Emotional Graffiti and Loving the Self...
When I tell people I've chosen to heal naturally there have been a wide range of reactions, many of them supportive and also some not supportive. However, once I was solid in my decision I was then strong enough to stand tall when others did not support my choices. My job isn't to convince anyone, my job is to focus on healing and what that has come to mean to me is far more vast and dynamic than I ever could have expected.
"The first step to reclaiming your power in order to handle the challenges you're facing is to look within for guidance, which will bring you direction and peace of mind." ( Laura Kamm)
Learning more about what "healing naturally" meant for me and deliberately setting out on that path has consumed these first four weeks of my healing regimen prescribed by my wonderful and amazing naturopath Dr. Olarsch; although the journey truly started once I made the decision; the choice. This was my first lesson: We all have a choice. I had a choice in how I would treat and heal my body. Following through with this brought up my next big lesson: Standing up for my choice in the face of others' criticisms. In the past, this has not been my strong point.
Girl, you're gonna have to dig deep and face your shit. This is no time for playing it small. Its no time for old victim tapes. Its time to ignite an inner revolution and nobody can take these steps for you.
Prior to my first meeting with my naturopath I had begun to tune in to what healing naturally would entail. I had, by now read a stack of books, devoured all the information on natural healing I could find that was reputable and resonated with me and spoken to many people in person who shared their own story of healing. I started to realize this was a big ass deal. This was not just about eating more veggies and hugging trees. (although this is wonderful too!) This would require a willingness to change my entire life and consciously step out of the habitualized and ritualized emotional and day-to-day life patterns I had been living in for years.
The causes of cancer are not just one; its an amalgam of components and ultimately like any dis ease in order to truly heal, we must heal the root of the imbalance. In the case of cancer, its our immune system that for some reason misses the rogue cells which are usually detected and annihilated by healthy cells, on a daily basis without our ever even realizing it. Once the immune system is compromised, any number of triggers can result in cancer be it environmental, food source, emotional, stress induced or genetic. The bottom line is, if our immune system is functioning optimally then cancer can not survive and to strengthen the immune system requires a re strengthening and balancing on every level of our being.
In many ways I have lived fairly healthfully for many years. On one hand I am an avid practitioner of yoga, pranayama (deep breathing practice), meditation, eating mostly organic vegetarian diet, and maintain albeit a small but solid group of friendships and family connection that I care deeply for. On the other hand, over the past 10 years I have struggled to survive as a single mom and to varying degrees used alcohol, avoidance, lethargy and fear as coping mechanisms. My daughter was 4 years old when I got divorced and for many years I struggled to find a job that would pay me enough to survive while also allowing me to take care of my daughter. This resulted in some eviction notices and frequent relocations in attempt to seek out cheaper rent costs. Early on my daughter had severe anger issues and this over the years developed in to anxiety and depression issues. Finding the support and healing she has needed has been a journey of its own, one that I have been immersed in and committed to with my whole heart. The years became a ladder of time as I climbed each rung seeking for and focused on that point when I would finally make enough money to support us both. About 2 years ago I finally found some work in a healing and supportive environment and through my hard work and commitment I became stronger and more stable. My life began to feel like more than just a struggle, finally things seemed to be looking up.
Through the span of all these years I grasped for improvement in my life; some way to step beyond "surviving" and into living. For a time I thought my salvation would be found in relationship, in another person, perhaps a boyfriend would save me. I can look back now and feel immense gratitude for the beautiful people I shared my life with for a time but ultimately until we heal our own wounds we will only continue to attract the same kind of relationship that only perpetuates our broken perception of ourselves. I then took some college courses in an attempt to find my freedom through a degree however the balancing act of working, school and single parenting was simply too much to take and that road served me for a time but needed to end where it did. I essentially lived and breathed stress and what is meant to serve as a short term survival tool became a long term physical and emotional source of severe depletion.
"Stress is a powerful part in the creation of disease and the breakdown of the immune system."
My good friend Charles looked on as a compassionate witness to the chain of struggle I was living out and decided to gift me with a Yoga Teaching Program which was his amazing attempt to help me "step outside the box" and outfit me with tools that I could use to both serve others and perhaps even bring in some extra income. Like a true friend he was trying to empower me as I sorely needed it. Perhaps it would take me on a new path and serve as a much needed new beginning for the exhausted, disenchanted person I had become. His selfless gesture alone changed me in many ways I can not find words for and the Yoga Teacher Training opened up a whole world I was excited to step into and make my own. I became part of a circle of amazing women and teachers that I will forever adore and hold dear to my heart. I thought this may finally be the life shift I had so desperately sought after for so long.
But as I walked out of the doctors office a couple months before I was set to complete my teacher training certificate I stood drenched in shock and fear and wondered how I would possibly endure this. Universe, God, spirits, angels…what the fuck IS this?!
It was not long after this moment that I heard the resounding force of intuition surface above the revelation of fear and doubt. With the decision to heal naturally rooted firmly in my heart I began to accept that much of the healing work at hand would require a willingness to look within at the emotional graffiti and debris that littered my own inner landscape and start to truly own up and face my shit, face this dis ease and in the midst of it all, find a way to truly love me and be willing to take my rightful place in this world without apology.
"The dis ease is embedded in part of the body. You cannot ignore the fact that being honest and authentic in your heart brings on the power of healing. The core issues of cancer relate to feelings of fear, deep sadness and grief. Ask yourself: Where have you left yourself behind?" (L.Kamm)
Many people still do not recognize or give due merit to the intricate, beautiful and powerful connection that exists between the mind and the body. But the deeper I strode the more I recognized the countless ways I have been dragging around a suitcase full of old fears, self doubt and resentment that have shaped the very contours of my life. Our words are powerful and I could now look back and bear witness to years of internal dialogue that would leave me truly friendless had I spoken them aloud to other people as much as I did to myself: "What right do I have to teach anyone?" "I am too ordinary to become anything special." "I will probably be single forever, men want young women..., I'll end up single and living with a bunch of cats." "Look how unhappy my daughter is, I should have socialized/loved/disciplined her better." "There is no way I'll be able to make enough money to travel or buy land, I'm just a single mom." "I wish I could do a back bend like that…." "Why are they staring at me? They probably think I'm weird."
These words were internalized belief patterns that began at a young age and over the years I unconsciously perpetuated them. I liken it to a distress call that played out for years like an old tape stuck on 'repeat', only this message no longer served or applied to me. Fears, mistrust and resentments had become ingrained in the fabric of my thoughts and had become so elusive that much of the time it blended in with the landscape of my daily life.
I know this will be a key component in my healing journey. The physical level of healing is being addressed through an extensive dietary regimen that has therapeutic, strengthening and detoxing actions on the body. The daily ritual of this has started to become a form of self care, self nurturing for me as well. Rather than attack the lump or bump, to me its about integrating a new system of thinking and living.
Once I began to turn my awareness on to my inner world I recognized the countless ways fear has manifested through catastrophic thinking or negative belief patterns.
Where have you left yourself behind? I had left myself behind each time I gave in to the fear and perpetuated the pattern. Each time I chose unconscious instead of conscious. Not anymore. All this time, after all these years, it was not the boyfriend or the education or the right job that needed to save me. It was me who needed to save me. Its not about waiting until I heal, or waiting for the right job or boyfriend or income to finally love me and my life but rather in the midst of the mess, in the midst of this perfect, beautiful mess to turn back and pick my fallen self up and help her along, walk beside her and encourage and empower her, like any true, devoted friend would.