Originally published in The Huffington Post, September 20, 2016
The intuitive angel card reader told me to stay out of Target. Fortunately, I already knew this for myself. She was saying it because of the crowds and her meaning wasn’t limited specifically to Target but extended to all frenetic, modern superstores. She was saying it because she said, “you pick up the energy of other people like Pig Pen collects dust.”
I know that about myself too. I just don’t know how to control the hitchhiking energy and I am not good at clearing it.
For me, it is not only the crowds in Target that are disconcerting, but the smells. It is the sickly scent of the popcorn and sodas and dogs and whatever else they have going on masquerading as food. It is the electronics and furniture and household items and the toys.
Next time you are at a Target check it out. Wander around. Inhale good and long and focus on the smells. It smells like crazy. It is doubly creepy because there are no windows. You’re trapped. You wonder what horrible disease the workers might end up with after spending long hours in the invisible cloud of smells, days on end.
American people might like the smell at Target, if they even notice it. After all, the smell heralds new things. Our limbic brain has not gone much farther than Pavlov’s dog. Here is the smell that comes from a shiny new piece of plastic to give your baby to teeth on. Americans like the smell of new cars and new toys and new paint. Americans like anything new.
Americans like the smell of new cars and new toys and new paint. Americans like anything new.
My friend John doesn’t shop at Target. An overpowering vision came to him right smack dab in the center of the store and made him sick to his stomach, although I don’t think he actually vomited. In the vision, he saw the trappings of our lives that surrounded him on the shelves — the bright colors under the florescent lights — and then the scene in front of him fast forwarded a short distance. He saw these things for what they were then, a load of crap at the dump. Nothing but faded, broken down landfill in front of him at the Target. He was so disgusted he never went back.
Joe Biden says he wants to cure cancer, and I think he should start at Target. He should start with our drier sheets, and the coating on our cookware, the plastic in our clothing and the plastic in our oceans. I think he should start at Fukushima, still dumping radioactive waste with no end in site five years after the earthquake that caused the meltdown. You don’t think that stuff flies over the ocean and rains on our crops or slips on the current into the waters where our fish go to spawn? Think again. I think he should start with the fluoride in the water that is also hitting our thyroid, and I think he should start with the pesticides on top of and inside of our food and the ones that are blanketing the golf courses. He should start with mountain top removal and the fracking chemicals that are spoiling drinking water. He should start with the chemicals in our flame-retardant clothing, and that lake in inner Mongolia, toxic because of the West’s appetite for microelectronics. Think twice before you upgrade people. God bless Joe Biden. The man has his work cut out for him.
I think [Biden] should start at Fukushima, still dumping radioactive waste with no end in site five years after the earthquake that caused the meltdown.
Bob, Dad, Anna, Leslie, Debbie, Dennis, Janice, Phyllis, Grandpa, Grandma, Chuck, Jack, Howard, Virginia, Ann, Katherine, Jackie, Suki, Charlotte, Hannah, Loren, Judy, Lisa, Jim, Gary, Joan, Lisa, Loralee, Cindie, Kelly, Nora, Zippy, Mike, Aileen, Rich, Joy, Evelyn, Cindy, Fish, Michelle, Wilma. Ann’s dad and her brother, Steve’s mom, Laurie’s mom, Yvette’s mom, Stacy and Amy’s dad, Tim’s mom, Cary’s dad, Vicky’s mom, Jeff’s mom, Regan’s sister, Kimberly’s husband, Anne’s mom, Mike’s son, Frank’s wife, Lynn’s husband, and Doug and Evelyn’s daughter and son.
There are fifty-nine people on this list. These are people within my circle who have had cancer. The list is full of survivors and also those who did not make it. There are perhaps more out there who don’t talk about it. I believe the list is about as comprehensive as I can make it. I am sure that I missed people.
In rough numbers: Seventeen people on this list battled cancer within my first four decades. forty-two people on this list battled cancer in the decade between my fortieth and fiftieth birthday this year. Twenty-five people on this list have been battling cancer over the last year or two.
This is an astonishing ramp.
Is it statistically significant? No. Is there fault in the study? I’m sure of it. Has it been blessed by a peer reviewed journal? Oh, come on. It’s just me out here calling it as I see it, using my God-given right of observation.
