I experience the world as an intricate web of interrelated metaphors. Metaphors help me make sense of and work through challenges in my life. When it comes to messages from my body, I find this especially helpful. Metaphors usually help me gain insight about the mental or emotional patterns that are creating dis-ease in my body, and with that information I am empowered to make the changes my body is asking for – and the symptoms or dis-ease resolves.
Most notably, I experienced complete relief from nearly 15 years of daily migraine headaches after uncovering the underlying belief, crafting an antidote affirmation and repeating it every day for 3 months (to make a really long story short).
This is the most powerful experience of physical healing I have ever experienced and it anchored in me an unwavering faith in the ability of human beings to self-heal.
Recently I have been struggling with an inflammatory gastrointestinal issue that has affected me on and off for several years. Over the years I have had many different insights about this particular manifestation of dis-ease in my body. My symptoms flare up when I ignore my intuition (my gut instincts) and it seems to be related to difficulty processing (digesting) life events — for example.
Usually, when I really listen to my body’s symptoms and respond with gratitude and care, the symptoms resolve. But this time it felt like nothing I was doing was helping. I was spending time every day in reflection and inquiry – journaling, practicing meditation and Somato Respiratory Integration. I was seeing all my healing practitioners — receiving chiropractic care, acupuncture and body work. I was getting emotional support for the challenges I was facing and consciously working on feeling and expressing my feelings. I was eating a perfect anti-inflammatory diet.
I was doing everything “right”.
And still my symptoms raged.
In a moment of utter despair I went to see my normal Western Doctor to get a prescription for anti-inflammatory medication that has helped me (cover up the symptoms) in the past. This is something I personally really don’t like doing. I felt like a complete failure. While I sat in a waiting room feeling lower than low and completely frustrated with my inability to “figure out” my symptoms, I kept thinking “I’m missing something”.
I always look for clues in circumstances, the way situations make me feel and especially language. So, even though I felt like a total hot mess, I paused and listened to my own language.
“I’m missing something.”
And then it hit me with a rush of clarity, the way aha insights do. “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh” I thought, “I feel like I am missing something”.
I realized in that moment that the feeling of missing something was the unconscious belief that needed to be uncovered – and healed. Having recently experienced a lot of loss in my life I felt like I was missing much more than the point of my symptoms. I felt like I was missing whole parts of myself.
Just the week before I had described to a friend how I felt like I was walking around with missing body parts. *Not exactly a healthy perspective of loss*
I understand now that at least one function of my symptoms was to help me uncover and reverse the subconscious belief that I lose a part of myself when people I love die (or leave me or don’t choose me or whatever form the separation takes).
My new belief?
“I am complete as I am.”
I’m not sure if this is the answer to my gastrointestinal woes but I do know that this is a very important thing to believe. I am grateful for my body and its unwavering dedication to my healing. It is incredibly persistent, there’s no tricking it and it never quits. Thank goodness. Because otherwise I’d be walking around feeling like I was missing body parts when I’m not – and that’s just weird.
It is also not lost on me that this situation left me with a feeling of unfairness. I was quite nearly pissed that, despite all my “right” action, I still had symptoms. This was perhaps an even more important thing for me to flush out.
No amount of doing things “right” would have prevented the deaths of my dog and my friend. And there is nothing “wrong” I could have done that would have caused those losses. That might seem obvious to most people, but writing that makes me cry, which is why I know that somewhere deep down I didn’t believe it.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the bottom of my perfectionism. But I am certainly trying.
Because here’s the thing: Sometimes I do everything right and bad things still happen. Sometimes things are just hard. And it’s not my fault.
Realizations like this are why I don’t like to cover my symptoms up.
Right now I am focused on affirming my wholeness. Nothing is missing and there is nothing to fix.
It’s a whole new world.