Genetically engineering vaccines to fight COVID19 – the mRNA vaccine

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With the prospect of either Moderna or Pfizer bringing their mRNA vaccine to market, I’ve had clients question me on what is this technology? In my episode on “The biggest healthcare challenge facing you today,” I talked to why it is so important to be or have a patient advocate. One of the functions which a patient advocate is able to complete is the initial research so you can start to figure out what works best for you and to allow you to have a more in-depth conversation with your medical provider.  

The coronavirus is insanely risky.  In the last two weeks, more and more people are comfortable talking about their infection and the lasting ramifications of the virus. Twitter is probably one of the more vocal platforms. As celebrities and influencers talk about their positive test for Covid19, more and more people are tweeting about some of the lasting health impacts of the disease. Asthma or some other impaired lung function is the most popular post I read about. But, I’m also reading about issues with brain function and dementia, post viral heart attacks, and just a slew of other things. 

And pre-election, it was really hard for me to find this information. I really wanted to understand what my risk was if I survived an infection and prior to two weeks ago no one was comfortable talking about it. Nor were they posting pictures of their loved ones who had passed. The weird thing is the pictures I’m seeing are not 80 year old seniors in a healthcare facility. These people look like they are in their 40’s or 50’s, healthy and vibrant. These people were me. 

That pushed me to produce the episode on “Coronavirus Update, 4 medications in Your Medicine Cabinet” and their positive impact on Covid 19.  

But now we are going to have another decision facing us. What do we do when the vaccine becomes available? Right now, Moderna and Pfizer are leading the pack with their mRNA technology. Johnson and Johnson was working on an adenoviral vector vaccine that was pulled in the last few weeks due to an adverse incident. 

So, what are these technologies? mRNA vaccine technology is one of three genetically engineered vaccine technologies. The three technologies are: 1. DNA vaccines, 2. mRNA vaccines and 3. adenoviral vector vaccines. There are over 200 hundred vaccine candidates worldwide. There are companies in each of these categories. Inovio has a DNA vaccine in clinical trials. Pfizer and Moderna have mRNA vaccines.  Johnson and Johnson has an adenoviral vector vaccine.

And this is just focusing on the genetically engineered vaccines. 

Let me tell you, in concept, I like the concept of genetically engineered vaccines because it takes out the variability of life in vaccines created through naturally occurring processes. And this risk really came to light back in 2009 with our flu vaccines. We’ve used chicken eggs to create the flu vaccine for over 70 years. So, it’s a stable platform with a hitch. Every vaccine would have a mutation. These mutations didn’t pose a concern because the vaccine was really about making our immune system sensitive to one protein on the virus – the only protein our immune system could target. In 2009, the mutation happened on that protein hiding it from our immune system. Back in 2019, I produced an episode on this phenomenon “Research Updates Flu Vaccine 2019.”

The episode goes over the research that was happening and some of the short term solutions of addressing the problem. Now, none of the short term solutions fixed what caused the problem in the first place. In fact, they had the potential for making that problem even worse because the problem was diversity in nature coupled with non-human DNA and injecting it into humans. I’ve been really curious how science was going to address the problem with the random nature of life. Out of the three genetically engineered vaccines, it appears that mRNA may have the potential to address this problem. 

All three of the technologies have been around for 20 to 30 years. None of the technologies have an approved vaccine for human use. So, let’s look at what each of the technologies does have approved. First, DNA vaccines have two approved veterinary vaccines in the US. The West Nile Virus vaccine for horses and melanoma vaccine for dogs. Second, the mRNA technology has no approved vaccines for humans or animals. The third technology, the adenovirus vaccine has one vaccine approved for rabies in wild animals. 

I would highly support reading the Chemical and Engineering article, “Adenoviral vectors are the new COVID-19 vaccine front-runners. Can they overcome their checkered past?” Well written and explains the adenoviral vaccines in clear, easy to understand language. It highlights the risks with these vaccines. It sounds like the concept is valid, but when you try to implement it, you can’t. 

With the DNA vaccines, I hesitate when you inject something into our DNA. I just don’t think that is a good idea. And the  West Nile virus vaccine was causing so many adverse events in horses, that I stopped using it. I stopped following this vaccine when I stopped using it. Although, I can say I don’t hear the same outrage that I heard with the initial vaccine where birth mutations were common, sudden death, reproduction concerns – just all sorts of weird DNA issues. That’s just me, and I’m sure science would be more than willing to help me understand how naive my position is. 

Obviously there have been improvements in the technology. Back in 2003, there was a review on DNA vaccines. One of the problems was reaching enough cells. According to a review initiated in 2015 and finalized in 2017, that is still the problem in humans. I’ll be curious to see how Inovio is going to overcome this obstacle. 

Which leaves us with mRNA vaccines. What I liked about this concept is it is synthetic. So, the risks involved in using chicken eggs to grow the virus and injecting the virus into the body are avoided. What I also like is the limited function of mRNA in the body.  mRNA is a recipe or instructions our cells read to make a protein. And this vaccine is only delivering instructions to create one protein and has no other instructions.  What I also like is mRNA degrades overtime so it won’t be floating around your body. It has a natural termination date. 

On the other side, the biggest concern with the Pfizer mRNA vaccines is the need to keep them cold…really cold until use. That will create a logistics problem. Moderna does not need to be kept cold. That alone would make it a natural front runner over Pfizer. The other thing that is going to be tough with these vaccines is it is new technology.  I know there was some concern that the data wasn’t available before the elections. There weren’t enough infections before the elections to open the data. And I still question whether 90 some infections is enough to make a determination in a population of 30,000 to 45,000 because we just don’t know what we don’t know. And that article in Chemical and Engineering news highlights what we learned about the adenovirus technology as we started trying to use it. It was identified that people who have immunity to the adenovirus used in the vaccine had no protection. In some people, this technology caused a significant inflammation response that could cause death. The researchers also found that after the first injection,  the body mounts an immune response to the adenovirus vaccine. So, you couldn’t use it a second time. 

So, right now, I like the concept of genetically engineered and I like the mRNA technology the most of the three available. But this is really preliminary. I thought I had read somewhere that Pfizer will open their trial data towards the end of November to allow researchers to peer into the data, but I can’t find that information anywhere. If you want to see the study design here is a link to it. https://www.pfizer.com/science/coronavirus

CNBC did a great overview of the process of getting a COVID-19 vaccine to market and mRNA vaccines called, “ What is an mRNA coronavirus vaccine.” It goes into more depth on the speed these are coming to mark, the phases of the trial, and emergency use approvals. 

O.k. that is the introduction to the genetically engineered vaccines. Good-luck you guys and stay safe. 

FOOTNOTES

Erman, Michael Mishras, Manas (2020, October 27). Pfizer says no COVID-19 vaccine data yet, could be a week or more before it reports. Reuters. Retrieved on November 15, 2020 from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pfizer-results-idUSKBN27C1GT

Cross, Ryan (2020, May 12). Adenoviral vectors are the new COVID-19 vaccine front-runners. Can they overcome their checkered past? Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved on November 15 2020 from https://cen.acs.org/pharmaceuticals/vaccines/Adenoviral-vectors-new-COVID-19/98/i19

 Cuffari, Benedette. (2020, September 25). What is a DNA-based vaccine?. News-Medical. Retrieved on November 15, 2020 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-a-DNA-based-vaccine.aspx.

