World News Tonight had a story that was news to the world but for those who are dealing with a life-altering illness, it’s information that has been known for a long while. The study reported that women who were having breast cancer surgery that had hypnosis just prior to surgery had less bleeding, less complications and less pain. Why did it take so long for this information to be shared with the public?
The mind-body connection has been in our consciousness for a long time. The ability to use the power within our mind and all the cells in our body is one of the greatest gifts we can utilize in treatment. It shouldn’t be a surprise that complimentary therapies are becoming more prominent in our communities. Kaiser Permanente, one of the larger HMO’s in the country offers Meditation, Qi Gong and Yoga to help support strong bodies and minds.
Over the past twenty years that I’ve worked with individuals diagnosed with a life-altering illness, the shift in knowledge about complimentary therapies has increased and patients have been giving rave reviews to their medical practitioners. One of the changes we see is the number of medical practitioners who themselves are utilizing these modalities to heal themselves from stress, burnout, compassion fatigue or sheer exhaustion.
I guess these modalities will receive validation with these news stories and that’s a good thing, but what else will they deliver a news that we’ve all known for a long time?
Have you recently thought about someone from your past that you’ve been out of contact with for a while? Is there someone you keep meaning to contact just to let them know you’re thinking about them? Are you embarking on something that you want to share with everyone you’ve ever known in the world, either to celebrate or to ask for support?
This week I received an e-mail from a friend I haven’t heard from in a while. It was a short e-mail just letting me know she’s still around and a short blurb about her latest escapades. When I saw her name in my mailbox I immediately got a smile on my face. I didn’t know what the e-mail was about but I felt a presence as I opened the e-mail ready for whatever she needed or open to whatever she would share.
Piaget talks about our capacity to demonstrate “object constancy”. Object constancy is the idea that even when someone or something is not in front of us, we know they still exist and are part of our consciousness. In my mind it counters the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy. It shows us that once someone touches our life we are never the same. We hold a quality, a memory or a lesson we learned from that person at all times. We can reflect simply by summoning the memory and re-engaging with the imprint left on our soul.
Don’t think that just because you haven’t heard from someone that they don’t think about you. If you want to share something with those in your life don’t worry about how long it has been since your last contact…you’re still very much present in their life. This is why honoring our connections and our relationships is key to our survival and our success, especially when facing an life-altering illness.
I know when my father has received bad news from someone in his circle because he calls me and leaves me an “I love you” message. I know my father loves me but this message tells me that he’s come in contact with news that has rattled him to his core and he’s reaching out to share the experience. Don’t forget it’s great to also share good news to maintain balance in the world.
It’s obvious that I have to address the issue of energy since I’ve had three conversations in the past three days about this very topic. I’m not talking about energy we use to heat our homes or fuel our vehicles, but the internal energy we tap into every day to make a difference in the world.
We live in a culture that is fix-it oriented. Many are looking for the next book, the next lecture, television program or guru who will save us from ourselves. Is it really possible to be saved from yourself? Finding the solution becomes the holy grail and many will begin their journey and end their journey in the same way, questioning and unfulfilled. It’s difficult to get to the oil if you don’t dig deep enough in the earth, the same is true for finding the oil deep in your core…you have to dig deep.
Listening to my clients I believe they have the best of intentions as they practice yoga, hire personal trainers, take Reiki lessons, engage in artistic endeavors and yet they aren’t experiencing the peace that calls them. What if we limited the number of “practices” we engaged in so that the effort and energy we exerted became more powerful to dig down into the core of our being. I know that with so many options it may be difficult to pick, but the practice you choose should be something you’ll do and won’t compromise for any other activity.
The other important part of this laser approach is having a good teacher. Time often dictates our actions so many on this journey are following along on a DVD and imitating the person on the television. The problem with that is the isolation that comes with this type of practice. Having a teacher who will guide you, share their philosophy and open portals to your own deeper meaning can only come from practicing in person with others. That’s part of the sacrifice we have to make to reach the depths of our soul.
How will you begin or deepen your practice? What does having a practice mean to you? What are you willing to sacrifice to reach the depths of your soul? Who will be your teacher? The teacher is living proof that it’s possible to come out the other side stronger, more aware and more alive!
The topic of re-entry seems appropriate since the space shuttle is grappling with the damage to the underbelly of the space shuttle and discussion will determine if it’s safe to re-enter without repairing. Re-entry is always a difficult proposition because it means you’ve been somewhere others in your circle most probably have not experienced. For those with a life-altering illness it’s the return to aspects of life we consider day-to-day occurrences. Think about the first day back following surgery, or a medical leave of absence, what was it like for you?
As I mentioned last week I returned from a one week course as I work toward my degree. One of the e-mails I received from a classmate who just completed all her coursework was “How has re-entry been for you?” I hadn’t thought about it in those terms until she posed the question, but now that Pandora’s box has been opened, I must admit re-entry has been difficult.
The biggest difficulty in re-entry has been trying to explain to others about my experience, but the only way to really “get it” would be to have experienced it. The process has made me clearer that any time you get to do “process work” I say go for it because going deep within is revealing, enlightening, sometimes painful and always a path to healing.
Where have you had to re-enter and how did you manage? Do you have any tips to share about how to make reintegration easier?
We are a society that constantly makes us choose one side or the other. Think about it, there are Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, black and white, and for those with life-altering health concerns there is usually a choice between allopathic medicine and alternative therapies.
