Healing Is So Much More Than Medicine

Healing Is So Much More Than Medicine

I am on crutches. Again.

I want to walk, to dance, to run. I want to count my steps in miles run through forests of moss and mist, not in painful hops from my couch to my car.

Healing is so much more than medicine.

“The X-ray shows a distal, non-displaced avulsion fracture of the 5th metatarsal,” the medical report says. “You tore a tendon and broke your foot,” the doctor explains to me.

Breaking is so much more than medicine.

Yes, I understand the medical jargon. I have done this before. I know that the X-ray means weeks of bone healing, months of soft tissue healing. Hopefully I can at least walk soon. Crutches are never easy. I have used them through so many sprains, fractures, joint surgery. But they never become easier. I don’t want the crutches, I want to run, I silently plead with the doctor. But the X-ray, and the pain, tell the truth.

I am terrible at sitting still. Crutches make me slow down and sit still. Just be. Listen inside to who I Am. To learn that there is poetry even in the pain.

I found my way into Reiki and natural healing through my earthly body which bends and breaks easily. Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Connective tissue disorder, the doctors say. So many labels for my lifetime of strains, sprains, tendonitis, and fractures, the constant chronic joint pain that has accompanied me since childhood on this earth journey.

But the modern medical system can’t put a label on the spiritual parts of my aching body. How do you label a spirit stronger than its earthly body? I don’t want to break, I want to fly. Reiki helps me to find balance. The splint holds the bones in place while Reiki and prayer hold my spirit in place.

The hardest part is drowning out all the noise of the world around me, and my own inner chatter, to listen to the healing voice of the Holy Spirit. I hold my broken foot in the healing power of Reiki. I gently massage the joints, feeling the heat flow through my hands, and the healing blood flow through my veins. I hear the Holy Spirit singing healing over me. I remember the songs I have learned from the trees through the years.

Healing is so much more than medicine.

Breaking is so much more than medicine.

I was a serious runner when I was younger. I smashed 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons as I pressed toward the legendary 26.2 miles. I celebrated a 25 mile training run through immense pain. I ignored my body’s cry to stop. I tried to outrun the pressures of grad school. I ignored my spirit’s cry to stop. My ankle quit completely as I limped into a first aid tent, not able to complete the marathon.

I spent eight years healing from ankle injuries after that. I tried so hard to run, but there were times I couldn’t even walk. Months of crutches. Years of heartache. Breaking.

There were doctors who told me I would never run again. I did not believe them. I used Reiki to heal my spirit. I used lavender and Epsom salts to heal the physical pain of walking. I kept pressing on toward my goal.

Then last January, God sent me to a wise physical therapist. She helped me take one pain free step, then another. I worked hard on the exercises she assigned, months of baby steps back to running. Soon I ran for one minute. Then five minutes. Then a half mile. Finally the mile.

The mile! My spirit was flying. Oh how I celebrated that moment. Healing is so much more than medicine.

In my excitement I took things too fast. On New Year’s Day, eight months after that first mile, I ran a 10k. I celebrated the accomplishment, but my feet ached from the effort. That week, I stubbed my toe and my battered foot bone cracked. My will to reach my goal was yet again stronger than my joints. Mind over matter rarely works out well for me.

So now I am enjoying time in the pool. I can still walk in the support of the water, still swim, slowly. People say that swimming is the closest human movement on earth to flying. Water is spiritual. I think of all the stories of healing water in the Bible. The angels stirred the healing waters at the pool of Bethesda, the house of grace. Jesus healed a paralyzed man there. I listen inside to the Holy Spirit as I swim and move and fly. I pray for the water to heal me.

Healing. Slowly.

I listen to the wisdom of my body, the wisdom of I Am, the healing that is more than medicine. Through Reiki and the healing of the Holy Spirit, soon enough I will run. Again.

 

 

Image Credits: Heather Katsoulis, "Cora's Friend".

Patience for the Better

Patience for the Better

Be patient, things will change for the better.

Good things come to those who Believe, better things come to those who are Patient, and the best Things come to those who Don’t Give Up. Zig Ziglar

My life is a little topsy-turvy right now. I wrote a poem about this in my last blog post. I just experienced a dramatic job loss, a sudden burning of all that I had built over the past year, at the hands of a boss who had given up compassion and care and turned to greed and concern only for The Bottom Line. Her betrayal takes the breath from my emotions and my body. But she cannot touch the breath of God which sustains my spirit body. I may explain more of this story later, but I am learning to exhale and leave it to the hands of our benevolent and all-wise Creator.

I had two job interviews in the last week, and both invited me back to second interviews, so my chances of getting a new job are strong. The Better is coming. I am just waiting for the confirming phone call. But the waiting can be so torturous.

Two quotes came to me today to help me on the journey of uncertainty. Be patient, things will change for the better. This is a cell phone wallpaper I found reminding me to practice patience as I embrace the unknown Better. Even as the last Minnesota snow storms dump on us, I feel the trees releasing energy, buds eager, but patient, to break open at the ends of tender new twigs. I need to learn wisdom from the patience of the trees, as the spiritual season in my life changes from winter to spring. There may be one last snow storm yet, but YHWH, my loving provider, is plowing a path for me through the deep white. The colors and life of spring will always come. No matter how black and deep the winter, the Better will always come.

Good things come to those who Believe, better things come to those who are Patient, and the best Things come to those who Don’t Give Up.

This quote, by author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, also talks about patience in waiting for the the Better. But Believe is another key word here. I have taken a Reiki healing journey of belief over the last five years. I have hurled my body off the cliff and waited for the angels to catch me in a faith-dance with the Creator. It strikes me that this is the second temptation with which the devil tortured Yeshua, but I think there is a secret lesson; in his hidden and lonely learning years, Yeshua had already mastered this lesson, to let go and be caught by the hands of blind faith. The devil was mocking him and mocking the provision of God.

And so the great tempter tempts me. He tempts me to give into worry and crawl back to the slavery of Egypt. God is my provider, but the tempter tells me that the job is my provider and I am a fool. But I will believe, and I won’t give up, and I will wait for God’s best things to come for me.

I leave winter behind me and turn my face toward the spring.

It will be a spring of healing. I have walked through a valley, a winter of my soul, and I am emerging on the other side with a more developed, more profound understanding of Reiki. A bandaid can never replace surgery for cancer, and Reiki will never take root in a soul that has not been plowed and planted by trials.

If you are experiencing hardships, a dark winter, my friend, look deep and practice patience as you wait for the Divine healing and the Better.

Photo used freely, courtesy of appelcline on sxc.hu

Victims, and Victory Through Perception

Victims, and Victory Through Perception

The snow falls around me,
snowflakes kissing my lashes,
tickling my nose.

I stick out my tongue
to taste the cool wetness on my lips,
and I remember the taste of peppermint
in the candy cane hot chocolate
of childhood winters.

I scoop a wet snowball
in my softly-mittened hands,
as the fast-falling flakes
circle my warm jacket
in an intimate embrace
of white.

I meditate on the moment,
knowing that, for this fleeting gesture,
this silent tick on the forward march of time,
I am at peace.

###

The snow falls around me
in a dizzying blaze of white arrows.
Sharp icicle darts,
are thrown from gray clouds
with angry, thunderous faces.

I duck my face
and cover my head against the storm.
Ice stings my eyes
as blood pounds against my reddened cheeks.

I shiver and curse the wind
that blazes through my coat and scarf,
to wraps its icy fingers around my veins.

Time ticks forward one more agonizing second,
and I wonder if I can last.
I rush forward,
blindly seeking a warm shelter,
a comforting friend,
in the frigid storm of white.

###

Victims, and Victory through Perception

This is my second Minnesota winter. I am still amazed by the vast amount of snow that falls here during the long, frigid winter months. As I watch the snow falling yet again, I am struck by the power of my thoughts.

To illustrate my point, I wrote two poems about the snow. The first is full of joy and wonder at the delights of winter; the second is full of agony and fear in the face of a winter storm. The snow remains the same, but the experiences and thoughts of the onlooker change.

