Jun 152010

Many times in our nation’s history our collective imaginations have been voluntarily harnessed and directed into powerful action by a President in the throes of a vision bigger than any Party’s political agenda. Slavery was abolished, the US Interstate system built, and the Race to the Moon were all dreams made manifest through Will combined with a call for divine aid. A spell, a prayer, whatever you want to call it – there are times when the President has the power to use our energy and the very soul of the land itself to transform. To shed light on new paths for us to walk.

This can only happen when emotions in the country are stirred up but do not have a firm direction.  Then the President can take on the power of a High Priest or an Oracle. He speaks into the chaos of all possibility and his voice calls forth the seed of creation. That is the power inherent in the Presidency that very few of our leaders have been able to tap into. When the time came for them to have the courage to trust us, to root the dream in truth, to act only for highest good, they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t set aside the petty politics, the urge to use the moment for selfish aims, and they certainly don’t treat us as worthy of “perfect love and perfect trust.” They lie, appeal to baser emotions of envy and fear, and manipulate us.

Tonight our President will speak to us from the Oval Office, the first time he has chosen that location. The Oval Office is a place of power, a place that Presidents use when they need to marshal the collective Will of the country. This is a unique opportunity to engage the entire nation in a new national project – to break our dependence on fossil fuels and to develop clean, renewable, and abundant energy.

It may be a harder ‘sell’ for the President with the story breaking  that our government has consistently refused other countries’ offers of clean-up assistance in the Gulf of Mexico waters. Assistance that may have prevented the oil from reaching our shores or could have more effectively cleaned the area where the oil did reach. This is causing local governments to take matters into their own hands out of frustration.  That makes it harder, but not impossible. We built the Interstate system when we were told it was impossible. We landed a man on the moon first after we were told it was impossible to overtake the lead the USSR had in the Space Race. We can do this.

But only if our President can paint this dream so vividly that we can see it, hear, and taste it. That it becomes real to us and we are willing to put our heart and souls into it. And yes, sacrifice to make it happen.

Oh. One other thing. He needs to trust us enough to tell us the truth, to sincerely seek the highest good, to not appeal to the baser emotions of fear, greed, hatred, or envy, and to not throw away the moment in a bid to further a political agenda. If he can do that – then a powerful dream can take root.

Update: He tried.  I will grant the President that.  He did try.  But there was no emotion, no passion, no power.  And I could have done without the scripture reading.  Your impression may be different than mine and I would love to hear it.

Mar 172010

Much of the conversation regarding health care in our country revolves around cost and what the government’s responsibility is towards the citizens in providing health care.  Sprinkled throughout are bits about greedy doctors, litigious lawyers, and rich taxpayers.  Very little is said about the role that you and I play in maintaining our health.  We are looked at as helpless consumers, too immature to do or understand simple things to keep ourselves healthy.  If we are unwilling to take even the most basic of steps to maintain our health, how we can we castigate doctors and government for not doing enough to help us?  Just as I look to Hellenismos for inspiration on how to manage my finances, I’ve also found wisdom in how to be an active partner in maintaining my health.

In Hellenismos there are several gods that attend to health and wellness because it is such a complex and interconnected issue. Apollon could bring plagues or avert them.  Young men spent hours at the gymnasia, exercising as a devotional offering to Apollon, honing the body along with the intellect.  Healer-priests and physician descendants of Asclepios, such as Hippocrates of the temple at Cos, used the arts of surgery, medicine, prayer, dreams, diet, mineral baths, and songs to heal patients.  Asclepiops’ temples were the first hospitals.  I won’t name all of Asclepios’ divine children, but Hygeia was often worshiped along side Her father.  Hygeia helped patients with prevention of sickness and the continuation of sound physical and mental health.  She encouraged good sanitation practices.

Basic sanitation, surgery, preventative care, diet, medicines, mental health, exercise, prayer and divine intercession, public health initiatives, and what we call alternative medicine are related and interconnected through Apollon’s divine family.  Government, Doctors and Healer Priests, and Citizens all had roles they were expected to play.  Back then, more of the burden was shouldered by individual citizens than by doctors or the government.  Today, almost none of the burden lays with the citizen.  Perhaps it’s time to combine the best of the old with the best of the new?

Apollonian Medicine: Immunizations and Exercise
Immunization: The government should offer free immunizations to all citizens.  Health professionals can either be employed or reimbursed by the government to administer the immunization.  Citizens have a responsibility to get the immunization.

Exercise: This, along with diet, is the number 1 area that Americans need to work on to improve their health and it’s not something that the government or doctors bear much responsibility for.  It’s all on us. Even walking for 15 minutes just 3 days a week can yield remarkable benefits and costs us nothing. How many of us do even that little bit to manage our health? How can we ask others – such as the government, fellow taxpayers, and health care professionals – to spend time, money, and skill to help us when we show almost no desire to help ourselves.   As Nick said in a comment to my previous post about health care, “healthy eating and frequent exercise cost less, and do more good, [than] heart transplants.”

Seven out of ten Americans don’t exercise regularly.  We know the benefits of regular exercise to both our physical and mental health we just don’t do it.  To name a few of those benefits:

Lack of regular exercise not only hurts our health, it hurts our pocketbooks. Physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity were associated with 23% of health plan health care charges and 27% of national health care charges.  In 2000 an estimated $117 billion in health care spending in the USA was due to inactivity and obesity.  To bring it to a personal level, the average active 75 year old female with no physical limitations spends just over $1900 per year on health care costs. The average inactive 75 year old female with no physical limitations spends just over $3,200 per year on health care costs. That’s a difference of $1300 per person per year.

I have a confession to make.  I hate to exercise.  After I got out of the military I swore that the only way I would ever run again would be if someone was chasing me with a knife.  But I do stay active.  I see it as part of my duty to myself, my family, to my community, and to the Gods to stay fit.  Most every morning, I do 12 Sun Salutations while chanting prayers to Helios.  That’s not a huge effort in time or energy, but it it does the job.  Like my coreligionists from long ago, I dedicate this exercise as a devotional offering.  Also like them, reciprocation plays a large role in how I live.  I give so that I may receive.  I receive improved mental health from some quiet, meditative time before the chaos of the day starts along with improved physical health.  I certainly receive more than I give.  But first, I have to be willing to give.  We all have to be willing to give.

Hail Apollon Akesios!

Next blog post: Asclepios Medicine – Combining Traditional and Alternative medicine with a spiritual component.