While traveling in the summer of 2002, from Rockford, Illinois, to my intern position in Washington State, my family and I had many opportunities to see the wonderful places and people that make America a great country. One of the surprises I enjoyed the high level of organization of the ranchers in South Dakota and Wyoming. Keep in mind that it is natural to have preconceived ideas about people such as how they act and what they value. I discovered that I believed the people of the region only cared about riding horses and over-exercising themselves. I was happy to discover that I was wrong.
The people who manage the grasslands of South Dakota and Wyoming are businessmen. Their interest is in making a profit, just like you and me. In doing this, however, over the past hundred years ranchers have developed an understanding of the resources at their disposal. They grow the renewable resource, grass, so that the renewable resource, livestock, may prosper and be used in all sorts of industries. Beyond that, other by-products of good land management include clean water, clean air, recreational opportunities and great scenery. To quote the Association of National Grasslands, Inc., "The preservation of the west is due to past, present, and future grasslands management practiced by our ranching families". Essentially, the society is oriented around making sure the environment continues to develop in a positive direction. I wonder if people are applying the same, good management practices to their own selves?
What do we know about managing the self? Can we think of our selves as "renewable resources" to be managed for the benefit of society? Can we think of ourselves as a source of good things? Can we think of ourselves as being available to share that which is good with people?
Within the science curriculum, we find that people are vertebrates, that there is a cycle in the nutritive process beginning with the sun, and that health and behavior are related. These are three essential perspectives that govern the language used in discussing the ecology of the individual. Is not the person an ecosystem? You are a poor balance of many types of living phenomena, which include internal and external biochemical and animal resources.
To conclude, I want to focus your attention on two concepts. The first is that even rough-and-tumble types in the "wild west" value the preservation of resources for immediate use and for the future. The second is that this ideal is directly applicable to people. Among the "management practices" that research is showing are most valuable to the ecology of the person are Chiropractic and the Alexander Technique. In case there is any question, chiropractic deals with the nervous system and Alexander technique deals with behavior. Both give a person a way of controlling outcomes and improving function. Both encourage preservation of personal resources for the future. Can you become aware of other ways we can manage our personal resources wisely?