Today is Thanksgiving Day, and having just flown back from the US I have many mixed emotions. Granted the roller coaster ride (or sea of emotions) could be attributed to my jet lag, but I’d love you to allow me a moment to explore why I feel so stirred…
Thanksgiving is a day where our friends in North America and Canada (who celebrate Thanksgiving in October) give thanks for the blessing of the harvest and the fruits of the year. Family members travel to be with loved ones and it was SUCH a delight to experience in person, the excitement that US travellers have at this time of year. Airport arrival lounges were filled with family members, lovers and friends reconnecting with such authentic and raw emotion – it was beautiful to observe.
Thanksgiving feels incredibly patriarchal
I think many Australians would agree that we Aussies are not patriarchal in nature. In fact sometimes we Australian, English and European folk raise a curious eyebrow at Yankee traditions and American rituals but I am willing to admit that being immersed in the flavour of Thanksgiving this last week – gave me much to ponder, “food for thought” as such, even it was ‘turkey’ flavoured 🙂
The holiday is not about ‘time off’ work or school and the traditional thanksgiving dinners that we attended as a lead-in to the holiday, were focused on reflecting on the year that had been and taking time to consider the blessings that have unfolded in ones year and the people who have enriched their lives.
Have witnessed this tradition now in full flight in various States, as an Australian I am humbled by this tradition and feel that Australia and many other countries would do well to have holiday held in ‘gratitude’ as we too, clearly have so much to be grateful for.
I often bellow on to my children that giving thanks is the quickest way to cure a bad attitude and Simon and I also like to “annoyingly” remind each other if we are having a “stinking thinking” moment, to stop, take hold of ourselves, recalibrate and give thanks.
While we have many family rituals that allow us to express our gratitude for the blessings in our lives, I have decided to start our own ‘Thanksgiving’ ritual next year as another reason to pause, reflect and give thanks.
What came as a surprise this time while travelling in America…
Travelling regularly allows one to really appreciate attributes of different countries and escalates the appreciation one also has for elements of there our own home, which are often taken for granted.
As I spend more time in the States I realise that I adore the friendly disposition North Americans seem to have, their confidence and earnest desire to make a difference in the world. I am also refreshed by your liberating, “Freedom of Speech” manner and your courage to shine a light on political corruption, pharmaceutical hype and medical cover-ups. I also love how so many of you innately set big, bold, audacious goals.
Without a doubt your coffee is terrible, and let’s be frank so too is most of your store bought food J but God bless, “Wholefoods” and the abundance of retail therapy that you have on every corner for yours truly.
What saddened me…
What saddened me however this time, while visiting the States was learning more about the impact the health care system has had on the health and wellness of your nation. Even within chiropractic it seems that only 16% of chiropractors in the States run a family wellness based practice instead most chiropractors work within an insurance based model of care where the chiropractors focus on working with people with ‘health conditions” to suit the “billing model.”
Alternatively a small group of chiropractors focus on educating their communities about how to increase their health and vitality and attract consumers ready to embark on a new health journey. Fortunately in Australia, chiropractors actively moved away from a sickness based insurance model and larger numbers focus on highlighting the unique strengths of our profession for preventative and wellness care.
When in America Simon and I have been blessed to speak at seminars for chiropractors who practice in a similar format to our family practice in Australia however this trip reminded me that the vast majority of American chiropractors are not seeing children or families and I found this incredibly sad.
What made my jaw drop…
As I chatted to some of these chiropractors on this recent trip my jaw dropped as they quite literally told me they hated being in practice and they were planning early retirement because they couldn’t see a way out of their current predicament. They expressed how they feel limited, restricted and powerless.
Author, motivational speaker and fellow Aussie Nic Vujicic who was born without arms or legs says, “Limitations are only in your head” and I believe there are countless ways to transform a vision, a practice and a community. So while I felt empathy for these chiropractors I mostly felt a growing fury within because if chiropractors don’t understand the importance of speaking their truth about health and wellness how can we EVER possibly care for and educate parents and families.
Each day parent’s email asking me to help them find a “wellness oriented chiropractor” and I now better appreciate why it is often hard for health conscious parents in the States to find a chiropractor they resonate with.
As someone who is fiercely passionate about the promotion of healthy family lifestyles I realised with this trip that I need to work more and more with all streams of chiropractors to help them embrace the remarkable gifts that the chiropractic lifestyle offers a world plagued by health challenges. In doing so together we can use our skills, knowledge and expertise to guide more and more families towards a proactive, holistic lifestyle.
To sum up Thanksgiving for 2014…
As I write this I am grateful for the large number of opportunities I have to speak in the United States in 2015 to share this vision of “Well Adjusted Families” across a number of different forums.
These opportunities allow me to share my love for families with more practitioners, so that they can in turn go ahead and better love, serve and inspire their own communities.
Finally I give thanks for my incredible family and friends and for being able to do what I love each and every day. This allows me to honour my vision of a healthier, happier planet for families across the globe.
Indeed I am blessed.
. . . . .
Wishing you exceptional health…
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani