SEATTLE, December 3, 2012 – In a play on Dr. Seuss’ popular children’s book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, the theme of health care giant Kaiser Permanente’s entry in this year’s Rose Parade was “Oh, the Healthy Things You Can Do.”
Featuring well-known characters such as The Cat in the Hat, Sally and Conrad, Thing One and Thing Two, and Karlos K. Krinklebein, the purpose of this colorful and fragrant display was to show folks that there’s no single prescription for staying healthy.
“We’re sending a message with this float that you can find your thing in anything, whether it be dance, swinging on a swing or whether it be relaxing and reading a book, or taking a moment to meditate,” said Linda Mirdamadi, Chief Wellness Officer at Kaiser Permanente’s West Los Angeles Medical Center in an interview with the Daily News (Los Angeles). “It’s all about finding inner peace in mind, body and spirit.”
Also appearing on the float were a number of real-life individuals who have made staying healthy their top priority. These included three senior citizen tap dancers, a marathon-running nurse, and a remarkable 14-year old girl whose positive outlook has helped her to confront and overcome lymphoma – an impressive array of role models, indeed.
I think what impressed me most about this float, however, was its nod to the mental aspect of health, something that is only recently becoming part of mainstream medical care. While I have yet to run a marathon and likely will never take up tap dancing, one thing that continues to have a major impact on my health is the decidedly mental exercise of prayer.
For years I felt like the odd man out in this approach. As turns out, though, nearly 50% of all U.S. adults are using prayer for their health concerns, either as a complement to or in lieu of conventional medical care.
And the number is growing.
Of course, there will always be those who question the effectiveness of prayer as a healing agent. Even if the majority of scientific studies indicate a positive relationship between prayer and health (and they do), without an agreed upon definition and a broader understanding of its application, it’s difficult if not impossible to determine if prayer is actually responsible for the body getting better.
What is certain, however, is that the quality of our thoughts – even the expectation of healing – can and does have an effect on our physical well being.
With this in mind, Kaiser’s Rose Parade float might serve as a reminder to keep our thoughts on the health-inducing up and up – one of the many, if not most essential, “healthy things [we] can do” in the coming year.
Question is, what exactly constitutes a quality thought? For me, the divinely inspired words of St. Paul have never failed to point both my thoughts and deeds in the right direction:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Integrity. Honor. Justice. Purity. Loveliness. Grace. Quality thoughts, one and all, and a pretty good start to 2013.
Eric Nelson is a Christian Science practitioner, whose articles on the link between consciousness and health appear regularly in a number of local, regional, and national online publications. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California.
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