Do you ever notice yourself having the same conversation repeatedly, but with different people? Sometimes it’s about a television show, a specific person, or other times it’s about a random life nuance that everyone simultaneously took notice of in the past two days. At first it seems coincidental, but by the third or fourth time you can’t help but wonder why this otherwise irrelevant topic is coming up over and over again. What on earth is it trying to tell you and why can’t it just spell it out with sky writing?
The past few weeks have brought numerous “déjà vu” topics of conversations my way, ranging from persons and places to the most random of things. But most intriguing has been the topic of the mind-body connection, or more specifically, how our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our overall health.
Now given, I work in the natural health field, so this topic is not uncommon, but discussing it with my delightful waiter at lunch? And again in a public restroom? Finally, when someone who claims strong disbelief in holistic “voo doo” mentioned they heard that respiratory symptoms can be linked to unresolved grief, you can bet I nearly choked on my own disbelief! The universe now had my full attention, but what was it trying to tell me?
With more time the sky writing is now becoming clear. As someone who lies somewhere in the middle of the road between most conflicting opinions, these repeated conversations have provided me with the clarity I didn’t realize I needed. I now see where I need to step off of the road and stand confidently in my own beliefs as a practitioner and to share those beliefs with those who can benefit from them on their journey. Gaining this knowledge of the mind-body connection over the past few years has changed every aspect of my life and I now feel encouraged to continue my déjà vu conversation so that you, too, can find its prevalent pattern in your life.
It is a tendency in our Western culture to view the body as a culmination of separate parts that work independently of each other. This belief enforces the idea that our varying systems, such as structural, digestive, nervous, and circulatory, have no affect on one another. Within this scope of practice it would be hard to even fathom the idea that our thoughts and emotions would have any impact on the body. If something ‘breaks’ attention is only given to that one part and not to a potential imbalance happening elsewhere in the body. It becomes a tiresome game of “whack-a-mole” with symptoms because the root cause of the illness is rarely being addressed, let alone supported. There is little consideration that the body is an elaborate living, breathing, divine organism that is a culmination of ALL of its parts. This includes the deepest and biggest root of all, your mind.
Dr. James Gordon states that the mind and body are essentially inseparable: “the brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems, and indeed, all the organs of our body and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and are constantly communicating with one another.” As humans we experience a wide array of emotions, but most can be categorized as either being rooted in fear or in love. Fear-based emotions, such as anger, frustration, and jealousy, stimulate the release of one set of chemicals, while love-based emotions, such as joy and compassion, release a different set of chemicals. If the fear-based emotions are long-term, or chronic, they damage the chemical systems, the immune system, the endocrine system and every other system in the body, allowing illness to set in.
Because life is not warm cookies and sunshine until the end of time, what are we to do when negative experiences affect us?
When we have an experience that we find painful or difficult, and are either unable to cope with the pain, or just afraid of it, we often dismiss this emotion and either busy ourselves, exercise more, drink or eat more, or just pretend it didn’t happened. When we do this we do not truly feel and process the emotion, but rather we suppress or bury it. These feelings stay in our muscles, tissues, organs, and auras. These emotions remain buried within us until we bring that emotion up, feel it, and then take action to release it.
The following are a few examples of the ways people tend to avoid feeling their emotions.
Be mindful that you cannot change or control your emotions. You can learn how to sit with them, experience them, get curious about them, manage them, and release them, but you cannot control them. There is a tendency within many of us to intellectualize and analyze our feelings. We talk about our feelings. We see therapists, attend workshops, and vent to others, all of which can be extremely beneficial to help us know what we think about a situation, but how did it feel?
Why do we do this? My guess is because it’s scary as s#@*! Truly letting a wave of emotion wash over you is like facing the dark unknown. What all is going to be packed into that wave? Maybe there will be sharks and jellyfish. Or maybe it will be surprisingly refreshing. Will the wave ever break? Some are longer than others, but the ones I’ve seen always do. Can you recall the last time you truly sobbed without holding it back? It can be the hardest and yet most gratifying experience to swim through that wave and to come out the other end.
Once you have identified a certain emotion you may need to decide how you will process it and release it. There are a variety of ways to release emotions with different techniques that work for different people. Here are just a few examples.
Remember that emotions are not good or bad, they just are. The ability to acknowledge your underlying fears and accept responsibility for your emotions is the greatest way you can love and take care of yourself. As you journey through this process, be sure to give yourself grace, love, and self-forgiveness. We are all human, and with that comes the full package of human emotions. Dive deep and experience them fully!
Author: Christie Kruisenga is a Natural Health Consultant offering consultations for those desiring holistic direction on their wellness journey.