What Is Health?

I visited my chiropractor this morning for my regular and ongoing treatment (I’m having a series of treatments to realign – fantastic) and, while I was on the coach, he asked me a question, ‘What does health mean to you?’

After the session we dived in to the question between us and tried to unravel it a bit. Because its actually quite complex in its answer.

Sure, ‘health’ can mean no illness, as in ‘I’m ok and feeling pretty good.’

But when you dive into what it really could mean you find all sorts of issues.

To the ancient cultures of India and China health means an inner harmony between mind, body and spirit. They are holistic by definition. But the western mind has grown up with a largely different mindset. That mindset is founded in separation. It means that we innately think of everything as separate from everything, and independent of everything else. That means we can easily think of the body as separate from the mind and spirit. And western medicine almost without fail follows this model.

Eastern health systems recognize a natural intelligence that informs everything, and their practices attempt to align us with that natural intelligence. Chi, Prana, Lifeforce are some of the terms used.

Western mind and western medicine has no particular term for this intelligence because it doesn’t recognize it exists.

Yet even western medicine and health understands there is a connection between mind and body. What is stress if not evidence that emotions and thoughts have a physical impact?

And of course we as human beings are implicitly interconnected with our environment, as much as the goldfish is connected with the water in its bowl. Sadly our society paradigms are built on a belief in separation and the prowess of mental accomplishment and all it signifies. Inner harmony has little credibility in today’s world. There is no time for it.

So we have problems when talking about what health means.

But we arrived at some conclusions between us. Let me list them a bit and see if they resonate:

  1. Health is a state whereby the natural intelligence of the organism is free to flow.
  2. Health is inner and outer harmony.
  3. Health is the absence of dis-ease, a natural state of easiness.
  4. Health is a state of peace.

To me the ultimate state of health is spiritual peace, because in that state of deep acceptance there is only love, and in that love the body is free to follow its own course. We are all finite beings and everything has its day, it rises and then it falls back into the earth. Peace is the acceptance of this, and there can be no greater health that this.

I am only scratching the surface here but I wanted to open the door to a deeper conversation with you. I wonder what health means to you?

Please let me know in the comment section below..

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Getting ‘Clean’ and How it Changes Your Life

I talk a lot in my sessions (and outside my sessions) about being ‘clean.’ It seems to resonate with people. People actually get what it means, those who have the desire to escape the mess and drama of what they have been used to.

Clean is not strange or even difficult to attain. It is, I guess, profound to the normal, messy, entangled one who hangs on to that way of life, who maybe even secretly loves and desires the attention they get from all the drama.
Some of those people are narcissists, and some are just regular unconscious, but they are all caught up in the same web, sticky and messy and overly dramatic.

I was done with all that. I am clean. That means I don’t lay anything weird on anyone, neither am I available for anyone to stick any weirdness on me. It’s not a defensive or attacking stance. It is neutral, just not playing bullshit dramatic games ever. Clean. Out of the entanglement. Maybe you could call it natural.

We were, most of us, born into the drama, and we got completely sold it, and then we became it. It’s family for most of us. And then it becomes everything in our lives. Politics is drama, many relationships are drama. They all have the same stickiness..It’s horrible. And its not the only way to live, nor the most preferable.

That is why I talk about becoming ‘clean.’ Because by becoming clean, without closing down or shutting everything out, life becomes easier. Shit still happens but it doesn’t stick any more.

It is maturity, growing up, becoming wise. It’s the end of games and the beginning of real life. Sure you might have to say no to a load of things and people. That comes with being clean. But if that is what you really want, that’s what you have to do.

It is very refreshing.

So why does it matter in regard health and wellbeing?

Well this is a good question and very relevant in today’s world. You see, in today’s world the majority of thought still has us living as though everything were separate from everything else. In this world of separation what you think, feel, believe, and how ‘clean’ you are in your energetic body does not matter at all. As far as a lot of science is concerned the two are completely separate.

So I ask you…Do you believe that everything is separate from everything else? I bet you don’t.