Liu, M.A. (2003, March 21). DNA vaccines: a review. Journal of Internal Medicine. Retrieved on November 15, 2020 from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-2796.2003.01140.x

Li L, Petrovsky N. Molecular mechanisms for enhanced DNA vaccine immunogenicity. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2016;15(3):313-329. doi:10.1586/14760584.2016.1124762

Beasley, Deena (2020, November 9). Inovio expects FDA decision on COVID-19 trial start this month. Reuters. Retrieved on November 15 2020 from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-inovio-pharma-idINKBN27P2UW

November is Caregivers Month! 2 Gifts Caregivers Really Need

Wow, it’s November and it’s National Family Caregivers Month. I was watching CBS News this morning, and they were showing suicide statistics. During this pandemic, caregivers have the second-highest suicide rate.  

Caregiver Survival GuideI remember being here last year with my book “Caregivers Survival Guide, How to Eliminate Stress in 30 Minutes and Other Useful Tools.”

I don’t know how a whole year has passed. It hasn’t helped that this year has been a time warp of events that have pretty much made no sense. What has made this year incredibly challenging for caregivers is the pandemic. As the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 increases, the challenges increase. 

To caregivers, I want to acknowledge you for opening yourself up to one of the most potent experiences this life will offer. Every caregiver must navigate the diversity of emotions and energy caregiving takes. Here are two things you can do to help anyone who is a caregiver. 

Caregiving is filled with love, joy, exhilaration, beauty, pain, and sorrow. This creates a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s the emotional rollercoaster that caregivers need help processing. 

If you are a friend of a caregiver, one of the best gifts you can give them is time…time to listen and talk with them. Just like new mothers sometimes need a break from baby talk and cherish the ability to have a normal grown-up chat, caregivers need that break, too. If you can be a friend who allows a caregiver to unload some of the pain of caregiving, you would be genuine gold. Being that friend can mean the difference between surviving another day when the s**t got really real or having a breakdown. 

I have a great friend who is that true gold friend. I would be upset and she would listen to me and sympathize because even though you love people, it doesn’t mean it will always be sunflowers and roses. A normal relationship will have conflicts. Caregiving can be more surreal than other relationships. What I noticed happened for caregivers is that there will be one story of frustration playing out repeatedly. 

You’ll hear the same story not because they can’t get over it. You’ll hear it repeatedly because caregivers are in the middle of a crisis with other people who are also in the middle of a crisis. It’s not the best time to think they will go through an in-depth self-discovery. It would be best if you were amazed that they are not self-medicating, screaming at the top of their lungs, and checking out.

Caregivers need someone to tell their story. Talking is one of the critical ways people process and release stress. A 1988 study found talking about your problems and sharing negative emotions in a safe environment was profoundly healing. This type of interaction not only reduced stress, but it also strengthened the immune system and reduced physical and emotional suffering (Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Glaser, 1988).

To be a person with whom a caregiver can share their worst moments and most difficult emotions in a safe, non-judgmental way is one of the biggest blessings you can give a caregiver. Everyone living in a caregiving situation will have a story they need to share with others. Even though they have negative stories about people they love, realize they still love that person and are in a challenging situation. Maybe the whole point of service to another is to be vulnerable.

But there is even a bigger blessing you can give a caregiver. For caregivers who have their loved one at home and are experiencing 24×7 caregiving, the opportunity to have two to three hours for themselves is a golden gift. Caregiving has no time for yourself.  

There was a 2009 report which found caregivers commonly experience social isolation. Due to the unique time requirements of caregiving, caregivers often lacked social contact. Caregivers found they had to sacrifice their leisure pursuits and hobbies to take care of the person they loved. Caregivers may be in a situation where they have to sacrifice their future earning potential by reducing their employment. (Brodaty, Donkin, 2009) 

You remember raising the kids and how you felt you had no time for yourself. There was a difference with that. With each day, the kids gained more independence. One day they went to school, and you had the day to yourself. One day, they went to college. 

Each day, they became more and more their person. With caregiving, it goes in reverse. Each day they become more and more dependant, and each day you can lose more and more of the person you once knew. 

Before caregiving, you spent your time taking care of yourself. During caregiving, more and more of your time is taking care of someone else.  

