Illness is a Teacher

This post comes from personal experience. In addition to witnessing and sharing the journey with others on their path to balance.

For years as a personal trainer and yoga teacher/therapist my niche was working with ‘special populations’. I saw everything from post chemo/radiation, cystic fibrosis, cardiac rehab, physical rehab, post-op and emotional trauma. It was a calling. I actually enjoyed researching the origins of conditions and exploring ways that I could be of service. Each of these clients were giving me an opportunity to learn, grow and see the other side of illness – wholeness.

Through various forms of study and research it has been revealed that illness has many avenues of making its way into our lives – genetics, environment, stress, food and lack of self-awareness are just a few that come to mind. Exploring the connection between the mind and body proved the most fascinating. The concept that our thoughts and emotions could foster or hinder the development of dis-ease in our bodies is as old as time.

In my case I was a healthy specimen by all counts.  Factors leading to illness included the environment, thought perception, stress, anxiety and a constant push to be better, accepted by others and apparently my destiny were all major contributing factors. I was actually told by my neuroendocrinologist that it was my destiny to become ill. Now most of you might be thinking that this statement is absurd, but when it was spoken, I was struck. This statement rang like a clear bell in my ear. If it was indeed my destiny to be ill, then it was my responsibility to learn from it and get back into to balance.

Illness manifested in the form of a hyper active thyroid – it regulates so many things, astounding how a little gland could be responsible for so much.  Aside from its regulatory duties it’s located at the base of the throat which from an energetic standpoint is associated with creativity, healthy expression of thoughts and emotions. The thyroid is also part of the endocrine system which ties into reproductive organs. When it’s in a hyper state it can wreak havoc on the eyes, heart and lungs. In this case the results were anxiety attacks, deformed face, body riddled with edema and hyper-pigmented skin. To top it off – let’s shave off all the hair on my head to androgynize a female in conflict. There were other factors that exacerbated the situation and put things in crisis mode, but thankfully I am here to tell the tale.

Let’s sum it up – this case study makes for an interesting recipe – unresolved issues regarding femininity, attachment to being a mother and being over driven made for an imbalance. Additional thoughts and emotions relating to these factors gave way to a system in overdrive.

Healing

Believing in your ability to heal is incredibly powerful, but sometimes you need assistance. There was resistance to using allopathic medicine and I needed to get over it. This was a period of adjustment. There was plenty of research done on how the medication could affect the rest of the body and it wasn’t pretty, but fortunately the neuroendocrinologist knew how to integrate anthroposophic medicine to mitigate the effects of the medication. In addition to that there were herbs, modified diet, restorative yoga, meditation and of course the mind (the greatest tool we have) that attributed to the road to recovery.

It wasn’t about fighting the disease, it was about using all of the other tools to bring the body back into balance. If we are against something it can cause us to hinder the very parts of us that can aid in our recovery. Time to embrace the process and learn from it.

Self care took on a whole new meaning. Grooming, healthy eating, exercise, massage’s, Yoga, meditation – check, check, check these things were already in place. The true measure of self-care was now replaced with Self Love.

Having a deformed face and body was scary. At first there were screaming fits of crying, asking why it had come to this. Then there was acceptance that it could stay this way. Journaling was a great form of therapy – writing love letters to my face, thyroid, skin and the rest of my organs for having endured a major trial.

For those of us that believe that pushing to achieve a ‘goal’ is the best way to achieve happiness, think again. A great piece of advice  was passed on while in the throes of illness ‘let the world come to you’. Did that mean do nothing or be completely passive – No. Simply put, instead of going full throttle, let things happen in the best way possible, draw the attention back in, be at peace instead of being crippled with worry and angst. This kind of advice is always useful whether you are ill or not.

Lessons

It took four years to come back into balance and five years later – all systems are in balance. The details around the healing linger. The recovery took longer than it could have, primarily because the lessons were not to be missed.  Like learning how to love a face I didn’t recognize and slowly regain the confidence and resilience to live fully. The illness did not cure me of all my issues, but it did help me learn how to care for myself in more loving and accepting manner.

