Saturday, November 18, 2017

I believe....

When I am fully embracing divine understanding, I know I have been given everything I need, every opportunity, to create my own life. It does not mean that my creation will be perfect. My imperfection will be part of my own creation because I will not always seek divine inspiration. And those I include in my creation may not be divinely inspired.
When I am fully embracing divine understanding, I know there will be divine intervention. Imperfections collide to create discomfort, chaos, and crisis. We are divinely nudged to adjust our creation.
When I am fully embracing divine understanding, I stop to listen. All around me there are divine voices. If I fail to listen, I will be divinely nudged - perhaps divinely pushed - to adjust my creation.
Lately, I have questioned the divine's role in mass violence, massive destructive forces and wars. The "manmade" ones are most certainly the result of a collective failure to seek and follow divine understanding. We fail to understand the balance that would provide peaceful coexistance.
The forces of nature and their divine purpose still baffle me. The Garden of Eden story includes no hints of a furious or destructive nature. Was earth actually once a place of perfect balance? Will discomfort, chaos and crisis push toward that balance again?
When I fully embrace divine understanding, I believe we have been provided everything we need to create. When we all fully embrace divine understanding, I believe......

Thursday, November 9, 2017

One Day - One Decision....

A day - one decision - can change things for better or worse. It depends on whether you are building a bridge or burning one. Building is better.
When life kicks me in the gut, I have one of two reactions. One is to curl up in a ball and hide. The other to is to do the Peanuts character Lucy reaction; "I'm mad as hell and somebody's gonna pay for this."
And then there's a third choice. Step away, step out of my comfort zone and do something for total strangers. Last week on a whim, I picked the third choice. On Thursday I learned that the Young Americans, coming to town on Sunday, were still in need of hosts for housing. So, without much thought, I emailed saying I could host a handful of young people.
Then I panicked! One room I needed had just been painted and was empty. The other room I needed was full of the stuff from that room and piles of "other" stuff thrown in. I needed to put the rooms together, make sure I knew where things were in the house, get food, plan breakfasts and two dinners AND would be required to be up about 6 am to cook and get them to the theatre in time. I am not fond of 6am unless I'm asleep. YIKES!!
It was exactly the mission I needed at a time I very much needed it. The three young men who came to stay were perfect gentlemen full of positive energy. They are nearing the end of a months long tour with a grueling schedule. They roll into town and start immediately with youth workshops teaching music and dance for area kids. They unload their truck and set the stage and do a second day of workshops. The next day they rehearse then do a high energy, wonderfully choreographed show that includes the kids in the second half. After merely hours of workshop time, they manage to prepare these local kids to help create a fantastic show.
Following the show, they pack up the truck, end the day late, and have just 8 hours to sleep before getting on the road to the next town where they will do it all over again. They do all this because once the Young Americans came to their town and they were in one of these workshops. They do it to inspire others to pursue music and performance.
While they expressed that they are looking forward to the upcoming break at the end of this tour, they quickly acknowledge that the experience has changed them. They find it hard to sit still. As they shared their visions for the future, I understood that the Young American experience has provide them with the confidence and discipline to accomplish whatever they pursue. They've traveled internationally and to many places in the US. They stayed in many homes and interacted with people from various walks of life. They know they have the power to touch hearts and minds.
I am thankful for decision number three. They touched my heart and set my mind in search of more positive outcomes. Thank you Young Americans.
Willie, Tyler, Christian

Monday, October 30, 2017

"And so it goes"

