Hi my readers. I am so glad to be blogging with you today, it’s been too long. Not as an excuse, but I’ve been listening to my deepest and truest self while writing a book. Such a privilege. I am grateful for the experience and the love I’ve been feeling throughout the project. Just one more read through and it will go off to my editor.
In the meantime, I’ve been collecting drafts for blog entries and would like to share some with you. The first one I wrote after Easter weekend. I bring it to my entry today with a message that’s still timely.
I saw my 37 year old daughter and family over Easter weekend. She is the same kind of mother I was, only more. More alert, always on duty, listening to be on duty even after the kids are asleep, and finding very little deep and healing rest herself to rejuvenate her mind and body.
I found myself reacting to her high level of stress in the same way she responds to her two children and husband. I became very anxious about her lack of relaxation. I kept thinking of ways to help her unwind, so much so my symptoms flared. It was so like my habit to be tense and unable to relax until she had let go and relaxed. To help her, and consequently, myself we tried some fun things. While she did enjoy the yoga class and the Epsom salt and baking soda soaking bath, the freshly prepared meals and wine, she remained ever alert and mentally planning logistics for events the next day. Fun and spontaneity didn’t work. There would be no vacation for her or me.
As soon as she and her family left I went to my room for some rest and solitude. Something I rarely had when I was my daughter’s age and a mom.
This is the thing about all of us with autoimmune conditions, we are caregivers. We tend to sacrifice our well being for what we think will be of benefit to others. But this way of being is killing us. Over time, and with this belief that we can fix the problem, our bodies have grown so weary of the stress, they are attacking themselves. Our immune system has lost it’s ability to discern foreign invading cells from our own body’s cells, and it indiscriminately attacks them all. A constant level of flight or fight response will take us to this place, and our unique brand of autoimmune condition.
How do we break this habit that is so familiar? How do we manage to interrupt this pattern which is so much a part of us that even when we recognize we are worrying needlessly, we can’t stop. We don’t have control over our habits of thinking, our habits of thinking control us.
We can change our habitual thinking and our behaviors if we choose to do so. This is an important step in healing our bodies and minds of autoimmunity. My experience is we do this by addressing our diet, our movement practices (I hate to say exercise because I don’t mean the traditional weight lifting and treadmill walking), use of targeted supplements, and a practice of stillness and solitude. We can heal our bodies, our minds (our thinking), and spirits with conscious choices in life style.
All these have proven effective in my three years of reversing the effects of autoimmunity, but the one thing that has been the most powerful is stillness and solitude. It’s the only thing that has begun to free me from my addiction to sacrificing myself for others. In solitude I am quiet and alone, and free from thinking of solving problems. I separate myself from all I believe needs my attention, and I am present only to the quiet inside of me.
This has traditionally been called meditation. Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk who wrote about how we come closer to God, called it Contemplative Prayer.
I first unknowingly practiced it as a child. I was sickly with asthma, (an autoimmune condition I “out grew.”) and stayed long days in bed, without much to do but read, color, and listen to the radio. I was alone and often watched the snow melt from the gutters as it dripped small glistening crystal drops. I went inward and forgot about missing school, my friends, and listened to my heart. It was very relaxing, and I felt full, without any longing or wants.
Now I take time to sit quietly in my home, the window open for some fresh air, breathing naturally and listening to the internal dialogue come and go, releasing the need to do or accomplish anything. I have found twenty to sixty minutes of stillness practice a day, allowing thoughts to come ago without attachment or need, is hugely beneficial to healing the body’s cells in a way scientists are now calling epigenetics. Dr.Bruce Lipton and Dr. David Hamilton have a lot to say about this on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GAduIk94_0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBB4bfkkAho. You can also find out more about the mutability of cells by googling epigenetics.http://discovermagazine.com/2006/nov/cover
“The field of epigenetics is quickly growing and with it the understanding that both the environment and individual lifestyle can also directly interact with the genome to influence epigenetic change.” http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/fundamentals/,
It is the science of change, and everyone knows there is nothing surer than change. If we could harness the ability to impact changes in the body, not by controlling them, but by choosing to practice mindful behaviors and thoughts that influence them, we could better understand and benefit from the mind/body connection and the body’s potential for healing itself. It’s been my experience that with conscious choices in lifestyle practices I have been able to heal my body of the most dire of symptoms, and I continue to improve without medication. Some would call it a miracle, and I say it is one of many of God’s miracles available to us all to experience.
Let me be clear, I am not saying I am fully healed, but that I’m improving week by week. I’m confident that all of you can heal, too. This ability to heal ourselves is inherent in all of us and I encourage you to learn more about it. If we are responsible for our experience in life, why not seek understanding and insight? Why not practice to raise our awareness and appreciation of ourselves and everyone we are in relationship with? When we are well and whole, everyone we come in contact with will have a higher more pure experience of themselves in their lives. We can do this for our better health and at the same time impact the tone and condition of the world. It’s a beautiful and kind balance, and can begin as we learn to heal ourselves.
Thank you for checking in with yourself and with me. Thank you for your curiosity and for any and all your comments below.
Be well and whole.