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February Newsletter (in March): "The Art of Healing "


"As the soft yield of water cleaves obstinate stone,
So to yield with life solves the insoluble.

It is said, “There’s a way where there’s a will,”
But let life ripen and then fall,
Will is not the way at all:
Deny the way of life and you are dead."
- Lao-Tzu


Growing up in Australia, I spent a lot of time in the sun. In the early 80s, the Australian cancer council launched an ad campaign featuring Sid the Seagull who sang this ditty:

Slip, slop, slap!
It sounds like a breeze when you say it like that.
Slip, slop, slap!
In the sun we say, “Slip, slop, slap!”
Slip, slop, slap!
Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat.
Slip, slop, slap!
You can stop skin cancer; say, “Slip, slop, slap!”

Sid
Sid the Seagull

It was catchy enough for an eleven-year-old to run around singing it. But by the time I was fourteen, the “Bronzed Aussie” archetype, magnificently encapsulated by Elle McPherson, was one we teenagers all aspired to; T-shirts came off, Reef oil went on and the only real sun protection was perhaps a stripe of brightly coloured zinc down the bridge of the nose.

As a result of this sun worshipping lifestyle and several occasions that left me lobster-like and tender coupled with the residual fear of having grown up in a country directly affected by the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, I am familiar with the tell tale signs of skin cancer and the importance of regular skin checks. That said, it had been more than a few years since I’d seen a dermatologist, so after returning from our sun kissed trip to my homeland, I decided it would be a good time to get checked.

Elle McPherson
Elle McPherson

At the dermatologists, two moles, one on my back and one on my arm, were considered suspect. The doctor recommended having them removed for biopsy even though, “they probably aren’t anything.” In a fear-based fog supported by a memory of having other moles removed in a similar fashion, I agreed. Afterwards, when the fog cleared, I was so angry at myself. Why on earth would I agree to have somebody cut into my body for no apparent reason? Wouldn’t it have been better to get a second opinion, or a third? After all, the doctor had said several times that he didn’t really think they were anything. Worse, it is my belief that there is a non-invasive remedy for most conditions be it external with homeopathic tinctures or salves, or internally through the altering of thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and intentions. By allowing the doctor to do his will, I had violated my own rules. Why did I so easily assume that the doctor knew what was best for me? Is it because deep down I don’t believe that I know what is best for me?

At the end of the day, we are the only ones who can know what’s best for us. Even doctors who we trust to have our best interests at heart rarely do. As a child, I had very bad eczema. Over the years, it has localized to my hands and feet. For a period, I had almost total relief but at the moment the eczema stubbornly continues to linger –especially on my feet. I am certain it is psychosomatic, so refuse to treat it with steroids, which are toxic and dangerous. Curious as to what course of action the dermatologist would recommend for treatment, I asked him for suggestions. The answer, as expected, was topical steroids. After limply attempting to justify their effectiveness, I asked him why he didn’t think it necessary to ask me about my diet and lifestyle. Didn’t he think what I ate, what I thought, and how I felt affected my body? He quickly jumped to the defensive stating, “There is no evidence in the Scientific Journals that I’ve read proving that diet and eczema are linked.”
I see.
While he did concede that skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis worsened when the patient was under stress, he still didn’t ask me about possible stressors in my life. His approach was purely to treat the symptom. I realise that he is doing the best he can with what he knows but I know that it is not good enough.

During the next few days, I angrily tended to my wounds. They were deep and I fretted about scarring. I was even more frustrated when a few days later I was reminded of Bloodroot, a herb native in the woodlands of Northern Central United States and Canada. Traditionally, Native American Plains Indians used it topically for skin growths. I had first learned of it last year when searching for natural alternatives for Petey when he was diagnosed with a Mast Cell tumor on his leg. According to the available literature, Bloodroot has a potent anti-cancer agent and is particularly useful in the treatment of carcinomas and sarcomas. In his book Spontaneous Healing, Dr. Weil recounts his own experience with a Bloodroot derived salve; first, with his Rhodesian Ridgeback, Coca, where he applied the salve to a tumor “that looked like a little black cauliflower”, on her shoulder. Within a week the whole tumor (the size of a marble) had fallen off in a perfect circle, “more neatly than one could have done with a scalpel.” Next, Dr. Weil tried the salve on a friend, John Fago, who had been worried about a mole on his chest. By the fourth day of applying the salve, the mole fell off. Again leaving a perfectly round hole that healed quickly. Dr. Weil continued using Bloodroot with similar satisfactory results.