Most of my life, I've been a fan of exceptional journalism and story telling. My favorite journalists of a different style were Paul Harvey, Charles Kuralt and Linda Ellerbee. They had a unique viewpoint and way of telling a story.
Linda Ellerbee said in an interview that there is no such thing as an objective story because we all bring our viewpoint, but a true journalist will work to provide a fair story. In my early days as a broadcaster my supervisor said much the same thing. We decide what information to share, how to word it, and what to leave out. Always, we fail to see all the information surrounding a story. As he put it, all news is editorialized. Some are more balanced and fair in the telling. "And so it goes."
What was fun about Paul Harvey was how he would use words to paint a portrait setting us up for a reveal that turned it all upside down. His delivery style was totally unique and his ability to weave a story was wonderful. "And now you know the rest of story."
Charles Kuralt traveled the country in search of fun, funny, positive stories about little known people that did something special. His stories were lighthearted and touching. They left you feeling as though there was much good in the world to be sought after and accomplished with simplicity. He reminded us that life was a journey and we should open our hearts and eyes to seek the positive "on the road" of life.
"And so it goes", "on the road" and "then there is the rest of the story".

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Alternative health care and wellness....

Many believe in alternative health care and wellness programs. They are weary of the debate over health care and some argue that they want nothing to do with the system and certainly don't want to be forced to buy insurance for this system. They have a great point. Why pay for insurance you don't intend to use? It's an especially great argument when considering how the health care system is set up for profit. It can be argued that there is great incentive within the system to keep you un-well and using more and more of the "product" of health care.
There are times, however, when alternative health care is not able to respond. If you break bones, are in a major accident of some kind, have a heart attack or stroke, or some other emergency, responders will do what they feel is best to keep you alive. Our traditional health care system responds to these things. We are all at risk of something like this happening.
Still, my friends and family that prefer alternative approaches and wellness programs are correct that profit motives are getting in the way. If we can eliminate the profit motive in our health care systems, everyone benefits. There will no longer be great profit incentive for keeping people sick. Oh sure, there will still be practitioners that can only survive by treating people with whatever care they can "sell" but there will be less incentive for a system to be built around that motive.
If we want to make America great in leading the world relating to health care, we will seek to provide the best health care system in the world at the lowest cost. That will include "alternative" health care and wellness programs that actually work. We will put our best science to work to prove it. We will put our best practitioners to work proving it. We will raise our entire population up as proof of it.
That would truly be an alternative and exemplify wellness. How smart are we?

Health Care Learning curve

Healthcare issues are going to soon be lighting up the airwaves and social media as a new year begins with many Americans in search of new providers. Already I'm seeing social media posts from friends lamenting that their insurance is being phased out and they are discovering options that are much more expensive while covering less. For many, this is going to become a growing crisis. As those numbers grow, it's going to become a national crisis straining the system beyond sustainability.
As fewer people can afford healthcare insurance, and don't qualify for any assistance, hospitals will become more stressed dealing with critical health issues that could have been prevented. More smaller hospitals that cannot absorb those costs will be forced to close. Meanwhile, the cost to those who are insured will rise faster.
Doctors will face similar issues as many of their patients loose insurance. Some patients will wind up in their office with acute medical conditions that could have be prevented or treated early and at much lower cost. If these patients cannot pay, many doctors will be forced to turn them away as they cannot afford to absorb the costs.
Those without insurance will be forced to make difficult decisions about medications. Many will stop taking medications (good or bad) that they would have been taking. Those needing life sustaining medications such as insulin or heart medicines will first try stretching their meds, then land in the hospital (that they cannot pay for) or sadly simply die because they cannot buy what they need. Pharmaceutical companies will continue to raise their prices to ensure that they have rising profits for their shareholders.
Insurance companies will continue to raise costs to cover all of these and to ensure their stockholders make greater profits. There is no part of they system where costs are going to be lower.
Meanwhile, our society has so tied capitalism and profit to being American that they cannot see how it is literally killing us in the healthcare system and creating financial strain on a large portion of our population.
If we want to solve the healthcare problem in this country, we have to eliminate costs in the system. There is no other solution. That means that the bulk of the healthcare dollars needs to go directly to healthcare providers who are the major decision makers in the new system. Profiteering has to be removed from the system.
Oddly, that is a system that looks like every other major industrialized country in the world. "When will we ever learn?"