Here is my take: EVERYTHING YOU DO, SAY, THINK, FEEL AND BELIEVE has an effect on your wellbeing and/or your illness.

It is all involved and everything casts an influence in direct and indirect ways. If you have complicated, sticky, even messy and manipulative relationships that keep you stuck and cause you stress, you are going to feel it in your body, its going to influence things like eating habits, addictive patterns, energy levels and sleeping patterns. It is going to impact your nervous system and your immune system. Period.

Being ‘clean,’ gives you breathing space, a sense of freedom and lightness. It allows your aura to grow, and you can stop some of the activity that requires so much energy. It takes great energy to play games and defend and attack. The bottom line is where are you going to place your energy and attention?

So I am a total advocate for getting ‘clean.’ It has worked so well for me I cannot begin to tel you. My clients benefit from my being clean and they begin to feel it in their own lives, and that affects the people around them. And so it becomes effortless.

Try it, contemplate this. Get back to me if you don’t know what I’m talking about, or ask anything.

What Happens If You Turn Your Back On The Conventional Medicine Paradigm

I talk with many people along the path, and when they discover my journey with chronic illness and what I have done to heal it, almost everyone becomes intrigued and can relate to it.

In the circles I move in, which are mostly the spiritual circles, the holistic circles and the ‘evolutionary movement’ circles, everyone without fail is frustrated and feels let down by the conventional medical model. Everyone sees through its efficacy and ability to be truly holistic. And everyone without fail is experimenting with alternatives, exploring what healing actually means, and stepping outside the conventional matrix in their search.

That makes things pretty exciting, but also pretty scary. Because in so many ways THERE IS NO MAP.

And I have to say there is more of a map than there used to be. And here is the most important point to understand on the healing path.

The map only shows the way. Like all journeys, it is the DOING of it, the STEP BY STEP actuality of it, that changes anything.

That is a totally different mindset from conventional medicine. This mainstream approach does not involve you, does not demand any participation from you other than taking the meds or turning up for the operation. Please remember I am not talking about acute emergency treatments here, but mainly lifestyle caused chronic conditions.

But many folks are very scared of taking the unknown ‘path less trodden.’ And from what I see many are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are caught between the mainstream medical model and the alternative ‘find your own path’ model. And so they don’t embrace either one.

To those people I say, ‘Don’t sit on the fence. Commit to one way or another. Or find your balance between the two. But find your own heart, find your own authentic path, find your power somehow. That will be the defining ingredient in your actions.’

The key is to finding your own inner authority, intuition and intelligence.

My ‘healing’ was about reaching a state of inner harmony and wisdom in which I learned to accept the things I could not change and change the things I could.

Wellbeing is about adaptability and flexibility. Too often we are reading that wellbeing is only achieved through rigorous training, exact exercises and punitive diet. That is not wellbeing. Thats self punishment.

Sure it all has its place, and discipline is a vital component in self mastery. But the key is inner wisdom and ‘warrior-like’ poise. Self knowledge and knowledge of the natural law is key to everything.

And the ultimate healing principles are found, not in the body, or even in the emotions, but in the inner sanctum of the heart and soul. The ultimate healing is that of making peace with everything within and without.

If you can resolve everything into love’s deepest acceptance, come what may, then you are ‘home’ and it will not matter what happens. It is not easy, and it is a path that unfolds, but it is a practice that brings depth and conscious awareness to your life.

And from that divine place you can work in a relaxed and forgiving way with your own body, loving it back to health, or letting go of it as we all must ultimately do.

Be well.

What Place Does HOPE Have in Healing

We can live with hope, and avoid despair, if we learn to surrender our attachment to what we think our health outcome should be, and instead be present to the healing journey as it unfolds  –  Joanna Garritano

I had a long conversation about health with someone yesterday. He had health issues and I told him of my journey, the short version, but it did include the bit about my diagnosis results and the prognosis handed to me by the consultant in a London Hospital. I go into detail about this encounter in my book http://a.co/duWS3Lu but suffice to say it was a pivotal moment in my journey.

