Introduction: The Color in the Pot

Many years ago, I had the good fortune to meet a nun by the name of Sister Annette Covatta, when I was attending a Journal Workshop that she was facilitating based on the work of Ira Progoff. In that workshop, Sister Annette told a story I’ve never forgotten, called simply “The Color in the Pot.” I would like to recount that story here by way of introduction to the intention of this book.

There once was a village in a remote area of a medieval kingdom. Once or twice a year, a dye-master would travel to this remote village, bringing her many colored potions. Early in the morning, she would set up her cauldron at the pavilion in the center of town, building a small fire underneath. There she would ply her trade all the long day, adding wood to the fire periodically.

And every time the dye-master visited, the local citizens would line up with their fabrics and materials to have them dyed. On this one particular day, the first customer stepped up to the cauldron with her
bolt of cloth and the dye-master said: 

“Welcome fine lady. And what color would you like today?”

“I’ll have the azure blue of the sky above” said the lady.

And the dye-master dipped the cloth into the pot with a swirl, and pulled out a fabric dyed a beautiful azure blue just as the woman had requested.

Happy with her fabric, the woman paid the dye-master and took her leave as the next person stepped up.

“What color will you have today?” she asked of the gentleman.

“I’ll have the yellow of the daffodil, please” he replied.

Again the cloth was lowered into the pot and retrieved; this time dyed the perfect daffodil yellow. So the day went, the dye-master producing colors from meadow green, to rose red, all as requested by
each of her customers in turn.

Throughout the day, there was one villager, an old man, sitting on a nearby bank watching the day’s commerce unfold. And late in the day, as the villagers all had their requests fulfilled and departed for home, he slowly made his way down from the hill, approaching the dye-master by himself, the last customer for the day.

“Welcome esteemed old one” the dye-master spoke.

“What color will you have today?”

And with a twinkle in his eye, the old man pointed to the cauldron, saying “there are many beautiful colors you could produce for me, as I’ve learned by observing you today. But for me, it’s not the blue of sky or the green of glen. For myself, I’d like the color in the pot.”

The old man didn’t want “a” color. He wanted the source of all colors. He wanted the color behind all colors, and the ability to create for himself any color he might wish.

I tell this story to illustrate the intention of this present work, which is to distill a method that anyone can learn to take charge of their own health and healing.

There are many books on the market today that address a particular condition, such as the “I Cured My Arthritis and You Can Too” type book. I enjoy these books and believe they can provide considerable value. And indeed, I have several on my shelf. But they’re not the kind of book I wanted to write.

I’m interested in the story behind the books. The story of the healing journeys taken by the people who wrote those books. And the stories of the many people who have taken similar healing journeys without writing a book.

I do believe that among these people who are taking charge of their own health, we’re seeing a new model, one that’s sourced more in our future than in our past. And I see these modern-day healers of self and others as harbingers of a new world that’s coming from our futures into our present day lives.

“You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.”
– Richard Bach

I have had my own healing journeys, where I chose to leave the beaten path of conventional medicine and make my own way. I believe there are similarities between my journey and those other people’s which are worth exploring in order to come up with a road map that anyone who wants – or needs – to take charge of their own health could benefit from.

Throughout my thirty-year career as a business technologist, one of my specialties has been business process improvement, the re-engineering of the corporation. And it made sense to me to take the design skills I developed over the years and apply them to do the following three things for personal health:
„„ – Map the terrain of self-directed healing.
– „„ Identify the steps or stages of the healing journey.
„„ – Chronicle what occurs for people at each of those stages in order to provide a road map.

This approach is not about changing the health-care system; it’s about changing your own personal system. Part of what’s “wrong with this picture” of the current health-care system is that we’re so externally focused, looking for the fix from drugs, doctors, or other practitioners.

It’s about taking personal responsibility for your own health.  When you do learn to take personal responsibility for your own health, everything changes. That’s where the power is.  It’s also about self-reliance.

As I conducted process-improvement projects in corporations, I found that one of the most important aspects for my clients is helping them stay in the driver’s seat. The process and the information can be confusing and overwhelming to clients, as it often is in healthcare. It’s easy to want to turn to an expert or an authority, and just let them tell you what to do.

In corporate settings, you lose control of the project (and often the budget) if you give in to that temptation. The same is true for our health-care choices. It’s easy to think we have to find the “right” authority, whether they be a doctor, author or other practitioner, and follow their instructions. The problem with this approach is that it is dis-empowering.

“If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome;
if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent;
if you believe the military, nothing is safe.”
– Lord Salisbury

This book is about my experiences, and those of others, in staying empowered in my health-care choices, and about showing you how you can do the same. It’s about the approach and process, not about the content (my individual health issues and treatments), although there’s quite a bit of information in the content for specific issues. It’s about becoming your own advocate in your health-care choices.