I feel really fortunate to be part of this conversation about our health care system since launching my new health care initiative, the Well-Being Forum. It's wonderful to encounter so many dedicated, thoughtful, and caring people through this blog. I thank you all for offering your suggestions and comments, and clearly many of you have been wrestling and working with these issues for a long time. There is so much to be done. There are things we all can do and need to do for our personal health and well-being. And there are also larger things that we need to address as a society. I'm a great believer in going both from the bottom up and the top down -- you have to get at things from both directions.
So in this blog, I'm going to address the "bottom up," what I did (and what each of you must find your own way to do) -- to get motivated and feel empowered to take action. Meanwhile, Alison Rose Levy's blog reports on what some of our notable speakers at the Well-Being Forum had to say about the "top down," the larger societal forces that shape our health and health care that we need to address to create an overall systemic shift. To tackle those bigger issues, we're going to need to have addressed at least some of the personal stuff, so that it doesn't get in the way.
For me, my relationship with motivational coach and author Tony Robbins really got me into action on the health front. I had thought about our health care situation and wanted to do something about it for quite some time. But there was always something that held me back, like a voice inside saying: These are big problems. How can one person make a difference? But as Deepak Chopra said on the last day of the forum, (and forgive me, Deepak, for paraphrasing you) each of has to be the change we want to create.
Two years ago, by the time I had the chance to meet with Tony, I had already met with every doctor, every yogi, and every healer you could name, and I had been doing yoga for decades. I was searching for some key to my own healing.
So I decided I could be Tony's challenge. When we first met in L.A., Tony told me what I needed to do but of course I didn't do what he told me because I was too busy. Does that sound familiar? How many of you know the right thing but can't quite bring yourselves to do it -- whether it's eating better, exercising more, addressing an emotional issue, or taking action, rather than waiting for someone else to do it for you -- whatever it is.
But I found if you don't listen to Tony, or to any other healer or instructor who gives you sound advice, guess what? You don't follow their recommendations and you're still in trouble. That's where I was.
But Tony knew that the bottom line is that healing is individual, it's not one size fits all. You have to find the key to yourself. At the Well-Being Forum, Karen Duffy, a TV host and patient advocate who has experienced serious illness told us that, "The doctors gave me metaphors like, "you're going to fight this illness." But I'm a lover, not a fighter, and I didn't want a big battle. I wanted the happy cells to take the unhappy cells out for a pint and talk it over."
"Doctors don't realize the hypnotic power of their messages, whether it's telling you illness is a battle or saying that you have six months to live," Tony told us at the forum. " But it's vital to bring hope to the table and give people the images and metaphors that will heal them."
Tony has a real ability to do that.
When Tony invited me to a week-long program of his in Australia, I figured I'd better go. Quite frankly, it was intense. I'd put myself in a place of last resort as had everyone else there. And the shifts I saw happening all around me were amazing. Tony gets into your core beliefs, metaphors, and motivations so that you can really access and work from them. I saw people who were ready to commit suicide because they couldn't deal with their issues, and they turned around.
What he showed us was that we are all basically dealing with the same problem. The most embarrassing thing for me was to get on the stage with two thousand people and tell my story. I learned that underneath it all, I did not feel that I was good enough.
Facing that, with his help, I ultimately made a commitment to use my creativity to inspire those I know and those I have yet to know.
Together, we will find new ways to make a difference in the world. I want to empower each and every one of you to find your own way -- it doesn't have to be my way -- to do the same. It's a responsibility for each one of us. We have to get in touch with something that is not about "me," it's about "we," each of us has that ability. I want to thank Tony for empowering that ability in me. I'm committed to using it on behalf of us all.