiences—especially when they did not fit the conventional medical model—to observe what worked and what didn’t.

·         I’ve been practicing integrative medicine since the mid ‘80’s and I’ve followed some people for years on their healing journey. This long perspective has allowed me to make some observations about healing that elude my colleagues with more transient practices.

·         Over many years of practice, study, and stewing about it, I figured out why deep inner change is so rare and what to do to accomplish it on a more reliable and consistent basis.

·         What I’ve learned has been helping my patients for years and now I want to share it with the world.

Coming from a background in Conventional Family Practice, I have to admit that what I learned surprised me. Our society is so deeply dysfunctional in many important ways, a truly healing path is a major diversion from the path of the herd. Many of the foundational concepts I uncovered involve how the unconscious mind and Consciousness work: not frequent topics of conversation in a doctor’s office. To many in our culture, these ideas are unexplored and unfamiliar, though they have been with us for thousands of years. It takes courage, curiosity, and trust to embark on a healing path. It is helpful to have a mentor or guide, and a supportive community.

My fervent hope is that this book can be one of your guides to make your healing journey more efficient, effective, and in alignment with the Laws of Consciousness; that many mentors will get trained in these ideas; and that small pockets of communities practicing the Seven Tools will pop up, grow, and coalesce.

How Do You Know if You are Stressed?

I saw a middle-aged women in the office this week who works at a local tech firm. She came in for her annual free preventative wellness check-up that is a part of Obamacare. Since stress either causes or exacerbates nearly every major disease in our society, and since stressors are a universal human experience, good preventative health requires an effective way to protect yourself from the adverse effects of stress. I think these preventative visits are a good time to talk about how to do that.

But she had an interesting question: how do you know if you’re stressed? She was serious. For her, personality issues with her team-mates, other teams not getting their stuff to her team on time, long work days, high-pressure deadlines, and intense learning curves were the norm. And for everyone she knows. “Isn’t that just normal?” she asked.

If by “normal”, you mean the majority of people experience it, then, yes, being chronically stressed is now normal, but it is not good. Every ten years, the American Institute of Stress conducts a major survey of Americans. Each survey for the last 30 years has shown an increasing number of Americans self-identifying as being highly stressed until the last survey, over fifty percent of Americans so identified.

Interestingly, over the same time period, surveys by the National Institute of Health have shown that the number of Americans living with chronic disease has also been increasing, until the last survey revealed that over fifty percent of Americans are now living with (and dying from) one or more chronic diseases. We don’t know if they are the same fifty percent, put there are plenty of studies linking chronic stress to chronic disease so it is really no surprise that the two have gone up hand-in-hand.

I would like to point out that this has been happening on Conventional medicine’s watch. Conventional medicine has ways to treat most of the symptoms of most chronic diseases but they are not very good at preventing or curing them. Similarly, what most of us are doing to cope with the stressors in our lives is not saving us. We need better ways to deal with the problems of chronic stress and chronic disease…and I’m here to say that we now have them.  

But I digress, back to my patient’s question. Once people develop a disease that is related to chronic stress, they often look back and say, “Yup, I guess I’ve been stressed for years.” But that is too late, it’s a lot more work to cure a chronic disease than to prevent it. A better approach would be to first notice when you are experiencing some of the early warning signs that stress is affecting you enough that it will eventually make you sick and then to act immediately and preemptively to make yourself impervious to stressors. You have to listen to your body and look at your life enough to see the early warning signs. Here are some of them:

·         Non-restorative sleep—you wake up in the morning as tired as you were when you went to bed. Also, waking up frequently and/or having trouble going back to sleep because your mind gets thinking of things.

·         Irritability—if you have a short fuse, if you fly off the handle, if you explode like a volcano, or any of those other great metaphors for losing your cool.

·         Decreased libido—too tired to make it and too tired to fight about it.

·         Tight neck, back, or shoulders—chronic tension held in your body anywhere, for that matter.

·         Bruxism—clenching your teeth in your sleep, if your dentist has recommended or given you a bite plate.

·         Headaches—most stress headaches are due to the tight muscles in your neck, but stress can cause other kinds of headaches, too.

·         Fatigue—exhausted, pooped, you only have enough energy for work with none left over for the rest of your life.

·         Digestive problems—heartburn, stomach pain, bloating, cramping, alternating diarrhea and constipation, loss of appetite.

·         Anxiety—feeling trapped in your life, or feeling like something dreadful is going to happen at any minute, or wanting to crawl out of your skin and go hide somewhere else.

·         Resignation—feeling like you just want to give up, like you’re too tired to keep going, overwhelmed.

If you have any of these signs, take the time now to learn how to make yourself impervious to stress. By the time you develop high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, food and environmental sensitivities, leaky gut, autoimmune diseases, headaches, diabetes, cancer, ulcers, chronic back pain, depression and such, you’ve crossed the line and joined the fifty-plus percent of us living with a chronic disease.

You do not need to get sick from life situations over which you have no control. There are good answers to most of your stressors. I can help you with this in the office or check out all the resources available to you at my other website: www.the7tools.com.  