For your benefit, this is a short description. The consultant was aloof and, dare I say it, arrogant. That was my feeling, subjectively of course. He sat in front of me and said 3 things.
1. What you have (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is incurable.
2. You will be on medication for life.
3. You may well have to have some, or all, of your colon removed.

When I questioned him he added a 4th blow.

4. There was nothing you can do, no diet would help, no natural medicine would work, nothing.

Honestly, it makes my blood boil right now just thinking about it.

It makes my blood boil because he was WRONG, and because many people who are not as feisty, rebellious, or informed, as I am (and was even then), may well believe him, throw themselves into his hands and GIVE UP ALL HOPE.

That makes me furious.  Because I seriously don’t believe it to be true. And I am living proof of it.

12 years since that diagnosis and prognosis and I never took ANY medication for it. I have NO SYMPTOMS of IBD at all, no ulcerations, no blood, no mucus, and when I’m tested there are no signs of inflammation. So, as we like to say these days.

What!

Sorry to be dramatic and animated but I think you can understand how it feels to me.

I could have had my colon removed, for no good reason. I could have started taking steroids, anti inflammatories etc etc and been dependent on them for the rest of my life..And so on. It could have been the end of me. As it turns out it was actually the beginning of a long and deeply transformative journey.

When I reflected on this experience I realized why I was so angry. Because what was at stake here was HOPE.

Hope is a fundamental part of healing. Its not some by-product, some throwaway part of the human condition. It is an integral part of us.

I don’t think you can heal without hope. Hope creates an energy that drives or pulls us forward. If you take hope away you don’t, in the case of illness, create acceptance, you create resignation and despair. You cannot heal or transform if resignation or despair are the dominant energies in your system. We are not mechanical robots, we are subtle, complex, mysterious life forms that have unique and powerful abilities to change things simply through the power of our beliefs, our attention, and our consciousness itself. 

We are not mechanical robots, we are subtle, complex, mysterious life forms that have unique and powerful abilities to change things simply through the power of our beliefs, our attention, and our consciousness itself. 

Whatever positive feelings and emotions you can muster in the face of illness are welcome. Be they joy, laughter, hope, love, or peace, they all help by flooding the body with helpful and healing hormones that uplift the whole organism and give it life force.

Conversely whatever negative feelings or emotions flood the body, the opposite may well happen. they depress and downgrade us. They slow things down, they deflate us and allow for negativity to flood the body.

If you sit for a moment and consider this, feel the energy of joy, love and laughter and how they FEEL in your body, and then you consciously consider despair or resignation and how it feels in the body you would have to agree with me. They are very different. So hope is  a valuable part of the healing process. 

BUT BE CAUTIOUS. Remember the words at the start of this blog.

“We can live with hope, and avoid despair, if we learn to surrender our attachment to what we think our health outcome should be, and instead be present to the healing journey as it unfolds.”

Surrendering attachment to the way we THINK it should look, or the way we want it to look, is so important. I really got this key point somewhere down the path. I actually had a profound moment  during a very dark period when I fell into despair. I was tormented and suffering physically, I had no idea what was going to happen and I was at the end of my tether. I walked into some local woods by myself and lay down among the leaves and fell into what felt like a deep well. I desperately wanted an end to my suffering, mainly from my emotional and mental suffering.

I then found myself speaking to God…whatever that means..And I said, “God, I no longer care whether you take my physical body or not, I hand that over to you, but I want love in my heart, and I want an end to my trauma, to my anger and to my emotional pain. I want some peace.”

It was as though I had realized that, although ultimately I had no power over whether my physical body would heal or not, I DID have power to decide whether to let go of my emotional baggage once and for all, willingly.

And something happened that day, and it has always been with me. What happened was, by just being willing to die but keeping my heart open, I surrendered attachment to outcome. That’s the quote at the top of this blog. To live with hope but surrender attachment to the outcome we think we want. I did that, and it created FREEDOM for me. It released so much healing energy in me it really contributed to my long term recovery and subsequent health.