So, the second-best gift you can give a caregiver is a bit of time for themselves. Offering to help watch their loved one even though the offer doesn’t always work out can be a windfall for the caregiver. Sometimes it doesn’t work out because the caregiver is in a situation where the age of their loved one makes it more challenging to have a third party watching them. Their loved one may find unfamiliar faces scarier and scarier, or their behavior may have become problematic due to social norms becoming more optional as you age. Offering to sit and visit with their loved one while the caregiver is in the house still gives a great break.

To be willing to give your time to a caregiver to listen to their stories or help out for a couple of hours is two of the most precious things you can provide a caregiver. It’s great to have a month that helps bring awareness to the growing responsibility and growing population of caregivers.  

Pennebaker, J. W., Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., & Glaser, R. (1988). Disclosure of traumas and immune function: Health implications for psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56(2), 239–245. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.56.2.239

 Brodaty, H., & Donkin, M. (2009). Family caregivers of people with dementia. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience11(2), 217–228.

Traveling Without Your Anxiety Supplements? 3 Lifesavers In the Grocery Store to Tide You Over

I’ve been caught a few times forgetting to bring my favorite formula for stress or anxiety when traveling. Being in a new environment without your mattress or perfect pillow can mean a sleepless night and an exhausting day. Just facing the prospect of a sleepless night can have your anxiety levels ticking upwards. What do you do? You’re going to be home in a couple of days, but you have to get to sleep tonight.

Most of the time, I’m traveling in an area with access to whole food stores. I like shopping at these food stores because they’ll usually have a section of products that will include essential oils, homeopathic medicinals, and various herbs. In these aisles, I can generally find things to help with stress and anxiety. 

When looking for products, my primary requirement is to improve my situation in the next half hour. That means I have to choose herbs that don’t have the loading times like Western pharmaceuticals where you have to take them for a week or longer before you feel the effects. A second requirement I have is the product can work for many people. Many products out there can help with anxiety and sleep, but many of them only work on a small subset of people. One product that fits the category of only working on a small subset of the population is Melatonin. So, what are three different things you can find which will quickly help and have a good chance of working for you? 

The first one is a consumable lavender oil. The actual ingredient is called Silexan, and multiple companies use Silexan to create a consumable lavender oil. The product I like is by Integrative Therapeutics called Lavela WS 1265. 

Silexan promotes calmness and relaxation. The product does this without promoting changes in cognition. It also improves sleep and does this without any sedative side effects. So, you’re not going to wake up groggy from taking a Silexan supplement.

Each capsule of Integrative Therapeutics Lavela WS 1265 has 80 mg of Silexan. Research was done with either 80 mg and 160 mg doses. Both doses were well tolerated. Side effects were rare, and the side effects were nausea, burping, or upset stomach. 

All of this makes Silexan my first great quick hitter product because it works quickly, is easy to purchase over the counter, and works fast. 

Another herb I’ll look for is Chai Hu or Bupleurum. This herb is excellent for irritability or edginess that can come from being exhausted or a bit overwhelmed. You can’t find this herb as a stand-alone herb. It is always in a herbal formula. To find this herb, you’ll have to look at the ingredient label. The best way to see this herb is by searching for herbal formulas that focus on the liver or stress. 

This herb is another herb that promotes calmness and quickly helps you decompress. Bupleurum differs from Silexan in one way. While Silexan will help make you sleepy, Bupleurum will relieve the symptoms of edginess and irritability and return you to a relaxed state without making you tired. 

Bupleurum is another herb that will work quickly. Because of its impressive efficacy at relieving stress and the research indicating the herb has protective qualities for the liver, you’re finding it more and more on retail shelves.

That makes Chai Hu or Bupleurum my second quick hitter solution when traveling and needing a quick adjustment. 

