Let's start with a premise on which you and I may or may not agree (please do share your views below).
Our culture's technological advancements have had the direct effect of causing our bodies to suffer in numerous ways. Technology leads to comfort and the body is all about the path of least resistance, even when it comes at a high cost. So there are the high-tech shoes that atrophy our feet and the recliner that shortens our pelvic floor muscles and the screens that bring our arms forward and into chronic internal rotation. This is not to mention the car that keeps us from ever needing to walk or the job that requires we be stationary for a million hours a week. Each one of these lifestyle adjustments ripples out into the body creating myriad dysfunctions.
So let's say you start making all these connections and realizing, "Holy moly, I've got a lot to undo. I don't like what's already happening in my body (at age 20 or 30 or 50) and I really don't want to get worse."
If you come to someone like a me (admittedly a zealot of sorts), I'll try not to tell you to wear ugly but super-awesome shoes, to get rid of your couch and to quit your job. I'll try not to tell you to do that because a) there's a whole load of improvements you can make without doing so and b) you probably won't come back for a second session so we can actually get to those improvements.
But I do want to take a moment to say this: it's not your fault. You have been given a cultural and familial inheritance that has done you some harm. Whether or not the motivation was of the positive sort:
- You didn't choose to be put into shoes when you were 10 months old.
- You didn't create the educational system in which you needed to sit still throughout your childhood.
- You didn't know that sitting on your sacrum would make childbirth difficult.
- You didn't seek out an economy that would require 60 hour work weeks.
- You didn't imagine that our culture's push for independence would leave you isolated and unable to hand the baby off to someone else so you can go for a walk
The river was flowing long before you became conscious of it, long before you even appeared in it.
Here's the other thing I want to say, though: if you want to take ownership for your health - and I hope you do! - there are a whole host of changes you can make. Maybe you're not ever going to wear what my son calls "toe shoes," or give up sitting in a chair. But you can wear more attractive minimalist shoes and learn to not sit on your sacrum. You might also try standing with the outside edges of your feet parallel and your weight over your heels. Or maybe consider paying a babysitter not so that you can get more work done but so that you can walk or stretch or sleep.
When you are able and ready to take a bigger hit, you can begin rethinking some other habits that are holding you back, like the frequency with which you use your car, the ways you require your children to learn and your deeply-held beliefs about success and status (check out Third Path Institute for help on that last one).
I don't really want to stop at the personal level of change, though. Increasingly, I am aghast at the structures in place that prevent us from more easily harnessing our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and wellness, be it the politics that show more care for global economic competitiveness than for the authentic education of our children, the workplace policies that limit our flexibility to be whole people or the incessant cry in the media to consume more in order to be fulfilled human beings.
So, maybe you have acute pain that you need help eliminating. Know this: your pain has been in the making since before you were born. It's not your fault. And you can do something about it.
Maybe you are frustrated that your life isn't set up to meet your biological requirements, let alone your spiritual ones. Know this: the paradigm is older than you are. It's not your fault. And you can do something about it.
Maybe you are horrified that the next generation is slated to be the least healthy generation yet. Know this: the problem is bigger than you are. It's not your fault. And you can do something about it.
I am glad to be with you on the journey.