As I lie here on my couch, feeling myself fighting some bug that has managed to make me feel like I'm lurking between wanting to sleep all day and feeling ripples of discomfort throughout my head, I've been asking myself what actually makes us ill? Is it really because "everybody is sick and there is a bug going around"? Is it because a virus or bug has been lying dormant in our bodies and something triggered its release? Or is it more? Is it because our stress level is high and we're run down, or that we are disconnected from our essence and happiness? I would say all of the above. And what I find even more interesting and a key component in our health that is often looked over and not even asked about in Western medicine, would be the state of our emotional health and our thoughts? Do we have emotional stress, reaccuring thoughts that drain us and run us down? Our thoughts create our world, at least according to most "New Age" views of medicine. This is also a Buddhist concept that I learned while studying Buddhist Psychology at Naropa. We create our reality, our mind creates illness and discomfort and we have the ability to change our lives with how we think and what we believe. For instance, pay attention to your state of mind when you are sick. Somehow everything is awful, nothing feels right, and we can't think straight. We can go into victim mode because we aren't well. It's probably the worst time to make any decision because we are caught up in not feeling good. Then, pay attention to how you feel when you feel loved and seen. You're on top of the world and everything is right! You make better choices and you feel content. It's all linked to the quality of the mind. You can shift how you feel at anytime, which is part of the practice of mindfulness. It takes an awful lot of practice to shift out of not feeling well, more so than when you are happy and content. This is why they call meditation a practice. Its takes work.
We are coming into the darkest time of the year, a time for us to go deep within and hibernate so we can truly learn about who we are. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest when daylight is limited and its damp and cold. We don't wish to be outside, so we hideout in our homes. Some of us would see this as depressing, and this can truly be a challange for some. Being a native Floridian, it was very difficult for me to embrace the winters here in Seattle at first, but now I see it as a time to contemplate, create, and come back to myself. It's a time to gather energy back from expending so much throughout the warmer months. This is a truly beneficial time for our immune systems to recalibrate and for our emotions to be nourished and accepted fully so when Spring and Summer do come back around, we are full and ready to take in the world around us. Why do I bring this up? Because we are very detached from ourselves, most of the time. We get caught up in our humanness and forget to take time for ourselves. We have created lives where we overextend and overthink. For those of us living in a big city, we're constantly processing the noises, activity, and traffic and some people are overworking to be able to manage rent in an overpriced economy. We're tired, emotionally drained, and feel lifeless by living in survival mode and seeing more pavement than soil.
According to Hank Wesselmen, Anthropologist and Shamanic Practioner, Teacher, & Student, calls this disharmoney and this is a form of spiritual illness. Disharmony breeds fear, which leads us to dissociate. When we generate fear we deplete our immune systems. When we are unhappy, or feel detached from life due to illness, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or general stress we cause disharmony within our system, which in turn creates dis-ease. It can be an endless cycle because then we get caught up in our minds, which love to go in circles and create stories, we detach from our true essence, our dreams, and we start to follow a less than desireable path. We follow a path of fear and do things, like take a job we hate for example, because we are afraid we won't have enough money to pay bills. We start to take things out on our partner, pointing out all that is wrong with them instead of looking at the person who is really not doing well, ourselves. Things start to spin out of control and anxiety sits in, depression creeps up, and you become endlessly ill. This is spiritual illness manifesting in physical form. This is the main cause of disease as seen from a spiritual perspective.
I can use myself as an example and as to why I am currently not feeling well. I'm fighting something, some virus or bug, and yes most people around me have been sick from clients to dear friends. So of course I want to pin why I don't feel good on everyone else and not taking responsibility for my part in creating the illness. I took some time to sit in meditation for a bit today, and realized the reason for my illness is due to my lack of self care during some big transitions happening right now in my life. I just signed a lease on a new office space and need to fill up my practice, quit my job, am contemplating signing another lease on an office in a different part of town, and found out I have to move because of my rent increasing. I'm also working extra because of transitioning out of being employed and also starting my own business. On top of this, its the holiday season and I've gone a bit overboard with eating sweets and embibing in too many tasty beverages. Add not enough sleep and there you, the perfect recipe for disaster! My immune system is down, way down! And the key ingredient here is the transitional phase I am in. I have days where I feel completely overwhelmed and detached from my center and my vision and life dreams. I start to go into fear mode and question everything I am doing. The shoulds.... I start "shoulding" all over myself! "Should I take on another office? Is this too much? Can I do this? Where am I going to live? Should I be doing any of this? Should I just stay at my job and not follow my heart?" I think you get the idea.
My emotional distress, the disharmony I'm creating, combined with the fear is causing anxiety is what has run me down. Instead of taking things as they come, I'm viewing all of the goodness, all of the opportunity to create the life I want, as one big pile of mess! Yes, a pile of shit. I start to pay attention to what isn't working, instead of what is. And when we are not able to see what is working in our lives, we are out of center and not in our true warrior. We step out of our power and into a life of fear.
So what helps this? How can we start to reclaim our soul when it begins to dissociate and become fragmented? What are some forms of soul retrieval that can bring us back to center and back to our true selves, our hearts and out of our minds? Healing ourselves should be THE most important aspect of our day to day lives.
I LOVE what my teacher Sandra Ingerman says in her book Medicine For The Earth, "We tend to lead our lives at a pretty frantic pace. It's important to acknowledge that the power of the mysteries comes through deep contemplation.... We gain wisdom from remembering, and remembering comes from sitting. Sitting within yourself and within nature will awaken your dormant intuitive knowing about what is important in life, as well as truths you may have forgotten." I absolutely love this, remembering who we are is key.
In Angeles Arrien's book The Four Fold Way, she speaks of the four universal healing salves as being dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, and finding comfort in silence. She states:
In many indigenous cultures, when a person seeks out a medicine person for help with depression or feeling distressed, they would ask one of four questions:
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.
Meditation, remembering, coming back to the heart. Take time to stop and slow down and allow your mind to come back to what is real. Because I can tell you, all of those swirling thoughts going through your mind are not reality. When you sit and sink into your center, you are able to discern what is intuition and what is not reality.
Singing bridges the veils between the worlds. Dancing allows us to touch the divine. Stories connect us to our ancestors and remind us of where we came from. Silence brings us back to what has heart and meaning. Connection with others reminds us we are not alone and we are all in this amazing world together. Enjoy your life and connect with the world around you. And most of all, spend time in nature. Even here in the Northwest when its cold and wet, bundle up and listen to the wind through the trees and the crows singing to each other. I love to watch the drops of water on the cedars and give thanks to what I see to be real. Nature. She is a part of our true essence because we are made of earth, water, air, fire, and ether. We are all one and when we feel this, we know this. We can only feel this when we slow down and gather our souls back to our bodies to live whole lives, to live holy lives. This is the absence of dis-ease and illness. This is what can be a healing salve for our entire planet. Positive, vibrant health starting with the mind. Think of this, if we are able to remain clear and think positively, staying out of focusing on what isn't working in our lives and in the world, it is then that we are able to take care of ourselves physically. And when we are well physically and mentally, the world is a better place. Our heart, mind, and gut are all in alignment to make healthier choices!
In Good Health and Wholeness,
A Note From Heather~
I'm a loving, caring, and intuitive healer, whom feels a deep connection with all beings. On this blog I will share all things Spiritual, Health, Love, Nature, Bodywork, and Healing that needs its voice to be empowered!