Tag: healing

Healing in the Age of Confusion

Have You Noticed?

It’s funny. The path of healing is one rife with confusion and contradiction. Ask one “expert” and you get one kind of advice. Ask another and you get the completely opposite information. Eggs are good. No, eggs are bad. Salt is essential. No, salt is bad. Butter is awful. No, butter is better. This drug cures what ails you. That same drug gives people another disease worse than the first. It’s a maze, but perhaps slightly more akin to a landmine.

Even the field of psychology can cause this perplexity. On the one hand, we are told that suppressed emotions can and eventually do cause all kinds of disharmony and disease. We have to feel them. On the other hand, being with our emotions can become a habitual indulgence. Lingering in our grief for example can stunt our growth. And rehashing the same old traumas can reinforce them rather than free us from them.

What to do!

The problem here is an outwardly-facing loci, a belief that our knowing comes from the outside in. We rehearse an abdication of our inner authority from a very young age. This results in a state of disconnect from that inner knowing. What’s needed is a turning back inward to the inherent wisdom of self with which we are all born. It’s intuition and more. It’s access to our will and soul intelligence and connection to our own Divinity. We have no choice but to discern for ourselves the best path to be taken in all aspects of life, and not just in regards to our health.

It’s All Energy

We don’t often perceive the world as energy unless we are already inclined or graced to do so. Instead we see a rock as a non-living, solid mass and a tree as a thing with branches and leaves. But everything is, in fact, essentially energy. Because we misperceive the material world as actually material (rather than as Maya), we forget about the nature of things and their relationship one to another. We don’t perceive the rock or tree as an extension of that same life that created all. We don’t see ourselves as connected to every other living thing. How then can there be healing (wholeness)?

Chi Gong (Qi Gong) can help us re-establish an awareness of energy and its role in our health. Energy doesn’t like to stagnate. It creates disharmony. Chi Gong helps energy to flow as it is meant to do. It also helps us cultivate and function with increased energy. Literally anyone can practice it, and it only takes minutes a day. While it may not be enough, it is, in my opinion, an essential starting place.

We Are the Meaning Makers

The mind is nothing more than an interpreter of energy. While someone else’s interpretation of reality may be helpful or inspiring, let us not forget it is merely their own meaning-making. When it comes to the information flood, we can be content to keep only what helps us grow or improves our lives and let go of the rest; nothing else deserves our energy. That said, we must also exercise a certain vigilance in regard to the ways we both deceive ourselves and are cut off from our true instincts.

As far as all that conflicting health advice that exists, don’t let it discourage you. The conflicts and contradictions are an arrow pointing us back to ourselves and our intuitive sense of what’s right for us. Inherently, we know the work to be done. Often, however, we aren’t willing to put in the effort; taking a prescribed pill is somehow easier. Not everyone is serious in their wish to be well. As an energy worker, I can only help the ones who are.

As a final thought, I share this for your contemplation:

“Heal me of my sickness” pleaded one praying.
“Help me heal myself” prayed another.
This is an important distinction.
Those of the former persuasion rarely get better.
Only the latter make steady progress.
Healing requires effort and change.
If you want to be healed, a healer cannot help you.
If you want to heal, a healer is, at least in part, an answer to your prayer.

 

The Wounded Yogini Part III: Having Healed

This summer was a real challenge for me. I had a pinched nerve in my neck which created a constant radiating pain into my left finger. For over a month, I couldn’t even sit at my computer; I had to stand. And I couldn’t type with that finger at all. Sometimes, I would get an electro-shock down my arm as well. It was almost impossible to sleep at night. I soon learned that I have cervical arthritis and stenosis. I was told I needed surgery (though I had no intention of having any, and for awhile, I wondered if my yoga practice would ever be the same.

The good news is that is will never be the same. Why is that good news? Because what I learned about my body and myself during this “test” has taught me invaluable lessons I was unlikely to learn any other way. It’s now five months from the date of my initial injury, and while I still technically have arthritis and stenosis, I have zero pain and am able to do everything I could do before the inury. (There are, however, some things I choose not to do.)

But what I wanted to write about here is how I healed from what could have been a career-stopping injury. I’ll start by saying that I believe in the body’s capacity to heal itself. Given the right conditions, we mend. There was no way I was going to consider something as drastic as surgery when I’d only been in pain for such a tiny span of my life. Besides, I was well aware that spinal surgeries often do more harm than good. Let the doctors say what they will; I turned inside to know what was best for me, and I knew that was waiting things out.

If we drive ourselves crazy with fear, we perpetuate the problem. If we believe oursevles to be broken or even fragile, we scare oursevles into hypervigiliance. If we remain unwilling to look at what caused the problem or unwilling to change that, again, we only make the duration of the problem longer. Yes, I had to look at some things…some habits of mind and soreness of heart…unresolved pain that was simply expressing itself through my neck.

I also accredit my recovery to the Energization practices of Parmahansa Yogananda. This is a set of simple but profound exercises created by Yogananda to keep the body strong and healthy, among other benefits.  While I couldn’t do every single exercise while in pain and had to modify several of them during my healing process, I know certain exercises helped to stregthen my neck and back and realign my spine.

I also behaved and stayed away from things that would have exacerbated the problem. I had to stop eating inflammatory foods. I had to adjust how I slept. And I had to alter my work-life. This took some arresting of the ego, especially as I continued to teach classes and often couldn’t demonstrate or do myself what I was asking of my students. But in that way, I think it made me far more attentive to and curious about the process of my students.

