Seeing the best in life's challenges

Freeing the Ego

The Ego has gotten a bad rap lately.  First of all, there’s the common criticism of the person who’s got a big one.  We don’t like the idea that someone thinks they are a big shot and better than everyone else, that the world revolves around them.  Give me a break, right?

For those who on a quest to mature spiritually, there is a lot of advice telling us that we have to lose the darn thing.  While there is truth there, of course, I think this is an oversimplified goal that can seem impossible.

What exactly is your Ego, anyway?  It may appear in some people as over-confident, selfish behavior, but those are just symptoms.  If we can understand the Ego better and get clearer about what we are trying to “lose” this issue can make a lot more sense.

I like the term “Ego Mind” because it better describes what I’m trying to define.  When our souls are born into a physical body on Earth, we come into a place where we have to learn to cope with the conditions here. As part of this experience, we have a “Veil of Forgetfulness” that hides our awareness of our Soul, so we conclude that physicality is all that exists.  We need food, clothes and shelter.  We need love and companionship.  Being separated from the spiritual world, we have to figure out how to survive in this wilderness.

So we have a built-in mechanism, a predisposition for self-preservation.  The Ego Mind Operating System is in charge of how we deal with the physical world.  It is set up to protect our physical bodies and maximize our physical experience.  This is a good thing.  Our brains learn early on how to interact with other people and the world, to get our needs met.  The brain is clever and creative, and will figure out a way no matter what our situation is.  The baby born to a family that is loving and has all the material comfort it needs, will develop certain methods of interacting with the world, and the baby born an orphan in a third world country will develop others.  We are hard-wired to survive in any circumstance, from one extreme to the other, and everywhere in between.

Over time, the Ego Mind Operating System has become highly efficient at maximizing all aspects of the physical experience.  Humans have accomplished all kinds of feats in interacting with and “controlling” our world.

Some humans are totally immersed in the physical world, their Veil is solid, their Ego Mind runs the show and everything is the way it’s supposed to be.

The Ego Mind system has been the primary operating system running for humans for a very long time.  We are all used to it, so much so that we haven’t really thought about it.

So that is one side of the coin.

But many recognize that there is something more than this physical experience.  All religions point to this fact.  Over time, philosophers and religious figures and social activists have prompted us to question the deeper meaning of our existence.

Many people have personal experiences that lead them to search for answers.  The Veil is thinning and lifting.  Many are “waking up” to an awareness that there is something more.

Existence for the Soul is very different than physical existence.  The Soul is eternal.  “Survival” is a given, so worrying about it doesn’t make any sense.  We have built-in mechanisms that can be used to operate from our Soul Desires, but most of us don’t use these too much.  I reblogged the most amazing description of how this works here.

The Soul-based Operating System is centered in the Heart.  It assumes that all is well, that we never have to worry about safety, or doing anything “wrong” or any kind of down side.  Our Soul can grow and learn, but it cannot be harmed.  The assumptions of the Soul-Based Operating System are in opposition to the assumptions of the Ego Mind Operating System.

As one begins to explore and expand into the Soul Operating System, the actions of the Ego Mind start to get in the way.

Since it is focused on Survival, the Ego Mind takes any threats to its control of operations very seriously.  It will do anything to survive.  This Operating System will not back down on its own.   It will resist and fight anything that is not familiar or tried and true.  It’s not designed that way.

The Ego Mind wants more than anything to feel secure.  In the absence of any knowledge of the Operations of the Soul, it feeds on fear and doubt and puts up walls.

As the Soul Operating System emerges and gains strength, then of course there will be clashes with the Ego Mind.

“There is nothing to worry about.” 



“We are eternal spiritual beings.”  

But you could DIE tomorrow!


“Trust that everything will work out in Divine timing.” 


When one discovers or becomes aware of the Soul-Based system, it is very tempting to blame the Ego Mind for it’s obsolete methods and to reject it and say we need to leave it behind.  But while we exist on Earth in a human body, the Ego Mind remains very useful.  It continues to help us make good decisions to protect our bodies and maximize our physical experiences.

