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July 2013 Advice Column

Lotus Guide Column, July 2013

Q: My wife is negative and critical about me, the house, TV programs, whatever, but I’m loyal. How can I cope with her?

A: Use behavior modification and consequences. Reinforce any positive exchanges with praise. Tell her that you will leave the room when she starts criticizing and do it consistently. Go out for a walk, read a book, call a friend, or go to an interesting group. No drama is necessary, just say, “Oh, the negative tape is playing. When you’d like to replace it with the positive tape, let me know, and I’ll join you.” If she’ll go to counseling, please give it a try, as we are more likely to learn from a neutral third party who can help her understand her need to control with criticism.

Q: My family consists of evangelical Christians who can’t stand me being homosexual. They’re afraid I’ll contaminate their children, including my brothers. I’m depressed. What can I do?

A: Quote Jesus: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. “Judge not, that ye not be judged.” If they insist on literal interpretation of an allegorical Bible, read my summary of a Biblical scholar’s book (: https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/biblical-schol…ehrman-summary). Remind them that sexual preference is not a choice, it’s genetic. It’s not catching and God created you as you are. Ask them if the essence of being Christian isn’t being loving and forgiving. Talk to family members you care about on the phone to stay in touch. Form an intentional family of kind people and focus on your own goals.

Q: I don’t want to use artificial hormones or cow urine hormones as birth control. Condoms aren’t that reliable. What else can I use?

A: Check out the diaphragm. It can be inserted in the vagina an hour before intercourse along with spermicide. Look for information about it on the Planned Parenthood website.

Q: My co-workers irritate me by bringing their personal problems to work and they don’t follow the established common sense procedures, etc. Is there anything I can do?

A: Lead by your example of conscientious work and professionalism, but they’re probably not going to change. Try thinking of them as sloppy, drooling, panting, smelly dogs and react as if you were a cat. Think meow and walk away without reacting, as chronic irritation is bad for your health and humor is good for the immune system. Or, try this image. Imagine that you’re sailing in a small boat on a calm sea. Then a rogue wave comes towards you. Click your ruby slippers and turn your boat into a ship with experienced crew members so the wave is hardly felt. When you’re in the midst of drama, visualize roses protecting your field, blowing up with firecrackers when they get gunky. Use this challenge as an opportunity to stay centered and non-reactive to chaos–Buddha said we should be able to meditate by a clanging bell. Post the Serenity Prayer in your car and read it on the way to work.

Q: I care for my own kids and spouse and also my elderly parents who have health problems. I’m exhausted and get overwhelmed and anxious.

A: If the well that nurtures the village runs dry, the whole village suffers. Your priority must be as airlines direct, put on your oxygen mask first before you help others. You should feel guilty only if you neglect your own health and well-being. Schedule in regular time for exercise, massage, fun, what ever nurtures you. Also, expectations can be stressful, so give up trying to be Mary Poppins. Delegate, prioritize, and let unimportant tasks go. Check out public services such as Meals on Wheels and nurse visits. When you find yourself worrying, substitute a blessing. It takes a while to counter the worry habit so just aim to be aware of when you slip into it, breathe, and be grateful for all that you have.

Q: I’ve been involved in a series of legal conflicts where I’m clearly in the right, but I always lose in the courtroom. What’s going on?

A: We know that in our flawed legal system, being able to afford an effective lawyer goes a long way. Give your attorney clearly organized evidence that’s as short as possible. If you don’t have an attorney, the county offers free legal help for non-criminal cases–SHARP (Self Help and Referral Program). People respond to the invisible signs we carry, in your case something about being a loser. Read about alpha wolves or chimps, look at photographs of their stance, and match that kind of victor attitude. Or you could think of an alpha human like Joan of Arc or Sigourney Weaver in the film Aliens to help change your unconscious expectation that you will lose. Is there anything you can change so as not to have legal hassles?

Q: I’m a graduate medical student. I don’t trust alternative doctors because they don’t base their advice on scientific studies, right?

A:

Your suggestion that some alternative medicine studies aren’t scientific implies that modern medicine is based on such studies. However, I’m sure your teachers discuss the fact that pharmaceutical companies control the research process, resulting in many unreleased “file drawer” studies that don’t back up their focus on drugs and surgery. This monetary approach results in treating drug side effects with more drugs and neglect of holistic medicine as taught by Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona and in his books and newsletter (drweil.com). Naturopathic doctors learn less invasive remedies widely used by European physicians, such as homeopathy. It’s backed up by over a century of well-documented studies and was used in the US until overridden by Big Pharma. Ayurvedic medicine has been used successfully in India for thousands of years. A scientific medical education would include exploration of non-harmful medicine that works over the centuries, including acupuncture and herbs. A recent study found that 85% of new prescription drugs are of little or no benefit to mental health patients.

     Your teachers probably also discuss the fact that the main cause of US hospital morbidity is physician error, as explained by Gary Null, Ph.D., et. al.  “Death by Medicine.”(see https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/1012/ for sources). The researchers report the number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is 783,936 per year. They conclude the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US! The US spends more on health care as a percentage of gross domestic product than every other country, but it’s near the bottom of industrial nations in healthcare effectiveness. A book by a local doctor, Jeff Loboski’s It’s Enough to Make You Sick provides more information.

     If we just look at the track record of women’s health care, in the 1940s mothers were routinely drugged and unconscious at the birth of their children and told it’s more scientific to use formula rather than breast-feed their babies. Then we had DES and thalidomide babies, Dalkon Shield IUDs, over-prescribing hormone replace therapy for maintaining a youthful appearance, overuse of radical mastectomies, the painkiller Vioxx, artifical food dyes’ impact on ADD in children, etc.

     The National Institutes of Health finds alternative and complementary medical (CAM) treatments worthy of study because they treat the underlying imbalance rather than just the symptom of dis-ease. Respected university hospitals such as Harvard, Duke, Tufts, Scripts, Stanford and UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine treat the whole person in their holistic health centers. Select a doctor who is informed about CAM and study it yourself, as the health insurance system doesn’t leave MDs much time for research (nccam.nih.gov). For the sake of your future patients, my hope is that you will explore holistic medicine after you graduate and provide them with information about it. It would be interesting to look at the texts used at Bastyr college that trains naturopathic doctors or the holistic medicine training at the University of Arizona. Prescription for Natural Cures is a good overview by James F. Balch and Mark Stengler.

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