On Tuesday September 24, 1957 at 10:38AM in Cleveland Ohio, George Matthew Rhodes was born. I know this because Mary and Peter Rhodes told me so. I believed them. I may have seen my birth certificate at some point but by then it would have been confirmation of what I had come to understand as fact. My two older sisters seem to recall that at some point in their early lives I showed up. Hearsay? I have reason to believe it, or at least have accepted it as fact.
One part of my birth story Ma told me was that she had lost a lot of blood when I barged into the world. She said that a nurse came to give her some blood but Ma noticed that it wasn't her blood type, so she told the nurse who corrected what could have been a fatal error. Somehow, that story stuck in my memory. Hearing about the near loss of my mother was one of those moments I remember clearly. Word for word. I can call up an image of what I think the hospital looked like. How my Ma must have felt, and how I was kind of angry.
We remember moments that impress us with new information delivered with the power of consequence. Emotional stories. Information, with energy. Loving parents, good energy. Harsh consequences, bad energy. Lasting memory. And perhaps, a lasting bias…in my case, about medicine.
At age four, while exploring a neighbor’s flagstone walk, I was frightened by the crawly inhabitants underneath. So, I dropped it…on my finger. It nearly lopped off the tip. It was a bloody mess and I was kind of freaking out. A neighbor drove us to the hospital but not before trying to calm me with the old I can separate my thumb from my hand trick. Yeah, that didn't work. More fear. The shot of an aesthetic made watching the stitches go in painless but bizarre nonetheless. Medical care seemed creepy.
Then later that year it was time for my tonsils to come out. I was upset. I don't remember being afraid. Rather, I felt indignant. How dare they presume I had more parts than I needed. I sensed that the procedure was just wrong. How would I have known that? Was it that through the story of my mother’s brush with death that my mental filters were skewed against medical folks tampering with my God given body? Had I been imprinted with a bias that would shape my feelings and opinions years later? It would be decades before I would get the scientific word that among a great many marvelous attributes, tonsils and the appendix are cancer fighters. They have a purpose. I couldn’t have known that many decades before it was discovered at the U Penn hospital, could I?
BABY SPONGE BRAIN
We have all heard that babies are like little sponges, sucking up information about everything. Literally learning about the world as the brain explodes in complexity. Sounds, shapes, colors, smells, feelings, warmth, moods, and other basics carve out neural pathways that become tracks on which we run the inner programs that process our experience of the business of living. What we eat, when we eat, what to do, what not to do, what else to not do, and more things that are not OK to do are regularly presented to our young brains. We accept them. We are imprinted with unquestioning trust. Reasoning comes later. Long after subconscious thought habits are formed.
Then comes the systematized cultural immersion in our particular flavor of civilization. I began to learn what is normal as a suburban kid in the mid Atlantic region of the United States of America, earth, solar system, universe. That’s how we learned our address. Parents, teachers, preachers, TV, friends, peers, the Internet, advertisers, authorities, writers, actors, and news anchors, all contribute to the information wrapped in emotion that informs us, that forms what is within us. In many ways we are subtly and overtly conditioned consciously and subconsciously to accept a framework with which we will navigate our lives. Our paradigm, our philosophy, our operating system for reality is not a complete picture of what is.
We tend to go through life gravitating towards information sources that reinforce our accepted notions of reality. This gives us comfort. Security. And maybe blindness to what else could be.
RESET THE PROGRAM
I am a morning person. I'm up around five every day. I like to see lots of sunrises. It's just how I am. Really? Could I become a night owl if I decided to be? Why would I? Could there be advantages? Wouldn't it be hard to change? How would I?
First, it would require examination of my presently held long standing beliefs. Then a careful analysis of my actions, behaviors and outcomes. I’d have to believe that such a change was possible, and there was benefit to moving on from where I had been. Being open to new ways of seeing things from a different perspective kind of sounds like work. Isn’t it just easier to go on being as I have been to get on with the living of life? Perhaps. But what if I’m wrong about some basic assumptions? What may I be missing out on, what dangers may lie in wait, what motivation could I conger to impel myself to act on the notion that there may be more to life than I had been led to believe?
It may seem hard to change yet all things change. Everything is in the process of becoming something else. An acorn can become an oak tree. Or it may become squirrel food. An oak tree can make more oak trees or become furniture. Either way disintegration eventually liberates the particles and they become part of something else. Our attitudes and behaviors change too. They may harden or soften. They may seem to serve us so well that they need not be considered for revision.
Our worldview is like a program running in the background. It's invisibility ensures its security. We can't fix what we don't know is broken. Yet the consequences of driving down the wrong road with a newer, faster car every year can be disastrous. To me, this is like the dominant system called health care which is really concerned about disease. It’s good at keeping the flame going when your body crashes. But it has nothing to make the flame grow brighter.
We are products of our environment. To a point. We have the power to change many things about ourselves. We can prune our vines to yield better fruit, and better wine. You now have an opportunity to plant new vines if you wish. You may enjoy the fruit of either or both.
MAYBE WE WERE BORN WITH IT
This “book” is about an often misunderstood and under-valued concept that has changed millions of lives for the better. It is about chiropractic.
Maybe we were born with an inherent sense of the chiropractic principle that health happens from within as the impeded life force is set free. Maybe other teachings have suppressed this truth and usurped our inner power.
I ask that the reader be aware that much of our understanding of how to care for our marvelous bodies is based on what has been considered the zenith of scientific comprehension. It has served humanity immeasurably. Yet it is based on a grossly incomplete appreciation of the true nature of a living being. Perhaps the pain of our presently dominant healthcare system, a leading cause of preventable death, fees that may lead to financial ruin, and an ever sicker population, are reaching the point where you, dear reader, are prepared to consider an entirely different perspective.
The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates