Despite many shortcomings, we have one of the better medical systems in the modern world. It’s because of a medical profession diagnosis, I have had the opportunity to confirm that my body isn’t working as well as it could and I can now target what I am choosing to do about it. A diagnosis is good information – knowing means opportunity for change.
But to stay well, or get well, requires understanding that there is a much bigger picture. Sometimes when we are sick we get so frightened that we can overlook the power within ourselves to know what is best for us – sometimes despite the information and advice we are being given, sometimes because of it.
One thing I have had reinforced in recent months is that much of what we understand as the ‘medical industry’ is based around sickness - treating symptoms. Sometimes it even feels like there is a lot at stake in keeping people disempowered. When you are sick, this can be extremely disheartening – you are already struggling with your body or mind, and the information you get is confusing, limited; and in your many appointments there is no time to get the answers you need to make your own well informed choices. You can feel a bit helpless and clueless.
The other thing I have had reinforced is that there is an alternative. It’s called the ‘Wellness Industry’ and it is based around the ideas of empowering people to tap into their innate abilities to know what they need, take action and heal themselves. Yet it’s a big world out there and the flow of information on wellness and the choices we have can be totally overwhelming.
I think the best scenario is the practitioner who combines both, or a combination of both types of practitioners. A team approach can be amazing, but only when the team want to work together. Sometimes the various specialists can contradict each other, even prescribe conflicting treatments and the whole thing turns quickly into a big mess with you in the middle, rocking in the corner, feeling ill, confused and pushed to the point of breaking. This happens much less often in the wellness approach – there are specialised practitioners who want to work together to help you achieve your own healing. It’s about finding out who you need on your team and who shouldn’t be there and having the courage to make your own choices.
Sometimes we want someone to tell us what to do – take the doubt out of the way forward. Getting in touch with our own wisdom can seem elusive or too much hard work and we give in to common opinion, or our specialist's opinion, even if it goes against our grain.
I do understand this, and yet for me, the feeling of powerlessness contributes to my problem, rather than taking the problem away. I need to be armed with as much knowledge as my brain can handle at any one time and feel like I have the opportunity to make my own informed decisions. I need to own my decisions for them to work, no matter what the choice actually is; if I can own it in peace then it has a far better chance of success than if I am pushing uphill against something I am not really willing to do, and yet do it anyway. It’s about perspective – as always.
Fortunately in this current instance, I am afforded the luxury of a bit of time, but it hasn’t always been so, and is not that way for many people.
So how do we keep our power, find out all the things we need to know and make the big decisions when we are in a health crisis?
If possible it’s best if we already have some of these things going on for us, but if you find yourself smack bang in the middle of a crisis, it’s not too late to start. The crisis might just be the catalyst you need for action.
Firstly, we need to love and respect ourselves – getting in touch with that inner voice that is our trusted guidance. Get to know how you feel when things are ‘right’ for you, knowing the peace that comes with taking the right direction. Also get to know how you feel when things are ‘not right’, respect that gnawing feeling that tells you to keep searching for the right path. This does take practice, time and assurance that you can do it. You can really get to know yourself and trust your gut instincts. The more we practice this, the better we become at it and in a crisis it can kick in straight away and guide our decisions.
I think we also need to be totally aware of our defensive reactions. This can be a toughie as sometimes we misconstrue these as part of the ‘not right’ and so we ignore or push away the things that give rise to these defences. My experience (both previously and currently) as I learn to sit back and recognise my defensive reactions, is that they can be a sign of something we actually need to work on. A genuine path to peace – eventually - although it may not feel like it at the time.
Thirdly, I have learned anew the value of seeking support in both the above. Learning with and from a confidant can be the difference between attaining inner peace, and staying in the turmoil – not quite trusting ourselves.
If we practice these things in all aspects of our lives, peace and joy do come. Because even if we do make a decision that turns out to be different than what we expected, we have the opportunity to make another choice, and in doing so, learn along the way. We can learn more about ourselves and learn to love ourselves better. We can learn about others around us and see that sometimes their ‘advice’ is more about them than us, and we can choose to accept it for what it is, or we can reach out and take the opportunity to help someone else understand themselves better.
There is no magic formula, though many are seeking to find one. But with an open mind, consistent practice and the provision of life’s opportunities along the way, including the difficult ones, we can find our inner voice. We can find our peace - and in finding peace, no matter what our life situation is, we can find true inner joy.
Merelyn’s writing is supported in part by the sale of her books. Autobiography - ‘The Deepest Part of Me’. ‘Inspire’ – inspirational reflections for your life’s journey. ‘Stories behind the Songs’ and her first children’s picture book ‘To The Moon and Back - Grandma’s Rocket Ship Adventure’. To find out more about her work and to support her through the purchase of her writings and music, please go to www.carterandcarter.com.au