Why Settle?

By Terri Klein

February 26, 2017

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—leave well enough alone!”

Really? Why is sufficient enough?

What about seeking to improve upon that which is mediocre?

What about helping someone to move from “no longer depressed” to “happy”?

What about making something wonderful?As a student of life, I don’t seek perfection or mastery; my ultimate quest is for growth—making small increments of change in a positive direction by developing, maturing, and opening one’s mind.

I believe that people, systems, and organizations must continuously grow and evolve. In order to thrive we must be open and willing to change. For me, it’s a no-brainer!

Although we are a culture of diverse personalities, in our own way we are all designers, innovators, and co-creators. But here’s the catch: we must create within the confines of questionable systems that we have been taught to inherently trust.

Politics rule, policies lead, and societies dictate certain standards that we have to meet, but all in all, we have to honor those systems.

What happens when those systems are not really working—when they’re not serving us in the best way possible? What happens when our personal experiences show us that we can no longer trust a system that seems to be failing us?

I believe that it is part of our human duty to question the systems. We have a responsibility to be proactive rather than reactive—to look at prevention and maintenance rather than only brokenness and repair.

It is the questioning that leads to the awareness, which leads to the action. Becoming mindful of a problem in and of itself is passive, but advocating for something better is proactive and possible. All change begins this way—with a conscious decision NOT to settle!

For many years now I have advocated for wellness within education as I believe wholeheartedly that our educational system, with its emphasis primarily on academic success, is no longer serving us in the best way possible.

With grit and perseverance I approached government, boards, and individual schools the only way I knew how, by speaking to the importance of wellness intervention—of mind-body health—by offering a new kind of wellness curriculum.

Unfortunately, my voice was not heard—my curriculum not welcomed. Not because it offered little value, as pilot projects proved otherwise, but because change feels too daunting and political red tape generally wins over truth. One day my coach told me to let go and move on—to stop trying to move an anchored ship! So, very reluctantly, and for the time being, I did.

I shifted my direction ever so slightly into my most recent fascination: how to spread wellness—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and occupational. My revised mission: to publicize the importance of investing in wellness, daily.

But shortly thereafter, my very own subjective experience of physical “unwellness” prevented me from immersing myself in this mission, and I was forced once again to sidestep—this time right into our medical system.

To make a very long story short, that system, which had only failed me in the past with my many chronic issues, continued to fail me once again. And so began my new journey into functional medicine.

According to the research, I am far from the only person who has fallen through the cracks of our narrow-minded, western medical system. Statistics prove that people with chronic issues like chronic fatigue, irritable bowel, autoimmune disease, stress, and anxiety are oftentimes left unsupported by western medicine.

Functional medicine puts two worlds together. Its operating system speaks to western medicine’s biochemistry and physiology and to eastern/Chinese medicine’s desire to improve function and increase balance within the mind and body.

In functional medicine, also known as integrative or holistic medicine, all body parts are treated as connected and intertwined in a web-like fashion, and it approaches all physical symptoms as stemming from a deeper root cause.

This new science that I am discovering fascinates me; each day I’m curious to learn more. I am taking my healing into my own hands now, reaching out to doctors and people who are also curious—who, too, NO LONGER WANT to settle!

Here’s how I see it: Conventional medicine saw me as an unsolvable mystery, thinking, this is the best we can do! Whereas, functional medicine seeks to understand me as a whole human being with very real and challenging issues and is committed to my healing by helping me get to the root cause of my suffering.

We may not have specific answers as of yet, but we do have options. I am beginning by repairing my damaged gut using holistic nutrition and supplements. After all, the gut is the second brain, and it has proven to be the source of many chronic issues.

I am not here to bash the medical or educational system, rather my intention is to speak to those parts that are no longer serving us well. These systems are by no means completely broken, but evidence suggests there is clearly room for improvement.

I felt driven to speak to this very important and widespread issue. My hope is that it will plant a seed within each of you and that you will commit to living with an open mind—to getting curious about the bigger picture—to questioning the systems.

 Is our educational system truly preparing our children for life using primarily academic success as its measure? Is our medical system serving everyone as health care or as disease management? Is the world speaking to mental wellness or only to mental illness? What is our primary focus? We all need to think about these bigger questions and to challenge the systems wherever possible in order to advocate for real change. How much more evidence do we need?

Together, we can and must strive for wellness to permeate through our entire culture.

Really, why settle for anything less?

Sincerely,
Coach Terri

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