Many wisdom teachers counsel that suffering can be a purifying force for good. Pain, either physical or psychological, can draw our attention to the self like nothing else. It often forces us to examine what is really going on in our lives. We are guided to go inward for understanding and healing. One such event occurred to me about six years ago.
What appeared to be a bad case of the flu lingered on to reveal deeper health problems. Faced with debilitating muscle pain, fatigue, and depression, I turned to medical doctors who seemed just as perplexed by my symptoms as I was. Prescribed medications only provided temporary relief and the side effects actually made me feel worse.
So I turned to self-study to find relief and possibly a cure. I read books and researched online eagerly and diligently. After much reflection on what was going on with my body and emotions, it became pretty clear that I was dealing with some kind of autoimmune disease akin to chronic fatigue syndrome. Later my condition exhibited typical symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis. The former and the latter disorders have fundamental connections, I learned, and were multi-faceted with many unknowns.
Armed with knowledge I had, I started on a path to understand the underlying causes and to create real, lasting ways toward health and well-being. I was committed. I had to because the pain (both physically and emotionally) was too great. Thus began my journey of mind-body healing that continues to this day.
There are numerous mind-body healing modalities available. Everyone is unique so we usually experience and respond differently to each method. That being said, ones that have particularly been powerfully effective for me were hypnotherapy and meditation. Subtle differences aside, what they have taught me, in the most fundamental way, is the power of the mind to effect changes in the body, as they are essentially one.
Besides tapping into the power of mind to create positive changes I desired, I turned to vitamins, supplements, herbs, and moderate exercise to relieve symptoms, increase energy, and assist in restoring my body to balance. It is an ongoing process. I now see the unpleasant symptoms as a way for my body to communicate and warn me that something is not right. I listen to what it has to say. And I'm also realizing what it means to be healed, to feel whole, even when one's disease is not completely cured.
Another rewarding outcome from this healing journey for me has been a wonderful opening up of artistic creativity. I saw there was a lot of repressed energy within but once thoughts, memories, feelings bubbled up to the conscious surface and processed in constructive ways, a profound sense of release manifested. Out of accepting and caring for myself, I felt free to express without fear. I'm learning to acknowledge and embrace all my experiences. To quote Rainer Maria Rilke, "Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, no feeling is final."
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