By Stew Bittman, D.C.
“The path of least resistance”, according to BJ Palmer, “is what makes rivers and men crooked.” When I choose to look honestly at my practice and my life (as if I’m fooling me when I choose otherwise), I see the truth of that statement. All too often. And after 15 years on a principled path, it is humbling, to say the least, to discover areas in which I haven’t quite gotten “there” yet. Areas thru which I still tend to take the path of least resistance. I already knew about some of them, of course. But recently a few more have floated into my awareness, and sometimes I wonder if “there” is even possible to reach in this lifetime.
Hopefully it is enough to be heading “there.” And since there have been so many gifts and blessings and realizations of dreams along the way, I suppose it is indeed OK to simply be on the path. A couple of weeks ago at the Gathering, I realized how much I still compromise the principle to some degree in the office. Two young chiropractors gave a presentation on Upper Cervical technique, and I was quite impressed with how beautifully principled it was. Especially the fact that they never, ever, adjust someone when the scan indicates that Innate is in the process of adapting, regardless of how miserable the person might be feeling. In response to my questions about it, one of them told me that when someone consistently whines about getting their L5 adjusted, for instance, he’ll send them down the street for that. I immediately thot about all the times I’ve adjusted someone, somewhere, when Innate told me they were already clear. Yes, it gets tiring explaining the same things over and over. Yes, sometimes it easier to just go ahead and address symptoms. Yes, there are always excuses and justifications and rationalizations for stepping off the path of principle. Yet here were two warriors that never budge from their beliefs in a rather difficult area, like two lighthouses firmly anchored in the storm.
At the previous Gathering I ruffled some feathers with remarks about insurance billing being a less-than-absolutely principled thing to do. I still believe that. But I realize now that I said it from a place of ego. It was pure “principled snobbery.” Perhaps my practice is “more principled” than some, perhaps than many, and so what? I’m still heading in that direction, as we all are. Now I understand that we are all on this path, and that the less we judge each other as to our relative positions along it, the more we can help each other overcome the distractions and detours. The challenges are many. Brainwashing by society did not stop the moment we decided to become principled. People didn’t suddenly get together and decide not to test us. On the contrary, it seems as if they made the opposite decision. And that’s good. Trial by fire leaves us strong, tempered, and sharp, assuming we don’t melt. And when we support each other, nurture each other, and love each other as we travel together on this road, we help each other to become melt-proof. We help each other to make choices that involve taking paths other than the aforementioned one of least resistance.
Indeed, how much distance truly exists between the rankest medipractor and me? Considering my start in chiropractic and the many seemingly random, coincidental, and unrelated events that brought me to where I am now, all I can say is, “there but for the Grace of God goeth I.” Instead of judging the distance, I choose to see us walking together on the path. What they see is their concern. In the meantime, the principle continues to stand as a beacon toward which my life and practice proceed, even if sometimes it seems more like stumbling. As I continue to walk this road by faith, not by sight, working on becoming the shepherd of the principle I know I am, maybe I can help pull some people along. And then we can stroll along the crooked rivers of this life together, serving the world with our message of hope and healing.
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