The following is a re-print of a blog post from Robert Fritz. (Wisepond.com) It is my sincere hope that you will read and enjoy it, realizing that Optimal health, for our age, should be at the top of our TO DO List! If we appreciate that no matter what pursuits are important to us, what we possess, or with whom we spend our time, all of those things are dependent upon how healthy we are. So, this can be the springboard for change. Enjoy!
by Robert Fritz
The basic and traditional idea behind the medical profession is to heal disease. In fact, this is what you will find in Wikipedia about medicine:
“Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness in human beings…The word medicine is derived from the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing.”
Now, you don’t heal something unless there is something to heal. Naturally, that means when most doctors think about their noble profession, they are looking for what is wrong, and how to fix it. There is an important place for this in our lives. But we need to understand that fixing that which needs fixing is not creating. You can’t fix yourself enough to ever reach optimal health. That is an entirely different orientation. That is the realm of the creative process.
Throughout the last number of years, one person in particular has been a co-explorer in understanding the difference between healing illness and creating health. That is Dr. Wayne Andersen. After years of practicing very high-end medicine at some of the leading hospitals in the world, Dr. Andersen became aware that the point that he was seeing his patients was much too late in the process. He noticed an unfortunate pattern in which people were getting less healthy rather than more healthy. He knew this pattern could not be addressed by his traditional medical approach, and he began to think in terms of outcomes to create rather than problems to solve.
Dr. A and I began our friendship and colleagueship a number of years ago when he called me after having read some of my books. He then came on a few of our courses, and, together, we began to explore how the creative process would be a better approach for most people if the goal was to create health rather than simply wait for them to get sick before applying remedies.
Dr. Andersen wrote the first book that understands and uses both the creative process and structural dynamics in service of creating optimal health. It is a book I highly recommend: Dr. A’s Habits of Health.
Optimal means the best something can be. It is the full realization of the potential that is possible. When it comes to health, we can begin to think in terms of optimal in the sense of bringing out the highest potential we might have from a health perspective.
Not everyone has the same potential. My optimal and your optimal might be very different. And this is important to understand. Each person has his or her own possibilities.
Optimal is not an ideal to live up to. Ideals are concepts, not real outcomes we want. So, my advice is to rid yourself of all ideals, all pictures of how you think you should be. And begin to think in terms of what outcomes you want to create instead.
Let’s think about health as something you create, rather than something you ignore until you get sick and have to address it. Step one in the creative process is to know what you want to create. Too often, people think of their health defensively. They are not considering an outcome of health, but rather, they are concerned about avoiding illness. It must be remembered that problem solving is not creating. You can solve all of your problems and still not have what you want. So in thinking about creating, the first thing we need to do is to locate the goal. What do we want? Remember to separate what you want from what you think is possible. At this point, the only dimension we are thinking about is the desired outcome. Later we will consider the degree to which it is possible.
We could describe the outcome in a few major areas. One is our actual physical condition. What is optimal for us? What would it look like, how would we measure it, what would it feel like? The answers to these questions will give us a clear picture of the result we want.
The next step, of course, is to know where we are right now in relationship to our goal. So we need a good fix on current reality. From that, we are able to establish the most powerful engine of the creative process, structural tension.
Of course, this would generate strategic action steps to enable us to move from where we are to where we want to be.
That’s the mechanics of it. But there is also the orientation which is critical. Who are you in this picture? For most people, they position themselves as if they were passive observers, and others are responsible for their health and well-being. If your car is broken, bring it to the garage. It is the mechanic’s job to fix it. Too often, this is the orientation that people have to their own bodies. It is the responsibility of the medical profession to keep them well. The only time they think about such things as health is when they are forced to by illness.
One of the most important understandings from the online course Structures – Creating Your Life is the relationship of choices. Primary choices are about goals. Secondary choices are about the actions you will take to achieve those goals. But there is another goal which has to do with your deepest orientation. Think of this as where you stand. One of the fundamental choices within the course is the choice to be healthy. Often, once made, there is a profound shift that happens. You begin to look at your entire life from the perspective of how well you are living up to this choice. If you have made this choice, you will instantly know that smoking, overeating, eating the wrong foods, being overweight, not getting adequate sleep or exercise are inconsistent with the fundamental choice to be healthy. The motivation to change these habits is not conflict, but desire. And it is not a commitment that you have made that you now have to force yourself into, but a resolve you have come to.
In later blog entries, we will go into more ideas, techniques, and details about creating optimal health. But for now, one thing you can do on the road to creating optimal health is to consider your relationship with health. Is it something you favor or something you deal with in reaction to circumstances. There is a good chance you want optimal health on its own terms. Here is a test. Would you want it, even if you had it? If the answer is yes, then you want it, not in reaction to the circumstances you find yourself in, but because it is a true desire.
So, step one, explore just how you think about your own health. Notice if there are changes to make. Be honest about your past, but also about your aspirations and values. At this point, don’t consider how possible it may be to accomplish what you want. See if you want it, and if you do, let yourself know that.