Energy and Health: The Connection
Today I am going to be talking about a subject very close to my heart, namely:
understanding the nature of illness, disease and injury – on a physical as well as energetic/spiritual level.
And also beginning to understand the correlation between the mind, body and soul in relation to health and wellbeing. I also give a small intro into Macrobiotics (more to come on that!).
Illness, injury and disease is one of those things that is very common in today’s society. With the increases in environmental stresses and the rise of external stimuli demanding our attention and energy no wonder there is an ever increasing rise in illness – physically and mentally. I am going to talk today about the journey of bridging the gap between ones’ internal and external worlds, the mind and body, the light and the dark, the yin and the yang - all in the name of finding balance in a world that is seemingly increasingly out of balance. The importance of understanding the causes of illness are paramount because only by understanding the root causes of illness, disease and injury can you hope to truly and deeply bring about healing and change in a deeper, more meaningful (and long-term) way.
I am going to explain to you my subjective understanding of illness which has been largely influenced by what I’ve learnt about Macrobiotics and Yoga. Both of which have changed my life and illuminated my soul.
What is Macrobiotics? Macrobiotics is essentially a way of life, an understanding of the self, of the body, of the role of food and nutrition and self-care that all lead to a more fulfilled and balanced life. It focuses on achieving balance – balance through food, balance through the activities one does, balance through learning about the different energetic qualities of things in our lives so that we can find equilibrium. In science and physiology, the notion of homeostasis is the notion of finding equilibrium on a cellular level and in Macrobiotics this notion of homeostasis is taken further into the understanding of finding balance and equilibrium in all aspects of life and it is believed that it is through finding this equilibrium that one achieves and maintains health. Macrobiotics is about finding balance not only on a cellular level, but on a more “macro” (bigger) level. It looks at the energetic qualities of whole plant foods and acknowledges the vital role of a wholefood, natural diet in reaching balance. It also looks at the energetic qualities of the way we cook food – the intentions we put into the food we prepare and eat and how this affects the food and how that in turn affects our bodies and minds. It looks at self-reflection and “innerstanding”, which is an inner understanding of the self and essentially being “in-tune” with oneself. It employs the use of self-care and self-love techniques – all of which affect ones’ overall wellbeing and health.
As mentioned, one of the techniques of macrobiotics is the use of whole plant foods – focusing on vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and fruit. But it is by no means limited to food as a source of healing. It goes beyond that. It empowers one to self-heal using various methods and techniques of nurturing the self into wholeness. I will do another blog post where I delve more in-depth into Macrobiotics on its own, but for now, this small overview will hopefully help to just provide a framework of understanding my perspective on the subject of health.
In Macrobiotics it is believed that illnesses and diseases are largely caused by imbalance. When there are subliminal and subtle imbalances in ones’ life that are continuously shoved to the side or ignored, the body eventually protests by manifesting physical ailments or “dis-eases”. They start off as small, seemingly insignificant sign posts generated by and manifested in the body such as a small and temporary headache here or there, a tendency to be cold, a recurring ache or a recurring pain, or even a recurring emotional state (such as anxiety, depression, low energy etc). And eventually, when you keep on ignoring these physical sign posts that are trying to tell you to change something, or to become aware of something that needs your attention, an even bigger manifestation of imbalance will emerge in the form of a full blown illness or injury. I will give you an example.
This has been a prevalent theme in my life this year. In December of 2016 my gran passed away. She was like my mother. So naturally, these past few months (it is now August 2017) have been emotionally challenging. When you lose someone that has always been at the very core of your existence it can be very hard to recalibrate oneself. Needless to say, it is a long process of grieving that accompanies this. But, knowing this in my mind and knowing this in my body (actually embodying and working through the pain and grief) are two very different things. In theory, I understood and anticipated a hard journey of healing. But, in reality it is another story entirely to actually do the deep digging and allowing of oneself to really process pain. It takes an enormous amount of strength to give yourself the emotional, energetic and physical space and patience that is required to embody that process. It has been about 8 months since her passing, and in those eight months I have had recurring chest infections, recurring flues, recurring aches and pains and then in the grand finale (I hope) a severe lower back injury and a chest infection that has still not subsided even after two rounds of antibiotics.
