Last year, to commemorate our country’s 235th birthday on 4th of July, I wrote a post entitled “10 Things That Are Right About America”. I liked that piece. And I’ll stand by it today …even though it was uncharacteristically nationalistic of me.
That post felt timely in the face of so much national turmoil, political and partisan ballyhoo, and of course the recession. But today I want to write something different about what I think we Americans — of every political stripe — need to change.
And what, might you ask, does this have to do with developing a well-being lifestyle?
Well, plenty. If my assertions are correct, or even partly so, then each of these issues impacts our lives … your life … in a very real, not-just-hypothetical way.
Is there any good news in this post?
You bet there is! The good news is that you can do something tangible to alter each of these issues in your own life. Check it out …
1. Toxic culture. We live in a culture gone bad. In many cases, we’ve lost touch with our Self, with one another, with our community, with our environment, with nature. Many of us don’t live consistent with our true values … indeed, in many cases we don’t even know what they are! We eat unhealthy food, drink chemically laden water, breathe polluted air, and try to fill the emptiness of our lives with vapid, over-stimulating media.
What you can do. First and foremost, turn off your TV. (I turned mine off over 20 years ago.) Refuse to read your local bad-news-paper. Get your news online, if at all, via credible, balanced sources. Don’t watch films or read periodicals or go into agreement with neighbors or friends that espouse a negative or adversarial or paranoid worldview. Identify your true values and write them down. Then develop goals based on those values. Clean up your diet (more about this below), use an in-home water filter, and get enough sleep, rest, and rejuvenation.
2. Bottom line driven. Mother Teresa once said “The spiritual poverty of the Western World is much greater than the physical poverty of our people. You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is.” Yep, MT nailed it, smack on.
What you can do. Rather than living your life with an over-emphasis on money and career, put more of your focus on quality of life and Raising your Personal Vibration. (See my article on this topic.) If you don’t already have a spiritual practice, identify one that excites and nurtures you and then live it. Stay current, clean, and healthy with your relationships. Tell the truth, always. Remain active and vital within your chosen community. Access uplifting, motivational, and inspirational input on a regular basis.
3. Cult of the individual. We Americans are independent … to a fault. We have not yet realized that we are all inter-dependent and that we are connected to everyone and everything and always have been. On a planet that counts 7-billion co-inhabitants, and growing, we need to get up to speed on this one, pronto. “Denial” is not just some river in Egypt.
What you can do. Live your life from the reality that you are related to everyone and that everything YOU think, say, and do, every second of every day, makes a difference. (It actually does!) Live your life with purpose, integrity, and equanimity. Put your focus on good will and service to others.
4. Adversarial nature. Many of us have forgotten Pogo’s sage observation that “We have met the enemy … and he is us.” We generally want to project our failings and the unconsciously disowned parts of ourselves out there, onto others. The oldest part of our brain, the so-called reptilian brain, is focused on survival. As such, it is ALWAYS looking for danger and for an adversary … even when none exist.
What you can do. Of course, Americans are not alone in this one. But we have it within ourselves to become world-class role models here. That is, IF we learn to practice collaborationover competition. One way is by using American-born non-violent communication skills. (See Marshall Rosenberg’s book.) On an individual basis, don’t yield to the “reptilian” part of your nature. Easier said than done? Want the inside track on this one? Practice daily meditation.
5. Overweight and obese population. It’s unfortunate; it’s unnecessary; and it has already reached epidemic status affecting more than two in three American adults. And it’s still getting worse. Here’s a short YouTube clip of George Carlin talking about our American proclivities for stupidity and obesity. Viewer Warning: recorded near the end of his life, this uncensored, 8-minute clip is one of his most acerbic, non-PC rants ever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLRQvK2-iqQ
What you can do. Start a food journal to bring awareness to what, when, and how much you eat and drink. (You may be surprised!) Focus on a mainly plant-based diet of minimally and non-processed food … organic when possible. Cut back on your portions. Cut way back on sugar and carbs … especially sugar. Don’t miss meals. Drink lots of purified water. Exercise most days of the week, just not out-of-doors when the ozone and/or pollen levels are high.
But wait. We’re only half done.
To be continued in my next post …