Manifesto

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Yes, I’m Writing a Book

My forthcoming book (working title). :)

 

I started noodling with the idea of writing a book back in 2001. It took 13 years for me to get around to actually embarking on the project.

In the meantime, I put out more than one hundred issues of Experience Life magazine, wrote my Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed Up World, launched RevolutionaryAct, worked up the "101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy" mobile app, wrote a bunch of monthly columns, hosted a radio show, created a TV show pilot, gave talks, taught some online classes, took people through my Refine Your Life workshops, did a brief stint running the Healthy Living vertical at The Huffington Post and got involved with a bunch of other fun, worthwhile things.

Now, at last, the book project's time has come.

Why do I want to write this book? Well, I guess for pretty much the same reason I've done all that other stuff: I want to change the world.

I have a selfish motive for this. I want to live in a healthier, happier, more sustainable world. And I think that is only going to happen if we have more healthy, happy people showing up to address the challenges we are facing — individually and collectively.

Here's just a little of what's  got me motivated to create positive change:

  • Today, more than half adults in this country are chronically ill.
  • Two thirds of us are overweight or obese.
  • Today’s kids are the first generation in U.S. history predicted to live less long than their parents; huge numbers of them are chronically ill before they turn 18.
  • Seventy percent of U.S. adults regularly take one or more prescription drugs on a regular basis
  • The top-selling drugs are meds for blood pressure, cholesterol, depression and heartburn — all lifestyle-related conditions that can only be healed through lifestyle changes.
  • Seventy-five to eighty percent of the money we are spending on healthcare is being spent ineffectively on obesity-linked, lifestyle-related diseases.
  • Globally, said ineffective treatments of chronic disease is projected to suck up $47 trillion dollars over the next 20 years (think of all much cooler and more interesting stuff we could do with  that kind of money!)
  • Fewer than 20 percent of us are considered to be mentally and emotionally thriving; the remaining 80 percent, according to psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, are “just getting by” or “living lives of quiet despair”.
Yikes. Just stop and think about that for a minute. The majority of U.S. population is sick and/or overweight, and/or depressed. Only a relatively tiny minority> is healthy, happy and thriving. And most of these trends appear to be worsening. Not good.

What does it mean to live in a society that reliably produces more unhealthy, unhappy, vulnerable people than healthy, happy, resilient ones — and tanks its own economy in the process?

It means, quite plainly, that our society is sick.

That sickness shows up everywhere – in our families and communities, our healthcare system, our food supply, our businesses, our built environments, our media, our government, our schools, our religious institutions, our financial systems, our ecological systems, and especially in our relationships to ourselves and each other.

The tricky part is that fixing all this is going to require a whole lot of strong, healthy, hopeful people — people who are energized enough to bringing their A-game and swim against the tide.

Unfortunately, the world we’re living in now produces far more people so depleted that they probably aren’t even bringing their B-game.

Most of us don't really have time or energy to think about swimming in new directions, because we are barely treading water as it is.

That’s what I want to change — by empowering and emboldening people who want to change it for themselves.

And that's what my book is all about. I'm figuring it will take me a couple years to write. If you can't wait, you can read more about it here ...

  1. joni luxem says:

    I do a volunteer radio program for the State Services For The Blind and read your article Repossess Your Health.I have worked out all of my life,eaten healthy foods,do yoga and have a loving family.Still I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.I have many friends and loved ones that have chronic illnesses and cancers.Who like me have lived very healthy lives.It is always hurtful to read articles such as yours that devote a line or two to say they do not mean to ridicule or blame the ill victim,but that really that vast majority of us create our illnesses.I agree with you that exercise,yoga,calmness,loving relationships,making healthy food choices,getting plenty of good sleep are fabulous ways to create a great life today.However Pilar,we have no control over what happens tomorrow with our bodies. Those of us trying to make the right choices and dealing with chronic illnesses feel so sad and ashamed deep down when we hear people such as you make such cavalier statements.Blessed are those with the compassion to know what it is like to be ill.

    • Pilar Gerasimo says:

      Hi Joni! I just received your reply to my “Repossess Your Health” article (below), and I’m so sorry to hear you found it hurtful.

      When I wrote, “Certainly, there are illnesses and injuries that can come upon any of us, unbidden, and over which we have little or no control,” I was intending to cover precisely the sort of uncontrollable health situation you describe. Although that passage was brief, I felt it directly addressed the concern you raised, and I consciously chose to include it very early in the article for that reason.

      I also emphasized, just a little further on: “in some cases, there really is little to do but manage a given health challenge or injury with as much consciousness and self-compassion as we can muster.”

      I regret that you did not find these statements to be adequate comfort or reassurance, though, and sincerely regret any unintentional offense or frustration my column caused you.

      I, like you, have seen many friends and family members suffer significant and chronic health challenges despite their best attempts to take good care of themselves. And I certainly feel immense compassion for anyone struggling with any disease, whatever the cause.

      No one is immune to injury or illness, and that’s even more reason for us all to appreciate whatever level of health and vitality we are fortunate enough to enjoy at a given time.

      Wishing you the very best, Pilar

  2. Shana Lemke says:

    Hi Pilar, I always look forward to reading your articles in Experience Life. I was just reading Joni’s comment regarding her health condition and want to say that I too was doing a good job of eating right, exercise, yoga, etc and still became completely disabled with adrenal fatigue among other ailments. And I have to say that I feel like you and I were twins separated at birth. I am so passionate about wellness and my tag line that I was using for my business was ” Be happy, be healthy and enjoy life”. I too am writing a memoir about my illness and return to health. Anyway, my point in writing to you is that after I found a functional medicine doctor and followed the protocol I found that I also had some very deep spiritual wounds that I also had to deal with. These wounds were the source of my physical issues. Some of them causing me to feel that I did not deserve to be healthy and whole. I am just curious of your thoughts on this. Respectfully yours, Shana Lemke

    • Pilar Gerasimo says:

      Thanks, Shana. I think you make a great point, and I totally agree that emotional and spiritual wounds often “speak” through the body, and ask for our attention that way. Sometimes such wounds can be addressed or transformed through physical healing processes (like bodywork, yoga, and other healing modalities). In other cases, physical healing can’t take place until the underlying issue is resolved more directly through therapy, reflection, spiritual practice, life changes, or other forms of support. I’m so glad you are writing about your own experience, and that you found your way (healing is often a complex journey). On a related note: If you haven’t already read it, you might enjoy The Last Best Cure by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.

      Thanks for taking time to write!

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