Conversations with my clients

I had an interesting conversation with a client of mine the other day, let's call her Karen. She is a woman in her middle to late forties who has struggled through a difficult cancer and has emerged on the other side, not without scars, not without leaving some of herself behind, yet not without the essence of who she really was to begin with before this illness invaded her life. She is wiser and stronger and more accepting of herself and life in general.

Having been through a serious illness myself, not cancer, that snatched a certain part of me, we agreed our conversation was one you couldn't have with just anyone. We talked about working through the maze of traditional medicine, then pushing on to work with other kinds of holistic health professionals.

We talked about our early days -- angry, confused, frustrated and feeling totally out of control. We fully expected someone to fix us. That person, at first, being our doctor, and then at least for me a whole string of other kinds of health professionals -- at times grasping at straws and anyone who said they could help me.

Karen, I believe, had a little better fortune than I -- or maybe I should say a shorter path to travel - as she was fortunate enough to find someone who was honest with her from the get-go. When Karen announced to the holistic practitioner that she had cancer, didn't want it in her body and expected her to do something about it, the reply back to Karen was something to the effect that if that's what you're here for, for me to ''fix'' you, you might just as well leave. Then she said, ''if you want me to help you fix yourself, to read your own body, to get in touch with what's really underneath, if you're brave enough to look at what's really going on, well then together we may have a chance at this.''

This all seemed very foreign to her as it did to me. Having bought into the idea that we have no ability to heal ourselves, that someone else, usually the physician, has all the power. It wasn't easy to take any responsibility. We'd given the responsibility for our health over to someone else a long time ago. Now here's someone saying that I have to take the responsibility? Oh, ''get a life,'' I thought! How does someone powerless take responsibility? And what are they talking about, ''heal yourself''? What, go out in the back yard under a full moon with a hair from a witches nose, five snake scales, a drop of blood from a vampire, and recite incantations while dancing around a boiling cauldron? It seemed that foreign to me!

The misfortune in all this is that this is the basic belief system of most of America. If you ask the average American what the old saying ''physician heal thyself'' meant, most would not have any idea. I believe that most individuals would say that it's some idealistic ramblings of some ancient physician without meaning in today's modern world of technology.

Illness is usually a symptom of other symptoms, things going wrong in our lives, negative emotions of one kind or another. We all have them. It begins slowly with little warning sign at first, a tightness in the gut or shoulder muscles, indigestion, an inability to sleep, but we choose to ignore it. As these minor symptoms grow into bigger symptoms we begin to mask with medications and finally, a disease that disables the body takes hold.

Indeed, illness and disease are a part of the human condition. We should not think ourselves bad or less of a person because of illness or disability. In fact, just the opposite. Want to get in touch with that healer inside? You'll have to be patient with your healer, listening closely. Although this takes time, it's never too late to start! The messages may not be clear, trust in the process and remember you're on the learning curve.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online March 14, 2001

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