The truth is, when we get ill, or even when we don’t get ill, we don’t know whether we will live longer or shorter time, or whether we will recover or not. But we can fix our broken hearts, our resentments and grievances, and we can do that now, and now and now. 

Hope, in this context, is a beautiful energy, a powerful energy, and thus a healing one.

If anyone tries to steal your hope away and can’t replace it with something better, turn away and run. Don’t believe them. While you are alive there is some hope.
When its chronic illness and not acute, there is hope.
When you, or they, don’t really know what it is, there is hope.
Act on that hope without fixed attachment to how it should look, and bring all your vibrant intelligence, wisdom and power to take whatever action ‘feels’ right.

Choose ‘hope without attachment,’ over ‘resignation without any power.’

Thanks for reading!

References:
http://joannagarritano.com/impermanence-hope-and-healing/#comment-4330

 

Dig Deep on the Mysterious Path of Healing

If you have chosen the path of natural healing, for whatever reason, and you have found yourself stumbling in the dark, getting lost, going up blind alleys, being scared, or being disappointed, thinking you have found an answer only to be foiled, I have some news for that will challenge you and support you.

That is how it is, both in healing the body AND in transformation. 

Welcome to the mysterious world, the real world, the natural world. I know its frustrating and confusing and I know most of us want our answers to be straightforward and logical, because thats the world we have grown up in, but you are entering a different world now, and it doesn’t work the same.

Science, society, doctors, the whole shebang, would have us all believe its all scientific and even superficial. We so desperately want life to be straightforward. But here is the thing.

The basic model upon which all this thinking is based, IS A FLAWED WORLD VIEW. Yup. It is, sadly, a world view that has divorced itself from the natural movement of life, from nature itself. And I am delighted and sorry to tell them (and you) that the human being is still NATURAL. whether we like it or not. 

We have been heavily socialized, and industrialized and modernized, for only the last 100-200 years. For the previous thousands, even millions, of years, we have had to adapt to nature. Add to that truth the fact that we are highly complex beings who have emotions, hormones that relate to emotions, immune systems that relate to our thoughts and feelings, and nervous systems that are super conductor highways of vast intelligence, AND we have a profound spiritual side that connects us to the divine, and you have a seriously deep and complex person!

So cut yourself some slack and start digging. Dig deep, deep, deep. Dig into the roots of who you are, where you come from, what you have inherited and your entire belief system. Find out where you turned away from love because of fear, when you were young, and heal that wound. Search for all your old grievances and vengeance and commit yourself to releasing yourself from the prison. You wont heal or transform until you let go and really love yourself fully.

You have to dig to heal. When the tree is suffering, you can try and fix the branches, the leaves, or even the trunk, but you probably wont see much difference. But if you attend to the roots and get them nourished and flowing, pretty soon the leaves, the trunk, and the branches are going to grow strong and healthy. Whats the difference between us and the tree?

Nothing, except our beliefs systems. It is our belief systems that stand in our way. Don’t be a victim of a belief system that doesn’t serve you. Find one that serves you, or better still, go so deep into consciousness that you transcend belief systems altogether, and then you are free to play and dance and feel love and joy.

The one who has transcended his own belief system is free, and at peace with himself and the world.

Check out this HEALING HASHIMOTOS SUMMIT COMING UP IN NOVEMBER

Mung Soup – Detox and Nourish – Food for the SOUL

Try this ancient and rebalancing Ayurvedic recipe. Devote one day a week, we do Monday, and drink this soup for the whole day. You will not starve and will reap enormous benefits.
The soup is highly nutritious and naturally detoxifies the body. It works by cleansing the liver, gall bladder and vascular system of any ama (undigested toxins). If you follow it for a few days you will lose weight, as well as any retained water and feel lighter, clearer and more energised-but you need to have a little willpower initially, though it does tend to get easier day by day.

