2009-05-22 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Dare To Be Wise
Commentary By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Dare to be wise. Aude sapere, in Latin. I was lucky enough to be selected to take Latin in my first year of high school. Back then, in the good old days, it was considered an honor and a privilege to study Latin. It was considered a mainstay in the repertoire of an educated person. Latin words are the root of many of our English words and most of our scientific words. So, when I read the words aude sapere, I think of a word derived from this one. Audacious. Daring. Bold, fearless, especially in challenging assumptions or conventions. This is a situation I meet on a daily basis. Each and every time I am in consultation with a patient, I must dare to be wise. I must meet the challenge of assumption, that is, something that is believed to be true without proof. I must be bold and fearless in challenging convention, that is, the usual way of doing things. I must dare to be wise, that is, knowing much from experience and being able to make sensible decisions and judgments on the basis of personal knowledge and experience.

All these word definitions from Webster's dictionary elucidate one point that is central to effective health care. Know yourself. Trust your own inner knowledge and your personal experience. By the time one comes to a doctor for "help" with a condition or an array of symptoms that they cannot manage by themselves, it is a complex matter to unravel. The person initiating the consultation generally comes in under the assumption that I know what is "wrong" with them. I must be bold enough to challenge that assumption. I ask them what they believe the issue to be. Often, their belief is just that. Something they believe to be true with no proof. Why? Because they accept convention. That is, the usual way of doing things. So, I must be bold and fearless to challenge both assumption and convention in many cases so that wisdom can prevail. Wisdom, the ability to make sensible decisions based on personal knowledge and experience. In this day and age of the Internet, many people have already googled their symptoms and are confident in the diagnosis they present with. People generally seem to be satisfied if they have a diagnosis. Diagnosis, a cause. Cause and effect is powerful because it fits the conventional belief of "find it and fix it?" One cause (a "bug", something they "caught"), one symptom (a cough, for example) and one cure (a pharmaceutical agent to "kill" it). Perfectly simple. And it is the conventional model of treatment. The only problem is that wisdom shows me that this model doesn't work as well as it could, if at all.

In my experience and from my personal knowledge of how people get sick and how they heal, I must dare to be wise. I do challenge the assumption that we have no control over our own health. I do challenge the assumption that we should wait until we are sick to 'fight' our way back to health. I do challenge the assumption that we cannot know our own bodies, predispositions to disease and the cause and effects of lifestyle on our health.

I do boldly and fearlessly challenge the convention that tells us that we cannot care for ourselves and our families with simple home care strategies. Health care is self care. When one reclaims the ability to connect with their inner self, one becomes able to experience the true nature of cause and effect in their lives. One becomes empowered to make wise decisions and choices in their life to become healthy in body, mind and spirit.

For example, when one boldly and fearlessly challenges the assumption that you will get the swine flu because "it is going around", you create the opportunity to look at your particular situation, your risks and exposure, relate that to your personal history of susceptibility, present state of health and, in consideration of all your lifestyle factors, make a wise decision about how to strengthen yourself in order to avoid vulnerability to this flu. Dare to be wise. Self care is the new health care. One need not wait in fear for a vaccine to be developed 6-9 months down the road. We DO have an immune system. That is an innate system that continually prevents you from disease. Usually, you are your own worst enemy working against this system. Bad choices in diet, lifestyle and stress management wreak havoc on our immune system. This is a major cause of a weakened system, the effect of which is to be vulnerable to a prevailing disease.

Dare to be wise. Know from your past experience what makes you tick and what makes you sick. Be bold enough to take responsibility for creating a healthy lifestyle that strengthens you. Be fearless in challenging conventional beliefs or treatments that do not "feel" right for you. Use your ability to make right decisions by searching the Internet for information on other systems of medicine such as homeopathy, a whole system of medicine that I have found to be profoundly effective, gentle, safe and affordable. Homeopathy is also consumer friendly. It lends itself well to self care for self limiting conditions while adding to your personal knowledge base of your own health story.

The Obama administration is stressing wellness and prevention in its healthcare reform agenda. This is a new paradigm. One that promotes self care not disease intervention. I have been fortunate to be part of the conversation of healthcare stakeholders in Washington, DC. I can tell you that there is a cadre of bold, fearless people who are passionate about advancing this agenda. I can tell you that I am one of them. I stand with them, advocating for you and for all of our families for a better system. A system of freedom, choice, education about and access to wellness and prevention in our healthcare.

Although those present on Capitol Hill weren't spouting Latin words, and I didn't recognize anyone from Sr. Consuela's Latin class, the spirit of aude sapere was palpable. It is alive and well and it is infectious.

May The Blessings Be!

Return to top

Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2016 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History



Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio