Reactivity in Auto Immune Conditions and Inflammation

Please do not take this as scientific proof. If you are looking for modern science you probably wont find it here. This blog and website is only about ideas that might be possible.

As I always say in my blogs and posts, find out for yourself what is true. Believe nothing unless you truly believe it deeply inside. And if you don’t know, be ok with not knowing and make your inquiry into healthy living and illness come from an unknown perspective.

Basically, develop discernment and inner wisdom, it will serve you for life and help others who also don’t know.

My conversations are speculative and holistic. I’m trying to connect dots that medical science doesn’t want to, or can’t, or won’t, connect. Mainly that means exploring the connection between matter and thought, or body and mind you might say.

I want to look at patterns, beliefs, language, energy fields, that sort of thing. I truly believe we only have a small bit of the puzzle of being human. Most of the rest of the puzzle will not be found in science or conventional medicine.

But the puzzle and the mystery is where the exciting stuff is. That’s where I like to dig around. I am an investigator and explorer.

So I have been contemplating the nature of auto immune conditions, described by conventional medicine as ‘self attacking self,’ and decided to talk a little about how our emotional mental ‘reactivity’ to life, thought and situations may play a very big part in perpetuating the suffering of self attack.

The key here is to understand why reactivity, particularly over-reactivity, is happening on the mental, emotional level, and to attempt to ease it down and relax it. In my world awareness and understanding is fundamental in the healing.

Reactivity tends to come from fear. That fear can be fear of danger, fear of lack of safety, threat to life, violence or extreme vulnerability. Fear is an existential issue we all have somewhere deep within. People with trauma, childhood wounds, acute sensitivity (sometimes from birth trauma) and unstable childhoods are prone to this fear more than most. This fear is visceral, it’s not simply emotional or mental. It becomes physical, make no mistake. And that physicality we now know (through science and biology) can affect our gut microbiome, digestive process, gut permeability, ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, and adrenal glands, as well as the whole body. Every physical effect I have just stated impacts the immune system.

The deeper trouble with this is that it sets up a chronic pattern that may lock us in for life. If these things are happening in childhood and youth we learn them as survival mechanisms and repeat them every time something real OR IMAGINED reminds us of the old trauma. It doesn’t have to be a real threat, it can just be the thought of it or something similar. In fact much of this reactivity will happen IN ANTICIPATION of trouble THAT ACTUALLY DOESN’T HAPPEN.

This has been one of my ongoing life stories revealed to me over the years through various body work therapies, deep inner exploration and more recently chiropractic testing. I developed a secret inner part of me that was always alert to danger, always on the look out and hyper vigilant, whether I was asleep or not. The consequences of this are serious and disturbing, both physically and mentally. Physically it means being always in reactivity mode and high alert, and never able to get into deep restful delta sleep where healing and renewal comes from.

It means immune system and nervous system are on constant alert to danger. It began in my early teens during my parents slide into acrimonious divorce and my slide into ‘out of control’ drug taking chaos. It has lasted a lifetime (the effect not the drugs!), and been mostly hidden from view but had massive repercussions on my relationships, purpose in life and most important on my physical health. Specifically on my immune health, gut health, and now thyroid health. It also resulted in addiction problems.

So what does this say?

Well I actually see this reactivity, this over active ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, at play in many people I work with, and almost always with those who experience some form of auto immunity. And it can disguise itself in many ways. Being over critical of self or others is one way, being self hating (remember the ‘self attacking self’ phrase at the beginning of this article?), being extremely resentful, being highly anxious, fearful, angry or depressed are all permutations of the same thing, reactivity.

This blog piece is just the beginning of a much bigger conversation about mind and body and trauma, and about how the immune system gets over activated when we are young.

If we accept that reactivity might be an issue both physically and emotionally it gives us knowledge and insight, and puts us in a greater position to be able to take action.

What action? I am going to discuss this next time.

I would love to hear from you what you think, as I really don’t have all the answers, but thousands of questions that I love exploring.

And the next piece I think will be how to turn our unhealthy reactivity to a healthy and calm responsiveness so we can maintain calm in our inner world.

Thank you so much for reading, and please please comment and add something to the conversation. And share this is you feel moved to.

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WHOLENESS IS OUR NATURAL STATE

How ‘whole’ are you? It is an interesting question most people have not, nor will ever, contemplate. I have and I do, all the time. I don’t think this is just a spiritual question, I actually think its a health question, and a very important existential question. It matters. A LOT. Here is a post I just wrote on my ‘Holistic Life Facebook Page.’

“I have spent 15 years attending to my wellbeing and to the relationship between body, mind and spirit.

In that time I have experienced a 180 degree turn around in how I live, what I focus on and how I relate to life itself.

It has been, and still is, a profound transformation.

Both simple and complex. And my awareness of the divine running through everything only increases day by day.

At first I thought it was just the body that was faltering with all its angry symptoms.

That took me directly into my emotions, which were tangled up, fearful, old and also angry.

That took me to all my thoughts and beliefs, the fundamentals of my everyday life, some of them very toxic and negative.

And finally I arrived at my spiritual essence, the nature of truth and love and reality itself.

Each step of the way my eyes opened as did my heart, until everything melted into the same thing.

You don’t choose wholeness.

You arrive at wholeness. It is a place not a thought or belief. It is a tangible frequency of frequencies.

It is where and when everything comes together, no longer separate.

It is when we, as human beings, become greater than the sum of our parts.

Wholeness is our natural state, and seems to be rare in this ‘techno-modern-superficial-separation-believing’ society.

I am forever grateful that illness came into my life to show me the way home. And I am grateful to my past self to have the wisdom to hear the call to go on the journey of healing, even if it was scary, lonely, mysterious and long.

Sometimes the longest journeys are the best.”

My advice is to take the journey. However the invitation comes, its always there. Be brave, be vulnerable, be open, step into the unknown. The benefits are incalculable. You don’t have to completely turn away from medical systems, you simply have to become your own authority, your own guru, your own advocate. Its about inner discernment as much as anything.

When you find out who you really are, through being very honest with yourself, it changes everything.

The Need To Heal Old Wounds

From my personal experience, my research and coaching lots of clients I really have concluded this one simple yet profound truth:

When we deny old emotions and/or present difficult feelings we put an increased stress on our body, on our nervous system, immune system, and important organs like heart and thyroid, and our brain. Whether that actually ’causes’ illness or not is academic, because the bottom line is it really doesn’t help.

My holistic principle is to understand that which puts extra tax and burden on a delicate and finely balanced system (the human organism) is ultimately destructive, and will assist in early degradation of healthy life. As we age it gets harder and harder to bounce back and regenerate. Which means that as we get older we must get wiser and get MORE relaxed and more FREE of old burdens. Old burdens will rigidify us physically, mentally and spiritually unless we consciously release them. They might even kill us.

This point is not as nebulous or subtle as you may think. The river is meant to flow. If it doesn’t flow it stagnates. If it stagnates it becomes toxic and allows disease to happen. It is exactly the same with us. Energy is meant to flow through us. Old emotions and toxic thoughts impede this flow and become somehow ‘trapped’ in our cellular body. The same stagnation can happen. 

Thus detoxification is useful on the physical level AND the emotional energetic level. This proposition might annoy some people and even be dismissed as new age but I have experienced it and see it everywhere, and it is a self evident truth.

In my own healing journey, healing a huge auto immune condition (inflammatory bowel disease) it really wasn’t long in my detoxification process that I was propelled into the fury and powerful world of my pent up, hot, acidic and generally volatile emotions, the ones that I had buried and denied for years and years since the traumatic break up of my parents when I was 16 years old. I held on to the trauma for decades but could never access the pain and therefore never receive any healing. Make no mistake, trauma in the body, just because its not present in everyday experience, is powerful and dangerous. It’s not inert, meaning it doesn’t just sit there in a neutral state doing nothing. 