Monday, October 23, 2017

"You need to...."

Why do we tell someone "you need to...."?
Why do we talk about someone and say that he or she needs to do something?
There are two likely reasons. We think we know what's best for them or we want them to do something to our liking. Is it an observation, a judgement or a reflection of our own need?
I don't know about you but I'm not always very good at taking care of what I need to do for me. That's not anyone else's fault. Knowing that, it's not easy to hear someone say "you need to". I may agree with them, but I do wonder if it's an observation, a judgement of a reflection of their related needs. If I am not ready to do what they say I need to do, it stings.
Are we more likely to say "you need to" to a stranger or someone we know well? "You need to" can sound very harsh. It sounds more like a judgement than an observation. For example, if you see someone get out a car with a flat tire, you are most likely to say "Hey, you have a flat tire" and not say "you need to change that tire".
On the other hand, if we see a stranger with a cut on their forehead that appears dangerously in need of attention, we are more likely to say "you need to have that looked at". We want them to take us seriously. We add an emotional appeal.
And perhaps therein lies the answer to why we say "you need to..." So, is the need theirs or ours? About a month ago, I told someone that I've known all my life that "she needed to..." do something that I know she clearly does not want to do and likely won't do for, perhaps, the rest of her life. While I believe I'm right, I later regretted saying it. I know that I said it more for me than for her. I said it because I would like to be around her but avoid it because of her anger and bitterness. I regretted it because maybe I'm wrong about what she needs. Maybe she needs to be angry and bitter for a while longer. I said it because I feel helpless in easing her pain. I said it because I cannot help and it frustrates me. I said it more because of my feelings than hers.
Most of us don't want to see people we care about hurting. We want people around us to share our sense of wellness of some kind. If they share their pain with us, we will feel more compelled to tell them what we think they need to do. We may be right. But I'm hoping the next time I'll remove myself a bit. Perhaps next time I'll ask, "What do you think you need to do? Is there anything I can do to help you?"
That is something I need to do for me but I also believe it will serve them better as well.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Health Care is a very real problem

There are important issues rising to the surface in the health care debate. Insurance companies are showing record profits WHILE getting subsidies to keep premium costs down for low income people. That's a problem.
We should all agree that something is wrong with this picture. Next question should be; What's the solution? One "solution" has been enacted - eliminate the subsidies. I would argue that it does not address the core problem. And it does not provide a sustainable solution to actual health care system issues.
The core problem and the core issues concerning health care revolve around providing a quality health care system that is available and affordable to ALL Americans. We first need to make that our objective. That needs to be our universal goal.
Let's assume we actually share that goal. We all want to have quality health care that is available and affordable for us and our neighbors of all income levels. To do that, we have to view health care as a product and view the entire system involved in providing it. If you have ever worked in manufacturing you know that the first step in lowering cost of a product is in eliminating waste. Where is the waste in the health care system?
The "product" is health care. That is the front line providers; the doctors, nurses, technicians, social workers, care givers. What percentage of our health care dollars are actually going to the front line providers? Follow the money. Insurance companies are showing record profits WHILE getting subsidies to keep premium costs down for low income people. That should tell you something. Nothing they do is actually directly providing health care. It's all being paid for paperwork. Then add in all the time that doctors offices, hospitals, social workers and care givers spend trying to meet the requirements of insurers so they an actually provide health care. It serves no useful purpose in relation to actual health care needs. Waste.
That's just the tip of the iceberg of waste in the American Health Care System. It's likely that the amount of money spent on TV advertising for drugs could pay for a very large percentage of health care needs in our country. Waste.  It serves no useful purpose in relation to actual health care needs.
Tackling those two issues would be the first steps toward creating a real solution. In my opinion, we need to remove the profiteering from this system. If you have a better solution, it would be nice to hear about it. Preferably, let your Senator or Congressman hear about it. And let them know why it matters to you.