Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Alchemy of Illness
I'm a healer. It's my job to try, in whatever ways I can, to help my clients move from places of imbalance to a more comfortable harmony of body/mind. If their shoulders are tight, I work with that very specifically. If they're depressed, I'll pick up the pace of the session a bit, try to stir their blood and energy in order to get them up and running again. If they haven't been sleeping well, I slow down in the work, so their nervous systems might remember it isn't always necessary to be in fight or flight mode. What I do in any particular session is all about what is happening with the person on the table right then and right there.
Of course I do my best to help my clients, but it's also true that I honor the foibles of the human body. Unlike some healers, I'm not always sure that the point of being sick or being in pain is to make it go away as soon as possible. When people get sick, some aspect of homeostasis has veered off center. Sometimes it's interesting as well as useful to explore these states of imbalance before rushing to fix them. It's useful to think about what was happening before the imbalance.
When I come down with a cold (for instance) I get in bed, eat chicken soup, read magazines, sleep a lot and blow my nose like Louis Armstrong blew his horn. I allow my immune system to take care of the situation even though I'm uncomfortable and cranky in the meantime. I'll admit I don't really understand the common practice of taking a bunch of over the counter meds, then going back to work. When I get a cold, that is my body's way of saying it needs to rest and cleanse. I think it's respectful to pay attention to these things, to honor the situation. To ignore a cold seems rather insulting. What is your body anyway, chopped liver?
Have you ever wondered why there is no cure for the common cold? I believe it is an integral bodily cleasing process, triggered by a virus. If it was really all about the virus, everyone would have every cold, but it's never like that. Some people get sick, others don't.
I'd like to put in a word today for your corporeal intelligence and integrity. The next time you catch a cold, try letting it run its course instead of pretending you aren't sick. When I do that, after my immune system completes its work, I feel all is right with the world. I feel clean, clear and better than ever. This is how colds are supposed to function, somewhat like a three-day detox. Can you give it a go the next time you start sneezing? What do you think? (If you decide to do this, I highly recommend Vanity Fair magazine - the perfect low level reading material for minor sicknesses - not to impugn the good name of Vanity Fair by calling it "low level.")
If you're seriously ill of course you have to go see the doctor. A high fever is great for a day or so but if it lingers, that means your immune system can't handle what's going on and it's time to bring in the big guns. Yes? I say yes.
I have a lot to say about this. I'll write more about it tomorrow. For today, be well. Shalom.