The Ego Mind is great at dealing with physical life, but it knows nothing about the life of the Soul.  It just doesn’t have any information about it.  It’s a closed system.  The Soul doesn’t make any sense to the Ego Mind, but remember, the Ego Mind is good at learning and adapting.

So, how do we reconcile the two Operating Systems?  How do we transition from one to the other?

It’s a process, and just being aware of what’s going on is half the battle.

As we become more aware of how the Soul operates in a physical body, we have to understand our Ego Mind and how it works.  We have to educate it and give it time to get used to the new Operating System that will run alongside the old one.  We can pick the parts that work well and let go of those that no longer serve our best interests.

So, rather than blaming the Ego, let’s honor and thank the Ego Mind for doing such a great job, and reassure it that it is loved and appreciated no matter what.  As we release it from it’s obligation to feel threatened and its need to control everything, it can relax and shine and do what it does best as an integral part of the human experience.

NOTE:  The day I wrote this (yesterday) someone found my blog by googling:

“they say it’s not a competition but what if it is”

and this totally blew me away because:

If one is operating under the Ego Mind Operating System, LIFE IS A COMPETITION!!!  Absolutely!!  But as one moves into the Soul-Based Operating System, life is no longer a competition.  If you are not aware of where you are in the transition process and where another person is, it will be very, very confusing why one person is operating under the assumption that it’s a competition, yet the other person is not.  It’s an incompatibility in Operating Systems.



My State of Being

“How are you doing?”  people ask.   “Fine” or “Good,” I reply.  But that doesn’t totally feel right.  It’s such a “surface” answer.  Even with certain friends, with whom I can share most everything, it seems impossible to really communicate How I Am.  Especially when it’s a subject area that I have spent a ton of time on, in recent years.  To put this into words is a challenge.

So here’s the long answer.

I have a very different perspective on how I want to be these days.  Actually, it’s not all that new, really, it’s more that I have dug down and found the essence of me that’s been sitting there patiently all this time.  I can see clearly now.  I no longer have any interest in making excuses for being me or modifying my behavior to shield others.

On the surface, I am an easy-going person.  Underneath, however, I am very determined.  I can be very intense. I do know that I refrain from engaging people in many cases because I don’t want to impose myself on others, and I now understand why this is. But I also think this confuses people.  So I’m just sharing.  Part of the purpose of sharing, is that as I write, it helps me clarify and understand myself.

Part of the challenge of communicating where I am, is that my perspective is based not so much on details, but more on the essence of where I am.  It’s easy to state facts or details, it’s harder to describe an “essence.”  You have to read between the lines and “feel” it.

So, let’s say my personal approach to life, as I understand the essence of it, is based on the following values:

Self Discovery and Reflection.  I know that sometimes when people say someone was “finding themselves” that people roll their eyes.  So be it.  I truly believe that each one of us is a unique, one-of-a-kind, special, important aspect of the fabric of humanity.  If the whole of  humanity is a puzzle, it is not complete without each little piece.  Only by thinking about it, reflecting, observing yourself, understanding what your experiences have taught you, etc. can you understand your piece of the puzzle, your role, your unique contribution to the whole.  Call this your essence, call this your soul.  Understanding who I am in this way is of primary importance to me.  It’s purely a personal thing.

Authenticity.  Only when you understand yourself, and you honor your own intuition and feelings, can you truly live according to who you are.  Our culture imposes so many rules, expectations, and assumptions about who and how we “should” be, that it can be a fight to be who you really are.  So trying to be “who I am” within the context of the world and “the way it is” is interesting.  I’m working on this.  There are times when life feels very claustrophobic to me.

Self-Determination.  Rather than living based on rules of right and wrong, each individual determines the path that is appropriate for them, through self-reflection and a desire to be authentic.  Will I make mistakes?  Sure, but that’s just part of the process.  But each of us has to live our own life, figure it out on our own.

