She clutched the folds of her white bed sheet, squeezing it tightly with all her might. Six hours and two painkillers later, she was still battling the excruciating pain. With trembling fingers she called me and begged for help. My feeble attempt at explaining that no one except herself could truly heal her met with an angry outburst: “What does this terrible stomach ache have to do with me? How is it my fault?” she screamed. I said no more and gently commenced our therapy session over Skype. 40 minutes later her body softened and the pain receded.
Ashana had recently been diagnosed with a cyst on her left ovary. Her physicians told her that it could degenerate into PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) if she didn’t manage her overstressed lifestyle. This was a clear wake-up call. She could no longer live a roller-coaster existence, erupting violently when things got rough and popping pills to push her body to perform. It was time to take responsibility for how she was living. If she didn’t, she would inevitably become a prisoner of medication.
But there was another way.
The morning after her pain receded
When she called me the next morning, she sounded much better. I explained to her that since her body had created this condition, it knew how to remedy it too. "Doctors may not be able to reverse it, though they can control the damage you have already caused yourself. Healers cannot make the disease vanish; they can only hold the sacred space in which you choose to heal. But the greatest power to heal your body lies with you. Taking responsibility for your own healing and being motivated enough to mend what isn’t working in your life is the first step towards a medication-free life," I explained. For the first time since I had known her, I felt she was really listening.
Many startling revelations underlying her condition surfaced during her remote therapy. There were many trapped emotions that she had obstinately denied and brushed under the carpet. These included feelings of abandonment, body shaming, worthlessness, rejection and being unloved. Whenever fear based emotions were suppressed, they invariably made themselves known through pain, afflicting parts of the body that gave insightful clues about the deeper issues involved.
The greatest power to heal your body lies with you
The emotions that caused her PCOD
Ashana had often felt like she was the odd one out in her family. She was clingy and possessive in her intimate relationships and didn’t have enduring friendships. Her negative self-talk was extremely harsh towards herself, and blaming and antagonistic towards others. She viewed the world as a ruthless place where people didn’t blink before hurting you. Hers was a fiercely competitive and unkind world, but she didn’t know that her own mind had created this worldview. Beneath her aggressive and angry exterior lay a vulnerable child who was terrified of being hurt, miserable about not having a close friend to share her intimate feelings with, and unsure if she was good enough to be noticed and loved.
If you examine the anatomy of a cyst, it involves the formation of a closed sac like structure with a distinct membrane that separates it from the nearby tissues. Ashana had unconsciously separated herself from others by believing she was a social misfit and the outsider in her family. Her ovarian cyst was simply reflecting this, urging her to address the issues around body shaming, loneliness and abandonment. In order to do this, she needed to become familiar with her emotional landscape, recognising and acknowledging her emotions when they surfaced, and releasing them whenever they were triggered. This would clear her trapped emotions, preventing them from becoming sticky. Processing her emotions was the second step in healing her body. She would have to choose conscious self-care over consuming chemicals to alter her biochemistry.
Interestingly, several associated limiting beliefs also emerged during her therapy. These included; I mark my own territory [self created rigid boundaries], I will not share what’s mine with others [non-collaborative attitude], I hate my body and how I look [self loathing], no one will ever love me [self judgement]. These beliefs manifested an unhappy life experiences and reinforced her beliefs about ‘a terrible world’. The human mind is primarily an energy programme created and encrypted by our own thoughts, beliefs, emotions and attitudes, which is why we must be ever mindful about what we are creating.
Ashana had unconsciously separated herself from others by believing she was a social misfit and the outsider in her family
This then is the third key to unlocking the body’s natural ability to heal. By bringing to light and examining our unconscious personal, familial, cultural and gender specific beliefs, we can overwrite them, choosing wholesome, collaborative and healthy mental programmes instead. Ashana carried two specific anti-feminine beliefs that were directly connected to the type of disease she was creating. The first was a deep gender denial, wishing she had been born a boy instead. The second was the fear of giving birth to children and hence not wanting them. It wasn’t surprising that her symbolic feminine menstrual flow had started to recede and the doctor’s prognosis pointed to PCOD, which interferes with conception. Her body was simply fulfilling her unconscious wish.
As humans we are all brought up with the belief that we must avoid pain. This is what causes us to deny, avoid and eventually suppress our painful feelings. In situations where we can’t avoid them, we choose instead to soothe them with addictive behaviours and substances. We smoke, drink, shop compulsively and bury our loneliness in technology, hoping to escape our suffering. But these addictions are merely signs that we are running away from our fearful, uncomfortable feelings. Popping pills temporarily blunts the edge of our pain, but it doesn’t cure us. The fourth step in cultivating a medication free life is to build a responsible relationship with pain. Simply feel it, learn from it, pray to dissolve it, and release it.
How to make sure the positive changes last
But none of the above four steps are possible unless you are willing to follow the fifth most important step, which is to live in awareness. Healing your body is primarily about how you respond to life. This involves being mindful of the three key relationships; with yourself, with others and with the world at large. If you can be more loving in your thoughts, feelings and reactions while engaging with these three, choosing to be compassionate and feeling empathic and motivated to help yourself and others, you will, in time, alter your biochemistry, rewire your brain and eventually heal your body.
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