The World’s Best Medicines

In this week’s edition we have:

  1. The COVID Update
  2. The NON COVID CORNER: the World’s Best Medicines, the short list
    1. Mindfulness
    2. Secret Ingredients
    3. Regenerative Agriculture

Covid numbers update:

EEEK! The Berkshire case load jumped to the highest level since January 2021 registering at 336 cases for the last week. We have averaged 200-220 weekly cases over the four weeks.  Please recognize that we are considered high risk right now.

The Massachusetts 7 day average hovers around 1,000 cases per day range.

Nationally, the seven-day-average figure remains fairly stagnant with the number sitting in the 72K range for third week in a row.

Cases are up in many parts of Europe: the UK, Germany, Ireland all making the news. China is locked down after experiencing a surge. Lock down zones have to know: there’s no avoiding this one!

Immunity gets us through. We are close. Picture the Pandemic in the rearview mirror. It will be there sooner or later. Take a moment and imagine that we have made it. (Sigh of relief, Big smile). Why not?

World’s Best Medicines

  1. Is “mindfulness” a medicine?

We think so. It’s low risk too. I’ve never seen anyone in the ER suffering a side effect from mindfulness practice. And it’s also inexpensive. Actually it’ll save you.

The miracle of mindfulness

The shift accompanying mindfulness takes the emphasis off the destination and puts it on the present moment, on the journey.

Starting point: we learn as a young person that setting goals is important. If you don’t know where you are going how will you ever arrive? The pain of not arriving drives us to the goal.

However, what if we find we aren’t really fulfilledwhen we pass the little finish lines we set for ourselves? That’s when we must learn that there is more to finding satisfaction and happiness than reaching our goals, which are often arbitrary and not representative of our wholeness.

Furthermore, we learn the hard way that “things” fail to bring us the level of satisfaction that we desire. We are still the same suffering fool who one minute ago didn’t have the cabbage patch doll, or whatever the kids are into these days.

Sooner or later the goal-oriented approach to life needs to be enlivened with the understanding that the winding and weaving path is a big deal in and of itself! The moment we get our first glimpse we sense the potential that lies therein. We sense our enlivened path now can grant us access to the “more” we are looking for.

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Naht Hahn

and Jon Kabat Zinn’s Full Catastophe Living 

are two books that were very helpful to me and ones I find myself recommending often to patients when the need for a new way arises.

Kabat-Zinn was a psychologist at UMASS and put people through an 8 week course (meeting once per week) teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Mindfulness and presence training help you break the tendency to be controlled by your habitual thoughts. It lets you find a little space between you and your habits. It lets you add a second option.

The present moment is the only place where the flow state exists. This is where our creative capacity really kicks in. Suddenly, it’s not us against the world anymore.

  1. The secret ingredient

Have you ever seen one of these sign in a kitchen: “The secret ingredient is love …and butter.”

The chef’s mood is so relevant. We love the home cooked meal because the home chef knows their audience, loves them, has them in mind during the task, and weaves in their care for them. The intangibles matter. It’s just not possible with processed or mass-produced food.

The mood of the food preparer is just as important as the content of what we eat. Really digest that one. It goes beyond the culinary arts.

  1. Regenerative agriculture: An egg is not an egg

As it goes for the kitchen so it goes on the farm.  It shouldn’t be a stretch that the story of the food matters in a big way. Buying intentionally raised food is the difference between supporting and interiorizing all that come from good farms.

And avoiding factory farming.

It is also important to know “organic” food is getting watered down. The rules are changing. Most things labeled organic are not what you picture. The absolute ideal is growing your own food, cleanly.

Imagine this: the soil tailoring the yield to the gardener and the specific nutritional needs of the person raising the food. When the farmer puts their hands in the dirt a connection is made! Could it be possible?

If a nurtured relationship matters in the kitchen how could it not be so on the farm, this time between nature and the human? Remember the idea of the earth as an organism? It’s not just an idea.

Regenerative agriculture is an interest at BCWH. Gardening practices that build up the soil and the natural elements that nourish in intangible ways are the focus. Yes, avoiding pesticides and fertilizer is valued but more than that. Recognizing the farm is a living organism whose parts are all interconnected is the concept behind biodynamic farming. That living organism, just like us, is connected to the great surround, and thrives when it lives in wholeness. It is healing for the land and elevates our own healing potential.

Imagine a medical practice connected to a working farm.

We are.

Back to you for a second

Recognize your greatness, your power. That’s what interests BCWH the most: you engaging very robustly with you.Your process, your effort, and all the intangibles to your approach really matter.

The right medicines and an enlivened approach will serve us all well.

Forget about too big to fail. Those guys are too big to succeed. Small and local and connected is the rule for food, farming and medicine alike.

Enjoy the smell of the roses on your path today, even if they are only figurative this time of year.