Awareness, Action and Change

By Kathryn Hayward, MD

A friend who had been planning to attend the Paris COP-21 climate summit cancelled her trip because of the terrorist attacks. She is in good company. Many flights to Paris are 50% empty, and cancellations include attendance at the summit by the President of Iran, all rugby matches, concerts by U2, Motorhead, Marilyn Manson and the Foo Fighters, film promotional events that featured Natalie Portman and Steven Spielberg, and numerous professional conferences and exhibitions.

Climate change marches have been banned in Paris. They were to involve those making an urgent plea for bold policy commitments to save our planet. Worldwide, however, there have been countless marches that occurred during the weekend of November 28-29, 2015 which are documented in an extensive, ever-expanding visual library.

Since the summit opened on November 30, 150 heads of state, celebrities and numerous other leaders have walked the green carpet, met together and made speeches calling for action.

Al Gore, Founder of the Climate Reality Project, speaks persuasively about how big business has eroded the democratic process in the US, contributing to the growing worldwide disaster. In a November interview, he implored us to see that, “Even in its diminished state, the US democracy still allows a committed, passionate individual to make a difference. In the age of the internet, well-expressed opinions in blogs, on social media, connecting with others, can have a very powerful impact.”


Turn down the heat and air conditioning
Attend to home insulation
Use energy-efficient vehicles, machines and lightbulbs
Eat whole food, plant-based diets
Install solar and wind energy systems
Join the Climate Reality Project
Help change laws

“Communicate to your elected leaders forcefully and with kindness. Tell them that you hold them accountable.”

All people have the ability to participate in positive change that will affect their health, the health of others and the health of our planet. Change starts with awareness. As we become more aware of new information and of what we may already know subconsciously, we enable ourselves to take action with intention.

What keeps us from becoming more aware and taking action? Why do we keep letting another day slip by without greater consciousness and action? Today one of the most important factors is Distraction. Distraction is a big impediment to awareness and taking action.

Distractions take many forms, including violent events that rivet our attention to media outlets and paralyze us with fear. We get sucked into the never-ending drama of man’s inhumanity to man. We follow many stories but do not become more aware of our place in the larger context and our ability to contribute to change.

Resisting distractions requires focus and courage. To cultivate focus and courage, we must cultivate consciousness. We must learn to become aware, to live with intention.

International Integrators is dedicated to promoting Integrative Health worldwide. To make a global impact, we start as individuals. As individuals, when we develop a good self-care practice, we become more aware and courageous as we bring to the conscious level that which was previously unconscious. And as we become more conscious, we make connections that give rise to personal change, grassroots movements and other manifestations that motivate social change. We walk out of the house and walk onto the field of action.

International Integrators facilitates individual and social change through philanthropic and other support of organizations that promote awareness and the courage to take action and live intentionally. We also do this by bringing people together during five-day Living Whole immersion retreats.

A participant in Living Whole Redwoods 2015 shared his thoughts about intentional living with our colleague and filmographer, Tristan Martineau, in this short video:


Join us in June for our next five-day immersion retreat, Living Whole Ávila, Spain 2016. In a community of others similarly motivated toward greater awareness and personal action, you will share in mind, body and spirit disciplines that you may wish to add to your own self-care practice as you move toward more intentional living.


Kathryn Hayward, M.D. was a primary care internal medicine specialist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School for 20 years. She now lives in Mallorca, Spain, where she practices Integrative Health in the United States and elsewhere through Odyssey Journey: A Collaborative Approach to Wellness, and is co-founder of International Integrators, a community devoted to the global promotion of Integrative Health.

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