August 10, 2020
We are so fortunate to live in this modern age, with conveniences not possible, even imaginable in a day gone by. But our reaction to that good fortune too often manifests as complacency, ingratitude and even apathy, as we become accustomed to an expected normal, no matter how miraculous it may be.
And then, when it gets ripped away, like what happened this week with Tropical Storm Isaias, we became contemporary Robinson Crusoes, shipwrecked in our own homes — with no internet, cable, phones or power, we realize how we have taken for granted being able to go online to find a recipe, email a friend, watch a ball game or call for help, none of which we could do.
But we could get in our car and drive to a place that was less afflicted — except on Friday morning, when I was trying to get to the parking lot of a nearby park where I could get a signal and serve my clients, I found that my secluded block was closed off. It seems that when they tried to turn the power back on, the telecom wiring and equipment on the pole burst into flames, and several crews were trying to fight the blaze and contain the damage. Oh, no! I can’t get out, and I can’t text, call or email.
Thankfully, my wife knew a back route out of our community, cutting across a neighbor’s driveway and easing down a narrow walkway, barely a car width, and we did escape after all.
But it gives you pause — we can see just how awesome and formidable Nature is, that with a cough and a sneeze, vast swaths of our society are shut down and unable to function.
Does Nature care? Our demise never enters into the process, any more than you contemplate your skin cells being sloughed off. Weather, like healing, is above our pay grade — we can learn to accommodate it or use it, like operating a sailboat for transportation, harnessing a waterfall for electricity, or adjusting a spine for a better brain — or, we can just get swept aside like wayward tree limbs.
That’s why it’s essential to interpret this coronavirus issue properly. Yes, we are being victimized by it, but also, we are learning valuable, if costly lessons — we MUST get healthier. Our culture’s downward spiral of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer has left us vulnerable, sapping finances until bankruptcy, eating into our lifespan, generating massive suffering, so only the strong survive.
Is that natural? Yes, but cruel — yet the distinction of being human is the ability to reason, to exercise choice, to demonstrate free will. We can use that privilege to destroy or build ourselves, it’s up to us.
Most likely, we can manage, but not tame COVID-19. The myth of a vaccine or drug is just the old heaven, thinking there will be a magic bullet — but there will not be, and even if there was, there will be more COVIDs down the road. Rather, this is an invitation for us to prepare better for adversities beyond our control — for example, after SuperStorm Sandy eight years ago, we were dark for twelve days, so we invested in a generator. It was expensive, but through this challenging week, we had air conditioning, cooking and light. No internet, phone or TV, but we ate and slept comfortably. It was that preparation in advance that saved us unnecessary hardship.
And we can do it with our health also. Prepare, not to avoid COVID-like catastrophes, which should happen organically as a pleasant side effect, but to experience glowing vibrant good health and wellness as it was intended. Then when things go awry, as they no doubt will, we’re in the best position to flourish, because of our sound decision-making and utilization of available resources — not at the eleventh hour, but before things get bad, so we can ride the crest of common sense to a better place. Our patients will benefit, and so will we. It’s time for us to lead.
Dennis Perman DC, for The Masters Circle
PS As the world awakens, don’t go to sleep — step up. Work together. Be loving. Do good.