“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus
One question is endlessly interesting to me and meaningful to our common human experience:
How can we optimize our relationship with change and understand the natural evolutionary process of growth and integration to help us live better lives?
I mean this regarding both our personal lives and our medical profession interactions.
This question is relevant to every aspect of our lives because this world is constantly presenting us with change while we crave stability and predictability. While in some respects we may welcome change, when change bumps up against our fears or deeply held beliefs and opinions with which we define ourselves, we push back, resist and struggle to hang on to what is familiar. This isn't right or wrong. It is, however, a very human thing to do.
Bringing compassion to our stress and resistance to change can allow us to move through life with more ease. Bringing compassion to our resistance to change can also allow us to have compassion for the resistance to change that we see in others.
Change and The Evolutionary Path of People
Change is all around us. We can't get away from it, although we often try. Change might present itself as something wonderful and exciting, like a new relationship or novel opportunity. Change might also feel like loss. These changes may be more concrete like the death of a loved one, the birth of a baby, the loss of a job, a change in life circumstance.
Change may also be more abstract, like the loss of hope, loss of a feeling of certainty or security, loss of a sense of control, change in emotional state (grief, anxiety, depression, sadness, worry, joy, happiness, anticipation), or the challenging of a current belief.
The relevant question in the face of change is how am I interacting with change? Am I embracing change from a logical, rational place? Am I engaging with change with curiosity and a growth mindset? Am I resisting change through emotional reactivity? Fear? Emotional Exhaustion? Objections rooted in not wanting to let go of previous beliefs and opinions?
This process applies to both our personal experience of inner growth and evolution as well as to the changing world in which we are living. Many of us are even more acutely aware of the changing nature of things over the past few years. For those of you who are members of one of my personal development groups, MettaPets Veterinarian Wellness Network or Divine Powerhouse, this will be a familiar train of thought and one related to the methods of self-care and personal growth that we explore together.
“When you are finished changing, you are finished”.
- Benjamin Franklin
Change and the Evolutionary Path of Medicine
The face of medicine is changing too. It has been for a very long time. This isn’t new. One thing to understand about change is that it is reliable and constant.
It is interesting to consider how we are engaging as a profession and as individuals. Are we supporting each other in the evolution of medicine and its many branches? How can we do better?
A pubmed search with the query words “herbal medicine cancer” returns 142 articles for 2022 alone, already in February. The same search for articles published in 2021 returns 985 articles. In the year I graduated veterinary school, 2002, a mere 90 articles were published for the whole year in English mainstream scientific journals. Comparatively, the past 20 years has seen a 10 fold increase in herbal medicine research published in English, which continues to grow exponentially. This is illustrated in the below pubmed graph of the search results for “herbal medicine cancer”:
There has been a steady increase in herbal medicine research publications related to cancer since I was born in 1976, which saw a mere 6 articles published in journals available on pubmed between 1973 and 1976. These articles had titles such as: “China: a new medicine born of tradition” and “A new medical trend in China” which discussed the new approach to medicine being employed by Chinese biomedicine scientists combining Western Biomedical science and traditional Chinese medicine.
Over 45 years later, the interest from western biomedical science in herbal medicine continues to grow exponentially. Given the expense and labor that must be justified for biomedical research, there would have to be a reason beyond mere curiosity for this persistent and exponentially increasing interest.
As early as 1976, you can find a pilot study published on Yunnan Pai Yao.
Ogle CW, Dai S, Ma JC. The haemostatic effects of the Chinese herbal drug Yunnan Bai Yao: a pilot study. Am J Chin Med (Gard City N Y). 1976 Summer;4(2):147-52.
It is only recently, over 40 years later, that this intervention is coming into more widespread acceptance and use as a hemostatic intervention in veterinary medicine with correlating interest in developing western medicine research into this traditional medicine formula.
Change is a reliable phenomenon of the human condition, and medical concepts, theories and practices are no exception. Our understanding of medicine and healing, and therefore our standards of medical practice and patient care, have evolved significantly in the past 50 years. What was once taught in western medical schools and widely accepted as “best practice” has also not stayed the same.
Because we resist change, change takes time and our adaptation of new scientific discoveries into common medical practice and general acceptance is slow. There is also a process of integrating "old" and "new" medicine into a cohesive system that allows us to utilize more than one system of medicine to best support healing, maintenance of wellness and prevention of illness.
As a generalization, we humans are inclined to first reject the suggestion of change and to criticize ideas that push us beyond our comfort zone. There are many well-documented psychological phenomenon related to human behavior that we could get into about that, but the simple reality is that change is uncomfortable. Not surprisingly then, changes in medical practice typically lag about 10-20 years behind published research if you look at past trends. However, evolution in our understanding of medicine, both traditional and modern, is constant and reliable.
As we embrace the growth of our understanding in cancer therapies, cancer biology, and the body’s response to cancer, it is only logical, scientific and rational to include herbal medicines in our repertoire of learning and, as clinicians, our toolbox of potential options for improving patient care and patient outcomes. Likewise, it is wise to embrace medical advancements and new healing technologies, not rejecting the "new" in favor of the "old".
Releasing Stress and Navigating Change with More Ease
Change often precipitates stress or anxiety. Stress and anxiety can also significantly limit our capacity to engage with change from a place of objectivity, peace and clarity.
There are many ways we can learn to develop a healthier relationship with ourselves amidst change and navigate life with more ease and grace. A few of these things are
tending to our own needs with better self-care
stress-relieving mindfulness practices
movement practices linked with deep breathing, such as Qigong or Yoga
If you are interested in moving forward in your self-care with me, I invite you to experience and utilize the resources I am sharing weekly in my personal development communities and monthly through Max Meditation events.
In tending to our own well-being, we are better positioned to treat ourselves with kindness. When we are able to have kindness and compassion for ourselves, we create a more peaceful inner landscape. From that place of inner well-being, we are able to think more clearly and have an increased capacity to listen, consider other points of view and grow, together.
With a growth mindset we embrace change as opportunity, and we seek out solutions rather than focusing on problems.
This makes our lives better. This makes our world better.
Monthly Max Meditation Events
For Veterinarians: MettaPets Veterinary Wellness Network
For Everyone, interested in personal and spiritual growth with a focus on self-empowerment
If you feel drawn to exploring self-healing and spiritual development as a way to open your potential and decrease stress by developing your relationship with your true self, I welcome you to join me in my Divine PowerHouse community, events and services. I would love to support your self-healing and inner journey with the spiritual tools and techniques in which I have training and experience.