Bloodroot
Bloodroot

I have no expertise in homeopathy, naturopathy, or herbal medicines but I do believe that nature provides us with remedies for any disease or ailment that ails us. It is a matter of getting to know our own bodies well enough to give it what it needs rather than relying on someone else to tell us what they think we need. Being so disconnected from our own bodies, it is easy to see how we so willingly hand it over to the care of others. Through introspection, meditation and study, we can take our power back, which we want to do because as I said in the beginning, only you know what’s best for you.

In our Growing Whole in Body workshop, we teach you to love your body by feeding it the right foods, by nurturing it and listening to it, and by working with it instead of against it. It is my belief that all illness is a result of anger taken out on the body. This anger comes from our negative belief systems, which we’ve inherited or learned. Emotional and physical pain is simply a reflection of our beliefs. They are a reminder, a tool, to bring awareness to those beliefs. According to Barbara Brennan, we chose our body along with our energy system to assist us with our life’s task. Each of us is as unique as a snowflake and just as beautiful. When we believe our negative thoughts, we block our energy flow -this very same creative energy flow that we designed to help us with our life’s task. When we block our energy, imbalance occurs which ultimately manifests into physical disorder. This tells us then that our illnesses directly relate to our life task. Brennan says, “You are sick because you are not following your deepest longing.”

In order to help facilitate healing, we must find true self-acceptance, to find ways to release these negative beliefs so we can get on with doing whatever it was we came here to do. It is through our heart chakra, our center of love, that we heal. When giving Reiki, the earth plane energies and the higher plane energies travel into the heart chakra before moving out through the hands of the practitioner. To love yourself wholly is to heal yourself. You must understand that illness is a part of you. Therefore, you need to learn to love your illness because it is a part of you. This “war on cancer” makes my scalp tighten and heart restrict. If you are “at war” with even this one part of yourself, then you at war with the whole self. Healing comes from the peace found in acceptance and love, not the resistance and aggression of war.

I noticed that once I stopped being angry and started directing loving, nurturing, forgiving intention and energy towards the wounds, there appeared to be a shift. The wound on my arm, which was quite deep, seemed to start the healing process over again –it bled on its own, a new scab appeared, which naturally fell off and today (just a few weeks later), there is only a slight indentation and residual redness which I know will go away.

Of course, while the miracle of spontaneous healing is known to happen to people who have found acceptance and love and created this peace in their lives, there is no guarantee a healing will occur. We are but toys in a toy factory. To my mind, something greater than us must exist for us to have been created. Perhaps it is not in the game plan for physical healing to take place. Perhaps your illness is a tool to teach you about peace, love and acceptance. Dr. Larry Dossey, one of the first American doctors to explore the role of religious practice and prayer in health, compiled an impressive list of saints (both Eastern and Western) who had died of cancer –so many that one would be forgiven for thinking that death-by-cancer is a Saint’s right of passage! One would think then that the task is to live with disease in the best way possible as opposed to living to rid yourself of it.

Your body is your house, your home, your castle. Behold it, appreciate it, love it and take care of it. Work on your negative beliefs so that you can treasure your body rather than trash it.

And with that, I leave you with these ideas...

Know your body! Get a good Anatomy book and learn about your body. You’ll find yourself in a magic wonderland ripe to explore.

Love your Body! In a meditative state, follow your breath. Then, send your awareness to different parts of your body; feel the top of your head, your feet, your hands, then feel your blood, bone, muscles and nerves. Feel your organs; heart, lung, kidney, liver, spleen and so on. Wherever you are intuitively directed, ask “How can I nurture you (e.g., heart) today?” “What do you need?” Listen for and acknowledge the answer, then send love and gratitude there. You can imagine a green energy if you want to.

Knowing What's Best. Or not. Let’s take this idea further by turning it around. If you are the only one who knows what’s best for you, then it becomes impossible for you to know what’s best for other people. For instance, after the last snow fall, my dear friend Sue thoughtfully sent one of her sons to help an elderly neighbour shovel her driveway. The neighbour sent Sue’s son back saying she didn’t need him. Sue sent her son right back over telling him not to come back until it was done. Again, the elderly neighbour shooed him away. Later, the elderly neighbour called Sue thanking her for her gesture but explained that she had wanted to shovel her driveway. She was looking forward to it because for her it was an opportunity to get some exercise. Sometimes, the best help we can offer is to do nothing and let them find their way. Keep this in mind the next time you feel strongly that you know what is best for your partner, spouse, child, sibling, parent, co-worker, or friend.

One more thought before I go:

"Treat your body like your best friend: get to know it, have fun with it, listen to it, be kind to it, love it."

Namaste!

Andrea




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