Our father passed on three weeks ago on April 24. Arthur Carlton “Carl” Phillips was in his 88th year. That he lived such a long life could be considered a medical miracle given the litany of health conditions he experienced: arthritis, gout, blood disorders, shingles, strokes, prostate cancer and heart attack. By the end of his life, he was on a mind-boggling concoction of prescription drugs! But this isn’t his story! Not at all!
In 1817, almost 200 years ago, Dr. James Parkinson, an English surgeon, first identified a group of symptoms that he described in an article he published, “An essay on the shaking palsy.” I wonder what he would think now.
Before I offer my thoughts on the ALS ice bucket challenge, please know that my mother succumbed to the disease last year. So like many others, I would like to see it eradicated. It is truly a horrible disease!
But seriously … I’m confused!
About what you ask?
Well, this! What exactly is the ideal human diet .. the diet that optimizes health? And more importantly for me (and a couple of billion others), what is the ideal diet to return a sick body to good health?
The moment I found out I had Parkinson’s I made the decision to heal it naturally. Initially, I thought I could heal myself simply by addressing the underlying emotional root cause. Why not, I healed migraine headaches that were afflicting me at a rate of three to four times a week. I have since learned that this is not enough. Fixing the physical body is also an important part of the process with Parkinson’s.
In 200 years, despite billions of dollars in research, we haven’t figured out what causes Parkinson’s or how to cure it. How can that possibly be? In the last 200 years, we have invented the automobile, the telephone and the airplane. We’ve traveled to the moon and back. We invented radio and television. We created this thing called the Internet that allows us to connect and communicate instantaneously with people all over the world. And we’ve created a mind-boggling assortment of inventive ways to kill people.
A year ago, we launched a new program at our martial arts club called Let’s Feel Good About Ourselves. This is our one year anniversary, and again this month we are celebrating Feeling Good About Yourself .
Have you ever noticed how much focus we put on things that we don’t want? We don’t want cancer or heart disease, but we keep talking about them. We don’t want bullying or domestic violence, but we keep talking about them.
There is a belief, which is discussed in the movie, The Secret, that what you focus your attention on is what you create, even if it’s something you don’t want. For example, if you focus your attention on getting out of debt, rather than creating wealth, you tend to create more debt. The universe hears the word, debt, so it gives you more debt.
The same applies to cancer, heart disease, bullying, domestic violence and other forms of suffering. The more we focus our attention on these things, the more of it we’re going to create. Have you noticed that despite all the attention we give to cancer and bullying, they’re not going away? In fact, they’re getting worse.
What is more, our current efforts to eradicate the things we don’t want are fractured. We have one group fighting breast cancer, another fighting ovarian cancer, another fighting prostate cancer, another fighting bullying another fighting sexual assault and so on and so on. And each of these self interest groups is working independently to raise awareness and funds for research, early detection and treatment.
What we want to do at Georgina Family Martial Arts is bring all of our efforts together to create a unified focus on something positive.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we ignore the things that are causing suffering because clearly we have to deal with them. Nor does it mean we want to diminish the efforts of all the people who are working hard to eliminate cancer and bullying and the like. We’re just suggesting a different approach, one that puts all of our focus on what we want, rather than what we don’t want.
The fundamental premise of Let’s Feel Good About Ourselves, is the belief that the most important thing for our health and happiness is how we feel about ourselves. What is more, if we all felt good about ourselves all the things we want to eliminate likely wouldn’t exist. When people feel good about themselves, they don’t mistreat others, therefore, bullying, abuse, domestic violence and all forms of conflict likely wouldn’t exist. They also eat healthy, therefore, obesity, heart disease, cancer and other forms of disease likely wouldn’t exist. They also don’t try to numb their pain with drugs and alcohol, therefore, addictions likely wouldn’t exist. They also don’t commit crimes, therefore, crime, government corruption and corporate greed likely wouldn’t exist. They live in the present moment, therefore, worry and stress and stress related illness likely wouldn’t exist. They want abundance for all, therefore poverty likely wouldn’t exist. They are good stewards of the environment, therefore, pollution and over-development likely wouldn’t exist.