No, it has a negative power. It influences decisions, it can drive addictions and lifestyle choices. It ramps up stress response into hot stuff like rage or scary stuff like fear and anxiety. It may play a huge part in depression. It creates havoc with the nervous system and immune system, both of which have a DIRECT effect on health. It is known, for example, that stress has a direct impact on the gut micro biome, reducing healthy gut flora and allowing the ‘bad guys’ to gain the upper hand.

I truly believe that my healing had plateaued until I dived into my emotions. And then it catapulted into an increase in healing. It’s not the magic bullet but it is incredibly powerful.

I would go as far as to say you can’t truly heal without it.

If you are on the same journey that took me over 10 years, please listen. Do the emotional stuff. Find a way, find a resource. Follow your instinct for what your body wants, listen to your own inner voice, and get guidance from others who know this territory, and then fully embrace your healing. Even when it is difficult because dragging old stuff up hurts, still press on. It is far better that you meet the pain, and it hurts, and you release it, than you don’t meet it and it kills you.

I wish you love and blessings on your path.

Thanks for reading!

 

Being ‘Triggered’ and How It Affects Health

One of the links between the body and the emotions, between emotions and health and illness is the nervous system and ‘triggers.’

Most people these days have heard the term ‘triggered.’ It’s a term used to describe a largely unconscious response mechanism activated by some event, or thought or experience. Something ‘triggers’ you and in a flash you have gone to a different place within yourself and might suddenly feel emotional rage, stress, anxiety, or any negative sensation. It is rather like, and can be associated with PTSD. There is an element of PTSD in it.

Something triggers you and bam! You are jettisoned into a different reality and you lose perspective and balance and might become irrational and emotional, or feel like a trapped child, or anything. Triggers are individual because they come from our individual experience. In most people they have their roots in childhood trauma and stress, situations of powerlessness and lost innocence, experiences that have never been processed but been ‘lived with’ or even denied. They are extremely powerful and should never be underestimated.

But here is the point. The triggers are not just in emotions but in the body, held within the nervous system. These triggers activate the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism and have the power to instantly release cortisol and adrenalin, necessary for survival in the face of great danger but destructive in times of peace.

So the more you get triggered, the more the nervous system is activated, until, left unchecked and unacknowledged, it starts to create chronic patterns that easily run down the adrenal gland, and contribute to thyroid degradation and immune system overload. The nervous system is fundamental to health, and a huge contributor to illness. Thus emotional life is hard wired to body health.

For true health to be realized these triggers have to be fully met and understood, and at some point they must be released from their stranglehold over the organism. This process of moving beyond the triggers is one of the great liberators I have seen in many people, and in itself can cause a cascade of transformation that is profound.

I have also seen the damage triggers create when left un investigated. They can run rampant and cause chaos. And the worst thing is they will almost definitely cause illness.

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

 

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.

Return to Wholeness

There is a world of difference between the one who is closed and the one who is open.

The former is defended with a fortress they have built over the course of a life. They protect and attack, whichever is relevant. They carry old wounds in the physical and emotional body. Stuck energy becomes toxic and needs to be freed up. Many people don’t feel they can do this. They may prefer to stay stuck all their lives.

The second is one who has opened. They have successfully managed to return to a state of wholeness and naturalness. If you could picture them their arms are open and outstretched. They are undefended and have natural protection. They have let go of grievances and projections and no longer cling on to old toxic stories. They are in a state of natural love. Energy flows and this alone can contribute to healing.

Going from the former to the latter is the task of deep transformation. It is not easy to open a closed heart, and let love’s river flood the dry and barren land.

But it is the only real task of a human being.

  • The impact of opening the heart is enormous.
  • Healing can happen. Including physical healing.
  • Relationships can mend.
  • Compassion arises naturally, both for self and others.
  • A peacefulness and groundedness can arise.
  • Wisdom develops as if by itself.
  • This is the return to Wholeness.

Do not doubt the power of LOVE. It is the most powerful force in the Universe.

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