The body-mind-spirit connection is something that has, for me, moved beyond belief into knowing and experience.
Without going into too much detail, for the past six weeks I've been dealing with a persistent, severe health issue that has affected every aspect of my life. However, I had so much on my plate, I told myself, "Oh I'll deal with it later when I have time." I was working on two books, I had a conference coming up where I was speaking and teaching four classes, and I had my Nia white belt, which was seven long days of classes and intensive movement.
Throughout, the problem persisted and worsened. It would flare significantly and painfully at the most inconvenient times - when I was onstage speaking, when I was socializing, when I was teaching a class, when I was dancing. It would flare to a point where I couldn't ignore it, and I would have to remove myself from what I was doing to rest. My body was desperately trying to get my attention.
Finally, early last week I had some downtime, and I took the time to ask my body what it was trying to tell me. Lots came flooding in, much of it about uncomfortable emotional baggage I've been carrying for years. As soon as I pinpointed the issue and gave the intention to release and heal it, my body started to heal, and the issue improved, but it lingered a little. I knew there was one final concrete step I needed to take although I wasn't looking forward to it because it involved me going to someone and admitting I was wrong and had been engaging in emotional bullshit. I did that yesterday. Today, the issue is completely gone. Healed. It's almost like it was never there.
Caring deeply for ourselves requires attention to body, mind, and spirit. We cannot separate the three, as much as we'd like to. I'd done everything physically possible (short of going to my doctor who would've recommended surgery, of that I've no doubt) to heal my body. It wasn't until I dealt with the emotional and spiritual aspects of the issue and followed my intuition about what I needed to do that it cleared up 100 percent. Body, mind, and spirit are intertwined, and each affects the other.
Tools for Healing
Healing - and what brings it about - is highly individual. But self-examination is an important tool in your arsenal when you're trying to heal a health issue.
Before I get to deeply into the tools, I need to say this: if you are experiencing a life-threatening issue, if you suspect a disease process that requires treatment, if you are bleeding or broken, working with the emotional and spiritual aspects of your health issue shouldn't override getting appropriate medical care. It's important to your health you seek appropriate medical evaluation and treatment. Then, work with the spiritual and emotional in conjunction with proper health care - it should supplement it, not replace it. Ignoring a medical issue is never a healthy choice - your body is trying to get your attention.
When your body is stabilized, however, you can turn to spiritual and emotional tools to help you find balance.
Step #1: Find the chakra the issue is associated with.
Every physical issue has an energetic chakra association. In general, physical issues are energetically linked to the chakra in the general region of the body. So leg, feet, hip, and bowel issues, for instance, might be associated with the root chakra (chakra #1), while throat issues, like thyroid disorders, might be linked to the throat chakra (#5). One of my favorite tools for a great snapshot of your chakra energetic system and how it may affect your body, emotions, and spiritual issues is Caroline Myss's Chakras, which is an interactive Flash presentation that tells some of the truths associated with each chakra, briefly highlights the body parts associated, and gives you guidance for examining in depth issues that may be affecting the energetics of that chakra.
Step #2: Practice deep self honesty without judgment. Observe and notice.
As you begin to examine the issues associated with the chakra you've identified, it's time to be very honest with yourself. I know it's difficult to do this without self-judgment, but it's time to step back, be an observer, and notice the issues without self-judgment. Instead, notice how you feel about certain situations, how issues from your past might affect you, how your behaviors and choices may be affecting the issue, etc. This goes beyond physical - it's important you look at mental, emotional, and spiritual issues associated with these chakras, as well. In the Caroline Myss Flash linked above, there are questions for self-examination for each chakra. MindBodyGreen also has a list of questions for each chakra. Answering them honestly and thoroughly may be very helpful for you, and it may spark other questions you can ask yourself, as well. It may help to write what you notice so you don't forget. Keep digging deeply until you've identified the issues that are affecting that chakra and/or body part. I find there's a sort of "click" when I hit on the right one - this feeling of "ahhhhh....okay." It's a knowing, and your body and spirit will send you an undeniable signal you've hit on it.
Step #3: Ask if you're ready to let go.
Ask yourself, "Am I ready to release this, or is it still serving me in some way?" If you feel it still serves you, it's important to examine how and why, and if this choice is truly in your best interests or if it is holding you back from what you feel your purpose in life is. Again, non-judgment is critical here. As much as you can, do this from the role of the observer. If feelings arise related to the issues you are bringing up, certainly allow yourself to fully experience those emotions so they don't get stuck in your body, but allow them and move through them without self-judgment and with the intention for self-compassion and love. If you are truly still not ready to let this go, then just be with it and notice when it arises in your life and how it affects you. At some point, you may notice it no longer serves you and decide to move on. If and when that occurs, move on to step 4.
Step 4: Set your intent to heal.
In self-healing, intention is everything. Noticing is the first step to healing. Letting go is the second. Intending to heal is the third and most powerful. You can do this silently, out loud, while looking in the mirror, in writing, in meditation, or wherever and whenever it feels most appropriate to you. I have a meditation I like to do when I'm setting my intention to heal, and you are certainly welcome to use it if it is something that resonates with you.
I close my eyes and visualize the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical issues I've identified as dark shadows in my body. I state my intent to heal, and I allow the dark masses to drain from my body into Gaia (the Earth) where they are absorbed and neutralized. Then, I visualize healing light flowing into me and filling every cell in my body, filling the empty spaces left behind by the dark masses.
Step 5: Take appropriate action.
If you've noticed what you've discovered requires some type of action, such as making amends to someone else, changing behaviors, etc., it's important you take appropriate action in your life consistently and consciously to meet these needs.
Step 6: Express gratitude.
It's a true effort from your mind, body, and spirit to help you find blockages and remove them. Give thanks to your body for the warning. Give thanks to your intuition for assisting. Give thanks to your mind and spirit that you are able to intend to heal.
Step 7: Use vibrational healing practices for the affected chakra and all other chakras.
Moving forward in the days and weeks that follow, I treat that chakra with love and care as I work to strengthen and heal it from the long-term energetic toll the issue has taken on it. I do this with a variety of tools. I use singing bowls, tuning forks, and vocal toning meditations or mantras and mudras (hand positions). I use crystals, essential oils, or movement forms associated with the chakra I'm working to heal and to balance that and all other chakras. I also use energetic healing modalities like Reiki and quantum touch to balance the chakras. I recommend finding vibrational healing practices that resonate with you.
Celebrate Your Self Care
This is an intensive process. It's not easy - certainly taking a pill is quicker, easier, and less emotionally intensive, but is it really fixing the problem? This process arises from self love and can be the impetus for tremendous spiritual and personal growth. It can remove blockages in your life and allow you to live more fully and vibrantly. It's important to approach it with an attitude of openness and non-judgment, without expectations of results other than those that are in your greatest and highest good.
This deep level of self-care is a beautiful thing, and you deserve to love and care for yourself in such a way. Celebrate the self-love this takes, and offer gratitude to every aspect of yourself - body, mind, and spirit - that you are embarking on the process of deep self-healing.
photo credit: Hadock Quiet the mind and the Soul will speak photopin (license)