One of my favourite stories about talking to the body is about a Norwegian storyteller who had hepatitis B for 25 years. Then she heard that liver cells only live for about twelve months, so she wondered how this disease was being perpetuated. Although it felt rather silly, she decided to talk to her liver, saying to it every morning, ‘All is well. There is no danger any more.’ After several weeks, she began to feel well again – and a blood test revealed that she was now free of hepatitis.
The emerging field of conscious medicine tells us that dis-ease, whether emotional or physical, stems mostly from trauma. Trauma tends to make us feel unsafe or unloved – which tells our body that it is in danger. The younger we are, the more easily we are traumatised – and the negative beliefs which result from trauma can threaten our mental and physical health. These fear-based beliefs readily trigger the stress response, which brings about a cascade of neurochemical responses throughout the body which are useful in an emergency. But all too often, the stress response is activated chronically – and then we are heading towards disease.
One of my clients recalls coming home from nursery school, and proudly showing his crayon drawing of a cow to his mother. ‘That’s nothing like a cow’, she snapped at him, tossing his precious drawing into the bin. He was devastated, and decided that ‘I am stupid’, ‘I am unlovable’ and ‘Nothing that comes out of me is any good’. By the time I saw him, at the age of 29, he suffered from panic attacks, severe acne, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic back problems. His bodymind was trying to grab his attention, calling him to heal the past so that he could find his freedom and creativity. As he made more life-affirming choices, the panic attacks stopped and his body began to heal.
Find a new way of being
When I received a diagnosis of breast cancer four years ago, I knew it offered a huge opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. As soon as I ‘spoke’ to the tumour, it said ‘I came in answer to your prayers.’ I quickly saw that a healing journey through cancer would allow me to write a book on conscious medicine from personal experience. It also gave me permission to resolve the painful situation which had triggered the cancer – a ‘love triangle’ with a married friend, who had felt unable to speak to me for three years. I had attracted this outer situation because it mirrored trauma from my own childhood, which is why I felt so powerless to resolve it, and why it preoccupied me for so long. The cancer was a finger pointing at the moon: ‘Here is your path of evolution. Move beyond your old pattern of feeling separate from love, and find a new way of being in the world.’
Whenever I hear that a client has a so-called ‘terminal’ diagnosis, or that conventional medicine has nothing more to offer, I feel a surge of excitement. Not that there is anything wrong with choosing conventional medicine (and it can easily be combined with conscious medicine). However, when we let go of searching for outer solutions, we often become willing to make the inner changes which can lead to true healing. True healing is not about suppressing symptoms or returning to a former state of health, but about evolving to become your future self. Then the illness becomes a friend – a guide and teacher – rather than an enemy to battle against.
Become your future self
What we resist persists – so giving up the battle against disease can allow healing. Surrender does not mean giving into despair and resignation. It means trusting in a loving universe in which everything is unfolding perfectly. It means stepping off the battleground, and making peace with what is happening, including being ill or in pain. Once you stop trying so hard to heal, fresh insight or solutions will often fall into your lap.
If you cannot see the gifts from a disease (or any challenge), I believe it is because you cannot see a big-enough picture. The story is still unfolding, or you are still too close to it. For me, the body is intelligent, conscious and infinitely helpful, and any symptom is a precious gift which is symbolically pointing towards stuckness and unfulfilled potential.
So how do you create disease? By persistently holding thoughts which are not aligned with your higher self – such as criticising, complaining, blaming, justifying, feeling guilty or powerless or victimised, giving in or rescuing others, feeling insecure or unworthy, or thoughts of lack, scarcity and limitation. Or by feeling trapped in a relationship or job which is no longer meeting your needs. Or by getting lost in addictions – perhaps to work, busyness, shopping, alcohol or drugs – in order to run away from yourself. Or by fervently desiring something which you tell yourself you cannot have. Even wanting to change the world for the better can create huge inner conflict – and threaten your health – if you habitually focus on what is ‘wrong’, or what others are doing ‘wrong’, rather than being a visionary who takes inspired and joyful action. Our higher self never focuses on problems, only solutions!
In order to heal, you have to be truly happy – which (as I know) is not quite as easy as it sounds! It does not mean pretending to be happy, or spouting affirmations to cover up how you really feel. Nor does it mean caring for others at your own expense, while putting on a brave smile. It means being true to yourself, honouring your own feelings and needs, releasing trauma, breaking your old patterns and following your bliss – which allows Source energy to flow freely through you. Ultimately, all dis-ease can probably be traced back to separating ourselves from Love. Once we reconnect with Source from within, we feel safe and loved – whatever is happening – and the body can heal itself.
©2011 Gill Edwards