I made up my mind that I was going to listen very closely to my body and how it feels around thoughts, people and situations. This kind of living is about fine tuning. Tuning into how we feel is a gift to ourselves.

Illness was a means of learning how to love and feel from a deeper place. It also brought  the issue of death into perspective, it’s not the amount of years we are here, it’s what we do with them while we are alive.

 

 

 

 

 

First Believe It – Then You’ll See It

You are the creator of your own reality because you are the chooser of the thought right now.

Abraham-Hicks

 

Have you ever found yourself thinking about something that you wanted to have happen and then it does. Then you think to yourself wow I actually wished that into being, perhaps I need to be careful about what I think and why.

The power to use thought as a masterful tool is an ancient concept. Yogi’s knew about the power of using their minds to alter things, including your own physiology. If you agree that everything around us is made of some type of energy made manifest into form – it stands to reason that we are energetic beings and our thoughts are like energetic transmission. When you stop to think about the capabilities we have, to not only control our thoughts, but manifest those thoughts into being – it’s a good time to say ‘I need to do this consciously’. Once things get into motion they start to take a life on of their own. We may not even be aware of how it all started. The thing is everything starts with the power of thought. The feelings we have while we are having these thoughts makes an impact on the outcome.

Let’s break it down in terms of real life experience. Let’s say you want to start a business, you have made the effort to get a location, the money is in place and you have your business plan in place. The questions that come to mind are the following – why do you want to start the business in the first place, why did you choose the location, what is the ultimate goal? If we are in tune with our feelings & motivations and it all lines up, chances are things will go well. Of course there are plenty of other details that go into running a successful business, but if you stay in the place of clarity, focus, one-pointed intention and creativity amazing things can happen.

It’s in the big picture, the details, the vision and the belief that all things are possible – if we really believe we can have it. Now this does not apply to getting someone to love you. That’s an entirely different story, while you could try to manipulate someone into being with you (and you can manipulate people into doing a lot of things) it’s probably not going to last and neither one of you is  going to be genuinely happy.

” You are the architect of your life and you decide your destiny. ” – Swami Rama

 

Be the architect of your own life – ‘You mean I am responsible for how my life turns out in the grand scheme of things?’ While we may not control anyone else or circumstances – we are still in charge of how we choose to live our lives and contribute to society.

It all starts with our thoughts and setting the tone internally for things to start to germinate. My teach PRT once said ‘how do you expect to make friends with your mind if you are trying to kill it’. Boom – when I heard this the first time I knew that my meditation practice was going to continually be a source of comfort and guidance. Self talk – the mind chatter is one to watch. Are we trying to beat ourselves into submission or do we lovingly coax ourselves into a place of self soothing and appreciation. No one else can do this for us. In addition to the fact that I am the only force in my Life that has the key to making myself happy. While happiness is a broad topic I think it’s safe to assume for most of it means – peace, joy, equanimity, fulfillment – you get the gist.

The germination process starts off with one single thought or idea and grows. So what are we going to think about? Unicorns and fairy’s are lovely to be sure, but we want to get to the things that ‘turn us on’ get’s the fire burning inside of us to improve, thrive and prosper. We all have different ideas of what that is and it’s important that we tune into it on a daily basis.

Let us not forget the company that we keep. If we want to progress on Seeing the manifestation of goals – our fellow pilgrims on this journey of life need to be uplifting, honest and on the same page just to name a few. You can’t expect to climb Mt. Everest if you’re hanging out with folks that don’t even know it exists or where it is.

Knowing, sensing, feeling and believing are all the precursors to bringing things to life. You’ve got a dream – affirm it, Believe It, Act on It, Listen to the cues that come from deep within (intuition), get into alignment with it and then eventually you’ll see it. If you don’t believe me scroll back on your life, check to see how many things you said you were going to do or that would come to pass and watch what turns up. They may not have turned out exactly they way you wanted to, but they happened, right? Think about things you didn’t want to have happen, but you fretted so much about it that it did happen? Now imagine what could happen if you were clear & deliberate about a goal – so one pointed you amazed yourself and people around you.  Some folks call it Magic and it kind of is, more importantly it is the amazing power we were given to choose our thoughts and actions into Being.

 

Peace & I’m Out

VL