Psychologists often say that your perception is your reality, and I believe this is true, for the most part. Now, some people take it so far as to say there is no such thing as a victim, there is only a “victim mentality.” I vehemently disagree with this; as long as evil exists in the world and people choose to commit evil acts, then there will be victims of the evil. I also don’t particularly like the teachings of the “The Secret.” I don’t believe that a vision board and simply thinking positive thoughts will always bring us prosperity, wealth, and happiness. YHWH, the Divine, is more interested in your spiritual prosperity, and sometimes that involves molding through the fire.

Still, when we find ourselves to be a victim of another, or of our circumstances, or even simply in pain from life’s many storms, we do have a choice how we frame the challenge in our mind. Please do not deny the pain; you must feel your emotions and listen to your heart, your inner voice, all the time. When this voice is a hurt and crying child, listen with patience and nurturing. Feel the pain, acknowledge the pain, and love yourself.

At the same time, try not to stay in the pain. With gentle words and slow, healing touches, coax that little child out to once again face the world. Re-frame the evil events in your life, the times you were victimized, and turn them into a positive. Meditate through the pain, dance over the injury, and come out victorious.

When the storm clouds gather, and the snow falls out of your sky, can you find the courage to somehow change the white daggers piercing your heart into gentle flakes kissing your eyelashes?

Peace, love, and healing, my friends.

Photo used freely, courtesy of ak-girl on stock.xchng

Insomnia: A clouding of the crown chakra

Insomnia: A clouding of the crown chakra

I look forward to resting at night. I want to enter the dream world, to visit the place where I put my physical body to sleep, and to awaken back into the spirit realm from which I came and to which I will someday return.

I have vivid dreams in colors beyond the grasp of human words. I dream of myself in the future, with children around me, souls I will guide and teach and perhaps babies I will welcome into my family. I dream of myself in the past, meditating under iridescent trees, staring into lakes mirroring depths of never-ending wisdom. I dream of fighting epic, fantastical battles of good and evil, scaling walls and jumping over roaring fires to rescue people from demonic forces. I learn secrets and explore worlds that I struggle to hang onto when I awaken once more.

But sometimes I have trouble accessing this place. Maybe I am too connected in the physical world, worrying about too many things. Is my life going the way I imagined? Am I happy here? Will I be able to pay my bills? How can I make my world better when I constantly bump up against a societal matrix that clips my wings and cages my freedom-longing soul?

I struggle with insomnia and sleeplessness, as do many people in the United States. A quick Google search shows that pharmaceutical companies rake in $2.7 billion dollars per year in sales of drugs to treat insomnia. There are many, many websites offering helpful advice to fall asleep. Much of this is good advice: keep your sleeping quarters pitch-dark, as any light can affect your sleep, turn off electronics an hour before bed, keep a normal sleep time and routine, use warm baths to calm down. I follow these tips. My favorite routine is to practice mediative yoga and drink chamomile tea before bed to calm my mind and prepare myself for a restful state.

But I think that there is another dimension to insomnia, a spiritual dimension. I believe that insomnia has to do with the clouding of the crown chakra. Our crown chakra connects our physical body with the spiritual dimensions “above” us. Physically, the crown chakra is located immediately above the pineal gland, which (among other things) regulates the sleep cycle. Some people argue that the pineal gland involves the third eye chakra, and I believe there is some involvement with that as well. Both chakras are necessary to access the spirit realm. Our souls connect “up high” through the crown chakra, and we “see” the mystical realms with our third eye. We close our physical eyes in sleep and open our third eye.

For right now, though, I will focus on the crown chakra. If there is a clouding or a closing of this chakra, then it will be hard for the person’s soul to access the spirit realm. I think this affects sleep, which is a journey into the spirit.

I personally sometimes struggle with a clouding of my crown chakra as I battle worry and worldly concerns. One of my greatest heart concerns is social justice in my neighborhood, my country, and on the whole planet. I carry in my heart the stories of struggle and injustice of friends and strangers everywhere. When I dwell too much on this and lose my awareness of the perfect peace and justice of the high dimensions of the spirit realm, my crown chakra becomes cloudy. I believe that Yeshua struggled with the same thing, and he spent long hours in mediation to reconnect with YHWH and the Holy Spirit to refresh release all of the stories and human suffering he saw and carried in his spirit.

