Before we slip on our super-suits, I think it’s important to determine what self-healing is not. Self-healing does not mean you’re rejecting of the modern medical model. To be a self-healer is not to take on your health and wellbeing all on your own. For some people, visiting a doctor has become increasingly impersonal whether the exam is conducted online, in under 15 minutes, or follows a sequence of events that fails to understand your experience. You can feel the difference when medicine is practiced with integrity and compassion and when you are seen as a specimen. I emphasize that like in any other field, there are genuine people and not so genuine people. I understand that physicians are under an immense amount of stress and are continuously drained by the thousands of interactions they have each day that require highly impactful decision-making. Undoubtedly, they deserve utmost respect for their service. However, I do observe differences in practice quality over the last 5 or so years from some doctors. I think it has become apparent to some people that the line between medicine and industry or business is scarily thin. This fading line seems to have caused people to distrust all doctors. It doesn’t help (or maybe it does depending on how you look at it) that we can find an explanation for any ailment we have on the internet. Certainly it must be frustrating for doctors to have their degrees undermined with random website claims to support self-diagnosis. I think that kind of initiative is useful in moderation.
To some extent we all want to understand what is happening with our bodies and how to feel better. When there are gaps in our healthcare to satisfy that need, it’s easy to turn to any explanation or take it upon yourself to get what you need. A point I’m trying to make here is that we need good connections with our doctors as part of self-healing. (This is where I refrain from ranting about the accessibility of that.)
Self-healing is not a selfish act. Just because the word “self” is there, doesn’t mean it is completely self-centered. Self-healing is not only for your benefit. Instead, it is about taking a certain amount of responsibility for your own wellbeing. This might be as “simple” (I use that word lightly) as understanding that things don’t happen to you but with you. Of course, there is no need to go so far as to blame yourself for every tragic hardship you encounter. It’s more about seeing yourself as a member of the universe rather than a victim of it. When we are self-aware and intuitive of all parts of ourselves (body/mind/emotion/relational/spirit), establish healthy boundaries, and practice self-compassion, we are serving the people around us better.
This self-care is a balance meant to teach us not only to relieve some of the high societal standards of performance and perfection, but to understand our significance in the collective. Since we impact those around us and they impact us, our well-being practices influence our whole world. I recently read studies on how sleep quality relates to relationship quality. As many seek to re-ignite sparks in their romantic relationships, co-sleeping happens to be a big factor from which to start. When we slow down, meditate, breath outdoor air, etc. we come closer to familiarizing ourselves with the sensation of non-duality, or the oneness experience in consciousness. This experience gently reminds us that humans are not superior to other life forms; we exist in a give/receive flow with everything else. The experience enriches our personal lives because of the sense of gratitude it instills and increase in compassion. Giving ourselves attention with intention allows us to move about the world from a place of human understanding and general love.
Self-healing is not a quick fix. It is an ongoing growth process. This is difficult for some people to accept. Everything we want must be instant and effective. How often do you come across Veruca Salts in the world demanding “But I want it noowww”? Maybe there is a little of her in all of us. The thing about self-healing is that there is no pill (which leads many to assume science in general is a farce), there is no timeline (uh oh, here comes Veruca), and there is no end. Self-healing is a constant upkeep of our whole wellness.
We know things change all the time, so in order to flow with change, we have to make sure we are equipped. Dr. Shamani Jain, (catch her TEDtalk!), was a guest speaker for one of my classes. She outlined 5 guidelines for self-healing: self-care, healing environment, creating personal ritual, deeply listening for meaning, and enhancing expectancy. From these guidelines, the following is my interpretation.
Self-care has become a buzz-word, and it’s actually important. Different care practices are more widely discussed and encouraged. This is good! Our culture needs to understand what it means to be reflective and how to incorporate both pleasure and relaxation into routine. I see this as a step towards mental health recognition and emotional health stability.
A healing environment is similar to what I’ve already mentioned, surrounding yourself in space that fosters growth and wellness. This could mean the people you hang out with, what your consume and put into your body, your home, even lighting makes a difference.
Personal ritual could be a ceremony practice or it could be the way you make coffee in the morning. Deeply listening for meaning, to me, relates to synchronicity. I find meaning when I pay attention to what seems to align for me. This also may involve tracking what brings you joy and lights your fire of inspiration. Inspiring points tend to guide the life path of meaning.
Enhancing expectancy is a more dense one. It’s not so much about predictably as it is about reflecting on feelings of an approach and building trust. In a way, much of the power in healing comes from trust, which is why there are now many studies on the placebo effect (belief). The more we intuitively reflect, the more trusting of ourselves we become. It doesn’t mean we’re always right! This is the learning in our process. We always have more to learn, more to strengthen, more to release. Because of this, sometimes it may feel like we’ve “fallen off” or we’re tired so we broke our streak. Self-care and self-healing isn’t a strive for perfection, and we are never failing by stepping off of our path. Dr. Barbara Dossey asked in another guest lecture, “How can we honor our humanness and the fact that we all have these behaviors that aren’t necessarily in complete alignment with the values and aspirations we have? How do we find that place of self-compassion or kindness?”
A crucial part of self-healing is recognizing and accepting the flawed human of ourselves, and with empathy those aspects are no longer flaws but merely gears that keep your process going. The gears needn’t be eliminated! Further, comes a question from Dr. Schlitz’s, Dr. Amorok’s, and Dr. Micozzi’s book Consciousness and Healing, “How do we define illness, and therefore what is being healed? What meaning does illness hold for people, and do these ascribed meanings influence health and illness?”
Self-healing has many dimensions. There is no right way to do it as long as you are in-tune to the aspects of yourself, body/mind/emotion/relational/spirit or soul. It is an ultimate form of empowering your greatest wellbeing. Don’t wait for the world to be ending to unleash your superpower! If you like this page, please share it.