We believe that if everyone felt good about themselves, we would live with love, compassion and acceptance, and therefore, suffering likely wouldn’t exist.
The intention of our ‘Let’s Feel Good About Ourselves’ program is threefold:
First, to bring awareness to what it means … it means that you feel lovable, worthy, good enough and empowered … it means that you have a positive self image.
Second, to bring awareness to how we create it … by how parents raise their children, by how we behave and by how we react to our experiences.
Third, to bring awareness to the implications of feeling good about yourself, both for ourselves and for society as a whole.
Each month we will have a different theme … this month the theme is simply Feeling Good About Yourself Awareness Month … and we invite you to celebrate it with us. Here’s what you can do:
- Read the articles relating to feeling good about yourself. If you’re a parent, we urge you to read ‘Raising Children to Feel Good About Themselves.’
- Read a self help or spiritual book.
- Make an extra special effort this month (and every month) to be kind to people and to be honest, generous, helpful and patient.
- Make it your intention this month to express gratitude every day for all the goodness in your life.
- Eat healthy.
- Do the things you love to do … spend time with your family.
If you like what we’re doing, tell your friends about it. The more people who are focused on feeling good about themselves the more positive energy we create.
If you have a story you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection … Buddha.
Suffering is a choice. One can be in pain but not suffer. Unknown.
“Our diets are killing us,” he stated emphatically. “And it’s indisputable!”
“Pardon?” I said, his startling declaration taking me by surprise. After all, we were enjoying a terrific day of fishing.
“Since we changed the way we eat, there has been an tragic explosion in dis-ease,” he replied.
“You must be talking about the ‘fast food’ phenomenon,” I said.
“It’s more than just fast foods. The introduction of refrigerators didn’t help because this led to the introduction of frozen foods, which in turn led to the creation of nutrient depleted ‘convenience foods.'”
“Which spelled the end of nutritious home cooked meals as a standard, didn’t it?”
For the next few minutes, we fished quietly. The bass were biting and we were hoping to land a big one, but I could tell by his deeply furrowed brow and concerned expression, he wasn’t finished with our conversation.
“In the last 20 to 30 years there has been a rapid increase in cancer, heart disease, strokes, asthma, MS, Parkinson’s, arthritis, migraine headaches, food sensitivities, Alzheimers and ADHD,” he said, breaking the silence. “It’s not a coincidence that this has happened at the same time our diets changed.”
“Is it all because of refrigerators and fast foods? Surely there must be other factors.”
“Definitely! There have been several other reasons.”
“What are they?” I asked, feeling a little nibble at the end of my line.
“Let’s see,” he replied, pondering briefly, his response. “Pasteurization, antibiotics, genetically modified foods, factory farming and societal changes.”
“Pasteurization?” I asked. “I thought it was supposed to make milk safe to drink.”
“It was. It was intended to kill harmful micro-organisms. The problem is, the pasteurization process kills everything in the milk, including the healthy bacteria that our digestive system needs in order to properly digest food and build up our immune systems.”
“So, it kills the milk.”
I was momentarily distracted when the nibble turned in to a full on hit. “Got one!” It took a few moments for me to reel in the fish, and while doing so, my fishing companion paused to watch me bring it in.
“Do you need the net? he asked.
“No thanks,” I replied. “Feels like a small one.” Which indeed it was, so I quickly returned it to the water.
After a few minutes of silence, he went on. “What is worse, now we pasteurize everything … juices, even almonds.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I remarked. “Why do we need to pasteurize almonds?”
“Almonds, like everything else, are supposedly pasteurized in the name of food safety, but the reality is, the main reason foods are pasteurized is to lengthen their shelf life, which in turn increases sales. The more dead the food is, the longer it will take to spoil and the more chance there is to sell it. But this food has virtually no nutritional value.”