Mutual Respect.  Each individual, while living in a way that is authentic to them, gives other individuals the freedom to make their own self-determination.  Only you can know what works and feels right for you.  I don’t impose what works for me, on you.  Please allow me the freedom to make choices for myself.

No Expectations.  I can’t expect something of someone, unless they have told me to expect it from them.  And I can’t expect that those things won’t change.  I can’t make assumptions – rather, I can focus on good, clear communication to know what is going on with others.

An Open Mind.  Being open to every possibility under the sun.  Being unafraid to ponder any question or situation, without judgment.  When something triggers a shutdown, a denial that “it can’t be!” or strong emotions, that is a clue that there is an issue.  Back to more self-reflection…

Discernment.  Relying on one’s own inner knowing, intuition, some would say the Holy Spirit, which I would say is knowing or feeling with your Heart.  The world tells us to follow the rules, but we all know when something just feels comfortable or uncomfortable.

No Judgment.  It’s a central message in the Bible.  And it’s a subject I’ve spent a lot of time trying to break down, because it’s so integrated into the way the world operates.  And several other of these topics are really just other ways of saying the same thing.

There is no absolute “right” or “wrong.”  The world is not black and white, it’s an infinite number of shades of gray.  It always depends.

It’s all Experience.  If there is no “right” or “wrong,”  “good” or “bad,” “better” or “worse,” then there is no judgment.  There is only experience, how it feels, what we learn from it, and how we grow as a result.  Life is just a big playground.

No Blaming.  If everything is just experience, there is no need to blame.  Blaming occurs as a result of judging.  No Judgment = No Need to Blame.

No Self-Judgment.  An individual loves, respects and accepts themselves for who they are.  They may encounter challenges, or become aware of personal issues that they decide to “work on” but this is embraced as a natural part of the human experience.

No Judgment of Others.  Total acceptance of Others as they are, without the need to have an opinion.

No Hierarchy.  No one is better or worse than another.  No one is higher or lower.  Everyone is exactly where they need to be.

Life is not a Competition.

Our Souls are Eternal.  It is only our physical bodies that pass away.  Death has no sting.  Nothing, nothing can harm or hurt or eliminate our souls.  We are protected.

No Fear.  If our souls are eternal, and there is no way to be right or wrong, there is nothing to fear.  It is only through observation and self-reflection that we can identify and face our fears, and see them as the illusions that they are.

Accept What Is.  Which is really just saying the opposite of Don’t Judge.  It is what it is.

Does it seem like something is missing here?

Underlying my perspective is something I didn’t mention.  And that is an assumption that absolutely everything is based on Love.  Meaning kindness and compassion.  It has more to do with Intent that is inside, not “being nice”” or doing what others want you to do.  You can hold someone in love, have compassion and be kind, but still not agree with them or want to spend time with them.  You might even hurt their feelings, especially if you are not meeting their expectations.

So, if this perspective is the ideal for me, HOW does it work in everyday situations?  Since not everyone shares this perspective, how do I interact with others?

Here are some thoughts.  They might resonate with you (discernment) and they might not.  YOU decide.

It Goes Both Ways.   It seems to be a rather common situation where a person is figuring out what works for them, discovering “who they are” and trying to be true to who they are.  And they get really excited about what they discover.  In their enthusiasm, they jump to the conclusion that, if it works for me, it must work for everyone!!  Their intentions are good, but they miss the fact that each individual must figure it out for themselves.  In this situation, rather than getting into a discussion of what is right or wrong, I try to just smile and focus on the fact that they have found something that works for them.  (This brings to mind my post on Evangelism here.)  Sometimes people really want to convince others that they know the answer for you.  Sometimes I have to speak up and say that it might work for you, but it doesn’t work for me.  Sometimes we have to agree to disagree.

Even things that work for MANY people, don’t work for EVERYONE.  I’m talking about things like meditation, eating certain ways, certain kinds of exercise, following certain traditions, reading certain books.  If the same idea pops up several times in a day, I will look into it….but I will still use my own discernment to figure out what that means to me.

