Healing means “to make whole.” This is frequently forgotten by western medicine as it typically approaches the body like a machine and expects it to respond as such. We herbalists can also forget, as we use herbs for organs and systems, and ignore other aspects of the person. To make whole, however, means attending to all parts of a person – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. As well, it means knowing that any one of these parts can be the single cause for disease, not just the physical body itself.
I did an interview on this topic last January. Called, “Healing the Whole Person,” it was with Dr. Susan Allison on her Empowered Healer show, held on VoiceAmerica. Here is a link to that show:
That show gives more detail than provided here so you may want to listen to it to get a fuller perspective (her other shows are great, too!), but here are some examples to understand what I mean about healing the whole person. In every story that follows, the reason is clearly due to another cause rather than being purely physical. And when that level was addressed and resolved, health returned. That is one clear way to tell a health condition is due to issues other than physical.
PHYSICAL LEVEL: I once treated a patient with a terrible flu during one of those horrible flu outbreaks (though not the swine flu). When he entered the treatment room, the smell of the disease was quite pervasive. Even with the door open it permeated the air. I took all precautions, washed my hands frequently, and had strong immunity at the time. However, within a day of his treatment, I came down with the same flu. Some pathogens are so virulent, that no matter how strong you are or what you do, it still gets you.
EMOTIONAL LEVEL: Those who have taken any of my classes may find it hard to believe that I was not always so talkative. Before the first large class I ever taught, I was terrified. So terrified in fact, I thought that if I got sick, I’d have an acceptable reason to not go. The next day I came down with a 102-degree fever and had to cancel! Instantly I knew it was my intense fear about teaching and desire to escape that created the fever. As soon as the class started and there was no chance I could heal and get there, the fever disappeared. Ever since, I’ve been aware of the power of my emotions and thoughts.
MENTAL LEVEL: For almost 20 years I was vegetarian, refusing to eat meat for spiritual reasons. After about 15 of those years, I began to feel quite weak, unfocused and deficient. Eventually I couldn’t even meditate because of weakness, let alone do service in the world or adequately carry my daily responsibilities. I realized then I was eating mentally, rather than according to what my body needed. When I honored my blood type (the hunter and gatherer type O) and added meat back into my diet, my body felt like rain had finally fallen in the desert. Quite a few years passed before I not only rebuilt my strength and immunity, but also balanced my blood sugar. Even today I can have blood sugar issues if my protein isn’t adequate. If I had eaten according to my body’s needs instead of my mind, I would not still pay the price today!
SPIRITUAL LEVEL: Since a child I’ve had periodic bouts of eczema. Once I got a patch of it on my cheek before co-leading a group of women vision questing. While the group was out in the field, I did a journey to discover the reason for this latest eczema. I learned that it arose because it was time to stop doing other people’s work and develop my own instead and the message was “in my face” to get my attention. I stopped that work and began to develop my own classes and as a result, it helped lead me to my current work.
As you probably know, all my prior books have mainly attended to physical healing through herbs, diet and lifestyle habits. However, I’ve also focused on other levels of healing through over 40 years of psychotherapeutic and spiritual studies. As well, my over 30 years of working with people has taught me that many people’s illnesses stem from deeper sources of emotional, mental or spiritual issues and that their health does not improve until these are addressed. As you can see from the stories above, this has certainly played out in my personal healing process as well.
All together, these stories led me to coalesce my studies and experiences into a process of healing that attend to all levels of our beings. This I finally wrote as my next book, entitled Metaphor-phosis: Transform Your Stories From Pain to Power. It is in the publication process now and should be out in early Fall. It is a blend of my personal life story, specific teachings, scientific information, and useful tools and techniques to heal emotional, mental and spiritual causes of not only illness, but also limiting life patterns and beliefs that prevent us from living our dreams and visions.
As well, I’ve developed several different styles of classes focusing on different levels of healing. The latest series I started four years ago is called Radiance Quest, and I offered it here once a month in Santa Cruz. Now I am offering these classes as an intensive elsewhere and in other forms. The first will occur at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, from Oct 1–5, 2012. It promises to be an incredible week not only of personal healing and transformation, but also for learning powerful tools and techniques to help your clients, friends and family heal and transform as well.
Omega Institute is the “East Coast Esalen” center for learning and transformation. It offers incredible acreage for hiking, a relaxed schedule and lots of extras in terms of spa and class availability. Visit them at www.eomega.org and the link to my class is: http://eomega.org/workshops/radiance-quest#-workshop-description-block.
I hope you can join me there and learn more about healing the whole person, both for yourself and others!