A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see Dr. David Suzuki speak as part of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors annual conference. The theme for the conference was Getting To The Root Of It, both in regards to our personal health and environmental health- but really those two go together like pomegranates and mushrooms.
My world is generally full of optimistic nutritionist types and the people that come into my classes are open minded and looking for a more natural way of living. For us it has become second nature. We don't feel well, we keep getting sick, we don't like the way we look- so we start making changes, from the root cause. What are the root causes of our health? Well, seems simple enough right to consider our diet, sleep habits, exercise routine and stress management super powers. For this reason it is easy to get caught up in this holistic bubble where this attitude seems to be common sense. As my brother used to remind when he did stupid stuff and I said it was common sense that what he did was stupid, he'd chirp up "Common sense isn't common to tall" and then he'd hit me, taunt "I got you last" and run away. I digress...
When I read ludicrous articles, such as this one, am I reminded how dismissive some people still are in regards to health both personal and plentary; washing their hands with both, relinquishing all responsibility.
In the last 100 years, we have experienced unprecedented and unsustainable growth. I was struck when Dr. Suzuki talked about the evolution of man. How we came about on this planet with no great strength, no great size and no great skills. We were relatively small in comparison to what was around us, and yet we survived and became the super species all because of one wee aspect of our physiology. The brain and its capacity for memory. Human beings have an innate curiosity, the ability to think of the future and as a result, we invented a future. We had the ability to look ahead, avoid danger and exploit opportunity and that is how we survived.
What happened to those sweet skills? How come we no longer seem able to look at our past that brought us to where we are, and make the suitable changes now for the future to get us where we want to be. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, how come this ability to see the future and avoid danger has suddenly gone off the rails? Just a simple question on this Monday morning. A monday morning that follows the American Thanksgiving, which ironically, is followed by the biggest shopping day of the year. When did more stuff helps us?
We are not getting healthier with all this 'progress' and 'growth'. Actually, I think it is all becoming very complicated. We are more tired, and more stressed. We take pills and seek others to take responsibility for the messes we create. Should we really want to get to the root of it, is it not about finding new treatments, new drugs for epidemic diseases, perhaps the solution is as simple as opening the refrigerator and seeing what is inside.
Until the connection is made by how we live and how we feel and how sick we are getting, no amount of Movembers, runs, walks or rides will get to the root of it. It is common sense I think, that we have to look in our shopping carts, fridge, garden, water, and how we live day-to-day. Getting to the root of it, as Dr. Suzuki explained, is about taking responsibility and making changes in our own worlds. His approach may be to start with the planet, mine is to start with our health, and I am about to make that just a little bit easier for you.
After Dr. Suzuki's talk, I kind of wanted to give him a hug, and maybe rest my head on his chest- a real good cuddle. I wanted to invite him over for some soup, maybe a cup of tea and a cookie. I imagine he must be very tired. If I had running through my head, the ideas that run through his, I am pretty sure I would never get to sleep at night.