Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-transformation, the Occupy movement and the American health care crisis. What I am hearing from the video clips, the news, the talking heads (that’s what I call the political pundits on TV) and the people I interact with every day is that there is someone to blame for (fill in the blank). We can’t self transform because we didn’t get enough love as children, and we can’t get a job because corporations are greedy and we can’t get affordable health care because the universities charge too much for tuition, the doctors charge too much for services and the insurance companies muck things up with their policies and procedures and PPOs and HMOs. I know that’s over-simplifying matters but it is the gist of it.

What I am learning in my day to day life is that I have no one to blame for my troubles but myself. If I didn’t get enough love as a child, then I need to work through the ramifications and give myself what I need –validation, love, and even a hug. If I can’t get a job, then I need to re-evaluate my job search process and skills. Is there something I can do to make myself more marketable; is there a career coach I could hire or have I simply set my sights too high? My first job after graduating from college was as a shift manager for a pizza joint, not exactly the perfect job for a secondary education major. But, I needed to pay the rent and put gas in my car so I could keep looking for the right job.

Ah, and the health care crisis. This one is very near and dear to my heart, as a wellness coach and yoga teacher. The thing is, I am ultimately responsible for my health. Again, I am not trying to over-simplify, because there are conditions and diseases that have little to no relation to our lifestyle. You don’t get multiple sclerosis from eating trans-fats or smoking. But, there are a lot of health conditions that could be dealt with through lifestyle choice. Obesity and Type II Diabetes is usually the result of a lack of proper exercise and too much or the wrong kinds of food. I could go on, but I won’t be obnoxious. I just want to put down the wagging finger of blame and start self-examining. Won’t you join me? It's not easy, not at all. Its a long, hard trail to hike, but we won't be alone. We can encourage each other. Maybe put all that enthusiasm and energy into transforming ourselves instead of blaming each other.

I cannot change the world until I change myself. Remember the line about the mote in your neighbor’s eye and the beam in yours? Work on yourself first, and the rest will follow. The health care and economic crisis wouldn’t be such a crisis if we all weren’t in such dire shape. And we're not going to solve the world's problems if we can't even solve our own.

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