My philosophy, values, and beliefs about integrating holistic health into everyday life are what brought me to taking this course. Im very passionate about taking responsibility for my health and want to learn more each day on ways to live a happier and healthier life. I enjoy having a place to come two nights a week where women gather to empower each other on holistic health studies. I only hope to build a community around me that lives from these ideals long after completion of the Masters in Holistic Health Studies at St. Kate’s. I will discuss as to why I came to be where I am or when the paradigm shift happened. I will discuss my underlying motives to finding holistic health studies. Ill go over a few specific holistic health modalities I utilize each day. Also, to discuss the role of the client and healer, and my role as a client and healer. This paper is to go over my philosophy and beliefs on wellness, health, and illness.
There are many influential factors as to why my philosophy is so strong into holistic health. Firstly, I was born at home with no vaccinations or hospital visits. I was raised to avoid hospitals unless necessary and to take responsibility of your health. I would not go if I were sick, only over the possibility of something broken or severely ill, for example, the time I had ammonia, broken collar bone, or inhaled a strawberry. I would stay home in bed if I fell ill. My mom put olive oil in my ears over an earache. She fed me ginger ale, fruits high in vitamin C, and chicken soup if I had fallen sick with flu. If I were depressed in class I would call, and she would pick me and we’d play ‘hookie’ for a day and picnic with each other at the park; for nature is the ultimate therapy. I did go to the doctor in my teens for the time I grew ill with an eating disorder, a cultural disease. I had a good upbringing, and I believe now that I created my own suffering I did not have the emotional intelligence at the time to detach myself from suffering. Suffering is the human condition, part of life, but it does not have to interfere with inner peace, wellbeing, and happiness. My doctor was very holistic, he told me to snap out of it; that I did so I joined the military to strengthen my spirit, travel more, and get educated.
The military is a place where I endured physical, spiritual, and mental hardships. Understanding, education, and spiritual growth are my takeaways from military service. Christ was my savior throughout the military, and I always turned to God for strength in all things. Upon leaving the military, it took many years to transition from military to civilian life. To recover from the military conditioning and psychological stress I found yoga practice, mindfulness meditation, and other forms of healing. Yoga was my savior, it taught me the skills I needed to overcome obstacles.
Yoga taught me so much about myself and opened my mind to so many new beliefs. I began the practice during the military where I was limited as to how much of it I could do. After returning home from service, yoga became a full-time hobby. I became much more involved with healthy eating, purified water, sauna, steam, detox, meditation, and reading books on Eastern philosophy. Through the St. Kate’s program mindfulness practices, Yoga teacher training, and local meditation centers, I found stress relief through mindfulness meditation. I ventured East to India for completion of 300 hours yoga training in Rishikesh, yoga capitol of the world, which was a life changing time for me.
I bring my philosophy of health to life is through yoga teaching, I share many values and beliefs through guiding others into relaxation and the focus of their attention to the breath through meditation and yoga postures. Above all, I found friends and community for healing. I used yoga for healing, and now I am taking on the healer roll by teaching yoga, meditation, wellbeing, and health to help others who are going through tough times or to maintain a positive attitude about life. I continue to seek healing, for every healer and every person needs some form of healing. We need each others support. To take down the walls of ego or separation; to know we are one, and we are all in this together. To understand how damaging our society can be if we support the wrong things. To follow our intuition and do what’s best for the body, mind, soul, and planet Earth. I give all of myself through selfless service to the greater good for all; this is what Jesus would do. I pour my heart out into my work, and this job has been very fulfilling. Giving is receiving, giving healing is true self-healing.
Now, that I study on soul loss, I realize I may benefit from this practice. Soul loss happens through beautiful experiences like India, and not so beautiful experiences like family separation, eating disorder, military, cultural grief, societal or environmental dilemmas, and other losses (Elena, Avila, 2000.) There are childhood events that may have happened that lead to soul loss and soul loss can happen all throughout the life. I think we would all benefit from some form of soul healing like soul retrieval, especially if you are already doing yoga, meditation, and practicing good health. We have medicine inside of us and ability to cure ourselves while each of our illnesses are unique because no two people are alike. The soul needs a strong willed body to come home to for the soul retrieval to work and be long lasting.