I have the most issue with insomnia on Sunday evenings, going into Monday morning and the new work week. I have a day job as a preschool teacher. I love the children with all their raw energy, enthusiasm for life, and developing imaginations, but the job itself has many frustrations and difficulties inherent in working for a corporation. I tend to worry about this on Sunday nights as I go to bed, and the worry closes off my crown chakra causing sleeplessness.

Furthermore, I believe the Sunday night experience is compounded by group-think. We are all connected spiritually, so we feel each other’s thoughts, concerns, and pains. On Sunday night, many people are worried or upset about the end of the weekend and returning to their jobs the next day. This lack of contentment in the face of the work week is a serious problem in modern society. We have traded spiritual truth and oneness for greed and competition to the point that everyone, no matter their personal outlook, is forced to play the game. I am sure that many people toss and turn in bed on Monday night, feeling the weight of society and losing spiritual connection through the crown chakra.

If you are struggling with sleeplessness, try to calm and quiet your mind before bed. Meditate on unblocking the crown chakra and establishing a strong connection to spirit. Meditation is a great tool to open all of the chakras and balance the physical and spiritual parts of your existence. Here is a meditation for restful sleep that I will be using right along with you.

Sit or lay in a comfortable position, preferably in a darkened, cool room.

Put your hands over your heart and feel the warmth and love emanate from your heart throughout your entire being.

Slowly close your eyes and focus your vision inward and upward. Place your hands gently over your eyes. Feel the healing energy soothing your eyes to rest. Feel the energy prepare your body for sleep.

Imagine your crown chakra opening up. Soak up the brilliant moonlight, as all the clouds gently float away. Your reception to spirit is wide-open and full of light.

Now imagine your third eye opening and gazing on the beauty and wisdom of the spiritual realm. A place of peace and understanding awaits as you gently drift away from the weight of the physical realm. Let go of your grasp on the physical world, all your worries and concerns about your life. Embrace peace and love.

Let go of the past with its cares and its mistakes that were your tutors and companions on the journey.

Let go of the present with its cares. Do not worry about provision. The sacred Father looks after the sparrow. The holy Mother nurses the universe at her bosom. You are a beloved child and you have all you need.

Let go of the future with its cares. The future will bring hope and understanding, one step, one day at a time.

Now slowly move your hands up and rest them on the top of your head. Allow the healing energy and love to fully open your crown chakra and release any lingering cloudiness or misconception.

Feel the deep sense of peace, like a vast, untouched ocean, asking in the last dusky rays of the closing day. Allow your mind to stay in this place of peace. If you begin to see visions of the spirit realm, allow them to unfold. Imagine the vivid colors, the wisdom, the peace, the love. Stay there and play for a while.

When you are ready, slowly bring your awareness back to the present. Feel the heaviness of your body, the slowing of your thoughts. Slowly, slowly open your eyes and prepare for bed in your personal routine. If you are doing this meditation while you are laying in bed, you can keep your eyes closed and allow the visions of the spirit realm to carry you away to the dream world.

Enjoy the meditation, and I hope it helps to bring you sleep and restful dreams.

Photo used courtesy of milan6 on stock.xchng

Gaining New Sight

 

Photo used freely, courtesy of Brybs on stock.xchng
Photo used freely, courtesy of Brybs on stock.xchng

I have often said that I am a healer in need of healing. All of the best spiritual healers in the world have suffered many ailments. It takes deep empathy to learn the art of healing. I often pray to walk a mile in another person’s shoes so I can change my world.

Right now I am in great need of healing. I have developed a cataract in one eye that is progressing very rapidly. The diagnosis shocked me, because I am only 32 years old. As much as I know about medicine, I always thought of cataracts as only a disease of advanced age.

I have been near-sighted most of my life, so, ironically, my problem started when my eye suddenly got much better and my glasses were uncomfortable. I went to the optometrist, and she had to change my glass prescription three times in a month, ultimately cutting my prescription in half.

Unfortunately, with each prescription change, I noticed a cloud starting to descend on my vision, like looking at the world through the spreading fog of a bathroom mirror after a hot shower. I also started to lose my near vision, even as my far vision got better. This hurts me because I love to read and write, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Working on my websites has also become a challenge.

I have an appointment with another opthalmologist, but they have already said that surgery may be my only option. I do not want to follow that path right now. I had a horrible experience with ankle surgery, and I am not eager to have surgery again. I know that Western medicine has its place, but I want to pursue holistic healing first.

