Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DAY 289 - Google + Us May = Better Health

Google has released a beta version of a new social networking platform that may compete with Facebook, and that provides a number of very attractive and functional features not offered by Facebook. Unlike Facebook, the Google+ project allows you to choose which groups you want to share things with. Google+ also offers free video conferencing which it calls Hangouts.

So what’s the connection between hanging out on Google, and health?

Individuals can now come together, without leaving their own homes, to share, and discuss the important issue of health; personal, public or global.

Shortly, I will begin using Google Hangouts to consult with some of my patients.

Community of Health Ventura” public health education meetings will begin offering Google Hangout attendance at our monthly meetings. I will use this function to enable other health experts to join us and speak on the areas of their expertise. Right now I’m thinking about inviting my friend, Thomas Sult, MD (3rd Opinion: Functional Medicine Clinic) of Willmar, Minnesota, to speak to us about the practice of Functional Medicine.

Groups like the Ojai Valley Green Coalition and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions could expand access to their monthly meetings, and their work on local and global issues by offering live video conferencing of the events.

I am also imagining and looking into offering mini-classes on health, chiropractic and Functional Medicine to teachers in classrooms in the Ojai Unified School District and the Ventura Unified School District.

This excites me!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DAY 286 – What’s The Point?

The Point is a revolutionary way for individuals to combine their influence and make things happen they can't achieve alone.

Whether you’re asking people to do something or give money, people only contribute if they think it makes a difference. On The Point, all campaigns have a “tipping point” — people pledge to give money or do something, but no one does a thing until the conditions are met to make contributions worthwhile. That way, you can gather all the resources needed to be successful before anyone is asked to take action. The Point aims to fix the problems with online petitions, mass letter-writing tools, or many fundraising efforts — it’s not clear how participation translates into results.

Campaigns on The Point are results-oriented, create real incentives for change, and only ask people to act when it actually makes a difference. The Point rethinks group action from the ground up to leverage the Web, opening the door for solving problems that couldn’t be addressed otherwise.

And, what’s Our Point?

Well, our dear friend, Rachel Morris, President of Ventura Climate Care Options Organized Locally (VCCool), a committed environmentalist and cyclists, had her bicycle stolen on June 19th. For years, Rachel has given an enormous amount of time and work to our community and to our earth. She has earned, and deserved our support in this time of need.

I had heard of The Point, and now we had one! That same day I went to the site, and set up a campaign called Replace Rachel’s Stolen Bike. Friends and supporters were asked to contribute $5 or more to get us to $500 to buy a new bike for Rachel. Worked like a charm; 20 days later, on July 9th we were at The $500 Tipping Point, enough for the new bike!

The Point? United, we’re getting Rachel a new bike.

Together, what else can we make happen? Get My Point?

Friday, July 15, 2011

DAY 285 - A Family Plan

Through the ages, families have commonly found themselves fractured; members at odds and out of touch with one another.

While telecoms now offer “family plans”; a cell phone for every member, suggesting that through wireless signals we will be, and feel connected, one need not be a marriage and family therapist to know that American families need plans with much greater connectivity than what these offer.

Great emotional suffering arising from falling-outs among members is a staple of family dynamics. Few escape, yet not once have I heard of a plan created and utilized by a family to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of mutual care and connection for its members.

I don’t know of a family that has not suffered. Mine surely has.

Most people appear to believe that feuding among family members is inevitable; comes with the territory; grin and bear it, or make a residential move equivalent to Fort Lauderdale to Juno. Another interrupter is a common belief that a member or members are hopelessly impossible to deal with.

My family has not adopted a plan. I doubt that the majority of the adults have considered the need for or value of a plan.

For years I have given thought to this issue, and in my view, the process, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), is a gentle and powerful framework that could seamlessly serve as a family’s plan for creating and maintaining the closeness that we all want.

Core beliefs of NVC include:
-each person is inherently good and wants to live in harmony with others,
-fear or unease causes us to behave in unharmonious ways,
-careful and respectful listening is powerful and eases fears,
-attempted communication while in a state of distress is apt to do harm to others and to relationships,
-communication while in a state of calm and compassion, engenders trust and cooperation.

As done with marriages and world peace, we can keep on using the old, tried-and-failed approach of giving things our best, well-meaning attempt, and then settle for failure, or we could begin making family plans.

Monday, July 4, 2011

DAY 274 - The Real Fireworks in My Life

As I write, it is July 4, 2011. Some of my family, including my wife, my kids, their significant others, my grandkids, and I are vacationing in a beautiful house on the beach in Mexico.

On this special day, let me say that I AM a patriot; not a love-it-or-leave-it patriot, but maybe what you would call an Obama-style patriot; grateful to have been born in our wonderful Country (turns out he was too), knowing that we are better than no one, and valuing global cooperation for the common good. But, as you might suspect from the title, today’s consciousness post is not about celebration of the birth of my Country, it’s about something bigger.

Mid-morning today, some family off to the local market, others on the beach, my daughter Jovi and I found ourselves in conversation about family; challenges, and the desire of each member to be a loving and loved part of the whole. In a quiet moment, during which I had come up for air, Jovi said, “Dad, I know how much you love me.” ... I felt it welling up inside me. I got up from my side of the corner sofa, knelt beside her and caressed her head. As I thanked her, I began to sob, not painfully, but deeply in my gut. It came in waves. Tears, sobbing, gratitude, relief. “Many people would give the world for this. ... I would give the world for this”, I said between sobs.

That’s my kind of fireworks.

It’s not that I didn’t know my daughter’s love. Apparently, I need reminders, reconfirmation.

There is no question I have fixated on wanting to be a good dad. For me, that means, most importantly, that they know I love them, and feel I treat them in a loving way. I am home when I know their love for me.

What I would wish, this July 4th, for our Nation, and for the entire world, is for more individuals to accept the love others feel for them, and clearly express the love they have for others.

Happy Interdependence Day!