Spoonies Saving the World: Our Value as the Canaries in the Coal Mine

For about half of my adult life I have lived with Chronic Illness. But because of that I have learned some very special lessons that healthy people often don’t get faced with. I’ve also had to make a lot of changes to the way I live. Most of these changes and lessons have lead me in a direction that not only helps me live a happier healthier life despite chronic illness but also have a more positive impact on the world as a whole.

As spoonies, we learn skills that make the world a better placeWhen Jennifer Brea was fist crowd funding for her film ‘Unrest’, the working title she had was ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’. I can totally relate to the idea that as a person with ME/CFS, I am showing an early response to a general unhealthiness in the way that humankind now lives and relates to the planet.

The fast pace of life we now live, the disconnection from community, the huge inequality in wealth and opportunity, the values of productivity above all else, mean that an overemployed stress response now plays a huge roll in both physical and mental illness.

More and more people are having problems with gut health as a result of the way our food is processed, the diminishing nutritional value in the average diet and the explosion of food and drink products that have less and less to do with real food!

More and more people are having problem with allergies and toxins as a result of the pollution in our environment.

I strongly believe that for humanity and our planet to survive and thrive, all this all needs to change. Because of ME/CFS I have already had to make lots of changes that could result in a much better world if each and every individual made them:

  • Avoiding chemical products as much as possible
  • Using environmentally friendly and more natural cleaning and personal hygiene products
  • Eating as little processed food as possible (hardly any in fact!)
  • Eating whole and organic foods
  • Minimising medications which in general tend to do my more harm to me than good
  • Using more natural holistic treatments such as essential oils, acupuncture and massage.
  • Letting go of a focus on achievement and productivity
  • Learning to focus on the little things in life that can bring joy
  • Paying more attention to the present moment
  • A better understanding of and appreciation for the importance of love
  • Practices that encourage peace and relaxation
  • Letting go of constantly wanting things to be different and comparisons with other times and other people
  • More acceptance of what is (as a starting point for realistic change)
  • More compassion
  • With a reduced income, I’ve also had to cut back on spending on the non-essential, minimising the pollution and saving on the energy and water involved in modern manufacturing processes.

Can you imagine a world in which everybody had already made those changes? I can and I’m sure it would be a much happier and healthier one than we live in now. So maybe we are not only the canaries in the coal mine, but also the innovators of a new happier and healthier world. By taking responsibility for making the changes that optimise our well-being we can show healthy people how to be happy living with more balance and in harmony with the planet! How valuable is that!

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