I’ve been quiet lately—suffering from writer’s block since my trip to the Amazon. Today I realized that sharing my secret hobby with you would facilitate me in sharing my Amazonian adventure.
For those of you who have been following my journey, the signs have been present, but I haven’t really been so verbal about. To many of you it may seem weird because, heck it was weird to me when all of these interesting experiences kept happening across my path.
Despite the marvels western medicine has brought to modern day society, like surgeries, transplants, emergency medicine—just to name a few—I personally would not describe the current healthcare system as “healing.” Masking pain and symptoms with prescription drugs is not healing. Healing was the reason I was drawn to become a doctor in the first place.
A holistic approach to assessing a person is lacking in the western medicine model. We consist of a mind, a body, and a spirit—the latter of which is ignored by Western countries. The spirit part of us is the less tangible part, it’s harder to measure, but it’s real.
It’s the part of us that gives life the “wow factor” when it’s healthy. When unhealthy, life may feel a bit gray and unfulfilling. When the spirit is healthy, we shine in our light—life flows, we feel inspired, decisions are easy to make, and everything seems to happen magically. There is more to the spirit than I can put into words. I truly believe a healthy spirit is a factor in maintaining mental and physical health.
So for the past two years, I’ve serendipitously met people in art galleries, social gatherings, through friends, etc., who have played a vital role in my secret hobby by making recommendations and introducing me to a whole new world. Of course this hobby has now become a part of what I do, and is the focus of an up and coming project. Even the majority of my travels have been related to my secret hobby.
And so I confess: Since leaving Western medicine, yoga and travel has sparked a fire within me to learn about other forms of “medicine” and “healing,” the majority of which heal the mind, body, and spirit. I’ve experienced many alternative-healing modalities from healers around the world. And I still continue to. From African medicine men to Hawaiian healers, from the natural elements of the earth to various energy practices, from plant medicines to Shamanic practitioners, and more—each adventure leading to the next without much effort, planning, or seeking required. Some of these I’ve experienced to be so powerful and have shared them privately with clients and during workshops and events.
Inquisitive by nature, I revel in questioning and philosophizing about how us humans work in mind, body, spirit, and in relation to each other. Why do we become ill? Why do we hurt? How do we heal? How do we live our healthiest and happiest lives?
The more I expose myself to the many practices of the world, the more layers I discover, and I’ve realize there is no one “right” way to go about living our healthiest, happiest lives. This life is ever evolving, as are our feelings, emotions, and physical state. Fortunately, there are tools that empower us and help us along the journey—and this is part of my dharma.
Practices like meditation, yoga (asana), and prayer are self-empowering tools that simply take willpower and dedication. We can heal ourselves. At the same time, help is available through healers, practitioners, supplements, and other forms of medicines that a less mainstream. It is perfectly ok to ask for help when we need it. It’s about using the tools available that resonate most with you.
Despite gaining in popularity, many people are skeptical about these alternative ways. People have asked me, “Where are the studies? What does the data say?” Well the interesting thing is the studies have yet to be done, and quite frankly we don’t have the instruments capable of measuring “how” these modalities work. Even so, I’ve noticed “alternative medicine” is an up and coming genre in the research literature during my many searches through medical journals.
I think the biggest testament to their power and ability of these healing modalities is the fact that they have withstood the test of time. I have difficulty in doubting thousand-year-old therapies going strong with all the new inventions and technologies.
I’ve barely touched the surface of all my unique adventures, but I will share them in time. And so I will continue my journey of experiencing and learning about all forms of healing—each one having its purpose.
My biggest advice is to listen to your body, your heart, and your surroundings. Be open to experiencing various modalities when they cross your path. Maybe it’s a sign when three different people, in the same week, tell you about the amazing acupuncture session they had while you’ve been wondering what to do about that relentless back pain. Intuitively you’ll know what you need.
I was curious. I was open. I was willing to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. Stretching my limits allowed me to expand—change was inevitable. Most importantly, I had to manage my expectations, because just as with a visit to the doctor, healing is not always sunshine and unicorns. Healing brings darkness into the light.
So when people message me asking me about how I’ve changed my life and how happy I seem, I let them know how hard I’ve worked at my self practice of yoga and meditation. But I’ve also had help along the way from alternative healing modalities via healers and practitioners.
Health and happiness is a process and a journey—it has taken commitment and fearlessness, while opening myself up to a world of possibilities.