You were not born to use this life to refine or improve yourself. You were born to use this life as a canvas to paint yourself across. You cannot be certified to do this. You do not need a college degree to do this. You were qualified from the day you first drew breath. We do not understand that we came into this life qualified to live it. Teal Swan
I had just completed reading an article about Michelle Obama in the Sept. 24, 2012 Maclean`s Magazine. The grabline on the front cover was, Why Michelle Obama is Bad for Women.
OK, that really grabbed my attention. I read the first paragraph of the article where it was described that Michelle walked on the stage to the tune of Stevie Wonder singing, Signed, Sealed, Delivered. The reporter chose to notice as it reflected such a different tone to the Isn’t She Lovely preceding her 2008 speech. Angèle was easily distracted. Just wait, you will see…
Before getting into paragraph two, I am on You Tube looking for a really cool cover of the same song. Approximately 10 seconds later, paydirt! Jamiroquai…so much funkier –even though Stevie Wonder is pretty funky. Jamiroquai put a cool twist on it by playing it faster than its original: lovely musical display. Moments later, I am posting it on Facebook.
I saw Michelle Obama on Ellen. It had been a while but a Simple Pleasure that for years I enjoyed, was taping two Ellen shows per week and watching the monologue. Rarely would I sit through the guest interviews – but there have been some great ones. I just love Ellen`s sensibility – discernment. I am surprised to see there was more than one option with Michelle Obama. The one I recall was with Michelle and Ellen comparing how many pushups each could perform in a row.
I always love to throw out that silly side of life to balance the serious stuff. This ended with more Jamiroquai explorations leading to posting another of their songs in the comment chain of the Facebook post, God Made Me Funky. Loved this so much as I truly resonate with this simple proclamation.
Of course, I am curious if I can keep up to the First Lady in the pushup department. No, apparently not. I am the wiser for exploring this. It brought attention to my history with Marjorie O`Connor. She is an amazing spirit with a Beautiful energy she shares by both leading Fitness classes and training Fitness instructors. I had heard a lot of rave reviews over recent years. I read an article about her in Edmonton Magazine which makes her a local celebrity. I was inspired by her even before we met. Years ago, I signed up for one of her `MOC`classes …MOC=her initials. She had devised very efficient moves, MOC moves, that worked two or three muscle groups at once…and guided us with fun energy. She is very knowledgeable about Fitness science in an extremely holistic way. I arrived early to my first class, rarely am ever early, that enabled us to have a brief one on one conversation: right away wondering about taking the Instructor Course with her. She complimented me on my physique as I am already looking fine– you really have to hear my dear friend, Karen over-pronounce this with a Southern United States drawl – that is how I always say it in my mind. Thank you, darling! It was a good year and a half later before I actually did take the course with Marjorie. To be completely honest with myself, I took it more to get out of the house for a couple of weekends as it was the time when my parenting partner was living under the same roof with me but bedrooms were long separate. He was due to move out within a month of this training. It was a little headstart in our shared parenting patterns to come. Not that I didn’t enjoy the instructor classes…because I did. It was so fun the way Marjorie taught the various muscle names. She really should teach at Medical School! Just observing the contrast was incredible. I recall one hands on exercise we did. We were given the names of all the relevant muscles written on sticky notes. Then we chose one in our group to be the person whom we stuck the notes on the accompanying muscle of their body. A little humbling because those darn quadriceps: you really can`t distinguish one from the other – after a decade. Even in practice, I would not have recalled the specific name of each one. My group did really well…but not 100%. My own insecurity wondered if I had not disappointed them just a little. Well, that’s their problem! It just did not come up often enough to require this knowledge to be at the ready. So much – almost all? – of what we learn is not really all that important to what we do in our credentialed roles. Reflecting on Education/Systems/Bureaucracy was a longstanding hobby. I found myself looking on the AFCL website, the Official Governing Body for Fitness Instructors in Alberta. I noticed that the published list of credentialed instructors was shockingly short. Of course, everybody is leading Fitness Classes without credentials….ooooooo!