“But people are living longer, so how can the food we eat be killing us?”
“Are we really living?” he replied.
I thought about all the poor souls in hospitals and long-term care facilities and all those taking a myriad of pills, and I had to agree. That’s not really how we are meant to live. “We need to educate people and convince them to change,” I said resolutely.
“What then would you tell people if you could?”
“I would implore them to eat healthy. I would beg them to change their diets immediately, so that disease cannot invade their bodies. I would encourage them to do their research; learn about all the unhealthy practices that are rendering our food unhealthy. I would ask them to make their diets a priority, not an afterthought.”
“People certainly need to know the truth,” he agreed. “But we’ve been begging people for decades not to smoke cigarettes, and still, they smoke. Asking people to come to their senses doesn’t seem to work.”
“What would you suggest then?” I asked, nodding my head in agreement.
“I would ask people to envision a world vibrantly healthy people. A world where mothers don’t develop breast cancer. Where fathers don’t develop prostate cancer. Where uncles don’t develop lung cancer and aunts don’t develop colon cancer. Where children don’t develop leukemia. A world where grandparents no longer suffer from arthritis or Parkinson’s or dementia. Where families no longer have to experience the tragedy of heart disease and stroke. Where MS, diabetes, asthma, whooping cough, mumps and pneumonia no longer exist. Because all this is possible. I would ask them to envision a world where we no longer have to go to hospitals to visit sick friends or family members. Because this too is possible.”
“Take them where we want to go, rather than where we don’t want go,” I suggested.
“Exactly. I would also ask them to envision a world where all parents raise their children to feel good about themselves. Where they teach them good eating habits.”
“Sounds like a good strategy. How we feel about ourselves has a lot to do with how we eat.”
“That’s not all,” he continued. “Next, I would ask them to envision a world where schools teach children about the function and importance of the immune system, and where it helps children understand the role of a healthy diet in maintaining a healthy immune system.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “The education system certainly needs to get involved.”
“Finally, I would ask them to imagine how happy their digestive system would feel when they sat down to a home cooked meal of delicious, locally grown organic food,” he concluded.
“And if that didn’t work, I would also remind them that the companies that make all the processed foods we eat are more concerned about profits than they are about our health,” I added
“Sad, but true.”
“Got another one,” I exclaimed, jolted back to the task at hand by the big wham on my line. “Feels like a big one!”
“The fish sure like that lure,” he said smiling.
“Not as much as I do!”
Have an awesomely healthy day!
Jim Carrey starred in a movie a few years ago entitled, Me, Myself & Irene. Carrey plays a state trooper with a split personality assigned to escort Irene, an alleged hit and run driver.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation, feeling like you’ve got a split personality, embroiled in an internal conversation: “Well that was stupid.” “But I was doing the best I could.” “Hey you two, pipe down will ya, I’m trying to get some peace of mind here.” Yikes!
I did recently. You see, I had cancer…a mild form of skin cancer…and while I’m happy to say that it’s gone now, hopefully, never to return, I have some pretty strong opinions about the disease…and most other diseases for that matter.
The conversation I had went something like this:
Me: “I can’t believe it.”
Myself: “Can’t believe what?”
Me: “All the people who continue to die from cancer.”
Myself: “Why is this so unbelievable?”
Me: “Look at all the money that gets raised every year for cancer research. You’d think they would have found a cure by now.”
Myself: “That’s true, although there are millions of people around the world whose livelihood depends on the existence of cancer, especially the people who run drug companies.”
Cancer: “I have a purpose.”
Me: “Hmmm. I’m not sure what to make of all this?”
Myself: “Yes, I’m not surprised. Billions of dollars have been spent on cancer research in the 50 years and yet every year millions of people are newly diagnosed and almost one out of every two people diagnosed, dies from it.”
Me: “But we’ve got Cancer Society months and cancer awareness months.”
Myself: “And yet people continue to die.”
Cancer: “I have a purpose.”