Choose the Best Way of Eating for You

How you eat is so important for your health that some prominent functional medicine practitioners have claimed that a good enough diet would prevent all disease. I think they’re getting a little carried away but the point is, eating in a way that is really healthy for your body is one of the primary pillars of your health. The problem is, no one can say what that best diet is. Because of different genetic make-ups and environmental demands, the best diet for you is highly personalized. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

How do you find the diet that works the best for you? I suggest you choose one of two main strategies.

1.      Since most of the major diets that have gained traction on the world stage are research-based and time-tested, look at several of them and pick one that appeals to you…and then stick to it come Hell or high water. Use the Seven Tools, especially Rule Number One and the Three ‘A’s, to deal with any feelings that come up, such as deprivation or urges to emotionally eat. Recent studies trying to find the best diet for people with type II diabetes revealed that all the diets tested worked and all of them didn’t work. The determining factor was adherence. So, most any sensible diet will work for you if you stick to it. Practicing the Seven Tools of Healing is a reliable way to get to know yourself well on deeper and deeper levels. The practice also enables you to use your feelings as messengers for how you are working inside instead of as automatic determinants of your eating and other behaviors. Because of this, when you practice the Seven Tools of Healing along with your diet, your chances of sticking to it go up. Some diets you might consider include

a.      The Paleo diet

b.      The ketogenic diet

c.      The Ornish diet

d.      Weight watchers

e.      The Pericone prescription

f.       The plant paradox diet (low lectins)

g.      The Mediterranean diet

h.      The specific carbohydrate diet

i.       A low histamine diet

j.       There are many more diets designed to address specific issues. See if there is one for yours.

2.      The second strategy, and this is the one that allows you to personalize your diet as much as possible, is to learn to listen clearly and carefully to your body about what it wants you to eat and then try your best to give it that. Then listen again in half an hour to see how you feel because you ate that. Over time, this strategy helps you develop very good listening skills, which can be applied to listening to your body in the many different ways it talks to you, and it helps you develop the ability to discern your higher-interest voice from your saboteur voice. (Because they can sound very much alike.) This one skill alone can keep you out of a lot of trouble.

Please take the time to find the best way of eating for you. Your efforts will pay you dividends for years and years to come.

You Can Do This!

Your healing is always possible. Think about it. It is theoretically possible for you to become happier, healthier, and wealthier. You know this at a deep level. That is why you keep looking. The question is how?

Well, it turns out that there are two keys which you can wield that make your healing much more probable, much more likely. And those keys are Truth and Kindness.

Truth is important because “you shall know your truth and your truth shall set you free.” That means that if you want to be free of anything in your life, like your chronic disease, addictions, depression, anxiety, pain, dysfunctional relationships, ring around the collar…anything at all…you need to work with your truth of it. That Law of Consciousness isn’t “you shall know your fantasy and your fantasy shall set you free.” That’s one of life’s biggest bummers because working with your fantasy is soooo much easier. But it doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked so far so you might as well admit that truth, give it up, and resign yourself to finding and knowing your truth.

And Kindness is so important because it is what actually changes things, it’s the true alchemist. Healing implies change. So, if you are at this place in your life where you need healing and you want to move to that place in your life where you are healed, something has to change. The question is what and how? Your Truth will tell you what and Kindness is how you do it. Except for a few surgical procedures, compassion is the only thing I’ve ever seen heal anyone in over thirty years of medical practice.

These keys are yours. You choose whether or not to use them. I highly recommend you choose to because that will greatly shorten your suffering. You only have so many years to live. Why not live them with as much happiness, health, and wealth as possible? Why put it off? Each year, a greater percentage of us is living with a chronic disease. A recent survey1 showed that over sixty percent of Americans are living with a chronic disease, and forty-two percent with more than one at a time. That means that what we’re doing across the board, as a society at large, to heal ourselves isn’t working very well.

It’s no big secret that our healthcare system itself is sick and needs to heal. But you don’t need to wait for that to happen. You can heal yourself right now. You are not a victim…not of other people, not of bureaucracies, not even of the environment (being victimized is a universal human experience; being a victim is a way of seeing yourself…not the same thing). You have more personal power than you realize. It’s time to step up and claim it. That is all.

Practicing the Seven Tools of Healing is the best way I’ve ever seen to accomplish all of these things. With them, you can skillfully and accurately find your truth and be kind to yourself about it. Your head can know what your heart already knows, which allows you to become comfortably ensconced in your personal power and live from your deeper knowing.

Read The Seven Tools of Healing, practice them every chance you get. Every moment holds your Truth. It is sitting right there in front of you and inside of you, ripe for the knowing. And you already have a great heart. Just learn to aim it at yourself, too. You are just as worthy of your love as anyone who has ever been born or ever will be born. I have every faith that you can do this.

https://www.rand.org/blog/rand-review/2017/07/chronic-conditions-in-america-price-and-prevalence.html. Accessed 8/11/2018.