I continued to ponder these topics in light of the Fitness Instructor world. I have always thought it might be fun to lead a fitness class. I toy with “what would Angèle’s class be like?” I enjoy music so much. So, definitely, my class would not overlook the musical choices. There would be great discernment in the musical accompaniment. I see the poster now, “Bring your Cowgirl to the Rec. Centre for a Rompin’ workout” or something with this hint at my love for country music. One of the most sincere compliments I gave to Marjorie was her awesome and meticulous care with her music. She had many playlists on her ipod. Every week she would hold to a theme in the music. We were treated to 80’s one week, club music the next etc. Her musical exploration often hit the mark for me – reminding me of long forgotten favorites. I noticed my resistance to just copying Marjorie’s style. It would be extremely authentic for me to do this same weekly themed style. I love exclusivity…to my peril sometimes.
I notice that all of the other participants in the course are already leading a fitness class in some capacity. I always find a way to be unique. As people learned of my attendance in the courses, several acquaintances wanted to be on the list to participate in future Fitness work that I might do. I just could not fully see it in my mind’s eye…unless it was on a Cruise Ship. Alas, the dream peeks out…
I discussed with everyone I came into contact this issue of credentials in relation to Fitness Instructor but also the wider professional world.
Arguments for why we need these Governing Bodies that issue the sought after credentials:
Protect the public – presumably from bad moves? Bad music? Injuries? This makes some sense. I have often been in exercise classes where someone was a bit concerned, scared, about the moves in light of their physical condition.
Insurance Companies require you to be fully certified before they will insure your business. Hmmmm…not connecting to this logic. Fear of being sued is in the air.
Maintain high quality – because without the Governing Body, we might not have high quality. Hmmmm. Not connecting to this logic. People with passion tend to deliver high quality. People who are not high quality will have problems attracting and keeping clients.
Well, I have some experience in the Medical Profession. There has always been a more high profile discussion of the Medical Governing Bodies. How capable are they of protecting the public? or Maintaining high quality? I don’t want to tell stories in this area but I have not been all that impressed that they are able to do this- despite their beautiful intentions. In a nutshell, few individuals have the balls to call a spade a spade. If you know what I mean. I will spare you the details. I urge you to think of your own experiences. Have you noticed this, too?
I find myself exploring the Individual’s Responsibility. Can each of us commit to making these decisions for ourselves? We have been led to believe that we are not capable. As a Basement Philosopher, and a spiritually connected being, I put my foot down. We are so much more capable than we have been led to believe. As a society, we are likely pretty comfortable, most of us, to honor ourselves with the capability of having enough discernment to know whether we have confidence in the abilities of a Fitness Instructor. How does this change for Doctor? Lawyer? Chiropractor? Dentist? Restaurant? Movie? Generally, we make a relationship with a service provider. We will monitor how we feel in this relationship. Do I leave feeling empowered, on the right track? Do I trust this person/service? As I continue obtaining services, am I receiving the benefit that I was hoping to? Believe me, I have heard so many people who came to me as a Physician who held strong feelings about these questions related to an experience they had with another Service Provider. They always have free will to make another choice if their initial one did not work out. People exercise that choice every single day.
Are our assessment tools fine-tuned enough? My sense is that for most people they are not all that fine tuned. Partly because Society sets us up to rely on these Governing Bodies. I question our blind faith in this area. My hypothesis: we all have the capability to be far more discerning on our own behalf than any bureaucratic organization could ever hope to be. The bureaucracies are forced to lump data. They need to assume that there is an average citizen/human with attributes that can be extrapolated to the masses. I believe that this is not true. Remember that good old Bell Curve? Lord help me when I was introduced to this concept. It put the fear of death into me! Upon completing High School, we heard about how the marks in University were designed to fall into the Bell Curve. A specified percentage would receive the top mark of 9 out of 9, a slightly larger chunk could receive the 8 etc. There was a system to rank and sort. Likely this is all very different today but the Bell Curve does give an example that for almost any attribute, there is not just one option for its expression. In Medicine, I think this really complicates the entire science. We do research to attempt to objectify the best treatments and understanding of our Human Body. But, the number of variables is enormous!! We don’t know what we don’t know.
One of the very many grave disappointments I have experienced practising Medicine…
Somewhere along the way, we thought it is a good idea to prevent illness. Agreed. One of the strategies is to go for your annual checkup. There are many good outcomes from this annual checkup:
Be screened for some of the more common medical ailments – Yes
Catch an illness early in its natural history to begin treatment promptly, hopefully preventing complications – yes, seems like a good idea.
Monitor the Medical Research coming in constantly to be customized to your particular health attributes – Yes.
