by Bela Johnson
It is a difficult thing when our body or mind seems to betray us. Advice from the well-intentioned is great, but sometimes we are so overwhelmed with fear that we can't implement or often hear that advice, even if it's ultimately beneficial. And in our fear, many surrender to a medical model which attempts to isolate and eradicate. Many of us are discovering, however, that certain conditions are failing to respond satisfactorily to this approach. Yet even when we seek an alternative path, many are still focused on outcome. This can lead to frustration and feelings of failure when channeled into a result-oriented approach.
For any kind of dis-ease or dis-harmony may well be a teacher in disguise. Valuable insights gained from experience with a condition can broaden our understanding of human existence and our place in the world. Of course we can attempt to escape these life lessons. Yet ultimately, seeing adversity as the way we all learn on planet Earth can be a valuable insight which allows us to embrace the virtue of acceptance. This acceptance can make our journey much easier. Remember the saying, WHAT WE RESIST, PERSISTS.
When approaching an alternative practitioner, it is helpful to arrive with an open mind. Many of these people put their heart and soul into their work, and offer time and patient education far beyond what you will find with allopathic practitioners. (Although perhaps compassionate, thanks to managed care many medical people are so overworked that spending time listening to and educating patients is a luxury few can afford.) Chances are you will not find many in the alternative field accepting insurance (though some do). Yet consider in the long run what you will be paying, in the real as well as metaphoric sense, for your journey to wellness. Many alternative practitioners see themselves primarily as healing facilitators. They are process-oriented rather than result-oriented. Their goal is to help people achieve lasting results through treatment, lifestyle modification and education.
Conditions being diagnosed by physicians these days like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus and other autoimmune diseases and depression are usually conditions which have a complex network of origins. In the alternative world, practitioners may seem like electricians tracking down many small shorts in house wiring. Similar to compromised house wiring, there can be glitches in the body's system integrity, manifesting as a breakdown or lack of wellness. To expect to visit an alternative practitioner and get "fixed" in one easy session is perhaps expecting too much. (Remember the saying "expectations are like premeditated resentments." Don't set yourself up for disillusionment.) Instead, contemplate your intentions for your own personal healing journey. A practitioner may then more easily facilitate movements for you, and you will likely feel better than when you arrived.
After an initial session, many of my own clients report feeling more hopeful. This is partially a result of treatment and partially a result of gaining fresh insights into their condition, sometimes things they have intuitively known all along. They also leave with tools with which to deepen and further their understanding of the lessons of their condition. A positive outlook and understanding may alleviate symptoms as well, even to the point of healing, over time. Tools I provide clients with include visualization, breathing exercises, reading (including books about nutrition, herbal health, homeopathy, psychology, spirituality, etc.) and/or referrals to other practitioners who might be able to assist in a more comprehensive treatment program (acupuncturists, massage therapists, osteopathic physicians and others). Sometimes this responsibility for our own healthcare can seem overwhelming. Especially as women, we are not encultured to respect and honor our own choices. Insurance companies further restrict these options. Yet we must measure the value we place on our health: what is the quality of life we wish to embrace for the duration of our time on Earth?
A path to wholeness requires vigilance and acceptance that (in the words of Aerosmith's "Amazing") "life's a journey, not a destination." Yet we can set our own pace and make our own decisions. We can hire people we like to work with. We can learn to trust, over time, more of our own innate wisdom. And often we notice that once we place our feet on the path to wellness, there are unseen forces that conspire to assist us on that journey. Many find a renewed respect for a Higher Power, whatever form this takes for them. And this small surrender may allow for a greater viewpoint to emerge where we learn to intention what we desire, then take our hands off and watch the unfoldment. In another way of perceiving, it is like inviting magic back into our lives.
Belief in transformation allows for its possibility. Remember energy is always expanding; always shifting and changing. That is its nature. We can flow with it or we can resist it. And therein lies our power of choice.
(Previously published in The Maine Eagle, November 2000)
Bela Johnson complements her gifts of intuition and healing touch with a background in Psychology. Her work involves helping others to open themselves to a more gratifying and authentic sense of being.