Don’t take it as the whole story. This is obviously a very complex conversation. Take it as a data point. Then make your own study. Make your list as comprehensive as you can. Categorize the numbers in a timeline. See if you can see any patterns.
Something is very wrong.
Common sense is not so common. This truism is lethal when it concerns our current medical system and the corporate lobbies and our ability to hold them accountable.
We are experiencing a tyranny of corporate science. A new religion of sorts. Good science is critical in overcoming cancer, but science that has an agenda, a conflict of interest, or a financial stake in the outcome, is a problem.
According to a 2009 report by the President’s Cancer Panel to President Obama, research on environmental causes of cancer is a big hole in the conversation.
I applaud Joe Biden and his Cancer Moonshot. I am deeply sorry for the loss of his son, Beau that has inspired it. I am grateful that he is using his power and influence to highlight the issue.
But he cannot cure cancer alone.
Fundraising is great but where the money gets spent counts. The key is prevention. According to a 2009 report by the President’s Cancer Panel to President Obama, research on environmental causes of cancer is a big hole in the conversation.
“The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”
In addition, The World Health Organization (WHO) says that today global cancer rates can be cut approximately forty percent through prevention strategies.
New drugs may extend life by days, weeks, or months at a time, perhaps more, but they are available only to those who can afford them. Why not put the lion’s share of funding in uncovering the causes of cancer and creating a culture of prevention?
Instead of waging war on cancer itself, maybe the real war is with the causes of cancer.
This is the Moonshot.
It is going to take every one of us.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that today global cancer rates can be cut approximately forty percent through prevention strategies.
Companies will never undergo a chemotherapy treatment. Companies will never hold the hand of a loved one as they lay dying. They will never hear that gut-wrenching last breath, nor witness the flight of a soul. They will never see that held hand grow oh-so white, moments after death. They will never kiss the forehead of their father in his casket. They will never feel the cold, hard flesh under their lips. They will never watch as the lid slowly closes shut.
Companies will never have the empathy, passion, or dreams of a human being. They will never bear a child. They will never have the capacity of human consciousness.
Target and all the rest of the corporations are not human. What appears on the shelves is a reflection of our value system. Our value system is killing us.
You are culpable for this big, sick mess. So am I.
While this is troubling, it is likewise empowering. As much as we broke things, we can also fix them, making better choices in our purchases, demanding corporate responsibility, demanding that corporations stop poisoning us. We can remember that science sourced through agenda and a conflict of interest is not credible and insist our legislature protect us through the law.
We can make small changes, baby steps in our lives every day that can help. Focus on relationships and getting along. Reduce anxiety. Increase exercise. Take better care of our bodies overall by feeding them well. Don’t waste, not ever. Turn our back on the disposable society we’ve become. Work a forty-hour week, no more. Get good sleep. Move slower. Improve the environment. Temper consumerism and greed. Use fewer chemicals. Drink less alcohol. While these steps may not be full proof, they will fortify us. They will allow our bodies to do what they were designed to do naturally. Heal.
Instead of waging war on cancer itself, maybe the real war is with the causes of cancer.
On a macro scale, vote responsibly. Complain at your workplace, complain to corporate powerhouses and to your politicians when you see something that might be a contributing factor. Ask your neighbor to stop using Roundup. Stop using it yourself, as a start. Spend very, very wisely. Donate wisely, too.
Next time you’re in Target or a store like it, I encourage you to be conscious of all those smells. Be conscious of everything, always. The taste and the feel. Open your eyes. Look. Use all of your senses. Let them inform your instincts and trust them. Slow down enough to notice everything.
The toys are the worst. It is the stink of god knows what that is off-gassing into the atmosphere. And, that shit can’t be good for you.
But, don’t let that Pig Pen dust get you down. Learn to shake it off. I work at it every day even though there are days it nearly suffocates me.
Appreciate the scent of your licorice tea. The warmth of the sun on your face. The sound of a rainstorm while you are snug indoors with your cat purring on your lap. How tight are you gripping that steering wheel? Loosen it up. Just a little. Flip the switch on the radio. Sing at the top of your lungs.
It is because life is so good and abundant that it is important to make it uncomfortable for the people and organizations that erode our health and well-being and our environment. Make it very uncomfortable. Intolerable. Every moment, demand the answer to this question:
Because if you want to cure cancer, the solution is never letting it get a foothold in the first place.
Follow Susan von Konsky on Twitter @susanvk_1