What is the last product you can look for when trying to find something to get you through the next couple of days? Well, this is one that everybody seems to be walking around with today, consumable CBD oil. To learn more about the technical details of CBD oil, check out my video for low back pain

CBD oil is great for reducing anxiety. This one seems to work for most people. Like Silexan or Bupleurum, it has mild side effects and causes relaxation without distorting your perception of the world. Due to the popularity of CBD oil, you can find it everywhere. 

There are a couple of things I noticed about CBD oil in the clinic. All this is anecdotal evidence, which is why this is still part of my quick-hitter list. For some of my patients, prolonged use of a month or two changed their response to CBD oil. Some people found it increased their nervousness with more extended use. Others found no benefit at all. I discovered that both Silexan and Bupleurum appear to have a higher acceptance level with users. It seems like about 30% of the people who use CBD oil find it doesn’t work for them. Compare that to Melatonin, where about 70% of the people find it doesn’t work well. So, CBD oil still has a high success rate. Anecdotally, CBD oil acceptance doesn’t appear as high as Silexan or Bupleurum.

I’m one who gets nervous on CBD oil. But, if I haven’t used it for months, I can use it for a couple of days and get some relief from stress or anxiety.

So why do I use these products as quick-hitters and not everyday use? I use these products as a quick-hitter and not for everyday use because some over the counter herbal supplements will not have gone through GMP or other quality control measures to ensure the product’s accuracy and efficacy. I’m not going to figure out which products these are in the brief time I have. But, medical providers will use researched and quality-controlled products. When I get back home, I know the products I have in the office are medical-grade supplements.

O.k. good luck with your mental health, and what are some of the products you’ve used when traveling to help with stress and anxiety? 

Discover How to Double the Impact of Your Meditation with Nature

The world has gotten so overwhelming lately. Staying balanced has taken a focused plan and a commitment to work the plan. Over the last seven months, my list of activities to keep balanced has gone through multiple revisions. I added and subtracted activities as I figured out which ones helped keep me positive. Many activities have been able to maintain their position on the list. One of the activities has been my favorite and most effective go-to activity. Let’s look at the activities.

One of those that has stayed on the list is meditation. I love meditation. There are so many different ways to meditate, and each method addresses another aspect of my life.

But, I can tell you, it was just a few years ago when my life was in a tailspin. The stress and anxiety were so bad. I couldn’t keep a thought in my head. The idea of trying to meditate was unrealistic because I couldn’t quiet down.

I had to figure out what I could do to help find my way out of the overwhelming stress and anxiety levels. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I was caregiving 24×7 for my mother, taking care of my sister as her cancer slowly consumed her, running a business, and in a legal battle on my mother’s affairs. I was overwhelmed, and every time I thought it couldn’t get any worse, another shoe would drop.

I added a new task to my positive list. I required that I find the silver lining. I would say to myself, “What is the silver lining in this experience?” I found a study on stress when I was trying to survive the cyclone of emotions. The study stated stress management skills would equip me for future stressors. In the future, these skills would allow me to handle stress effectively while maintaining my health.

When things took a turn for the worse, and I was sure I could not bear much more, I would say, “What is the silver lining in this experience?” Sometimes it would be as simple as not losing my mom in the store. That task of forcing myself to look for the silver lining in a bleak world helped keep me positive.

Yet, sometimes, that was not enough. I am forever grateful for my practice and education in Chinese Medicine. Through Chinese Medicine, I was able to find the activity which worked the best at helping me break the cycle of stress. A walk in nature.

In Chinese Medicine, there is a theory called the Five Element theory. The classical writers in the medicine talked about the Five Elements, and how nature was the most constructive teacher. I loved that the old texts said you didn’t have to find a guru to understand the Elements. You just had to sit in nature.

In the Five Element Theory, the different emotions are identified and associated with separate parts of nature. I remember when I was caregiving for my mother. I would be sitting in the car with my mother. She would gaze up at the sky and be in awe at how beautiful the clouds were. I could hear how lost she felt.

