I was recently shown an image depicting an elderly couple, sitting on a bench in front of their wooden house. She had a scarf wrapped around her shoulders. He was wearing a cap. Below the image was a text stating something of the like: Remember waking up at the grandparents home, being a young child. All your life was still before you, and all that was happening in the world was still a distant thought.
This beautiful picture was deeply touching to me. Perhaps the current upheaval in the world has a part to play in this emotion, but this description of the youthful, carefree life of way back when stirred me. There was a long lost feeling of complete happiness, comfort and soothing warmth that crept up in me, a glimmer of the memory of an absolute ‘childhood carefree-ness’. Do you remember that feeling?
Do you remember waking up in the mornings, stretching your little feet from the bed, rubbing the slumber from your eyes and being peacefully excited for what the day might bring? Excited for what you would explore and try out before falling into your bed again in the evening, blissfully exhausted from the adventures of the day? This image brought that feeling back to me, just a little, for a moment.
Perhaps it is indeed the drama of our time that made me feel this as profoundly. The memories of grandparents, the joys of being young and unaware that growing up, and peeking over the ‘edge of the plate’ would bring demands, challenges and destruction to the carefree-ness of youth.
Grandparents were always calm, gentle and at ease. My own and those of the neighbors children and friends. They always appeared so very centered and in balance. There was a cloak of peacefulness around them that made me, and without doubt others my age, so very comfortable… we were as children living without worry and without a proper understanding of the bigger things of life. Our greatest concerns and interests were climbing trees, watching caterpillars, playing with pets…
But, were they, the grandparents, really happier than we are today? Certainly looking at the state of the world today, and the toll this is taking on families, being instilled with unease, fear and worry, one may believe very much so that life was better then.
However, was the life of our forefathers not harder, after the wars? That generation had to rebuilding existences, had to care for their families in dire times, had to work harder to make a living…but, was their life better because they were not as connected to the outside world?
My grandma visited her children, in neighboring villages, that was the farthest she went. She did not travel. Her life center was the village she lived in; where she had lived for years, where she tended to her garden, chatted with the neighbors, ran to the shop.
Then however, along came the media. In the form of a chunky brown colored, wood imitation plastic cased TV set, and gradually, the grandparents, their neighbors and other elders stopped sitting in the garden or in front of the house, on a bench or chair. They stopped leaning out of the window, which they could do for hours, exchanging in chatter and gossip with passersby. They vanished from the village scenes depicting the regular ‘normal’ life. They spent ever less time standing at the fence or hedge, across which they would in the past have engaged in discussion with the neighbors. They knew of everything that went on in the village, knew of every sorrow, pain or mishap of the neighbors.
What they however did not know was, what the temperature in Australia was, or what colored cap the American president wore when he played golf. They did not know who played what role in what movie, had what for dinner, or wore which type of shoes to what festival…and they did not care!
Nowadays, detaching from the media, be it the almost ‘vintage relic’ print news, the modern ‘smart’ TV, or the internet through all the devises that we have ‘glued’ onto and into our lives, appears impossible. What has this done to us? Do we need to know what the temperature in Australia is, or what cap the president of the US is wearing, or what someone at the other end of the world has had for lunch? Does that information enrich our life, or does it confuse it?
Were our grandparents, before the media took over their lives, under-informed? Or happier because they did not know of the things happening in the world that they after all could not change, or that would not enrich or meaningfully impact their lives…were they happier? ..and are we unhappier because of our exposure to all the news and information that are brought to us through our communication devices?
Our minds are cluttered with information that is useless, stresses us and does not, in reality, in most cases, even have any impact on our lives. However, the mere knowledge of much of the information that is shared as such with us, influences our emotional well-being. It occupies our thinking, stirs our feelings, instills fear or anger, arouses empathy, shock, spite or, yes, also glee. Have you noticed though that most news or information that is shared is not of the uplifting, positive kind, but rather of the gloomy, detrimental and negative kind?
