Defying Gravity at the Doctor's Office
Heal Your Life Blog
Defying Gravity at the Doctor's Office
We cannot reason our way back to health.
I took my Dad to the doctor’s today. He’s going to be 80 in a couple of weeks. If you live in southern California, you may have seen my Dad. He’s one of those guys on the beach every morning with a metal detector. He walks two or three miles daily, and then returns home to enjoy a ballgame or poker match in his easy chair with a glass of his favorite wine by his side.
My family has been concerned because last weekend my Dad was a little disoriented about the time of day. He went to bed earlier than usual, woke up at 7, and jumped in his car for his morning beach walk. The only problem…it was 7 p.m.
When we drove to his favorite beach spot, there he was on his familiar path. Now he’s back on his morning routine and he’s been fine ever since. But for those of us who have left our keys in the refrigerator, forgotten our ATM pin number, or walked into a room only to wonder what we went in there for in the first place…this incident raised a few flags. Was this just a temporary memory lapse or something more?
I thought I’d talk to his doctor on my own because I didn’t want to upset my Dad unnecessarily. So I slipped out of the waiting area and found the thirty-something internist. When I pulled him aside and told him what had happened, he said there was nothing to worry about. “These things happen for a man this age.” As I was about to let out a sigh of relief, he nonchalantly added that I should be happy my Dad has “lasted this long. After all, he made it to 80, didn’t he?”
Are you kidding me? I looked at him in disbelief as he went on to spew out all the other illnesses that were clamoring to afflict my Dad as an imminent octogenarian.
Finally, I felt a little steam building up around my neck. I couldn’t take this nonsense any longer. “Have you looked outside your office lately?” I asked. “There are hundreds of 80- and 90-year-olds living healthy and amazing lives.” I started citing examples of people who changed the world in their later years. I even told him about Louise Hay, now 82 who has more energy, stamina and positive vibes than anyone his age!
“And there’s something else that you haven’t even considered in your equation—my Dad’s great attitude on life.”
When the doctor dismissed my statements saying that the “odds” were against my Dad because of his age and lifestyle, I had had enough. “We’re a family who likes to beat the odds,” I huffed as I walked back to the waiting room.
After this confrontation, I had two words for that doctor: Defy Gravity! (Actually, I had two other words for him, but this is my segue into Caroline Myss’ new book.)
In Defy Gravity, Caroline talks about how we are misled on our path toward healing by following our intellect, reasoning too much, and listening to all those memes and beliefs that society has designated for us. Caroline says: “Our powers of reasoning are, if anything, among the greatest challenges to our healing, because rationality insists on discovering an explanation for why things happen as they do, including why we become ill.”
I thought about my Dad’s doctor trying to rationalize how someone who may not have the healthiest lifestyle in his eyes could still beat cancer, survive life’s traumas, and live well into their ’80s, ’90s, and ’100s. This man couldn’t explain it—because he couldn’t go beyond what he learned in medical school. He knew so much that it blinded him from seeing anything else.
And that’s why I love Caroline’s new book. She challenges us to defy gravity. She dares us to open our eyes and go beyond our reasoning, beyond the “seeing is believing,” the “should be’s,” and the “because I’m a doctor and I said so.”
And when you get to this place—that’s where you can heal. That’s where you can make a connection with something bigger, something that can’t be explained in textbooks. As Caroline so eloquently reveals: “Only the soul has the power to bring the body back to life.”
It still bugs me when I think about that doctor and how he could be robbing so many of his patients of their spirit to heal and the desire to move forward. But I regained hope when I drove my Dad home that day.
“So how did it go in there?” I asked.
“Oh, he tried to tell me what to do, but I just told him: ‘Doc, I live every day to enjoy myself.’”
And next time I take my Dad to another appointment, it will be to a see a new doctor.
Something I Didn’t Know…
The oldest person to ever live was Jeanne Calment of France. She was financially secure, well-educated and physically active until she died at age 122 in 1997. When she was 117, she decided to quit smoking!
Best Thing I Read Last Night:
Here are a few almost octogenarians plus others who are having the time of their lives: Clint Eastwood (79), Gena Rowlands (79), Joanne Woodward (79), Neil Armstrong (79), Anne Francis (79), Robert Wagner (79), Christopher Plummer (79), Sean Connery (79), Anne Meara (80), Arnold Palmer (80), Barbara Walters (80), Bob Newhart (80), Maya Angelou (81), Louise Hay (82), Hugh Hefner (83), Helen Gurley Brown (86), Carl Reiner (87), Ray Bradbury (89), Maureen O’Hara (89), Andy Rooney (90), Betty Garrett (90), and Lena Horne (92). And this is just the short list!