My December 2020 Message
Hello and welcome to the last month of 2020. What an amazing year of change it has been.
In last month’s message I touched on how uncomfortable uncertainty makes us feel. Let’s face it, 2020 has been unnerving at its best of times. Life, as we knew it, has changed.
The increasing number of people affected by or dying from COVID-19 worldwide got me to thinking about our medical systems and how we approach death in our society. Are these current practices the best we can do?
Today most people (medical professionals included) believe that healing comes from outside intervention, either laboratory-developed synthetic drugs or surgery. We expect doctors to save us regardless of our diet, stress levels, or how active we are.
Modern medicine teaches us we need an expert for every ailment. Our bodies have been divided up into parts, according to our internal organs or disease or both. Each one has its own specialist.
Until the advent of modern medicine, healing was always what the body did. The body would heal itself, sometimes with the assistance of a healer
Healers could be energy healers, shamans, intuitive healers, Chinese medicine practitioners, homeopaths, or herbalists. Our approaches may differ, but our actions flow through the same sources: nature and the universe. These modalities look at the person as a whole and offer healing on all levels. We strive to help the body return to balance.
For example, at the beginning of each bioenergy healing session, I silently state my intention to the universe for the energy I am about to offer to the client’s body. I begin with “may this energy heal (I offer up my client’s name) on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level for his or her best and highest good — now and for a long time.”
This means that I am offering information in the form of energy to the whole person, not to just one part.
When illness shows up in the body, it is not the enemy. It is a natural cue that something in your life is amiss. It could be too much stress, the wrong diet, too little exercise, or any manner of causes.
A symptom is something we can learn from — to help heal ourselves.
The body is an incredible healer. Remember the last time you had a cut? Your body, without any conscious guidance from you, knew exactly how to heal itself.
Another example is a cold. When you have a cold, it’s your body telling you that you have been pushing yourself too much. It’s saying you’re under way too much stress and need to rest.
Either way, listen and let your body heal.
Many Healing Levels
There are many levels of success in natural healing. I know this, yet recently I had to be taught this lesson again.
Working as a team, my daughter Tanya and I treated a client with advanced stages of cancer. When she passed, we both were very upset. We believed we had failed her.
I was surprised by a request to attend her wake, which I did. Afterwards I was handed a very beautiful native flute with a note from my client thanking me and my daughter for her healing. Her partner explained to me that my client had received a state of peace from our energy healing treatments. This peace helped her to be open to whatever was to happen next, letting her live fully in the time she had left.
Wow. That was a heartfelt reminder for both Tanya and me.
Death and Dying
This brings me to the second part of my thoughts — how we handle death. I have thought about death and dying, on and off, for most of my career.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and after reading Deepak Chopra’s book Life After Death, I’ve been thinking a lot more about how we treat death in western civilizations.
Many years ago, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., deeply influenced my beliefs on death with her 1969 book On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families.
Dr. Kübler-Ross introduced to the world the concept of the five-stages of death — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages have transitioned beyond the healthcare field into today’s business model for accepting change. Dr. Kübler-Ross served as a pioneer in treating the dying with dignity and compassion and founded the hospice system to care for people without families.
Violence and death fascinate us. We experience them daily in TV shows, in video games, or in the news. But when it comes to confronting death in our own lives — we are terrified.
Yet we know there is no life without death. Wherever there is life, there is death. When we stay away from death; we stay away from life.
Caring for the Sick
I read a wonderful account of accepting death in Robert Wolff’s 2001 book, Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing. In his book, Wolff describes in great detail an encounter he had with the indigenous people of a small village in Malaysia. I will summarize it here and hope to do it justice.
Because he had learned the language, Psychologist Robert Wolff accompanied a team of medical researchers deep into the jungle of Malaysia.
In a remote village, Wolff came across a woman who was clearly very ill lying alone in a hut. He sprang into “western action” to get her to the hospital as soon as possible, which was far away from the village.
The next day, the sick woman’s sister came and spoke to Wolff. She berated him for having her sister taken to the hospital. She said that the village was taking care of her and had been for a number of years. They knew she was dying. Her children knew she was dying. Now, because of him, her sister was alone in the hospital with no family to care for her.
What if she died in the hospital? She reminded Wolff that her sister would be alone in death. Also because of their traditions, her sister’s grave would be located by the hospital. They believed the body needed to be buried within an hour of where the death occurred. This meant that her family would not be able to visit her grave since it was too far away.
Wolff felt awful. He realized what he had done. In his unwillingness to accept death, he had interfered in a western way. He never thought about the consequences or beliefs of the people who were affected by his actions — which he knew little about.
Dying is a natural process
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross taught us to recognize that dying is a natural process. However, we still confine our sick and dying people with strangers to care for them.
Be not Afraid
The one thing we can be sure of in these uncertain times – there’s an end to our physical bodies. This pandemic has boldly reminded us.
If we can come to terms with death and illness, we will no longer be afraid of either living or dying. One cannot be without the other.
Also remember, medicine and healing are not what happen to you, but how you react to them that matters.
Take care. Be safe. Thank you for joining me on life’s journey.