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Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008

Beating the Winter Blahs

The Wellness Warriors

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Beating the Winter Blahs
The highway’s full of gamblers, you’d better use your sense; take what you have gathered from coincidence. —Bob Dylan

As we recover from the holidays, let’s reflect on what we’ve been through. This time of year has traditionally been observed as a special time. The short, dark days of winter finally show signs of change, as the solstice occurs and the days start getting longer. Societies acknowledge this event with congregations, celebrations, feasts, bonfires, candles—traditions that acknowledge the cycles of the seasons and our place within these patterns. Not long ago our very survival depended on having enough food to survive the winter. The feasts often involved slaughtering animals, both as part of the celebration and to eliminate the need to feed these animals for the rest of this difficult season.

But in modern America, having enough food for the winter isn’t a concern for most of us. The original reasons for our celebrations—giving thanks for getting through another winter—have long since been replaced by Christianity, which retained the ritual while ignoring the original reasons behind it. What’s more, we are conditioned to believe that our technology has made us superior to the cycles of nature. The hollow materialism and shrill commercialism of the holiday season have replaced powerful seasonal ceremonies that used to remind us of our connection to each other and to the natural forces of which we are a part. The obligatory religious element that we see today is a shadow of what was once a critical time of connection and gratitude.

Even as the holiday fog lifts and the credit card bills arrive during the stilldark days of winter, we can identify some strategies to escape not just the moneyequals-happiness equation, but the human-equals-worker/consumer equation as well. All that’s required is some creative thinking and the willingness to allow your thoughts to create your reality—a better reality than most people experience during this time of year. Here are some suggestions: Exercise your intuition. The next time someone or something gives you a “good” or “bad” vibe, consider the existence of your sixth sense. Follow this feeling.

Most people don’t rely on intuition because society denies its existence, probably because it interferes with our proper role as restless consumers and unquestioning workers. Embrace synchronicity. When events in the outside world resonate with your inner world in a personally meaningful way, do not ignore it. As strange as it may seem, treat these occasions as bread crumbs in the forest, which form a path you can follow.

Consider the possibility that what you think about, you bring about. You are not a self-contained computer in a meat-suit. You are not just the sum total of chemical reactions with delusions of free will. Your intentions have the power to shape your reality.

These ideas may be criticized as hippie gibberish by the modern materialistic mindset, but the fact is some people have been moving toward an integration of Western and Eastern paradigms by identifying connections that many others overlook or dismiss. Don’t forget that we are not what we seem to be. The objects we see and interact with on a physical level are made of atoms, which follow the rules we live with in the realm of our daily activities. But our atoms are made of energy, and some believe that things on this level follow a different set of rules. It is this realm that has been long neglected by science, since our machines could not measure it. Our hope is that a synthesis of modern technology and ancient intuitive wisdom will lead to the return of soul to our society.

Our father was a disabled veteran of the Vietnam War. Being bipolar, he would shift from frantic states of perceived immortality to utter despair and inactivity. Haunted by flashbacks and his physical injuries, he would tell us, “I’ve lived through hell, so you can go to heaven.”

As children we interpreted this to mean that he’d done “bad” things in the war and was being punished so that we could have a clean slate, a ticket to the Pearly Gates. Now we take it to mean that he perceived that both of these places exist, but not in some imaginary afterlife: Both conditions exist Here and Now. We think his brain damage removed the filters, and he could perceive these energies, the different vibrations that interact to form what we call physical reality. We also believe that each of us can remove the filters that separate energy from reality, and choose to create a more positive energy that will in turn create a more positive reality.

EVEN AS THE HOLIDAY FOG LIFTS AND THE CREDIT CARD BILLS ARRIVE DURING THE STILL-DARK DAYS OF WINTER, WE CAN IDENTIFY SOME STRATEGIES TO ESCAPE NOT JUST THE MONEY-EQUALS- HAPPINESS EQUATION, BUT THE HUMAN-EQUALS- WORKER/CONSUMER EQUATION AS WELL.

Ty Wade, D.C., has a private practice in Saukville that focuses on holistic family care. David Wade manages an assisted living home in Sheboygan County. They can be contacted at wellness@shepex.com. Look for the next Wellness Warriors column in the Feb. 21 issue of the Shepherd.

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