I am practicing Reiki and meditation with my vision. Maybe this is a life lesson for me on my spiritual path. Perhaps my spiritual vision is affecting my physical vision; a temporary foggy patch as I ascend the clouds to another level of the mountain. I also think I need to learn to rest my eyes more, just rest in general. I have a high-stress day job, and maybe resting my eyes is a way to help me learn to calm down more and let all my worries fly away.

I am also learning to empathize with those who struggle to see in any way. I have thought often lately of the story in the Bible about the blind man whom Jesus healed (Mark 8). When Jesus first put his hands on the man’s eyes, the man said he saw “people looking like trees walking around.” Jesus then put his hands on the man a second time and he was healed completely.

I always thought this story was a bit odd. Why did he see people like trees? Now I can empathize, because the blurriness and fogginess that I am experiencing looks somewhat like that description.

This story also reminds me that healing takes time. The miracle may not happen completely or at all on the first attempt, even for the greatest Healer of all time. Maybe the man was not quite ready to see. Maybe he still had fears. After all, if he had been blind for most or all of his life, learning to see, although a great gift, would completely change his identity.

This principle is also true of the first week, or the first year, or the first decade of the healing process. Healing is a soul journey as much as a physical one. I want to participate fully in this journey. I believe that I will come out the other side with my vision restored, and even better than it was before.

I bless you on the healing journey, friends, and I would appreciate if you could send a little Reiki and healing energy my way as well.

Running Shoe

 

Photo used under creative commons license by Sharon Drummond on flickr.com
Photo used under creative commons license by Sharon Drummond on flickr.com

This is a story that I created for a writing class that I am taking. The teacher challenged us to use a shoe as metaphor, and this is my response. Several years ago, when I was a music student in graduate school, a marathon runner, and a wounded soul just beginning to discover my path of healing, I experienced a brutal ankle injury. Here is my memory of that time.

***

The shoe sits by my door, new dust of neglect mixing with the old dust of races won and lost. The shoe looks lonely, like a puppy waiting by the door, leash in mouth, looking for her owner to come home for a walk. But the outing will have to wait for a brighter day.

Months earlier, I had sat on the edge of the doctor’s table. “Take off your shoes, please,” he mumbled as he stared at the X-ray. “Well, there’s nothing broken, but you will have to lay off running for a while.” He took my bare foot in his hand and gently flexed my ankle. “Does that hurt?”

Does that hurt? I wanted to scream at him. If it didn’t hurt, why would I be here? Please, fix it now. I have a race this weekend, and then in two weeks, the big one. The marathon. I have trained all year for this race. Eight miles a day. Twenty-mile-plus runs on the weekend. Does that hurt? Yeah, but the pain is good, right? Just breathe, Amy. Just breathe.

I stared at the doctor. He picked up my shoe and studied the bottom, looking for some clue in the wear pattern. Was there something wrong with my gait? Maybe a pebble had gotten lodged in some deep crevice, making me limp, ever so slightly, changing the balance.

Balance.

New Balance.

That was the name of this pair of shoes. Ironic. My life seems so out of balance right now. There is so much pressure in grad school. Perform, perform, perform. Audition next week. Get those études perfect. Come on, I expected more out of you. You call that music?

Running is my escape. I lace up my shoes and let them take me deep into the woods, and I meditate to the rhythm of my shoes on the path and the trees whispering around me.

But now the shoes and the trees are silent. I only hear the ticking clock in the doctor’s office. He has left the room to go talk to someone. He comes back with a prescription for pain medicine  and physical therapy. He looks at me sternly. “Take it easy. Keep your weight off that ankle as much as possible and DO NOT run.” I nod my head and get up to leave. I see compassion in his gaze as he watches me, and I think I hear him whisper, “I know how it is. I miss my shoes, too.”

I cannot stay away. I load up on pain drugs, and I hobble to the race. The physical pain in my ankle is nothing compared to the emotional pain that I can beat away on the pavement. Maybe it’s an addiction. Maybe I can erase the pain of my past and all the abuse and hurtful words by running them into the ground. My running shoes are an escape valve for my exploding heart. I am excited by the cheers of the race-day crowd, and I breathe deeply of the brisk autumn air tickling the red and gold leaves on the trees. I am propelled forward by a physical high, my body responding to injury upon injury by supplying an extraordinary, primal adrenaline rush. I finish the race with a new personal best time.