It’s amazing that at a time in our evolution when we could really benefit from combining resources we’re still boxed into checking only one box. I know doctors that disapprove of alternative modalities which is unforutnate because the flip side of that is the individual who refuses the benefits of modern medicine. Yes we make choices and the hope is that it will serve us. When Suzanne Somers was diagnosed with breast cancer she chose not to utilize western medicine. Many decide on alternative treatments one the options that are already approved have worn out their welcome.
How can we become more holisitic in our thinking without hurting anyone’s feelings or having anyone be mad? Is it possible for those facing health challenges to be comfortable speaking to their providers about complimentary therapies and having everyone learn from the experience.
I’m currently researching the “art and healing” options in our community. It is a way for the individual to look what’s often hard to reach just by thinking. It’s not embraced universally in the medical community so maybe we’re looking at finding our secret club house to experiment with art and then we can slowly incorporate the conversation into our visits with our medical providers.
It’s important to understand that splitting is not beneficial for healing, curing or any type of recovery. We are at our best when we are whole and can have access to all our experiences and are open to all possibilities. It’s about creating a life that is open to alternatives and keeps us willing to incorporate new things along the journey.
They say if you’re lost in the woods to stay put and you’ll be found. The urge or tendency is to begin trying to find your way and that’s often what drives one further down the lost path. Why is it that we have such a difficult time standing still? Do we believe there is some judgment made upon us if we just stay put? Does it signify a surrender?
The most obvious answer to this dilemma is that those who are coming to find you know where they are. They have definitive points that show where they are beginning and others who will monitor their process. They are equipped to be on the move to find you so why elude them? Why make their job more difficult? As I speak with people across the country I hear over and over again that movement means progress. It would if you weren’t lost, but being lost means you waste a lot of energy and often don’t make any progress.
Over the past couple of years when I’ve heard stories about lost hikers, or those who have been stranded by weather they believe there is no one out there looking for them and unfortunately that’s often not true. Time after time when the person is found they aren’t very far from where they became lost, but they became disoriented. Disorientation is not a grounding force in our lives. It leaves us questioning every move we make and in the long run often leaves us without hope and in a serious condition.
Ask yourself when was the last time you were lost emotionally, physically or spiritually and then recall if you stood still or wandered aimlessly. If you’re currently in a place where you feel lost do you have the faith that others will come find you? How will they know you need direction? Standing still is a difficult practice, but for many it can be life saving.
More and more I am convinced that we are more alike than we are different. We all have the same hopes and dreams, to live a good life and be able to share it with others. How we define that life and the actions we take to achieve it may be different, but there is still a universality that exists.
I was listening to a story on NPR today about an event being held in Iraq today, it’s a celebration day. They discussed how people when they are in the midst of others who are like them feel less vulnerable. They feel part of something larger than themselves and it’s that synergy that leads us to what’s possible.
Do I believe we are all connected because I really believe it or because I need to believe it? I’ve served in many communities over the past twnety plus years and no matter who I am blessed to serve, I have found that the recovery community, the AIDS community, the cancer community, the domestic violence community, etc. are all looking toward a day of peace both internal and external.
It would be wonderful if everyone felt connected, it might reduce the suicide rate, Alzheimer’s, autism, schizophrenia and a host of other issues where creating alternative realities comes into play. I hope as pilgrims we never lose sight of the need for connection and the power we hold by extending our hands.
One of the things I love about quilting is you can take one piece of fabric out and replace it with another and the entire piece changes. It’s the same with people, when we change the mix we get another kind of harmony. Often the difficult part is finding a place to fit in, finding your people.
I just completed my first course toward my Doctor of Ministry degree and had some amazing revelations. On our first day the facilitator of our process group asked what we hoped for during our time at the school. My answer was I hoped for integration. I wanted to find a way to get the new car smell off of me in the school arena.
What happened next was inspiring and heart warming. Each member of the group who has been at the school for a time blessed those of us who were taking our first class. They opened their arms wide and made us feel a part of something magical, beautiful and inclusive.
Often we walk the world looking for a place to fit in. We look for those who have similar interests and for a time, for me anyway, that holds a place for the greater community I’m searching for on my journey. When we completed process group on the first day I’d never have guessed that I could feel like I’ve belonged to this group for an eternity. There were no division, no separations, no hierarchy. All that remained was a beautiful human quilt and with me included it looked different than any class that had transpired before my arrival.
Just returned from a one week intensive with an incredible teacher. I studied “The Nine Muses” with Angeles Arrien, a noted cultural anthropologist. The week was inspiring and moved me out of a stance of complacency. I am experiencing a transformation as a result of her simple ministrations that allowed me to crack open my own cosmic egg.
In her gentle, accepting and inspiring way, Angeles gained the trust and admiration of the entire group. She elicited deep emotions and allowed participants to go to the depths of their soul and dance with the muses. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to watch someone with so much skill and grace work her magic.
I’m especially grateful for her method of inclusion. Throughout the five day intensive no one person was the focus of our attention. She crafted an environment where every person was seen, heard and respected. We had the opportunity to see each person’s magnificence and share their sorrows and joy.
I always am grateful when I have the opportunity to learn the way I believe I teach; highly interactive and where inclusion is my primary goal. I learned a lot just sitting and experiencing, something that as a pilgrim I sometimes lose sight of on my daily quest. It’s exciting to leave the workshop with a newly recharged sense of purpose and conviction. What will get you recharged for the next leg of your journey?