The Opinions of Others.  I cannot control and don’t need to be concerned with whether others are judging me.  That is their own personal choice and it doesn’t affect me.  I don’t rely on the opinion of others to determine my own self-worth.  HOWEVER, it is useful to me to take note of the opinions of others.  Lissa Rankin recently  posted some very useful (to me) thoughts about receiving criticism.  So, while I don’t hide from information that might contradict my view, I take responsibility to consider it, and discern if there is truth for me.

Clear Communication.  This is a subset of Honest Communication, but for me, it’s worth a separate category.   Giving incomplete information, or saying nothing at all, is a cousin of dishonesty.  It’s a lazy way to communicate, and if a misunderstanding ensues, the person can always say “I didn’t say that!”  Making an effort to be clear and understood is very important to me.

Honest Communication.  This is a huge one.  To be totally and completely honest with another human being is really, really rare.  I find that I have been developing relationships with others who are working toward operating within these same values as I am, and I can be so much more honest with these friends.  I am much more able to share doubts, challenges, and situations which I am not sure how to handle.  I can share “crazy” thoughts and ideas, without fear of being judged or being told what I “should” do.  Because I know these friends are not interested in imposing themselves on me, and because I know they want the best for me, I can get good feedback from them.

All this, I have found, is a process.  You need to practice.  Finding others who are practicing the same things in a self-aware way, is a huge help and a huge comfort.  It really is amazing where you can go with a relationship like this.

But realistically, you have to meet another person where they are.  If someone is not operating under this philosophy, I can’t be as open or honest, especially if I might hurt their feelings.  I might hesitate to share an observation – even if I know that I am not judging what I see, most people are so used to being judged, they may feel judged anyway.

If a person is not clear on who they are themselves, in a way it is impossible for them to be honest with themselves.  If you aren’t open and honest with yourself, if you suppress your own feelings, if there are places you “just don’t go there,” if you haven’t done the self-reflection, it is impossible for you to be honest with someone else.  This doesn’t mean you are a bad person (again, no judgment), it just means you are in a different place.  I know people like this.  It is what it is, and that’s ok.  It’s just that we don’t have that much in common at this point, and we can be pleasant around each other, but we probably won’t have too many insightful conversations.

If a person has certain expectations, or is attached to “following the rules” and you aren’t, there will likely be conflict and misunderstanding.  It’s as if people are playing two different games with two different sets of rules, but they aren’t aware of that.  It’s a frustrating situation for both parties.

There are relationships in my life where it now feels we have little or nothing in common any more.  We are in two different places.  And since I have no interest in imposing my way of thinking, and I totally respect their own unique perspective, it feels like being with someone who speaks a different language.  There is no common ground.  This is not good or bad, it just is.  But I expect it is confusing and maybe feels hurtful to others, who don’t know what to think.

I have people in my life who are very competitive and who spent a lot of conversational time stating their case and trying to convince me of their view.  I’m a person who actually listens to others and remembers what they have said.  What happens, is that I don’t agree or disagree, I just acknowledge what they said.  Since they haven’t gotten my buy-in, they go through their pitch again.  Can you see the culture clash?  They probably think I’m not listening or I’m stupid or I don’t care, because I am not convinced.  Meanwhile, I totally get where they are coming from, I just honor their right to their own opinion.  But I am very tired of hearing the same things over and over.  And over.  I get it, I’m not mad, it’s ok, I just don’t enjoy hearing about it again.

I have started responding very specifically, saying something like “I get where you’re coming from” and “you and I have different views on how the world works.”  This seems to get some people very frustrated and confused. I try to be firm and kind at the same time.  Not always sure that works so well for others.

Part of why I am writing this is to explain where I am coming from so that maybe, if one of those people someday asks me “What the heck is going on with you?” I will be able to share this to try to explain.



The Souls of Cats and Dogs

A friend of mine just lost a beloved pet.  I know that feeling.  When my cat Alex, at age 19, stopped drinking and eating, I knew it was time.  The whole family knew it was time.  I couldn’t stand the thought of her dying alone, and I knew I couldn’t stay with her 24/7, so I took her to the vet to have her put to sleep.  As much as I knew that I was doing what felt right, it was terribly hard to do.  I am so thankful for my vet, who is such a compassionate person and who totally understood.

