Do you want more energy?

If you feel you don't have enough energy to do all the things you want to do, have a close look at your spending habits:
Nowadays "deficit spending" - spending money which one doesn't actually own but loan - is a widespread phenomenon, and the media suggest that it's a good idea. Many people's credit card balance is constantly near the limit. What happens is that people end up paying a lot more for the stuff they buy, because they have to pay a lot of interest.
Now what does that have to do with your personal energy?
Our patterns and habits in how we deal with things and other people and ourselves are fairly consistent throughout. That means that our money handling habits are very probably the same as our energy handling habits.
So take a moment to think about how you're spending your energy: Are you saving some for when things get rough, or are you constantly spending all you have?

If you're under treatment and it doesn't seem to help

Today, a young man asked me in an email whether chiropractic care was helping his back problems or not -- he'd been seeing a chiropractor for 4 weeks. Here are some thoughts on what could be happening when you think a given treatment -- be it conventional or complementary medicine -- doesn't work for you:

It is possible that the treatment really isn't helping:

The diagnosis could be wrong, and thus the treatment tries to fix something that "ain't broke", or the diagnosis is right, but the treatment is wrong. Kinda obvious this won't work...

The more common reasons why a given treatment doesn't seem to work:

The treatment is right, but you're undoing the effect because you are unaware of your own contribution to the problem.

If you keep hitting your thumb with a hammer, it'll hurt -- again and again -- until you stop hitting it. Many health problems are a direct result of our doing something wrong. Pain is one way of telling us to stop, and we'd better heed that warning. In my opinion, a good healthcare provider should try to find out how your problem arose, so they can advise you how to avoid it in the future.

It's working, but your body simply needs more time to heal.

Most health problems that have persisted for a long time don't just go away overnight. Be patient with yourself. Do mention it to your healthcare provider if you think you're not progressing. I expect a good healthcare provider to have enough documentation of your diagnosis, your symptoms and their severity that they can evaluate your progress.

Also, check whether you're resting enough. Unless you're with a certified miracle worker -- please forward me his or her details, I still need one in my network -- your body needs time and energy to heal. It does that best when you're resting.

Resting, by the way, means just that: resting. Doing nothing. Sleeping. Possibly meditating. Resting is NOT exercising, it's NOT watching TV, and it's NOT doing housework either. It's RESTING. Sorry to be so persistent, but that's how it is.

The treatment is working, but you forgot how bad your former problems were.

This is normal and happens very often. Most people (including us healthcare providers) forget their symptoms and how much they bothered them as soon as they are gone, and thus it can
seem as if a given therapy is not working, even if it is. This is the other reason why good documentation is so important... 

What to do if your treatment doesn't seem to help:

First, second, and third: speak with your treatment provider. Nothing substitutes for communication. Most of us are in a helping profession because we want to help people. We can do that best when we know what's happening. Speaking is a brilliant way of relaying information -- both ways!

How to avoid catching a cold

Isn't it funny that you "catch" a cold? That's quite an active thing to do, after all. Here is a simple strategy to help you "drop it" before it catches on. All you need is an electric hair dryer.

Take your electric hair dryer, turn it on and use the hot air to warm that area of your shoulders and upper back. The easiest way to do that is to stick it under your shirt or jersey, at the back, pointing upwards. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot air, and don't let the hairdryer's air inlet be obstructed by your shirt. But this is not rocket science - you'll get the hang in half a minute.

It is important to keep blowing the hot air until you feel your back and shoulders relax with the warmth, which takes 1-3 minutes.

That's all.

Now comes the explanation why that works:

The first signs of a typical cold (what the Chinese call "wind-cold") are: Aversion to drafts, feeling chilly, sneezing or a runny nose and tightness around the upper back and shoulders.
When you notice these, it is not too late to get it out of the system before it gets lodged there.

Located in the nape of the neck and the upper back are the "Gate of Wind" and "Grasping the Wind" acupoints. What happens when this area gets cold is that the shoulder and back muscles tighten and breathing gets shallow. Warming the area allows the muscles to relax again, circulation of breath and Qi is re-established, and everything is of the very nice. "Sweet as", like we say here in New Zealand.

The paradoxical commandments

Here's something for the idealists among us, and for those who might want to join our ranks:

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


When someone is crying...

What do you do when someone starts crying in your presence?
Maybe it's best to not do anything, but just be there, like in this poem that really resonates with me:

If I should suddenly well up and over,
Let me cry.

I have century's tears deep-frozen
Your voice, warm - touching my name -
Could salt the frozen clouds to burst.

I've felt the melting
When your voice calling
Gathers me to something meaningful.

In this world of senseless transiency,
If you should say my name
And I should cry
Do not question why.

Let me cry:
It won't be you who makes me cry,
But you who lets me.

(If you know who wrote this, please let me know.)