Spoonies Saving the World: Our Value as the Canaries in the Coal Mine

So maybe we are not only the canaries in the coal mine, but also the innovators of a new happier and healthier world.

Spoonies Saving the World: Our Value as the Canaries in the Coal Mine

*From April 9th, Julie is running several free events, starting with a 7 day mindful relaxed effortlessness challenge and followed by 2 free workshops outlining her 8 steps to taking back control from chronic illness.

A Different Life with Chronic Illness

For about half of my adult life I have lived with chronic illness, but because of that I have learned some very special lessons that healthy people often don’t face. I’ve also had to make a lot of changes to the way I live. Most of these changes and lessons have led me in a direction that not only helps me live a happier, healthier life despite chronic illness, but to also have a more positive impact on the world as a whole.

When Jennifer Brea was first crowd funding for her film “Unrest”, the working title she had was “Canary in the Coal Mine”. I can totally relate to that idea as a person with ME/CFS; I am showing an early response to a general un-healthiness in the way that humankind now lives and relates to the planet.

The Unhealthy Lifestyle of Modern Society

The fast pace of life, the disconnection from community, the huge inequality in wealth and opportunity, and the values of productivity above all else, means that an over-employed stress response now plays a huge role in both physical and mental illness.

More and more people are having problems with gut health as a result of the way our food is processed; the diminishing nutritional value in the average diet, and the explosion of food and drink products that have less and less to do with real food!

More and more people are having problems with allergies and toxins, as a result of the pollution in our environment.

What it Takes for Humanity to Survive and Thrive

I strongly believe that for humanity and our planet to survive and thrive, all this needs to change. Because of ME/CFS I have already had to make lots of changes that could result in a much better world if each and every individual made them:

  • Avoiding chemical products as much as possible.
  • Using cleaning and personal hygiene products that are more natural and environmentally friendly.
  • Eating as little processed food as possible (hardly any in fact!).
  • Eating whole and organic foods.
  • Minimising medications, which in general tend to do me more harm than good.
  • Using more natural holistic treatments such as essential oils, acupuncture and massage.
  • Letting go of a focus on achievement and productivity.
  • Learning to focus on the little things in life that can bring joy.
  • Paying more attention to the present moment.
  • A better understanding of and appreciation for the importance of love.
  • Practices that encourage peace and relaxation.
  • Letting go of constantly wanting things to be different, and comparisons with other times and people.
  • More acceptance of what is (as a starting point for realistic change).
  • More compassion.
  • I’ve also had to cut back spending on non-essentials with a reduced income, thus minimising pollution, and saving on the energy and water involved in modern manufacturing processes.

Imagining a Better Future for Us All

Can you imagine a world in which everybody had already made those changes? I can, and I’m sure it would be a much happier and healthier place than the one we live in now. So maybe we are not only the canaries in the coal mine, but also the innovators of a new happier and healthier world. By taking responsibility for making the changes that optimise our well-being, we can show healthy people how to be happy, by living with more balance and in harmony with the planet! How valuable is that!

*Note: This article first appeared on and is re-published here with permission from the author.


Julie Holliday profile

Julie is a happy and relatively healthy ME/CFS thriver and she wants to share all she’s learned about self-help. 5 years after she first learnt of her condition, she completely recovered from ME/CFS and enjoyed 7 years of active, vibrant health…before it hit her again. Thanks to all she had learnt the first time round, this time her symptoms have been very mild. She writes and coaches so that all the energy she’s put into learning about how best to manage and overcome chronic illness will help you too! Connect with her on: Website, Facebook, Twitter & Google+.

Comments: 2

  • Sarah
    4 years ago

    This is such a great, interesting way to look at ourselves and the world around us. I myself have made some of these changes over the past few years and feel great value and happiness. I strive to make even more and inspire others to as well.