As the year limps towards its speedy end with reckless confidence, you may wonder what will happen when the final page on the calendar turns. The short answer is, “I don’t know.” The slightly longer answer is, “With a bit of luck, some of the things we learned this year will come in handy next year.”
2015 was a sabbatical year for me. It began with me closing our physical (“bricks and mortar”) shop and only trading online for the whole year. Telkom helpfully simplified my life even further by cutting off my landline and only reconnecting it three months later.
Most folks seem to think “sabbatical” means I spent my year on the beach puffing on something green and hazy. Truth be told, I wasn’t on the beach much. As for puffing on green stuff… even less of that happened. When you’re working for yourself, the “No work, no pay” rule applies rather harshly. There’s always so much month left at the end of the money, as my dear wife keeps reminding me. So the sabbatical bits had to happen after a full day’s work. This meant working an extra two to four hours most days.
So, what DID I do? Here’s the 60 second version that my mother would understand:
- The main purpose of this “rest” year was to develop “wisdom” products. Yeah, I know, they’re actually called “information products”, but who needs more information?
Over the past two years, it became clear that shipping physical products around the globe was becoming too expensive on the one hand (couriers) or too unreliable on the other hand (post office). Selling “information”, however, was instant and immediate. What is more – there is a much bigger need now than ever before for a sensible, reliable voice in the midst of all the conflicting bits of wellness info floating around on the internet. We have more information available to us now than ever before in our history, but we have fewer guides now than we ever had before. The sheep are losing their shepherds as more and more new doctors get trained as technicians rather than as, well, doctors. My profession, now no longer art or science, has lost its moral compass. This bothers me even more than the fact that information is replacing knowledge and wisdom in the training of new doctors.
Did I succeed in my aim of developing wisdom products? I worked out two email series, one on low-carb, high-fat science (the so-called “Banting diet”), and one to help folks lose weight rather quickly. At face value, nothing terribly exciting. But by helping real people think differently about real food, the final outcome was much more gratifying than if I’d simply sold pills.
Seeing people taking charge of their own health brings me a lot of happiness. Passing on wisdom requires putting the power (and the power tools) into the hands of my “patients”. I love working with people who take this seriously.
- From the above, it follows that I focused much on food and eating. Our society has gone off the rails when it comes to food. At the one end of the spectrum, fake food litters our shop shelves in colourful profusion. At the other end, health freaks sacrifice kale and chia seeds to the Goddess of Eternal Youth (who is wire thin). All round, we’ve become “FOR” eaters. We eat FOR a cause, not for the simple joy of the meal itself. Whether it’s fast food FOR convenience, or broccoli FOR cancer or kale FOR who-the-heck-knows-why, we’re losing the joy of eating simple food around a table with people we love.
Once I stood back from mess and clutter we’ve made of “nutrition science”, I picked up a couple of valuable strands. In all cases, the wisdom I gained was not my own, but long-forgotten bits that had been there all along, obscured by the noise of “recent discoveries”. Aristotle said, “In order to find the right answers, you need to ask the right questions” (my paraphrase). Finding the right questions to ask turned out to be my biggest task this year.
- I came into touch with dozens of fantastic mentors who helped me turn the loose strands I was rediscovering into a new tapestry of health and wellness. I say “new” because it is new to me. Most of these mentors were humans with an alphabet soup of tertiary degrees behind their names. But a couple of them were humble animals. One example: We got given four chickens as a gift (live ones, not the deep-fried version) in September.
Observing them closely and asking the right questions, taught me more surprising truths than I would have thought possible. And no, I’m not just talking about the wisdom of going to “roost with the chickens” or “the early chicken catches the worm”. What chickens eat – and why – will surprise you, too. I hope to share this with you in the months to come.
- For various reasons, I had a lot to do with cancer during the past year. I have been treating cancer patients with alternative remedies for nearly 20 years already, but thisyear my horizons expanded rapidly. I grasped more of the root causes of cancer and how this knowledge can be applied to prevent and treat cancer ever more effectively – without resorting to treatments that harm and kill. Understanding cancer as a stress response (“escape response”) to a range of toxic conditions helps to nip cancer in the bud.
And so we come to the end of my sabbatical year. I can’t wait for 2016 to begin!
To your health! (And be kind to chickens this Christmas!)