Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Self-healing & Well-being
by Bethany Gadbois November 1, 2018
Start from the beginning. The very beginning. One of the most profound questions I was asked on my healing journey was “Were you born into a happy, healthy home?”
Before responding, take a deep breath and repeat this simple belief to yourself three times:
“I AM WHOLE”
You are whole and you were born wholesome into a happy, healthy home. Then all these things happened and will continue to happen. We learn and absorb so much from early life; wonder, knowledge, necessity, reality, fun, joy & pain. We may not have been given simple tools to live by when we needed them most.
What if we were taught how to properly breathe? Or how to reset ourselves in times of distress and trauma? Or how to recognize our feelings to communicate our needs? Or how to handle damaging thoughts and the impact our thoughts have on our body? Or, or, or, the list can go on for what we may have to self-learn along the way. Our behavior and the way we live are learned and adapted from our caretakers, educators, primary influences, and core life events. Much of what we carry may not be fully understood, properly processed, and let go of. Our bodies tell our story for us.
At this very moment, you have the ability to heal yourself. You are already whole. Sometimes we need to remember and reconnect after so many distractions. You can start small and simple, and just watch and notice. You have choices everyday at every moment of your life. What you choose to take in, digest, and and let go of affects you wholly. You can choose to P A U S E before reacting or responding. You have the choice to slow down, be aware, and consciously decide what you want to do NOW or in the next moment. Once you do this even one time in your busy day, you will notice an immediate difference in your mind and how your body responds to this. You may feel that you have more space and room to breathe. If this is how one small change can make you feel, just imagine how a day filled with thoughtful choices can feel and become.
Earlier this year, I made a simple change to my daily routine that greatly shifted my perspective, relationship with life, and the world around me. I did this because after much self exploration, therapy, and help from professionals, I was still struggling and feeling hopeless at times. So, I created a shelf of meaningful keepsakes. Some may call this an altar, my son calls it a shelter, which is quite fitting. Whatever you create and identify as your personal space is all that is needed. The items you place in this space have meaning and represent your personal goals. Maybe you consider the way you wish your relationship with yourself to be and how you connect with others. Maybe there are situations that challenge your patience & acceptance. This is what helped me to show up at my shelf each morning. I placed Willow Tree statues that represented my family, my desire for harmony, and to be healthy enough to grow our family, which has been one of my biggest struggles. I placed journals and other books that helped me heal and grow. A nice soft himalayan salt lamp and oil diffuser set to the side. A framed picture of my late father. Holding space for my aging, ill mother and my late brother and sister. On days when I was struggling most, I would come to this space to connect to what I was grateful for and set intentions. It felt safe to face pain, observe my habitual thoughts, and reassure myself everything was OK. I would rub oils on my wrists and temples, breathing them in and out, connecting to how everything FELT. Living is feeling. Once you bring your attention to this, you feel it deep in your cells. For just a few mindful minutes, I was aware of my inner dialogue and belief system being challenged by an intrinsic desire to create what I wanted instead. I acknowledged each small victory and rediscovered newfound hope in this space.
In the beginning of my self-healing journey two years ago, I was experiencing chronic body pain. Giving credit to the professionals whose support got me to this point, I need to also give myself credit. The inner work I began at my shelf, along with writing, yoga & meditation, and carving out a self-care routine, allowed me to connect with myself and the world in a way I never had before. A tangible shift has occurred. About five months into this actionable practice and an increased frequency of movement through yoga, I noticed that my body pain was no longer present. Today, eight months later, I concede with some bewilderment that I have been pain free for four months. I have EASE in my body. I never believed I would be able to say this. One year ago, I struggled with mobility because of the pain I experienced in my lower back and pelvis. I felt physically weak and pain brought me to tears many mornings. Sensation brings new meaning to the sequence of events that were meant for me.
Once you begin to turn inward, perhaps through therapy, yoga, breathwork, meditation, visualization, or whatever it may be for you, it’s astonishing how quickly you begin to know your body. When first trying to connect to my lower back pain; I would try somatic exercises, visualizing the muscles to consciously contract and release them. Reading several books about how some pain can be linked to oxygen deprivation and adhesions, inspired me to attentively send oxygen and fresh blood to these areas. The mobile and stable movements I learned in yoga, optimized this connection. After a little time, I would notice small subtleties; a warming sensation, a pulse in an area of a pain point, or relaxation and softness in a spot that once felt hard. Many guided meditations are available that do an inner landscape scan of your body, which can help with mindbody connection.
The word inspiration comes from respiration. Think of how you feel when you are inspired; alive, creating, spaciousness, fluidity, ease. Pranayama is a breathing exercise practice that is accessible because the breath is available to us and is directly connected to our autonomic nervous system. We take about 15,000 breaths a day and each breath gives us room for opportunity to interact in the world the way we want. The moment you bring consciousness to your breathing, in particular your exhalation, transformation begins. The senses are meant to protect us, but they can also be vital to powerful self-healing. Our bodies are wise and require connection initiated from us to remember how to trigger healing from within.
Being Authentically You
With acceptance, I allowed myself to just be and this created more space for expansion in the world. There are many expert texts and studies that link dis-ease to people not feeling comfortable enough to be themselves. Maybe they feel guilt for not putting others first or try hard to please other people to the point of compromising their own needs. Learning how to communicate your needs appropriately takes practice. Bringing awareness to your choices may help you notice. When you stop and ask yourself why you are doing something, you may be surprised at the answer or even lack of response. To embody our authentic self, who we truly are, arouses possibility and hope.
If any of this resonates with you, kindly take a moment to try this simple healing practice - pause and take a slow inhalation & exhalation through the nose. If you feel that you are not being your true self, maybe ask “What am I afraid of?” This is the question that motivated me to get out of my comfort zone and commit to an intensive 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2018 that drastically changed my life. I continue to ask myself this question when I share this yoga with others. Being strong through adversity taught me how to live again. Even though I am barely scratching the surface, I am starting to feel like myself. I believe that being ourselves is an ongoing process, as we evolve to our purpose. To me, living and being well is unabashedly being yourself and sharing your gift with the world. And so it is, up to you, to want to be well now in your heart-beating wholeness.
To be authentically, beautifully you ♥️
Resources that supported this part of my journey
The Divided Mind John E. Sarno
In The Mindbody Prescription, Dr. Sarno said Ms. Pert, in recognizing widespread and intimate connections between the brain and the body, first suggested that the words mind and body be joined. He further said that mind and body should no longer be hyphenated. “It is one word, as the title of this book implies.”
Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement Thomas Hanna
Overcoming Trauma through Yoga David Emerson & Elizabeth Hopper PhD
Your Holistic Psychologist Dr. Nicole LePera
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself Kristen Neff Ph.D.
Mindbody TV Podcast with Dr. Kim D’Eramo
The Yoga of Breath: Guided Pranayama David Harshada Wagner
KMB Yoga Karen Miscall Bannon Yoga Teacher & Therapist
I must give credit to my expert yoga teacher, Karen. Without her knowledge and guidance, I may not have found the strength within myself to this depth and come across resources in sync with my intuition. Karen has several items in the shop on her website that can assist in the inner work and self-healing process.
Read an excerpt of my article published in the Spirit of Change Magazine Spring/Summer 2019 edition page 64 or via the link below about halfway down (do a "find" for Bethany Gadbois):
Self-care Wisdom - Your Personal Healing Space http://www.spiritofchange.org/Spring-2019/Self-Care-Wisdom/