In my last blog post, Healing from the Center, I wrote that my approach to health and healing acknowledges and leads with the heart. I ask – How do we find health and well-being when we are at odds with ourselves and life? Sure, life can knock us off-center. But what if we operated in our lives from our Center? From the Center, we can reframe our illness and challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. These challenges present us a reflection of where we are coming from (choices, perception and beliefs) and are guides to getting us back on track. I frequently ask my clients, “what is this situation forcing you to do?” For example, maybe your challenge is forcing more rest, change of diet, slowing down, more sleep, facing some difficult truth – this is the point of balance that was needed to get back into alignment with the natural state of the bodymind – which is, believe it or not, peace and health. So we begin with making friends with ourselves and our lives. (Featured image by Erol Ahmed, unsplash.com)
From the Center, we can reframe our illness and challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.
The Science: The bodymind operates with an astounding intelligence. It knows how to be happy and healthy – it is called homeostasis. This is our natural state.
The nervous system operates from 3 states:
- Ventral vagal: happy, healthy, engaged, flow, aka, our Center.
- Fight/flight: Sympathetic nervous system engaged and mobilized against a threat that you perceive you can fight or flee from. (this state does not maintain health – it is a protective life saving state.)
- Freeze: This is also known as the dorsal vagal state and is when you perceive danger that you cannot run from or fight. Many people who experience trauma default to this state when faced with any kind of stressor. This state also does not maintain health or happiness and in fact, is what depression looks like; isolated, stuck, not seeing any options.
So you see, your system is designed for you to be happy and healthy or responding to danger. Simply put, when the body is in danger/protection mode, it is not doing all the functions it needs to maintain health and happiness. It’s a perfectly designed system for longevity. The problem is our cultural values and childhood/ traumatic life events shape our nervous system to be in a defensive mode most of the time except for those rare times, like when we take a vacation. How many people even take their vacation time these days?!
Case example: A woman enlisted my services for chronic migraine headaches. The migraines were incapacitating and happening several times per week. We reviewed all aspects of her health – physical, nutrition, mental/emotional, environment, spiritual. We discover that there is a gut-brain-migraine connection and modified her diet based on the research. We discover chronic stress due to work demands. We uncover an old memory that led to a belief about herself being able to perform well under pressure. This fear of failing led to high anxiety around work. She also spends most of her time working or caring for her family, leaving little time for self-care.
What did this situation suggest to her to do to achieve more balance? Shift her diet, eventually including an elimination diet discovering a few headache triggers, daily relaxation/meditation and self-compassion practices that relax that inner child part that feared failing, and more time for self-care practices that are necessary for her balance. I also guided her through a powerful listening modality called the Safe and Sound Protocol that helps to re-tone the nervous system, giving it more capacity to stay in the relaxed rest and repair mode.
Result: Migraines are gone, headaches appear occasionally that are managed with OTC medication in addition to a migraine prevention medication she had been on prior to our working together.
Healing from the Center begins with you at the center – not your diagnosis or your problems. How are you relating to yourself and your life? Let’s begin there.
Please email me for more information or to set up a free consult.