Bear with me while I set this up.
In my opinion the Affordable Care Act is further evidence that, when it comes to our health, we are all going to be treated equally. To me, that means that my three stepdaughters now receive treatment that is inferior to what they received before the Affordable Care Act was passed and they were "subsidized" by Medi-Cal. To me, it means that my doctors are getting paid less to treat me than before the Act was passed.
Instead of raising the bar for excellence, the Act appears to have had the effect of moving excellent practitioners toward mediocrity and encouraging sub-standard practitioners to take on ever more patients. None of us deserve to be ill at the mercy of such "equality."
I have an encouraging solution:
Let's learn to take better care of ourselves.
This could mean becoming more aware of the treatment options available to us.
It could mean learning a bit more about what it takes to really be healthy.
It might mean having the guts to stand up to practitioners who recommend treatments that harm us and medicines that makes us crazy or depressed.
It might mean that we go to Canada or Mexico to get a quality of care no longer available in America.
I'm hopeful that the Affordable Care Act has the primary effect of creating a bigger desire for change. Making government accountable for doling out health insurance policies isn't a big enough change. A truly big change in health care would be government policies that allow us to create wealth in big ways so that we could afford the quality of health care we want. But that's just my opinion.
If the Affordable Care Act does anything, I hope it makes all of us so sick of government incompetence that we start cutting the government out of solutions to every problem known to mankind. We don't need the government to be innovative; we need to innovate ourselves. The government needs get out of the way of the parade of great ideas we could all create and just applaud as it goes by.
One innovative idea for giving ourselves better care comes from the diet industry. Consumers of food have known for a long time that what you eat matters. Eat a ton of sugar, get sick. Eat a ton of junk food, get sick. Eat healthy, stay healthy. Not hard to understand. Doesn't require that government gets into our grocery stores to be effective.
Over time -- and with some natural selection -- people have generally learned that eating the right food can have a positive effect on their health. Sure, some folks still go to doctors to learn about nutrition, and that's OK, too, because they're learning...and hopefully acting responsibly about their diet based on what they learn.
Here's another innovative health care idea: the sounds around you effect your health.
Try hanging out with a jackhammer outside your window all day and see how healthy you feel. Some folks get energized by the sound of wind in tall trees and some folks relax to it -- either way it's effective, provided you know whether you want to up- or down-regulate. And it's free. How about that? Free health care from a forest of trees and some wind!
Need a break from the Affordable Care Act? Unpack your stress at the beach. Stick you bare feet in the sand as you listen to the surf. Human beings -- and a bunch of other species with ears -- need these kinds of sounds to stay healthy. Even deaf people can feel the vibration of sound -- you can get "bone-conducting" headphones that place sound vibration right on your skull and experience the same thing yourself.
Feeling stupid? Listen to birdsong, Bachm Haydn or Mozart. Evidence shows that the high-pitched sounds of birdsong can boost IQ.
It's sad that we need sensory deprivation chambers to give us a break from overstimulation, but it's sadder still that we have created a culture that rewards overstimulation.
Imagine a movie without sound. Now, imagine that ALL movies used to be that way. These days, you can't just make a record; you've got to have a music video to go with it if you want to be successful. If you are a gamer, imagine your favorite game without sound, or without motion (remember playing chess with the computer?) or without color (Asteroids anyone?).
Honestly, with the bombardment of our senses, it's no wonder we have catalogued so many behavioral "disorders." How can anyone focus with all this sensory stimulation going on? Huh? How? How can you?!? HOW CAN YOU????!!!???? PAY ATTENTION AND READ THIS!!!!!
See what I mean?
Music, fortunately, is the only art- and evidence-based form of self care that is widely available for free. Spotify.com, Pandora.com, Songza.com, iHeartRadio.com -- need I say more? Well, yes, I will say more....
I want you to listen, yes, but I want you to listen actively. In the foreground. To the exclusion of other stimuli as much as as possible. I want you to give yourself your full attention, and really experience what the sounds and music you choose are doing to you. You may be tempted to do something else while you listen; be gentle at first and just do less, then less, then nothing except listening. With practice, you will gradually bring your music to the foreground of your attention.
Making yourself stop the crazy, busy world for the three minutes it takes to really hear the radio edit of your favorite tune can be three minutes of total transformation. No need for seven spiritual laws, or basic habits, or a dozen steps...just stop and listen. If you can get to a forest or a beach, go there and listen. Even if the kids are going nuts and dinner is late and there are bills to pay you can still grab your headphones and take a sound bath. Three minutes people. That's all it takes...and sometimes it doesn't even take three minutes.
Is this caring for your self? You bet.
Want to know more?
Read the blog entries below this one. Call me or email me. I talk about this all the time, both one on one and in crowds. Want to learn more? Pick up a smart phone or music player or record player or your favorite instrument and let the music you hear teach you what feels right. Then share that with someone you care for.
The world needs you. Can you hear it? It's louder and sweeter than the tempting government program dangling in front of you. Anyways, you deserve better.
Keep the music playing.