Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The spirit of a season filled with numerous religious holidays either renews or calls in to questions one's beliefs. By definition, the word belief does not always have to encompass a religious thought or pretext, but in our modern society it does seem that most belief systems encompass religion to some capacity. It is with this understanding, along with the knowledge that many people remind us during this holiday season to remember to stop and reflect upon the true meaning of the season, that upon reflection I thought it was a great season to reflect on what I believe when it comes to the beliefs that I hold regarding my body (mind, body and spirit).
In previous blog posts I have discussed an epiphany that I had that an onset of a chronic pain disease can have similar stages as outlined in the commonly studied "7 Stages of Grief" as presented by modern day psychologists. Along this same vein I would state that we can hold different belief patterns within our minds and therefore throughout our entire bodies regarding how ill or conversely, and much more positively, how healthy our bodies are (or are going to be through various courses of action). It has taken me years of reading and studying religious and spiritual belief systems from Christianity to Zen Buddhism to realize that most teach (and believe) that our bodies are amazing and sometimes unexplainable organisms capable of oftentimes spontaneous 'healing'. Because of the aforementioned myriad of belief systems I still feel obligated to put the word healing in quotes because some people believe that the very act of 'healing' or 'being healed' comes from within or from God (or god(s)) and so therefore there remains a completely different perspective on where the healing comes from as well as who or what should get kudos.
In my opinion, no matter where the healing comes from, our attitude should be one of thankfulness and gratitude as well as provide us with the opportunity for reflecting upon the lessons that the pain was trying to teach us. If we are still in pain then perhaps we should work on our belief system at whatever level we are most comfortable with. Perhaps deep down at a very cellular level we do not completely believe that we can or will get better, even though we regularly attend church or synagogue. From a biological perspective, studies have proven that the human body is continually in a stage of renewal (healing) which we witness every day if we are only to pay attention (applying lotion to our dry, flaky skin and cleaning out our hair brush, etc.) So imagine what could happen to our belief system(s) if we combined it with what has scientifically been proven? Emotional healing can occur through psychotherapy and/or counseling, but as we have heard we have to want to overcome our pasts and believe that the psychologist is going to help us. We have to make the choice to eat more healthy, to walk instead of watching TV, and to read books or articles that support or perhaps even challenge our beliefs on the healing capabilities of the human body.
I do know that when my IC was at pain and urinary frequency levels that were off the charts it was hard to believe that I could get well. An 'ah ha' moment occurred when I began to chart feelings of higher pain and depression when I surrounded myself with on-line IC patients nay-saying every doctor and treatment protocol available. I decided to make the choice to believe that I could get better. The first step was by isolating myself from the naysayers and I began to read all manner of spiritual and religious tracts to support my journey towards health. I learned Sanskrit as part of my yoga practice. I listened to meditation CDs prior to going to bed. I made the hard choices to never cheat on the difficult IC diet so I could chart (and praise) my progress. So many little choices I had to make along the way towards my health happened but only after I made the choice to believe that I was going to get well. In this season of gift giving and reflection I challenge you to reflect upon your beliefs and to perhaps make new year's resolutions that will support your beliefs as well as your health within the new year. I believe in good health. Do you?