I had become her caregiver and unfortunate jailer. My mom had just lost her companion of 20 years. She had put in a strong fight to keep him alive. The two of them were so independent and wild.

With his passing, her life completely changed, and she had to move in with her children, a task she never had wanted to do. Grief had become her constant companion. In the Five Element Theory, grief is associated with open skies, almost as if space would allow you to let your grief fly away like a dove.

With each passing day, my mother would slip further and further away. Age and life were changing her. The person I grew up with was no longer there. My sister was slipping away, too. Breast cancer had become her constant companion, and she was on a trial drug that would be her last.

The hardest and richest thing I did was walk alongside my loved ones as they faced the end of their lives. I felt overwhelmed with the duty and responsibility they gave me. Anxiety had crept on top of the grief, and I wasn’t sleeping.

Five Element theory came to my rescue again. My husband and I packed up my mom and headed to the ocean for a long weekend. The wide-open sky helped dissolve my grief while the heavy expanse of water helped calm my agitation and restlessness. My husband watched my mom as I slipped out into the soft beach grass that enveloped the rolling dunes. It was the first time I had been able to sit down and unwind in months. I was finally able to meditate.

I had run across the work by Dr. Valerie Hunt, a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Physiological Sciences at UCLA. She spent her career studying Auras and Chakras. She went to China to study acupuncture and better understand why Chinese Medical healers were successful. You can find her work on the web today. It was her pictures on Auras that captured my attention. I remember her images of a person sitting in nature. Out of all her shots, those pictures in nature had the biggest aura.

When I had gone out to the ocean that weekend, that was the first time I had chosen nature based on the Five Element theory. I had found as my anxiety continued to escalate, I needed big water to help cool down that fire within. The process of helping my mother and sister walk their final path was crippling me with unexpressed grief. I needed as much open sky as possible to be able to breathe. I sat in the tall reeds, and within a half-hour, I had found myself again.

I took those lessons forward with me today. My nature selection is a little different today. The stress and anxiety are coming from another place. I feel more ungrounded today and unbalanced. These emotions pull me into the forests to get swallowed in the depths of the trees. The larger the trees, the more relaxed and grounded I feel.

Nature is so much wiser than me. Today, when I walk under the enormous Dougfir or Cedar trees of the Pacific Northwest, it feels like I’m walking with the sages of ancient China. As I spend more and more time searching for my face before birth, I love that the gurus of the past pointed me in a direction to help find my fate.

October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the Source of Disease

Some of you know, breast cancer has a special place in my heart. Both my mother and sister were breast cancer survivors. My sister lost her fight with breast cancer in 2018, and a month later, my mother passed due to complications from a brain bleed. 

Before I go much farther, I want to point you to two breast cancer organizations I support. The first is in memory of my sister, “Friends of Lisa.” This organization helps get my sister’s daughter through college! Thank-you to the amazing community that was part of my sister.

The second is “Casting for Recovery” This organization focuses on providing outdoor, fly fishing excursions with other survivors wholly funded by donations from people like you and me! Most of you are aware; finances can become a critical issue when battling any cancer. This is an excellent opportunity for survivors to feel special and relax. 

So, for all of you who are helping with your hard-earned dollars, thank-you!

I thought I would share a little about disease theory in Chinese medicine related to breast cancer. I have a two-part series on my Youtube channel, introducing you to one of your “Sacred Keys.” Sacred Keys are things in your universe that allow you the opportunity to pull back the curtain and see what makes you tick. The series goes into the Sacred Key in more depth and gives you exercises to start helping you unlock that door. 

Why I even bring that up, is because disease theory in Chinese Medicine outlines where the disease originated and a generalized outline of what may have started the disease. Yet, for every individual, this generalized outline is just that, a generalized outline. 

