Do you suffer from a chronic health condition? Or maybe someone you love does? If so, you probably know how that can so easily take center stage in one’s life. From spending hours each day dwelling on our problem to taking a bunch of supplements, exercising, stretching, meditating, cleansing, in addition to seeing various doctors and health practitioners, it’s easy to lose perspective. When that happens, it is important to remember that most chronic ills are years in the making. And that no matter how much we DO, expecting them to go away in days or even weeks is often unrealistic and always stress-producing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe in so-called “miracles” and spontaneous remissions. But it seems to me, based on my experience, that…
In fact, we can sometimes try too hard and do too much for our own good.
When we don’t feel well, it’s natural to want to feel better quickly. Yet sometimes our eagerness to find solutions and get well (right this moment!) can backfire when it’s not tempered with a healthy dose of patience. If you’re like me, your tendency may be to spend hours researching different remedies and healing protocols before settling on a well-rounded and carefully chosen combination of those.
Then try to implement it all “perfectly” on day one! If this sounds familiar, I’m warning you. Your over-achiever (yang) approach to healing may be working against you. I speak from experience. As an action-oriented person I’ve never shied away from trying new remedies, whether they are herbs, cleansing methods, energy medicine, homeopathy, Bach Flowers, sound therapy, aroma therapy, acupuncture or else. As a health practitioner, being curious to find out what works and how, has always benefited my clients, friends and family for whom I am generally a great resource. But when it comes to my health, I’ve realized that reigning in my experimental nature, proceed slowly and actually do less gave me more and deeper relief.
Since my teenage years I’ve had plenty of opportunities to want to feel better, and search for solutions. At 13 I began suffering from debilitating migraines, poor circulation and general malaise. At that time I also turned into quite a bit of a health nut! Going to the health food store became by far my favorite outing. In the years that followed, digestive troubles, fatigue, anxiety and an auto-immune disease provided me with plenty more material to experiment with holistic medicine. But in the last few years it’s become very clear to me that…
Here is what I’ve discovered:
• When we change many aspects of our diet and lifestyle at the same time and we start to feel better, how can we possibly know what worked?? Was it the extra dose of selenium? Going off dairies? Or the 15 minutes a day of slow deep breathing? There’s no way of knowing. A smarter, more useful approach is to add/subtract to your regular routine ONE thing at the time for a few days at least, and closely monitor the effects of that change before deciding if it’s working or not.
• When we have too many health practices to keep track of every day it quickly gets overwhelming and we are bound to burn out too soon to get long-lasting benefits. Trying to fit in your day a full yoga, breathing and meditation practice, 3 freshly cooked meals (which may require previous soaking or dehydrating of some kind), a chanting and affirmation session, while remembering to write down how your symptoms are improving (or not), taking all your herbs and supplements at the right time in the right way while you know…working, running your usual errands, shopping for previously mentioned fresh meals, perhaps caring for a child, being available for a partner, oh.. and having a little fun too… is admirable but I mean…
• Lastly, we are creatures of habit. Whether those habits are good or bad they provide us with much-needed structure and stability. Changing too many of them at once can prove to be immensely destabilizing, and a source of stress in and of itself. And I think we all know by now that stress lowers our immunity, and as such is a major hindrance to the healing process.
So now that I’m older and wiser 🙂 whenever a health challenge comes up that needs my attention, instead of doing anything (at least right away) I sit with it for a while. Then only do I decide how I’m going to address it, from a calm and centered place. When I was first diagnosed with my auto-immune disorder I didn’t do that. I immediately began searching for and trying out dozens of natural treatments. For a while my entire days were consumed by reading on the subject, ordering books and supplements, making appointments with various health care practitioners, whom I thought would help me. They all did, to a degree. But considering the amount of energy I was expanding I wasn’t doing that much better and it started to feel really depressing.
That’s when something shifted in me and I had a major breakthrough. It dawned on me that no-thing and nobody was going to heal me completely. I had started to lose perspective. I was beginning to experience what I had seen a lot of my clients experience over the years, which is when one becomes their disease. That’s when I let go of trying so hard to find a solution. I sensed clearly that surrendering to Life’s Higher Intelligence and trusting that all the events in my life were perfectly orchestrated and happening for a reason, was just as important (if not more) a part of my healing journey than being pro-active. Surrendering felt great. Sweet and liberating.
If we allow our lives to revolve completely around a health challenge, if all we do is think about it, talk about it, invest time, energy and money (sometimes lots of it) in it, we sooner or later lose perspective and forget our true nature, ever perfect, whole and complete. We forget that we exist apart from our health issues, while remembering this essential truth might precisely be the3 ultimate remedy!
So when life throws you a curve ball, do yourself a favor and take it easy. Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Then make your decisions. Cultivate an attitude of gratefulness for the challenges (i.e. opportunities to grow!) that you are given. This “yin” attitude to healing will avoid causing your already suffering self additional stress and yield much more bang for your bucks.
Healing is not something we find in some distant future; it is available to us, in us, right now. I firmly believe that an inward attitude of surrender and complete trust in life’s Great Plan are the keys that unlock this healing power within ourselves.
If you are dealing with a tough health situation, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. How do you keep things in perspective? Do you sometimes feel your disease has taken over your life? What has helped you snap out of that state? Just go to the comment section below to share.
Looking forward to hear from you,