With social media we have started placing ourselves into a constant comparison contest against others, over goods and communication tools owned, images shared, and the speed at which we can tweet, share and email information. This abundant flow of information has changed us. Does it meaningfully enrich our lives?
Our grandparents were good at hiding the years of hard labor, fear, maybe sorrow and troubles they experienced in their life..and they made us feel so comfortable, happy and secure, as children. Still, I think they were happier without the media, the technology, without the ‘access’ to all troubles of the world, without the knowledge of all the things that they could not change and that would only trouble their mind.
Why should we not return to that happy place, chatting with the neighbors, enjoying the life right at our doorstep, rather than care about the things of the world that do not influence us, that we cannot change and that only worry our mind? Can we not do this, or at least strike a balance and give this external inflow of information less ‘importance’ in our lives? What is stopping us? The fear of being ‘under-informed’? Really? How about becoming ‘informed’ with only the right information?
Let me build a bridge to homeopathy here. While the stresses of our times impact us immensely without doubt. Our health care has developed in a similar pattern as our lives across the generations have. Where in the olden days we ‘knew’ our doctor, and his family, and he us, our parents and perhaps even grandparents, we now have an anonymous construct that is far from being a therapeutic exchange focused on investigating and identifying a treatment needed. It is so much more about rapidly dispatching the patient with a standard prescription in hand.
I remember our ‘old’ family doctor dismissing a health scare with the words: No, your family has no disposition to such a disease. Why could he say that? Because he had treated the grandparents and all their off spring and was now treating their children. In our case the doctor’s MD son had ‘inherited’ the family as patients, so he too knew what this family was or was not predisposed to. OK. I have opened another ‘huge’ discussion here about ‘disposition’ and ‘pre-disposition’, but I am digressing and do not want to discuss this now…perhaps another time.
What I am asking though is: Can our health care not return to a more mindful, gentler and less practitioner centered form? There are of course factors and elements of health care practice that we very much do not wish to retrieve or recover from the past. After all, in the old days, conventional medicine was not as advanced, and could be quite invasive and radical. I am referring to the phenomenon of ‘patient centered-ness’ and the greater preparedness to allow natural medicine to pair with conventional treatment, that I believe should be reinstated. Doctors of our grandparents days took time in the consultation, listened and did not quite as readily propose invasive treatments as is the case today.
Health care has, today, become a numbers game, particularly of the numbers on the pay check at the end of the day. The time in the conventional consultation seldom suffices to thoroughly state and describe a complaint. Patient centered exploration and analysis of the presented complaint are unappreciated as they are time and effort consuming and hence costly. Patients are readily dismissed with standard medication prescriptions for standard therapeutic actions and all too often are left to seek repeated care as issues are not resolved or medication concomitant or adverse effects demand further care.
In this light, Homeopathy should, alone by way of its person-centered approach hold a much higher valued place and view in our society today. Homeopathy provides a space where patients are heard, where practitioners take time, where a complaint is thoroughly investigated and a best possible match of a remedy for a case is prescribed. ‘After care’ is provided with follow-up consultations and side- or adverse-effects are minimal if at all an issue.
Homeopathy has, to date, not managed to fill this ‘void’, although it teams patient centered care and attention, with gentle and effective treatment. Why do we not manage to show people, to a much larger extent, that this form of health care is available to them? What are we doing wrong?
Is it the mind cluttering ‘over-information’ of the different media stream that we are letting into our homes, families, hearts and minds that numb us against knowing what inherently is good and healthy for us? Mindfulness training classes, meditation, yoga, silent retreats and what not are sought today more than ever… What if it only takes switching off our communication devices, to find what is good for us, what instills peace, balance, and harmony and makes us happy?
Let’s build a life with more meaning again. Let’s sit in front of the house, lets peel peas that we have harvested from our garden, let’s chat with neighbors, let’s laugh and be happy…it will give us that sensation again, that glimmer of carefree-ness that we had as children at our grandparents house.
We can build a kinder world, individually and collectively and be happier.
Happy people get sick less…and if they do, homeopathy can help!
It can be that simple!
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Happy Summer !