On Canada Day we can celebrate our ability to pioneer important changes in every conceivable way, including how we view health

Canada Day is one of my favourite days of the year! Why? Because two decades ago I became a Canadian citizen on this very day. So, like many others, I am not only celebrating Canada’s birthday but also the anniversary of becoming a citizen of this wonderful country.

I loved Canada from the first day I arrived. It is inspiring to experience the vast tracts of magnificent wilderness, to remember that we are the guests of the First Nations people, to enjoy the humour that is neither American nor British; and to feel the warm acceptance of different cultures and faiths from around the world. But most of all, I love the pioneering spirit that comes with free thought and fresh ideas, inspiring innovation and invention. We are consistently at the leading edge, both geographically as well as mentally and spiritually….

We are a country whose history is steeped in exploring, changing and adapting. One of the newest frontiers of change is in the way we are seeing our health and wellbeing.

1. More than 70% of Canadians regularly use alternative or complementary healthcare therapies, challenging the traditional views of western style medicine as the only way of seeing and caring for our health.

2. The link between spirituality and health is now commonly accepted, with regular “Mind-Body-Spirit” conferences and events occurring regularly across Canada.

3. The recognition of meditation and spiritual practices as beneficial to health is gaining acceptance, even with provincial governments. For example, the BC government released a paper last year called Spiritual Health – a framework for British Columbia’s Spiritual Health Professionals.

This new frontier brings out the inner explorer in us all, challenging us to think more deeply about the connection between health, thought, and spirituality. Currently we tend to think of spirituality in terms of being an aid or add-on to biomedical approaches to healthcare. But, what if health is actually an outcome of our relationship to Spirit rather than being the effect of how our body functions? It seems to me this is what Jesus taught through his ministry, including his practical healing works. He was, after all, a pioneer in his own era.

Canada Day brings out the barbecues, fireworks and street parties. It also brings out weird hats, Canadian flags and face painting!

But beyond the funny hats, great community events and delicious barbecues – whatever our faith and culture – together we can celebrate our ability to pioneer important changes in every conceivable way, while still honouring the traditions and teachings that have meaning. Encouraging ourselves and others to be open-minded, allows each of us to discover that inner spirit that asks questions and pushes boundaries. Then, we can discover and make the changes we wish to see in every corner of our lives, including how we view and experience true health.

This post was first published in the Vancouver Sun HERE