 

This soup:

Cleanses the body of toxins and residues (including heavy metals) by cleaning all the body’s subtle channels.
Balances the Vata, Pitta and kapha dosha, important in Ayurvedic understanding
Corrects digestive fire (or agni)
Sharpens the mind, providing tranquillity, energy and vitality
Promotes weight loss, reduces swelling and water retention

Mung Bean Soup Recipe:
You will need:
400g mung beans (whole green or split green or yellow but green is best
2 litres water
½ tsp. turmeric powder
2 pinch asafoetida or Hing (optional – we don’t use it)
2/3 tsps of fresh root ginger
2-3 cloves garlic
Half an onion
Ghee or olive oil
1 tsp. each of cumin powder and coriander powder.
rock salt or herb salt

Wash the mung beans thoroughly and then soak them either over night or for at least four hours before cooking.
Heat ghee or olive oil in a pan and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder and 2 pinches asafoetida (to take the gas quality out of the beans).
Sauté for a few seconds and then add the soaked beans, fresh water and some fresh root ginger. For one part soaked mung you need about four parts of water.
The amounts given above will make 5 generous portions.
Leave to bubble away for 30-40 minutes and add more water if necessary. Continue to cook until all the beans are soft and broken up. If you use a pressure cooker, the soup needs cooking for only 8 minutes once the vessel has come to pressure. You can then turn off the heat and leave the pot to cool for a further 10 minutes before opening it.
Once the beans are cooked, heat some ghee or olive oil in another pan, add 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic and half a chopped onion and sauté lightly for a minute until soft but still aromatic.
Now add some finally chopped fresh root ginger. Next add one teaspoon of cumin and coriander powder plus any other herbs or spices (except chillies which are too heating), such as cardamom seeds, black pepper, black cumin seeds etc. and briefly sauté. Add these sautéed spices plus some rock salt into the mung beans and continue to simmer for a further few minutes. Don’t add salt in the beginning, as this makes the beans tougher and they therefore take longer to cook. Serve the soup warm with a good squeeze of lime juice, and some fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped and stirred into the soup.

If you feel like a little variety, you can also add green leafy vegetables, pumpkin or courgettes. You can also blend the soup for a better consistency and flavour.
ENJOY!
Any question please get in touch.

The Warrior’s Path of Healing Auto Immune – OPENING THE HEART

HEALING the WOUNDED HEART and its impact on the Auto Immune illness.
 
There is a basis for my work. It is pretty deep and only for those who want to dive into the essence of their being and unravel all those stories that have held them captive for years.
The bottom line I work from is this: It is all about the relationship between ‘us’ and the ‘outside world.’
 
That all things are about our perceived relationship to the apparent outside world, from conception, through utero and upon and beyond birth.
 
This fragile and vulnerable relationship is mirrored in our immune system, itself in ‘relationship’ to the apparent outside world.
 
When the heart gets wounded early in life and withdraws into ‘self protection’ it seems to impact the immune system and the whole of the relationship we have with the outside world.
 
It can create a radical sensitivity, a vulnerability, or a fear and hostility. All these affect the delicate balance in our gut, and in our entire digestive tract.
 
It can set up an unconscious ‘fight or flight’ mechanism that will run the entirety of our lives, or it can trigger unresolved and unexpressed anger and rage that creates heat and inflammation in the delicate system we have.
 
None of this is good in the long term, because all these suppressions of our energy, or build up of unexpressed anger and heat, eventually wear down the struggling auto immune system and leave it open and vulnerable to all sorts of issues.
 
If you put enough pressure on a system eventually it will collapse, thats the same with our inner systems.
 
And so, part of the response to ‘symptoms’ that present in all auto immune, as well as taking care of the physical needs, is to take a true and authentic look inside at what the heart is hiding, or what the heart is hiding from.
 
Releasing that energy, that vulnerability, that anger or fear, or disappointment, may not be the ‘magic bullet,’ but it is going to contribute to the healing of the whole organism.
 
The Warrior’s Path of Healing Auto Immune.