Educate you in Health Related matters – presumably tailored to your sex/age group and any other factors – profession etc.
There are likely many other points one could make here but this list gives an idea. As an example, I thought a fair amount about Post-Menapausal Care. I had a lot of women in my practice requiring this information. Well, I practiced for five years full-time. I started to get embarrassed when the Hormone Replacement
Therapy changed almost annually. The changes were great extremes. It really left me losing full faith in our Medical Research. My own definition of Science and Medicine was based on the idea that Truth was coming out of it. This particular topic shook my foundation of trust. We really did not have all of the information to make a scientifically backed fully informed choice. I had to handle the questions…and my patients were darned smart. They would leave me scratching my head almost daily. I did not have the answers. I consider myself to have high integrity…and I did not know too much. Once I started to lose faith in Medical Scientific Research, it was not an easy job to continue doling it out. And those smart patients kept asking good questions. The ones who were not asking were relying on blind faith that I could hand over a prescription with the magic pills that would make it aaaaaall better… The blinders were fully installed. They were unwilling to commit to health. They were sold on the sickness model. They allowed sickness to intertwine with their own identity. This hurt me deeply. It gave impetus for me to read around personal growth. How could I inspire my patients to commit to health by committing to themselves? This was my focus in my later years in practice. Such a long career too…
I feared litigation – as all Doctors do. You would be shocked! So along with what I hoped might assuage my Soul, I towed the party line too. This was not easy. By the end, I had great difficulty writing prescriptions. I did not have a better solution at the ready however. I doubted myself…a lot. I just wrung my hands together day after day. I found pleasure in my interactions with people, don’t get me wrong. I did not really think I was suffering. I was contemplating...a lot.
Within the Medical Profession, there are a lot of Philosophers and good people. There were such beautiful exchanges on a very regular basis. Most Doctors have such high intentions to do their patients right. They so, so earnestly want the best for their patients. Among Doctors, we cannot deny that the healthiest patients would not have prescribed medicines in their lives. I recall deeply aligning with the practice of simply requesting the patient to bring in all of their orally consumed substances aside from food– medicine, vitamins, nutriceuticals & other. Through this simple practice, I felt I delivered some of my best care. It shocks me to this day how little patients understood their medications: when and how to take them. Why they are taking them. How many times would I uncover duplication of drugs and general mayhem. Truly the job of a pharmacy assistant but oh, so important. I enjoyed opening the brown bags to see what mysteries would unfold…and be clarified for patients. I would then try to lower dosages or remove medications. Most patients were reluctant and afraid to do this. My mom recounts one of her clients tooting my horn for how much I helped a family member during my first locum in Lacombe, Alberta, with this simple strategy – taught to me by the Geriatricians. Simple advice is often the best advice. Hmmmmm…
From the ancient Hippocratic Oath: First Do No Harm is a Medical Dictum.
The patients rarely would admit to the other category of pharmacologically active substances. We had to guess at those – alcohol for example. I was a master at this – but doubted myself every step of the way. Denial is such a nasty life partner. Alcohol and denial go hand in hand.