This brings me to where I am today, writing this – one of my first steps in trying to share, and further my understanding of the profound correlation between the mind, the soul and the body. It has become increasingly clear to me that I can no longer suppress this process of healing, I can no longer suppress the deep underlying emotions that are contributing to imbalances which in turn are starting to beg (through manifesting in my physical body) to be heard and processed, worked through and consequently resolved. All of these illnesses have acted as big “STOP” signs telling me to slow down and stop distracting myself through keeping myself busy and cluttering my mind. They have all made me stop and literally and figuratively “sit with the pain”. Why did I need the “STOP” signs? Because for the last 8 months I have been thoroughly pouring myself into university life, my academics, my training (running and cycling), my teaching practice of yoga, my personal practice of yoga, as well as my relationships – my long term relationship and the other relationships in my life. As a result, I have also thoroughly neglected my own space and with that, I have neglected all the subtle signs of “slow down”, “take some time for yourself”, or “go and sit with this feeling of unease”.
But, what does one do with this inner knowing? The only thing I have found to help this process thus far (and therefore help and alleviate some of the physical symptoms of illness), has been:
· Writing: keep a journal – as cliché as this may sound, you can call it what you want. A journal, a notebook, an exploration of the inner landscape. So long as some of what is going on inside, becomes externally explored. It helps so much to “purge on paper”. To release. To process. To understand.
· Reading: I have been reading such incredible books about health, healing, inner acceptance and love. Some of the most profound books, particularly to further an understanding of the correlation between physical illness and energetic/mental health is:
1. Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith
2. The Self-Healing Cookbook by Kristina Turner
3. Modern Day Macrobiotics by Simon G Brown
4. The Creation of Health by Caroline Myss
5. Restoring the Balance by Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche
6. The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity by Daniel Reid
7. Awareness by Anthony de Mello
8. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
9. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
· Create Space in Your Life: It can be so easy to clutter your mind and life with being “busy”. But, it is vital for your health (on every level) to create time and space for yourself to connect and tune in, to still the mind, to just be with yourself without doing anything that is deemed “productive”. For me personally creating space has meant: doing my personal yoga practice, doing meditation, I am currently doing a Mindfulness course, gardening, going for walk etc. It is through creating space in my life that I have been able to really put energy and intention into fully encompassing this process and sitting with my soul through it all in a very real, frank and present way. This space has also allowed me to evaluate some of my thoughts and feelings - without masks, and without trying to fix, fade or change the content/experience.
· EAT Foods to Facilitate Balance and Healing: More information on a macrobiotic diet – which is centered around this notion of finding balance – will come soon. But for now, eat nourishing, whole plant foods. Foods in their simple most unadulterated state. Nutrient-dense foods. Foods that will enable you to heal on all levels.
· Surround Yourself with Loving People: It goes without saying that the people in your life are one of the key steps in healing. Surround yourself with loving, gentle, understanding, compassionate, funny, exuberant people who lift you up, who inspire and encourage you and your healing. People who take care, people who are patient and kind. People who love your soul, and whose soul you love in turn.
All of these things have allowed me to slowly start to inject positive intention and subjective meaning to my life again, and slowly but surely by doing this I can feel my physical body starting to slowly regain health – on a much deeper and true level. This goes to show that true, radiant health goes much deeper than what you do and don’t eat. You can eat the “healthiest” foods and beverages on this Earth, but if you are imbalanced on an energetic or emotional level, it will manifest. And it will keep manifesting until you face what needs to be faced, head on.
Thank each and every one of you who are on this journey with me,
Sending so much love to you all