I now have two dogs.  They are totally attached to me.  We have a wonderful bond and share so, so much love.  Others comment on how sweet and loving they are.  Our neighborhood petsitter commented about how one, especially, looks into your eyes like she is looking into your soul.  And she does.

People have their opinions about whether animals have souls, and I guess we have no way to “prove” whether this is so.  But if you have loved a pet, you know in your heart that they do.  At the very least, there’s something there.

In my quest to understand the esoteric mysteries of life, I have read all kinds of stuff.  I have come to trust my own heart and sense of knowing to decide whether certain things I read “ring true.”  There are certain mysteries that are beyond our limited human ability to prove.  And I think this subject area is one of those beautiful mysteries.

Two things I have read attempt to “explain” how it works with animals and souls, and our connections of love with them.  Maybe someone who stumbles across this post will find some comfort from reading these words.

The first comes from a Kryon channeling by Lee Carroll that can be found at this link:

“Some of you have selected various animals on earth to be your partners or friends, and you call them pets. Even some of the ones to be slaughtered, if they have a Human who loves them, are pets… if only for a while. These are the ones who reincarnate.


“Why should such a thing be, Kryon? How does that work? Do they have souls? What’s the ‘rule’ you speak of?” In a way, they do have souls, but not as your souls are structured – not with the lessons your souls carry, or the multiple aspects you have. They’re not angels, but they’re support entities to those who are [Humans]. When they reincarnate the reason is in honor of the Human Being, you see? Animals, in general, don’t last that long on the planet. You might have this beautiful partner, this love essence that you have with an animal pet-friend. Then that animal-friend disappears in death, for again, they don’t live that long. The rule of incarnations is, therefore, “If the Human needs it, it happens.” So there is a scenario created within the system that helps Humans temper the loss of this love, and we’ll give it to you.


When your precious animal-friend dies, go look for another one right away. Don’t wait. Don’t wait! I’ll tell you why. Immediately go looking in places where animal babies are. Make no presuppositions about the kind of animal or the gender. Don’t necessarily try to match the one you lost. Instead, go to the places where you intuitively believe the young animals are, and look into their eyes. One of them will be the one… because it – and the Universe – knows intuitively where you’re going to look!


This is the system that honors you. Many know this and have said, “I know this is so because when I found this other animal to be my partner and my pet, it started doing the same things that my former animal did – it even responded the same way to me.” It’s a beautiful system in honor of you. It’s an acknowledgment of a broken heart, you see? So you can pick up where you left off.


Some may now ask, “What size animal are we talking about, Kryon? Is there a limit?” We say, there you go again [Kryon smile]. What size do you want? An elephant or a mouse? It doesn’t make a difference. If they’re loved by you and part of your karmic energy, they’ll reincarnate. However, it might be prudent of you to intuitively look for the size of animal that meets your living needs. God doesn’t give you an elephant when your mouse dies [laughter].”


And this channeling of Metatron by James Tyberonn also struck me.  The linguistic style of his channelings is a little harder to read, and some are way beyond me.  But some of the insights are right on, and the essence of what is said is consistent with what Kryon says.  Some quotes:


“Dogs will feel and react to anger and guilt in a more tangile way than cats.  Cats cannot experience guilt, and that detachment from human emotional waves is why cats may seem rather aloof.”  LOL!!

“Both cats and dogs in this derivation are serving as benevolent energy giving assistants to humans, to their caretakers. Both have the capacity to meld their energy fields with the human and are uniquely capable of becoming personality fragments of their human caretakers. That is why certain of these can often begin to display the physical characteristics of their ‘owners’, although this particular aspect occurs more commonly with the canine.