Finally, I was patient while never doubting (yes, there were moments, but then I’d remind myself) that I would be well again. Healing takes time. It requires self-care. It takes a certain amount of faith. And it takes grace. Fortunately, yoga cultivates self-care, patience, faith, and grace. Today, I’m feeling better than ever and constantly learning to improve my relationship with my own body as well as my understanding of yoga.

The Journey from Machine to Organism

Some say science is outpacing our ability to know what to do with it. Just look at the frontier of artifical intelligence. So many questions abound about how to create more and more intelligent machines.

I am far more fascinated with the under-discovered realms of the intelligent systems already in existence…our own bodies.

I remember years ago, (in another life, it seems), when I worked at the most loved amusement park in the world. I played the role of various cartoon characters that were “in my height range”, dancing in parades and shows. It didn’t take long for the heat, costume weight, and shoddy footwear to wear my 20-year-old body down into chronic pain. It seemed I, unlike the “animatronics” or life-like robots on display at this same amusement park, was not meant to endure such a regular pounding. A lifelong dancer, I felt betrayed by my body which began its very long road to recovery.

Though they are often treated as such, our bodies are not machines. Machines are merely an assemblage of parts that function together, without any intelligence or communication. The body, however, well, that is a whole different level of miracle.The body is a highly intelligent, interconnected universe.

Unfortunately, I like most people was taught that the body was there to serve the mind. I was the master who could bend it to her will, overriding the messages it was sending me such as “stop and feel”, “find another path”, or “danger!”. I treated the body like a machine instead of the intelligent system it is. I bypassed it’s communication until it was too late and the damage was done.

Lucky for me, the body isn’t just a machine. Lucky for me it is an organism with the ability to heal.

We tend to learn about and think of our bodies in terms of its respective parts, isolated, each with their separate function. But in truth, every cell of our bodies is connected to every other cell via a liquid highway of connective tissue called fascia. It is the fascia that responds quickly to emotional and physical trauma. It is the fascia that locks down and knits tight when we are injured to protect us from further injury.  It is the fascia and its history that we see in haggard, bent bodies, it’s substance loyal to the last, despite being ignored for a lifetime.

It astounds me on a daily basis that it has taken me a 30-year-journey since my work injuries to finally feel as through I am able to listen to the conversation my body has been trying to have with me all these years. It brings me no end of delight to help others discover this communication too, to have them try something and discover how absolutely delicious it feels to move in ways that are harmonious with the body’s innate smarts.

Most of us are quite practiced at abusing the body, getting it to conform to our wishes. Why do we find it surprising when it breaks down?  Anything (and anyone) would given the same treatment. Why have we never been taught how to enjoy, care for, and love our bodies? Why are we so far removed from our senses and feelings,  always backing away from the intensity of living, disconnecting ourselves in some way from the very thing that allows the miracle of movement?

Thankfully, it’s never too late to slow down, listen, and get to know what’s there.

Try this. Lay on your back on the floor, legs out straight and arms comfortably resting at your sides, palms up or down. Feel where your body is in contact with the floor. Scan from the feet, up the legs, along the backside of the buttocks, hips, and lower back, up the spine and neck to the head. Just feel.

Now, begin to press the heels into the floor gently and use that slight pressure to begin to rock the body back and forth toward and away from the feet. Notice how this action, originating at the foot, moves up the body, creating a chain-reactional pulse, pulling the entire body with it.

Maybe you’re not sure. Maybe it is difficult to feel. Maybe everything feels more like one massive rusted adhesion, all stuck together, and less like the flowing river of honey it should be. Give it time.

This isn’t a dissociated flexing and unflexing at the ankle. Stay with it. See if you can literally connect. Slow down and feel how this one action in one area of the body runs up the legs to the skull. You are feeling your fascia, the connective tissue of the body. You are feeling “one”.

You can and will awaken the waters within you. Slowly, softly, the body’s singing will make its way into your awareness. Then the healing begins.

 

The World of Sound Therapy Part I

What’s It All About?

As our lives become ever more complicated and the world around us continues to change at breakneck speed, more and more people are seeking different and deeper ways to connect and return to wholeness. The field of sound therapy, while ancient in its roots, is just now emerging into the mainstream in answer to this need, garnered by the support of ever-increasing clinical applications and research. So, what is sound therapy all about?

Sound is simply vibration. And science reveals what we can’t see with our eyes—that all of life is vibration. What appears solid, like a hard table, is actually comprised of vibrating atoms engaged in a musical composition of great mystery and complexity. Our bodies are no different than that table; we only appear solid to the limited perception of the eye. But unlike the dense table, the body is much more impressionable to shifts in energy.

Disease manifests when we fall into resonance with harmful vibrations, be they of mind, body or spirit. Sound therapy, by tapping into vibrations that are supportive and beneficial to our bodies, and through something called entrainment, brings the body back into a state of health. But just as you don’t need to understand how the internet works in order to send an email, you don’t need to comprehend the scientific or spiritual principles behind sound to benefit from sound therapy.

The world of sound therapy is rich and diverse. There is without a doubt something for everyone. But with all the choices, how on earth does one decide which form of sound therapy may help? This series is meant to provide background information to help you make your choice, but it is by no means exhaustive. Once you know what is available, follow your intuition, experiment, and trust your own experience.

Next time: The Voice

 

About the Author:

Beth Ciesco is your Selfcare Specialist, a certified yoga teacher and meditation facilitator. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about Restorative Healing YogaMirror MeditationE-Motion Alchemy, and Voicework as capital S Selfcare tools. You can also follow her on these sites:

❤ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/divinemetime/
❤ Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com/tranquilliving
❤ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@DivineMeTime

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