This reminds me of a story! Imagine that. I once had a patient who came in fairly regularly – not uncommon. But it did not take long for me to feel confused about what was really going on. I noted a strong odor of Listerine accompanied him on each visit. Against all medical propriety, I secretly threw on a blood alcohol level to his bloodwork requisition one day. I doubted myself so much. Yet, I wanted that objective data. Well, I got it – of course. He was loaded. I did not say anything about the blood test. I just asked about alcohol intake in a seemingly routine way. He did not bite…Ok, now we dance. I just handled the situation as he presented it with each visit, always looking for an opportunity to address the real issues. We eventually got to talk more in reality mode once he had his Driver’s License taken away and he was in legal trouble with an impaired driving charge. I had rarely been called into a Court of Law on behalf of a patient. It was very common to write a report for the purposes of the Legal System. The report usually sufficed. This troubled gentleman and I had a good rapport. He was fighting his court case related to his alcohol use and his lawyer chose to include me in the case. This was not essential but I came to understand, he was hoping that our good relationship would put his client in a better light as a recovered alcoholic. Well, I am always enthusiastic for new experiences. I get to go to a St. Albert courtroom for the second time in my life…and this time, I was not the accused! Life is so interesting. I was the expert witness. Bizarre. Gotta’ love that paradox…
I was a bit nervous at the prospect of being cross-examined. The kind lawyer representing my patient assured me that I just had to objectively answer the questions as they were posed. OK, that sounded easy. I was reassured…and actually kind of excited. My mom was a lawyer so I had been to court just for the experience along with her a few times – at the big law courts in Edmonton. It is easy to see why TV shows like to depict the Legal and Medical Systems – there is a lot of drama on display. It was not all that dramatic in my turn as the expert witness. In a nutshell, the prosecuting lawyer’s questions revolved around what chances did I see for my patient to fall off the wagon. Well, I am honest to a fault so the only real answer was I have no idea. He asked, “With alcohol use that has resulted in Legal difficulties, is there not a high rate of recidivism?” He used that word – pretty fancy. I do not recall but would not be surprised if I had to request a definition. Did I know the meaning of recidivism (to return to the same behavior) at the time? It was my understanding that looking at a similar population, there would be a high rate of recidivism. It was a short experience. I did not think too much about it. I never saw that patient again. I was left with the feeling that every single visit he had with me was for the purposes of this legal problem. Every single one: a ruse. I have no idea if he chose to be a statistic or transformed his life in any real way. Weeks later, I got some feedback about the courtroom experience – completely unexpected. My mom did her Articling in St. Albert so knew the Legal crowd. In her travels as a lawyer in Edmonton, she crossed paths with the prosecuting lawyer who cross examined me. Apparently, he was very impressed. Really? What is the big deal? My mom felt that it was a very authentic “surprise” to him at how Professional I seemed. He had rarely encountered an “expert witness” of my colors. He just was in shock at how honest I was. Is honesty really that rare? My biggest answer was “I Don’t Know”. Remember, this phrase is crazy powerful. It is so often the most honest answer. Listen to me now, believe me later. I recall that my patient’s lawyer was also very impressed. Somehow, the case went very much in the favor of giving this guy a break. I certainly refused to take any responsibility for the patient’s future choices. As much as I declared I would support him through his journey of recovery. The best part of it was my mom being so honored. I read between the lines. She did not say it…and did not need to. Yes, I was fortunate to have fantastic models for integrity and honesty in both of my parents. It was a nice moment to share with my mom. My little kindergartner self loved being positively acknowledged…by her mum. Certainly, we never really know what impact we have on the people we interact with. The most important person to impress is always ourselves. I am easily impressed at times.
Wrote: September 2012
Was a little manic when I wrote this. Maybe you noticed…
It can serve as a wee case report. The manic mind is a mysterious thing…or not. Flight of ideas, easily distracted, disjointed thinking, easily excited to enthusiasm, elevated mood. All here. I chose to leave it as it stands. Removed a few things. I really enjoyed writing this one and the accompanying Facebook Post. When I am manic, I enjoy everything. Call me crazy… it is official after all.
Add July 5, 2014:
Point #1 of this unusual collection of thoughts and stories: You can get a whole lot of training to say “I don’t know”. The more training you get, the more powerful your “I don’t know” is. I wonder if there is a better way to go about this?
Point #2: If we all tap into our inner knowing, it bypasses a lot of the bureaucratic administration of knowledge. We can align to the highest version of ourselves. We would each follow our passions and out of our own integrity develop skills and services that would serve the world at the highest level. As more and more people do this, society would be fully served. We would take responsibility for ourselves: both as service providers and as clients etc. Choice would be our power.
July 5, 2014 daily quote from Abraham:
Everything is valid and everything is truthful, because Law of Attraction lets everything be. The question is not whether it’s right or wrong, whether their approach is right or wrong, or whether my approach is right or wrong. The question is: Does their approach feel good to me? And if it doesn’t, then I choose a different approach.
Does that make sense? Too simple for you? I ascribe a harmonious life to ease, grace and listening to my inner knowing. Inner knowing could be thought of as following your gut. Our inner knowing may choose to take a course or training program. But I believe we have come to push people into this training system when it may not match their purpose and passion…to our detriment. I believe this wholeheartedly. Of course, it is often not perceived as easy or graceful to follow this philosophy in our current Society setup. Consider that harmony can include comfortable and uncomfortable experiences. I believe that all experiences are for our highest good…when we let go and allow what is here. Follow your own inner compass. Paradox… is good.
One can only start at the beginning…