The canine exudes an extreme loyalty and unconditional love. A dedication that energetically is received by the human, and can assist in many ways. The dogs ( and cats) become both companions , healers and protectors. The feline, the cat, is much more in the ethereal (antimatter) realm in its conscious field. That is why many past societies worshiped the Feline forms of Jaguar, Lion , Tiger and Puma. These beings are extremely aware of thought forms of ethereal realms and offer a stealth strength and protection.

The house cat is capable of tremendous protection for their caretakers from untoward thought forms and negative energies. Certain breeds of dogs have this ability as well, but it is expressed and enacted differently.”

Question to Metatron: Pets often become family members, like children to their caretakers. And when they pass-over, the caretakers are quite devastated. Can the same soul essence of the pet can reincarnate immediately, if the owner obtains a new pet?

AA-Metatron: The ‘personality meld’ of the pet is in essence a unique part of the human caretaker, a personality fragment. When a pet physically dies the meld-fragment consciousness will absolutely remain close-by in etheric planes to continue in connection to the human. The human is often able to sense, even see or feel the essence of the pet after it passes over, or even if it runs away or is lost. The owner can communicate with the meld personality essence, and it will indeed ‘reincarnate’, re-enter the body of a new pet.

This is best if the new pet is obtained within 2-3 weeks of the passing, and is the same breed as the previous pet. In a short time the distinct personality traits & characteristics of the previous pet will clearly re-emerge in the new body, and the relationship and support will continue. In the event the new pet is a different breed and or a different astrological pattern, the similarities may not be as immediately apparent, but the meld-essence and support will be the same source. This is important to understand.

Crazy-talk, or truth?  It’s how it feels to you.  For me, some of the details given are beyond my ability to discern…..but the essence of what is being said feels true and comforting.

As always, food for thought  …



Spoiler Alert: The Soul Did It

A good actor becomes totally immersed in his role.  He plays his part with gusto!  When you watch a talented actor, you totally believe he is the role he plays.

Most of us get to know the actor through the movies he’s in, and we get familiar with his acting, sometimes believing that’s what he is like. It takes a little more digging to get to know the real person behind the parts.  On the other side of the curtain, so to speak.

Human beings are highly skilled at remaining “in character.”  And the script is full of adventure, and drama, and surprises.

So here’s the spoiler:  the person you see every day here on Earth?

It’s only a role being played by a soul.

If you love watching movies, by all means, enjoy the show!!!

If you love making movies, enjoy playing that role!!

Do you want to know more about the actor?

Peak behind the curtain, and read between the lines.


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Fear and Vaccination

The question of whether or not to vaccinate our kids has popped up in front of me lately, and I find it pretty fascinating how many emotions are triggered by this debate.  Seems to me that the passion behind both sides of the argument is fueled in large part by fear.

On the DON’T vaccinate side, the fears are usually stated directly, with the primary fear being that ingredients in the vaccine will cause harm. 

On the DO vaccinate side, it’s the fear of getting sick. 

Of course, there are all kinds of other considerations that can be evaluated logically to come to a conclusion of DO or DON’T, but I’m looking at the FEAR FACTOR.

Which fear wins?

Well, if you trust the drug industry and your doctor’s recommendation that vaccines are safe, then you wouldn’t be afraid of any ill effects from a vaccine, and you would probably conclude:  DO.

However, if you have witnessed your child or a friend suffer from a reaction to a vaccine, well, you might think a little bit longer about it.  Because despite the manufacturer saying vaccines are safe, you probably logically know that they have a huge financial incentive to convince you that they are safe, and they just might not be telling you everything.  Huh.

Which is why the marketing campaigns for vaccines play on that other fear:  the fear of being sick. 

Look, we all want to be healthy, right?  The question is, what is the best, most effective way to be healthy?  To simplify, there are two primary strategies:  Avoidance of Sickness and A Strong Immune System.

The Avoidance method uses lots of different strategies to help people avoid germs and exposure to illness.  Such strategies as handwashing, covering your sneezes, staying away from others who are sick, etc. are all helpful in avoiding sickness.  Vaccines fall into this category, too, assuming they are effective in preventing disease.  There are probably very few people who do not agree that a certain level of avoidance is very important.