Practicing holistic health modalities are all important for the energy body to grow strong, so the soul has a place to come home to when you call it in through ceremony. Once we become aware of the habits and cultural issues we have that contribute to poor health and illness, we can begin to heal. Healing with a curanderismo means “to heal” and it does not separate the soul and spirit from the body, it is medicine and spirituality practiced simultaneously (Avila, 2000.) Curaderismo is convenient and uses what is useful and available in an intuitive and creative way, using herbs, counseling, massage, light work, faith, soul retrieval, ritual, psychodrama, spiritual cleanses, and much more (Avila, 2000.) It must be so refreshing to have a life force energy or soul to replenish itself. To live in a way that you feel perfect, whole, and complete is healing at its best.
I believe an illness happens when not living in harmony with all the aspects of self and nature. When there are too many distractions; illness and stress can creep up on us without us aware of it. I believe the best thing we can do for our health is turn off technology, enjoy nature, and heal thy self. Time is valuable. Time is of the essence. To not spend it rushing around trying to get as much done in what short time we have on Earth, but to slow down and enjoy the present moment; than life will be much more enjoyable. Time can easily be wasted monkeying around on tv, internet, playing video games, etc. To harmonize with our surroundings and selves, it’s important to shut down distractions, stay focused, and consciously aware of the body, the mind, the spirit, and life happening around you. There is so much beauty to be seen in the world. Distractions are like putting on blinders, so we become unaware of the beauty, mystery, awe, and wonder in our lives. This is where mindfulness meditation comes to the rescue.
Mindfulness meditation or Vipassana, a practice from ancient India, means “to observe reality in a special way” (S.N. Goenka, 2008.) I learned from Merra Young’s mindfulness meditation class, when anger arises, you simply observe it, observe it objectively, without identifying yourself with that particular negativity. We will keep reacting to situations until we find the truth in ourselves that we have the power over emotions. By observing the thought, a feeling, the reaction we detach from the outcome, become an observer and often times that thought will pass (Goenka, 2008.) The important aspect is facing the issues as they arise, not to suppress the issues, for then they do not pass away, they will keep coming up for you. Change starts within the self, and we must be responsible for our actions, behaviors, and ultimately our health. Misery is when we do not face our problems, and they continue causing destruction in our lives. If you learn not to react but simply to observe, you will come out of the suffering. Distractions are our only obstacle to finding inner peace, to allow ourselves to sit and contemplate; we can find the peace that we so desire.
The new role of the client is to realize that healing starts at home. Healing happens with food and lifestyle choices. It is in our everyday actions that will help or hinder our health. We are our best teachers and know whats best for us if we quiet down and listen to intuition. The client must want to change, to seek change, and look in all the right places. There are many doctors and healers practicing alternative therapies nowadays; it is up to us to find the doctors that specialize in holistic health care; they are out there.
The new role of the healer is to allow the client to realize that healing starts at home, with deep soul searching. That there is only so much, the healer can do. The client needs to be open minded and receptive for the healing to work. Many changes must be made for healing to be effective and for further prevention of illness to return. The healer can take extra time getting to know the client, to bring up anything that they notice which may interfere with the healing.
To conclude, wellness is when we practice holistic health and incorporate mind, body, and spirit into our daily lives. Once we realize we are perfect, whole, and complete, healing starts within. Life’s challenges, stressors, and distractions often times bring ill health. We can begin to take control of our lives by becoming responsible of the health of our soul, spirit, bodies, and minds. To give up the struggle and simply enjoy the breath, the life, and all the amazing things. Putting the focus on the things that heal. There are many tools to carry with us, such as meditation, nutrition, gratitude, yoga, counseling, faith, massage, etc.
The cultural issues we face today can only harm us if we let them. I had an eating disorder for I was so distracted, and my priorities were all wrong. I used the anorexia as a way to escape reality, which only created more suffering. I experienced turmoil from the military. There’s always something that may cause us suffering. The paradigm shift happens when you are tired of the suffering. We seek change. We seek to be the change we want to see in the world. The paradigm shifts and the health becomes natural. When I do the yoga, everything else falls into place.
Often times we create our own suffering by attaching ourselves to certain beliefs, expectations, judgments. Such as, we are alone in this world, this culture is individualistic. In reality, we are never alone; we have Divine spirit guiding us, and we are connected through spirit. By becoming observer and witnessing life rather than identifying ourselves by it, we find emotional freedom and become free of suffering. Happy and free is the way to be. Health happens naturally when we are healthy physically through nutrition and exercise, mentally through meditation, and spiritually through all of the above, and connecting with a higher power.