“The only gift I have to give is the ability to receive.
If giving is a gift, and it surely is, then my gift to you is to allow you to give to me.”
As a Chiropractic physician I work with many people in different degrees of pain, dysfunction, and even illness. I look at my patients through the lens of finding the cause of their pain. The cause is not only on the physical level, but also the spiritual and metaphysical levels. Almost every physical complaint is tied to a spiritual cause. We often don’t listen to our internal issues until or unless we are in some kind of pain.
As this year also ties me and my work with the influence of my father and his life, good and bad, I am taking the time to relate my father and his beliefs to mine. He is a child psychoanalyst who believes in the power of the mind over the body and in the body/mind connection. He liked to say that our bodies are our minds. Our bodies certainly influence our minds, and visa versa. Every complaint can be traced towards an emotional/psychological/spiritual root. Listening to our voices is key to understanding ourselves. My father’s forte was listening to what is behind the complaint, or “it shoes”, as he called them. He loved to make fun of us in a playful way. He particularly listens to the words people use to understand their unconscious minds. He even had a special dictionary he used which traced the root of most words to their original use and ethnic meaning. As he listened to his patients he would often look up some key words to see the root meaning to better understand them. On word in particular which comes to mind that he loved to play with is the word, “nice”. We often use nice as noun; she was nice, or he looked nice. The root of the word,” nice”, means, ignorant or unknowing. When we take the time to think about when and how we use that word, the root does make sense at a deeper level.
Ironically, in his dementia, he has a condition called aphasia, where he can no longer locate words in his brain. He can see what he wants to say, but no longer has the words to express his thoughts. Words that were so important to him are no longer available to him. Now he has to understand in a whole different way; through image and feeling.
Finding the cause of pain is very important. Often just shedding light on a situation shows us the path to recovery. I was working with a woman who came in asking what she could do to feel better. She had been struggling with one condition after another for the last few months. First she had a knee injury, then shingles, and next a very bad respiratory infection. She does take a lot of supplements and yet feels like she is constantly sick. She knows something is missing.
We spoke about how chronic and even acute stress can affect our immune systems. I knew she had been dealing with a lot of family issues and reacting to other people rather than being able to listen and respond to them without reacting. In her mind she knew better but something was preventing her from just being able to listen. I reminded her of a discussion we had recently had regarding her over sensitivity to her mother in law and its relation to her unresolved feelings with her mother and her over sensitivity to her own mother. She is very affected by her mother in law as her husband of many years is too close to his mother. She has always been second to his mother in many ways throughout her marriage. There has been a continued sense of competition with her for over 35 years. That dynamic alone over a period of time can affect our stress levels and our health. In her history her father had immigrated from Russia and never spoke of his past; it was taboo. She remembers her mother as being stoic and she, my patient, always having some competition with her brother for their mother’s attention. Her mother didn’t have enough resources for her own inner support system.
My patient then remembered that what should have been a very happy moment recently was marred by her own internal reaction. She had found out she was going to be a grandmother. Instead of just being happy, she began to feel jealous of the other grandma because she lives near her daughter and son in law, her son, and my patient doesn’t. She recognized she was jealous and in competition but didn’t know what to do about it. In fact, she felt shame and tried to push those feelings away instead of dealing with them and feeling them.
When ever we try to push feelings away, we actually drive them closer to us; they want to be heard and acknowledged just as much as she wants to be heard and acknowledged. We spoke about instead of pushing them away, to bring them in, listen to them but not be ruled by them, and hold both her feelings of love and happiness and her feelings of intense competition, real or imagined. If imagined they are real. Next, we spoke of holding her little self and see how painful some aspects of her early years were for her…so she can begin to mother herself and give herself a lot of love and nurturing as she didn’t have back in the early times of her life. We then spoke about when unconscious beliefs (like not being good enough) collide with conscious beliefs (like being good enough) often our bodies also feel the effects of the internal battle through illness or pain.
She began to understand and more memories began to surface for her with her mother and father. Making peace with our parents, exactly as they are or were, and our inner parent is a huge step towards our sense of peace, happiness and health…our true inheritance.
We all have stories like the one above in our lives. To see our inner battle and to learn to love us is key to our heath; inner and outer.
On my website, www.bodypresencing.com, I have a non-reactive formula which you might find helpful as you begin to find yourself reacting to a person or situation in your life.
Try the formula and see how it helps you. I would love to hear your personal stories and how it worked for you!