The other method of remaining healthy is to do what you can to build a Strong Immune System.  We all know that several people can be exposed to a germ, yet they don’t all get sick.  The explanation would be that a person’s immune system can “fight off” a germ and not allow it to produce sickness.  Those who focus on this strategy will eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, reduce stress levels when possible, exercise, maybe take vitamins, and take care of their bodies in various ways.  Again, there are probably few people who would argue with these strategies.

Is getting sick automatically a “bad” thing?  Well….that depends.  Because your immune system gets stronger after it fights off a sickness.  So as long as the sickness doesn’t cause long term harm, you might consider getting sick a “good” thing if you are primarily trying to build a strong immune system. This is where the two strategies don’t necessarily align.

This is the thinking behind those who say every kid needs to eat a pound of dirt.  If you get too obsessed with avoidance, it can backfire.  Just Google “environment too clean immune system” and take a look.

In my case, I never really thought much about all this until my oldest was a toddler.  The Chickenpox vaccine was just coming out, and I had the discussion with my pediatrician about whether to vaccinate or not.  At that time, my doctor recommended AGAINST the vaccine for the following reasons:  Chickenpox is not a dangerous disease for a healthy kid, and if a child gets it, he is immune for life.  The vaccine was only effective for 17 years (if I remember correctly) so it would protect until a time when the kid would be an adult and getting Chickenpox would be more serious – so lifetime booster shots would be necessary.

Made sense to me.

But what became interesting is how this story changed over the next few annual exams.  Look, Chickenpox didn’t change at all.  But the recommendations from “the powers that be” became stronger and stronger.  I don’t blame my doctor for following guidelines and recommendations, what else was he supposed to do?  But nothing medical had changed.  In only a few years, the Chickenpox vaccine became mandatory.  And what fascinated me was the poster promoting the reasons for the vaccine, which basically said that it would prevent parents from missing work to care for their kids.  Well, I stayed home with my kids, so that didn’t affect me.  And that had nothing to do with health.

And anyone who decided to vaccinate was protected, so they shouldn’t care if I made a different decision, right?  (unless the vaccine wasn’t effective, hmmm…)

Now, I realize that certain at-risk populations would want to be immunized and I think it’s great that the vaccine was developed.  But mandatory?  That just didn’t feel right to me. 

Now, we have the flu vaccine.  From the ads and all the hype, you would think this was the next plague.  FEAR OF SICKNESS is rampant.  Again, for at-risk populations, it’s awesome to have a vaccine to protect the vulnerable.  But have you noticed, that at first the recommendation was for certain at-risk individuals only to get the shot, but now they make you feel guilty or stupid if your choice is DON’T?? 

The thing is, if you’re a person like me who is reasonably healthy and you get the flu, you are down for a few days and you are miserable.  But you are not going to die from the flu, like someone who has a suppressed immune system or other at-risk situation.  And, after you have that flu, your immune system is that much stronger, for life.   Not too many years ago there was a lot of fear about a strain of flu, and they thought the elderly would really suffer with it.  But it turned out that the strain was similar enough to a flu that had gone around many years earlier, and the immunity they retained from having been sick protected them in their later years. 

Meanwhile, the flu vaccines only provide protection for a year, and they only protect for certain strains – so if they guess wrong about the strain that goes around, you may not even be protected for the year you got the shot.

So for me, I pay attention to my health.  I take care of my body.  I wash my hands.  But I am not afraid of getting the flu.  So I will not get a flu shot.  I had the flu in December of 2012 and I was in bed for 4 days.  It was not that big of a deal. 

For me, the bottom line is this: 

Be aware of your own health.  Think through decisions that you make that affect your body.  Pay attention, and do a little reading.  Know what you are afraid of.  Make the decision that seems right for you and your family.

But please don’t belittle people who make a different decision than you. 

Whenever I see something being promoted using fear, it makes me step back and wonder why…..

Are vaccine recommendations primarily motivated by health or are they motivated by how many vaccines can be sold?

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