Welcome to Pathways to Health and thank you for the opportunity to journey together. If we think of good health as a destination, and this is a destination we would like to achieve, then the question becomes how to get there?
We have created this web site to help you on your journey. At Pathways Integral Health and Wellness our mission is to provide education and support through a community-based learning environment that is fun and informative. We provide a place where fellow travelers can network and assist each other in reaching their health destinations.
In order to more fully understand the territory that represents your health, we use concepts drawn from Integral Theory to help you understand the various components of your health and how these relate to one another. These include aspects from the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and cultural elements that make you a unique individual. These all represents perspectives which need to be viewed in order to reach a full and complete understanding of your individual health.
We all share a set of human capacities. We all have the capacity to be healthy. We hope that we can help you to realize your fullest potential, to be healed, and to enjoy good health.
Join us and together we’ll help you to find your Pathway to Health…
What does it mean to be healthy?
Just about everyone wants to be healthy. In the United States, only military spending consumes more GNP than health care. Much of this is spent on traditional medical care and much is spent on supplements, pills, diet and fitness fads. Products are marketed to appeal to consumers’ desires to be healthier. If health could only be achieved with the right combination of vitamins, exercise routine, meditation, and natural organic bedding the world would be a much healthier place! But it isn’t that simple.
The standard Western conceptualizations about health rely on a disease model. In this model, the presence or absence of disease becomes the measure of an individual’s health. Yet, people often do not feel well even though they have not been diagnosed with a particular ailment.Furthermore, the full experience of illness is not captured in the label of a diagnosis. When we focus simply on treating a disease, we tend to ignore social, cultural, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the illness experience. It’s much easier to treat a diagnosis than it is to treat a unique human being.
Notwithstanding the many excellent treatments modern medicine has to offer, as long as the concept of health is rooted in diagnosing or ruling out a particular disease, traditional medicine will not satisfy. Conventional Western or Allopathic medicine relies too heavily on physical signs and symptoms of illness. Fragmentation exists among various medical disciplines and results in a failure to appreciate individuals in a holistic way. Although alternative, complementary and integrative approaches to care attempt to be more holistic, they are similarly fragmented and approach treatment based on a narrow focus of expertise or training bias. Efforts to incorporate mind-body approaches and more spirituality to medical care partially succeed in approaching health in a more comprehensive way, but they are still incomplete. Essentially, all of these single or combined approaches do not have the answers to health and frequently aren’t even asking the right set of questions.
Instead of conceptualizing health in terms of disease, which is either present or absent, think of health as existing on a continuum. Arbitrarily we label “illness” on one end of this continuum and “wellness” on the other end. In this fashion, the level of our wellness becomes a measure of our health.
Health can be conceptualized in terms of dynamic equilibrium or energetic balance. As such, enhanced balance equates to better health.
Everyone, irrespective of their current health, has the capacity to improve their health and achieve a greater level of wellness.
The Life Skills Learning Series are talks which expand on material covered in the book, Pathways to Health. These are adaptable to many different teaching formats and venues. Current topics in the series include:
Learning to Forgive I – Forgiveness has many demonstrated health benefits including reductions in chronic pain, depression, and anger as well as an increase in optimism, compassion, and self-confidence.
Life circumstances which result in hurt, grievance, or transgression represent events. Suffering accompanies the pain which these events are associated with. Forgiveness offers an alternative response to dealing with these life events and serves to break the chain of attached suffering.
Learning to Forgive II – Here we further explore the event/response chain focusing on the beliefs and values which form the basis of our underlying positions and judgments. These lead to failures in forgiveness. We also explore the roles of cognition, emotion, and volition in shaping our responses. We will consider ways in which we can harness these basic human traits to develop better strategies to deal with painful life events.
Motivation – Success in achieving better health is frequently determined by motivation. In this workshop we examine the role of internal and external reinforcers. We also outline how they can be utilized to accomplish beneficial behavioral change. Here we offer insights into cognition, emotion, and volition, identifying and conquering obstacles to motivation, and we explore the inability to maintain motivation. Effective new strategies for success are developed.
Grief – We naturally respond to loss with grief. Since our lives are constantly changing we must learn to effectively deal with loss. Acceptance of disease in our own lives frequently results in a loss of self-esteem. It can change how we view ourselves. Grief is part of that response. We examine typical components of a grief reaction. We will consider the loss (event) and our reaction (response) along with the attached suffering. We will use the same conceptual framework presented in Forgiveness I and II. Participants learn about “good” grief as a healthy choice in dealing with loss.
Stress Management – Stress occurs in relation to internal and external stressors. Frequently these derive from issues of work, relationships, finances, or time management. In this workshop, we explore the “fight or flight” response and understand the concept of “Allostatic Load” (this represents the cumulative effects of how the body copes with stress.) Together we will develop mental, physical, emotional and spiritual strategies to enable participants to effectively manage stress.
Destructive Emotions – Here we study the neurophysiology of fear and anger as states of activation. The frequency, intensity, and persistence of these response patterns and how these contribute to Allostatic Load are examined. As alternatives, strategies which build on the techniques introduced in the forgiveness, motivation, grief and stress management workshops are offered. Compassion as an alternative to anger, and trust, as an alternative to fear, offer the potential to reprogram unhealthy response patterns.
Attitudes/Perspectives – How do we develop attitudes of optimism and gratitude? How do we learn to cultivate positive emotions such as joy, exuberance, and resilience in our daily lives? Discussion here focuses on spiritual and psychological perspectives, as well as the roles of intention and affirmation. Participants learn the principles of an Integral Life Practice.
4 Quadrant Diagnosis – An Introduction to Integral Health is also available.
Speaking fees vary depending on the venue and number of participants. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.