A friend sent me a video of a "holistic doctor" promoting her "30-day detoxification plan." My friend wanted to know what I thought of the ten-minute clip. I try to abide by the "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all" philosophy, but I wasn't speaking to the author so I loosened my tongue. In truth I couldn't get past the first 2 minutes. The video was amateurish and unedited and the "expert" threw around as many buzzwords as she could, thinking if she stuffed her sentences with "wellness" and "detox" and "adrenal support" and "affinity for the liver" the whole would somehow make sense. It didn't. Or if there was a message, the one I got was "this is derivative nonsense I've seen dozens of times before, only usually it is done with better lighting." Derivative. Yes, derivative. But the author is not wholly to blame. Human nature is at fault. Others have had success with wellness plans and detox strategies, so why not her? You can't fault her for trying, but the effort was a failure.
How much of the stuff we encounter in life is derivative? Most. I have harped on this before. The only original metaphysical writings came down to us from India thousands of years ago, slightly modified and tailored to suit cultures and subsequent centuries, and given new names. But the message of oneness, of love, of our nature as spirit, is basically unchanged. It's the same in health. There aren't many witty ways to say "eat your fruits and vegetables." So we get new-fangled and say that "lemons have an affinity for the liver" which is nonsense. I studied chemistry and affinity is a term that is never used, and certainly not about lemons, which only have an affinity for making your teeth gritty.
In fact the whole notion of eating foods to detoxify is nonsense. No foods support the detoxification process. It goes on in normal liver and kidneys no matter what. Some foods have fewer toxic residues (pesticides, fertilizers) so they reduce the burden of these chemicals on the body, which can then devote its energies to riding itself of the toxins in other foods you may eat when you're feeling weak or get tired of munching kale. The same thing with acid/alkaline, and probiotics, and fiber supplements, which the expert in question was also touting as part of her plan. It's nonsense. Yes pineapple has bromelain, but you shouldn't emphasize this fruit over other fruits on the merits of one compound alone. The fruits that don't have this hard-to-pronounce enzyme are high in other nutrients.
Eat a well-balanced diet of raw and lightly-cooked plant foods and you have little need for supplements. This is what I explain in my book The Paradigm Diet. It was written a few years back and we live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world, but the facts stand. Unlike fads. So avoid the 30-day plan and whoever is pushing it on you.
At a recent family gathering my uncle suggested I volunteer my time to war veterans. He probably chose the military because he himself is a former cadet. I said as a matter of fact I did volunteer once, not at the Veteran's Hospital but at the leukemia ward at UCLA. They directed me to a rigorous application process involving cover letter, resume, references and interviews in addition to background check. It was as though I were applying to become US President. Christ! I just wanted to spend a couple hours a week hanging out with those less-fortunate, being the sunlight of their day. Why all the loopholes? Was it just to verify I'm not some serial killer or child molester? What happened to the days when business was conducted with a hand-shake? I'm a medical doctor. Shouldn't that get me in? I'm kidding. I'm averse to special treatment. It makes me feel privileged and in a world with so much suffering that just won't do. And even if I were so fortunate as to be accepted as volunteer I wouldn't even get to choose my own hours. Jeez. If I wanted to go to jail I'd just commit a crime. My uncle said the problem lay in the institution. A Trojan, he said I should have applied to USC. Ha, ha...
Another time I used the website VolunteerMatch to get connected with someone in the area that might benefit from my skills and services, however vague and nondescript these are. I got paired with a small-business owner on the other side of town. The first thing she asked was whether I was available to help her set up and break down a booth at a wellness fair she was scheduled to attend the following weekend. I get it. You want me to help you promote your line of herbal supplements and skin-care products, help you make money, for free. We all need something in life, lady. But you've got to spend money to make money. I'll take $35 an hour and consider that a discount. This ain't charity. I never heard back. No wonder more people don't give of their time. Too many hurdles. Which is why I'm content to be.
In his book Revolution (which I'm thoroughly enjoying - it's laugh out loud funny and you should read it), British comedian and modern messiah Russell Brand mentions an experiment conducted in Washington to determine whether just being (in this case a group of meditators sitting cross-legged in a room chanting a mantra and, I don't know, maybe radiating peace?) had any wider effect than whatever benefit it brought the meditators. Would the peace reach others? Would the chants influence surrounding criminals? And indeed, over the course of the two-month experiment, crime in the surrounding city fell by nearly 25 percent. Let's hear it for being!
And yet I still write. Because being creative is also nice. But starting now I will commit to being original. No more archaic references (I'll miss you, Maharshi), no more name-dropping (I got you in though, Mr. Brand). Whatever I write will be stamped by personal experience. Thoughts, words, deeds with which I am intimately familiar. Empirical evidence through and through. Yes reading somebody else's fancy quote and being impacted by it is a form of experience, but how much more "peak" to come up with that quote or have the experience the quote encapsulates on one's own! That's for me. When discussing your own life, where is the need to reference authorities? You ARE the authority!
Because we have to cease this wholesale borrowing at some point, so why not now? No more bringing the past into the present. The pattern is well-worn. Why not let's try something new. The "same ole situation" is a great song but it's about time we change our tune. However it remains to be seen if there is anything new left under the sun. Sorry. Nothing new under the sun is a well-worn figure of speech. This originality business is sure gonna take some getting used to. You may not be hearing from me for a while.