by Dick Stoute
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
We feel emotions, but don’t know what they are. They make some ideas feel true but, convinced we are rational, we ignore these feelings. All emotions are created by our brain, yet we tend to assign responsibility for our feelings to others, “he made me angry”, “she made me laugh”.
What we really mean is “I made myself angry” and “I made myself laugh”. We are truly amazing creatures and, as we focus attention on our emotions and gradually learn how to recognise and manage them, we will appreciate how easy it is to feel better and help others do the same.
We use “wellness” to refer to our emotional health. Our Ministry of Health is also our Ministry of Wellness. These go hand in hand, as improving wellness improves health.
The world needs wellness. Depression affects over 5 per cent of the populations of the developed world, suicide rates are increasing, and recreational drugs are out of control.
These are strong indicators that entire populations are not enjoying their wealth. A wellness center at Glendairy can give us a foothold in a US$ 1.5 Trillion market. Before the pandemic, it was projected to grow at more than 5 per cent per annum over the next five years, but the pandemic will increase those projections. Wellness supports and adds value to our tourism industry and can increase our material wealth even as it directly increases our own wellness.
Best of all, we have a competitive advantage. Barbados is a natural wellness center and has a long history in wellness, attracting the likes of George Washington and many other famous people who still come here to feel and get well. Our advantage extends beyond climate and beaches, as our culture creates a social atmosphere that is conducive to wellness.
The symbolism of using Glendairy as a wellness centre is amazingly appropriate. What better than a re-dedicated prison, for removing negative feelings and ideas; the mental chains that make us miserable? Converting a prison will symbolize our successful struggle to throw off restraints of thought, as we rewrite our Constitution and re-direct our energy to remove mental barriers and discover our tremendous abilities. We can shrug off the pandemic of fear that is presently infecting us and free ourselves to be mentally confident, physically healthy, and intellectually free.
It is not that difficult. In a front-page headline in Sunday’s press, a Church leader asks, “Why punish all?” I ask, “Why punish at all?” Why did European theologians add sin and punishment to a positive message from their Messiah? A Renascent Barbados can set the oppressive idea of sin aside, abandon it, while emphasising the positive, “We have amazing abilities”.
All experts in psychology champion positive reinforcement and we can all develop the skill to set negative emotions aside and be positive. Fear, anger, hate, fight and the rest, make us unwell and once we learn how, we can minimise their intensity, while enhancing positive emotions and become well. There is a big opportunity here.
Sir Henry Fraser’s well-written article “Glendairy Prison’s extraordinary potential” in the same newspaper suggests a museum for Glendairy while describing its magnificent male block, its 14 acres, its long history. A museum would fit right into a wellness centre. The Museum would show how negative emotions shaped our lives in the past and the wellness program would show how to achieve an exciting future. The potential is enormous.
The placebo effect has been scientifically established: by believing you are being cured, you feel better and get better.
Prayer is similar. With a positive mindset, we find solutions to problems, rather than get despondent and depressed. Glendairy can promote and teach these skills. They would supplement our very strong Christian beliefs.
We could draw attention to our Wellness Centre by connecting it to Neville Goddard, a member of the family that founded Goddard Enterprises. Neville left Barbados to be a dancer in New York but became a well-known author and public speaker, champion of a very positive “God is within us” message. Neville toured the USA delivering his message before establishing a base in Los Angeles.
He died in 1972, but his lectures were recorded and now have several million ‘views’ on YouTube. His Bajan accent comes through clearly in this one, as he recounts how his mentor, Abdullah, showed him how to use his positive willpower to get back to Barbados from New York in 1933. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4wwpDYOvXU Goddard Enterprises is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
It has already done much for Barbados and is poised to do much more. Neville attributes Joseph Goddard’s success to his supreme confidence in his ventures. Confidence is attractive; it draws people into cooperating to create.
Our PM demonstrates this. Neville was similarly driven by his beliefs, focusing on the mental component of success, perhaps influenced by Joseph’s convictions. Our Wellness Centre can build on this theme. Goddard’s may be interested in participating, as it would be a fitting memento for its 100th anniversary.
The wellness industry has a huge potential and a Wellness Centre in Barbados would help fill hotel rooms. Wellness would help brand Barbados as unique and have it stand out in a crowded field. I expect the Ministry of Health and Wellness would be on board, along with all the Bajan Christians who are prepared to get past sin and go totally positive. There are several other synergies.
Recognising Neville Goddard in his homeland, Barbados can attract international attention and, possibly, financing from his numerous followers in the USA. By combining our efforts, we can make Glendairy a world-renowned Wellness Centre and secure Barbados’ future, as a leader in this field.
Dick Stoute is a social commentator and frequent contributor on matters of national importance.