Reporting here on this exciting event I’m attending tonight and this weekend!
Wellness Summit to Address “Vitalism” and “Conscious Choice”
Parents are up against a lot of choices these days. Whether the question is about vaccinations or breastfeeding, co-sleeping or where and how to give birth, today’s buzzword is “informed choice.” As International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Executive Coordinator Jeanne Ohm, DC, laments, those decisions are often made in isolation rather than within a framework that would inform offer all perspectives and information.
“When we first found out about chiropractic 30 years ago,” Ohm explains, “we came to understand its underlying philosophy, and incidental choices became clear.” Once Ohm learned to appreciate the intelligence inherent within our bodies and the interconnectedness of all life, decisions turned from being solitary choices into easy connections, as in “Well of course we’re going to …” have a natural birth, for example. She and her husband weren’t caught debating small issues because their foundation was solid and clear. The larger paradigm that Ohm came to appreciate — and is now hoping to share with some 1000 practitioners and parents at the upcoming Freedom for Family Wellness Summit at the Reston Hyatt – is called “vitalism.”
Of the many speakers who will attend the conference, which opens Thursday evening and runs through Sunday afternoon, all are concerned, Ohm explains, with connecting to the individual’s vital force and allowing for its expression in all aspects of our lives. Dismissing the idea that our bodies are just a sum of their parts, Ohm explains, “There is some intelligence, some sort of organization or healing regeneration moving through us at all times.” Chiropractors connect to that vital force through the nervous system; their language for connecting with the vitalistic paradigm is “above, down, inside, out.” All practitioners working from a vitalistic paradigm believe in each person’s innate potential and want to “do everything we can to let it express itself on all levels.”
Ohm is confident that we are collectively “approaching a shift in consciousness” in which people are becoming aware that all the choices they make are relevant to one another. Be those choices regarding lifestyle, politics, community, health, education, religion, or spirituality, Ohm says it’s the consciousness of our choices that counts. No haphazard throwing medicines at symptoms for this crowd.
As a chiropractor, Ohm is particularly passionate about holistic health: “People are realizing there is not one stagnant system of healthcare but that there are multiple avenues for healing, for wellbeing, for education.” Not only are we not stuck in a box where we have to accept what we’re handed, but, Ohm emphasizes, it’s our right to have choice.
A main goal of the conference is to bring together like-minded practitioners, parents and organizations to form a critical mass. Having been asked to speak at numerous conferences around the country on specific topics, such as pregnancy, birth, and holistic family care, Ohm is both excited by the possibilities of connection and motivated to spread the word when she meets people who didn’t know such connections were possible.
When Ohm spoke recently at a conference of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH), members of the organization were surprised to learn that chiropractors hold this philosophy about enabling the full expression of human potential. Ohm wants like-minded groups to talk to one another to collaborate and to get the word out to parents who, she hopes, will come to understand their options and to gain insight on how to keep their families healthy and well. “Parents understand this connectivity,” she says, and she wants them to see how operating from an appreciation of connectivity can inform – even simplify – their choices.
In an article on vaccines in the summer 2009 issue of Pathways to Family Wellness, Ohm, editor of the magazine, explains that fear is not a place from which to make sound decisions. Decisions based on a fearful, skewed perspective are “unproductive and unstable.” She advises parents to gather information about the decision at hand and then set it aside to “recognize the core of your own beliefs. Once you’ve identified these life principles, weigh your choices from this place of knowing.”
For Ohm and for the speakers at the upcoming summit, that place of knowing is the perspective of vitalism, “the confidence of an inherent intelligence that sustains our very existence.” Within this paradigm, everything is connected, and all choices flow from this core understanding.
Ohm is confident that the “shift to conscious choice,” as the summit tagline reads, is already in motion. “The momentum is there. It’s going to happen,” she asserts confidently. After this weekend’s conference, she hopes, participants will have their consciousness expanded, and their exposure to more modalities and approaches will round them out within this core vitalistic belief.