Then I collapse in the first aid tent, pain coursing through my foot like a hammer crushing through my dreams.

A friend takes me back to the doctor. I have to trade my shoe for a walking cast and crutches. The doctor looks at the pain in my eyes, and he holds back his lecture. Instead, he pats me on the shoulder and says, “You will get better, in time. Give it time.”

The damage is complete, and complications ensue. I end up traversing seven months on crutches, two surgeries, and almost a year of physical therapy before I can walk normally again. While the storm rages, I learn to invite the rain to begin healing the deep places in my soul and make peace with my music and my past. At the end of the year, I hobble across the graduation stage, minus one shoe, but plus seven months of a lifetime of wisdom.

Broken Glasses, Body Memories

broken glasses
Photo used freely, courtesy of jfg on stock.xchng

Healing is a journey taken deep within. Your body holds the memories of all the pains and injustices felt throughout your life. Pain can be covered up by a pill or bandage, but to get rid of pain completely, you must do the hard work of processing and forgiving traumas.

Sometimes the healer needs healing. This is the case in my own life. Although I do Reiki over others, I need its power for myself as well. Today on the 4th of July, I woke up with a swollen, droopy, teary eye. It is painful, but more annoying than harmful. Still, my eye is trying to tell me something. I placed a cold compress to ease the pain, and I sat down to meditate. I thought back to last year on the 4th of July.

The fireworks burst over my friend’s house, high above the Michigan trees, adding to the sizzle of the hottest summer on record. I sat on the steps of the camper trailer in his yard, my temporary home with my husband and young son. At least I felt grateful to have a bed and a shelter from the elements.

But, to make matters worse, I wore a pair of broken glasses. Earlier that week, I had set my glasses on top of my car while I put on my sunglasses, and then forgotten about them. A half hour later, I arrived at my destination.  I looked in my car to take off my sunglasses, and change back into my regular glasses, but, to my horror, I could not find the glasses. I panicked. To say that I am blind as a bat is insulting to the bat. I am sorely dependent upon my glasses.

I turned my car around and drove back to my friend’s house, slowly, scouring the road for any sign of optical life. I found the glasses laying in their case in the middle of the road, cars going by on both sides. I parked my car and waited for the traffic to clear. I nabbed my specs, still nestled in their cracked case, and took them back to my car. Hands shaking, I opened the case.

The glasses lay with frame twisted and mangled. I moaned to my husband, “What am I going to do?”

He replied, “Look closer.”

In the middle of the carnage, a miracle. God only knows how many times cars had run over the glasses, yet the lenses stayed completely intact. Not a scratch. God had worked a small miracle for me. It is amazing that with all of the world problems occupying his time, God still sent an angel to watch over my glasses.

I pieced the frame back together, and I actually formed a cool design with the tape. Still, I mourned because I had no money for an eye exam or new glasses. I know that sounds pitiful and ungrateful, but it felt like the last straw in a series of misfortunes. I was also hobbling around on crutches at this point with a severely sprained, maybe broken, ankle and no insurance to see a doctor.  Still, again, God  had supplied those crutches.

I felt all alone in the world.  My family and most of my friends had disowned me simply because they believed in a hateful church doctrine with which I disagreed. They had thrown the gambit, and I had chosen to pursue the path of Love and the universe. Did anyone care about my struggles?

Months went by and things slowly got better for me and my little family. We moved to Minnesota and found work, and I bought new glasses. Through Reiki, time, and the innate healing powers of my own body, my ankle healed. Small miracles.

Yet, my body holds these painful memories. With meditation, Reiki, and prayer, I am learning to let go and make room for true healing.

If you are hurting today, listen to the message of your body. Meditate on the root of your pain, large or small. Let your muscles relax, and release those memories to the Universe. Forgive all the wrongs you have experienced. Forgiveness does not make the actions right or just, it only releases the injustice to the hands of karma and the great Judge.

Let go and let the healing flow!

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