We've all heard the saying "Your body is a temple", which basically means it would do us best to treat our bodies with the utmost respect, in terms of food, exercise, and habits. And that's true. Our bodies are the vehicles we have been blessed with to be able to exist, move, and act in this physical world.
But as many of us realize, treating the body well doesn't do much when we neglect what's on the inside: our inner selves. There are people who appear to care perfectly for their bodies, eating only the most nutritious food, exercising regularly, and abstaining from all those habits we deem "bad". But are they truly healthy, inside and out? Not always.
After spending some time thinking about what I wanted to write about this week, I have decided to share a story from my life that is personal and vulnerable, but also reflects a process of learning and healing that I am proud and grateful to have been through. I share it in the hope that my experience might help others learn something about the important role of love and care in our well-being.
My healing story
A few years ago, I was dealing with a chronic illness. It wasn't threatening my life, but it got in the way of my work, school, and relationships. I was suffering and struggling, and got little to no help from my doctors.
After a year of this struggle, I realized that improving my diet seemed to make me feel better, so I went to the extreme end of this idea and started chasing down the "perfect diet" that would cure me of my ailment and bring perfect health. I tried going vegan, gluten free, raw vegan, 100% organic, drank only the purest water I could find, and got to the point where I wouldn't eat or drink anything that had touched plastic, which made my life very difficult.
I was strict in my diet and the way I went about my life, holding myself to impossible standards. I made a list of all the things I had to do in a day to "be healthy", such as going for a run and taking about a dozen supplements. Every time I learned a new energy healing technique, I tried to incorporate it into my increasingly complicated daily routine. It got exhausting. I was so obsessed with getting better, it was making me even more sick.
The turning point
Eventually, with enough time and no small dose of rebellion on my part, I grew able to trust the idea that my health was not simply a physical problem. Reading and re-reading You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay was a part of my learning. According to Ms. Hay, behind every physical illness is an emotional cause, and by addressing and healing these emotional issues, we can overcome any illness.
Even though I must have read that book about a hundred times, I simply could not believe it. I come from a very logical, scientific background, and the idea of emotions causing physical disease just didn't fit with what I believed. I even turned on myself, using the idea of emotions causing illness to blame and shame myself for still being sick. But I kept reading, exploring, and asking for help.
Along the way, I met many caring and talented holistic practitioners, who each helped me out in their own way, bringing exactly what I needed in my life at each moment. Over time, I have found my place in an amazing community of healers, all of whom I am extremely grateful for. I now recognize the importance of help and support in healing, and my own responsibility to decide to be well within the safe space of that support.
My major turning point happened when I spent time abroad visiting my extended family, from whom I had been estranged for most of my life. I was in shock at how caring and kind they were, and how much love I was able to receive from them. In my early teens, I had learned to close my heart to love, and now it was being opened again. I found myself in tears, remembering what it felt like to feel loved so deeply. And I noticed a positive shift in my physical health that was more significant than anything I had experienced before. That shift has carried me into the present moment, where I now have a much more compassionate - and truly holistic - relationship with my health.
One blessing of this journey was that I have amassed a great amount of information on health, nutrition and natural medicine that, from my new and truly healthy state, I can now use to assist myself and my loved ones in a multitide of situations. But more importantly, I have learned that care for my mind, heart and spirit is not just a side note, but a number one priority, absolutely necessary for me to make inspired decisions for my physical health that bring life to my body.
I no longer need to be hard on myself to get where I need to be. In fact, I have found that loosening my tight grip on myself, allowing myself to be human with all my imperfections, has been fantastic for my health, to the point that health issues no longer impair my life - except on occasions when I get off track, and just need a gentle reminder to treat myself a little more kindly.
Spend enough time in the physical world and you might start to think we are nothing more than machines. Put the right things into your body, do all the right things, and it will work fine. But we find, over and over again, that's not the case. If we think of the body as a temple, we know this. A temple is not a machine, but a sacred place where the mystery of life may unfold, and where we may experience true relationship and connection.
Your mind is a temple.
Your heart is a temple.
Your spirit is a temple.
YOU are a temple.
And you deserve to be treated with reverence and love, on every single level. Regardless of the standards society and other people set. Regardless of what is supposed to "work".
Today, don't forget to honor your needs - spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. You are sacred, and so is the act of giving care and love to yourself.
In gratitude, kx