It’s like saying, “Oh, you’re looking for Mount Rushmore? Yeah, that’s located in the United States.” That is what a generalized theory is. It would be more helpful to say, “That is located in South Dakota in the United States.” Even more helpful would be to say, “It’s in the Black Hills region of South Dakota outside of a town called Keystone.”

You get the picture.

One of the more common causes of breast cancer in Chinese Medicine is pathology in the liver and gall bladder channel. The gall bladder channel travels along the breast’s side, and the liver channel travels beneath the breast.  

Both these channels and their relationship with the triple warmer seem to develop with my breast cancer patients. Repressed emotions take a large piece of their soul. Anger, frustration, resentment, depression can all play a role in their disease.

The emotions may be combined with poor eating choices. To be real, it’s challenging to have good eating choices today due to the highly processed nature of all our foods. Yet, poor food choices can leave you nutrient deficient. The liver is dependant on calcium to detox the body, and one of the more common nutrients that becomes deficient is calcium. Poor food choices can also help fill you up with preservatives and other toxins. 

But going back to the emotions, the emotions of anger, frustration, resentment, depression need a source. That’s why I say the diagnosis in Chinese Medicine is very broad. The source becomes very specific to you.

Reading the words of anger, frustration, resentment, depression, you can probably point to a potential cause. Depression could be tied into a self-worth concern or an inability to succeed. Frustration could be due to feeling powerless. Resentment could be feeling you are facing things other people don’t have to face. Anger could be due to feelings of being abused or unjust losses. Everyone’s source has a particular flavor that is all about them.

This flavor begins to tarnish your life. And I say “tarnish” because it does take the shine off your world. You can see or feel this tarnish in your aura. It comes out almost like a brown. 

There is an effort in Daoism to let the world flow past you without causing any disruptions in your flow. For me, that is really hard to do because I’m attached to many things in the world. The problem with emotions is they mark an attachment in the world. It’s not that Daoism says this attachment is wrong. What Daoism says is attachment stunts your internal growth. You can’t grow beyond your attachment.

With Covid-19, I’ve been watching my office bookings and managing insurance, very heart channel things. I was talking to a client this morning. We were talking about some of the research on Covid-19. They made an interesting observation. 

“It’s almost like the world is trying to reduce the population.” When I thought about that and the amount of effort I was putting into ensuring client bookings and insurance payments, the office suddenly looked like nonsense. If I was to die tomorrow, all this meant nothing. I finally found that point of internal Daoism with my practice.  

That also helped me see how very personal disease is for each individual. The disease manifests not only because of an emotion. The emotion is rooted in something that has high value to you. 

When I was a kid, my little brother accidentally ran his bicycle into my Dad’s friend’s vehicle. It left a scratch and a dent. As payment, my little brother had to give my Dad’s friend something my brother found valuable. My brother had hot wheels and just loved them. He gave away his favorite hot wheel. I can remember my brother’s face when he gave the little toy car away. It was a mixture of longing and regret. The lesson made an impression on me, and I was impressed with my little brother’s integrity, commitment, and understanding of value. 

Yet, every day, disease asks you to make that decision and give up something you find valuable in exchange for you. It sounds really simple when I say it like that, but it isn’t. Disease could leave you questioning survival needs, love, safety needs, abandonment. Being human is complicated, and I’m not that perfect Daoist who has figured out how to detach from all attachments. 

Yet, trying to figure out what that thing is that we find valuable can be the most challenging part of the exercise. It’s the same exploration involved in finding Karma. What is the story you are telling yourself? And don’t count on everyone else being able to see your story. They may see your behaviors and completely misunderstand the cause of the action. The easiest way to know when that is happening is you are sure what they say has nothing to do with you. 

In episode 2 of Finding Balance, Sacred Key, you can find tools to help you find that inner story playing in your head. As a special gift to you if you’re struggling with chemo-induced neuropathy, check out my episode on “Natural Remedies to Stop the Progression of Chemo Induced Neuropathy.” Good-luck on your journey. I’ll catch you on the other side!