Me: “But why aren’t they working? Maybe we’re missing something.”
Myself: “Do ya think?”
Cancer: “I have a purpose.”
Me: “What are you saying?”
Myself: “Everything happens for a reason.”
Me: “You mean cancer has a reason, or the fact that we haven’t found a cure?”
Me: “You mean God wants to punish us?”
Myself: “Nope. Contrary to popular belief, God doesn’t judge, condemn or punish.”
Me: “Then what?”
Myself: “I don’t think we’re meant to find ‘a cure.'”
Me: “Are you serious?”
Me: “But why wouldn’t we want to find a cure?”
Myself: “Because, if we did, we wouldn’t change the way we live.”
Me: “You mean we wouldn’t stop eating unhealthy foods, polluting our environment and mistreating one another?”
Myself: “Yep. And we likely would never bother to take the time to understand the role our immune system plays in the state of our health.”
Cancer: “You’re gettin’ it.”
Me: “And I guess we’d never figure out the role unresolved emotional pain plays in the development of disease.”
Myself: “Or the role feeling good about yourself plays in preventing disease.”
Me: “I guess the existence of cancer causes us to ask questions.”
Myself: “Like why are we really here.”
Me: “Isn’t that to learn the truth of who we really are?”
Cancer: “Now you understand my purpose!”
Have an awesome day!
It seems that every time I turn the TV on, there is an ad for a charity that is raising money for cancer research … ‘find a cure for breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia.’ If it’s not on TV, it’s in a pamphlet that arrives in the mail. It’s endless.
Do you ever stop to wonder why, with the billions of dollars that has been donated in the name of finding a cure for cancer, that no cure has been found. Despite years of research people are still being diagnosed in record numbers and each year, approximately one out of every two people who are diagnosed succumbs to the disease. This is tragic.
I think it is also fate. Perhaps we’re not meant to find a cure, because if we found a cure we wouldn’t stop doing the things that are causing cancer in the first place. We wouldn’t change our behaviours. And you know what, if we spent more time focusing on the cause and less on the effect, we would solve this dilemma and kick cancer’s miserable butt.
I think if we want to cure cancer or at the very least, reduce the rate of cancer, we need to eliminate what causes it and I recently spoke to the students I teach at my karate club about this. I suggested to them that the first thing we need to do is recognize the connection between emotional trauma and the onset of cancer. Cancer is a disease that literally eats away at our body and is a physical manifestation of what is eating away at us emotionally…guilt, shame, resentment and unresolved grief. We need to heal this emotional pain.
Next, we need to purify our diets by consuming as much natural organic, chemical free foods and liquids as we can. Yikes, you say! That stuff has no taste. Well, the more processed, sugared, artificially sweetened substances we consume with chemical additives, the more we toxify our bodies. A healthy diet with a good dose of antioxidants helps to alkaline our bodies and studies have shown that disease, including cancer, can’t survive in an alkaline body.
Next, we need to bring more joy into our lives. Sing, dance and laugh. Laughter is proven to boost the immune system. Avoid watching too much news or reading too many newspapers especially before bed or while you’re eating. Why is it that we need to know about a bus crash in some far away country that killed a bunch of poor souls? Studies have shown that watching the evening news can turn a perfectly healthy alkaline body into an acidic one. I beg of you, watch just enough news to stay informed. I also urge you to do things you love to do, be it your job or a hobby. Spend more time in nature. If you’re in a job you hate, get out of it, or at least try to focus on something about your job that you are grateful for.
Next, get regular exercise … cardiovascular, strengthening and stretching. You don’t need to overdo it. Find something you like to do and go for it.
Finally, rest. Get a good nights sleep, meditate or just take it easy. The body needs rest. It needs to replenish itself.
We also need to, as a society, eliminate the pollutants we are releasing into our air, water and building materials. We need to decide which is more important, money or a happy, healthy society.
I think if we do these things, we greatly increase our chances of living a long, happy, healthy life, and who doesn’t want that!
Have an awesome day!