Finding Meaning

Finding Meaning

A professional peer gave me an assessment to complete that asked me to quantify from 1-10 where I scored in relation to my diet, sleep, digestive health, stress, water intake, life purpose, weight, and physical health. With the objective numbers I saw I could certainly improve a couple areas but was pleased to see more that half near the optimal number. Life purpose was near the top and I reflected on how that got to be there and why it is such a passion of mine to empower my patients to find their life purpose and the passion that evokes in their lives.

Most of you have lives that are filled with responsibilities, opportunities, stress, and delights. For many of you finding health enables you to better participate in and appreciate your life. However, those who engage in naturopathic medicine emerge into a more sophisticated model of health that is less mechanistic but involves a deeper attention to how the body interacts with emotion and consciousness. If we view health solely from a mechanistic model then we deny the mystery of healing. The mind has a hard time grasping mystery. It is my belief we are not human beings in a spiritual world but spiritual beings in a human world!

Twenty five years ago someone told me I had a purpose and a light bulb went on. Somewhere deep within me it awakened something I knew was true. It gave me permission to live following what felt right for me instead of trying to please everybody else. I read a book called Love is Letting Go of Fear and it was a catalyst for yet another shift. I decided to live as close to the Presence of God as possible and that God was Love. This small simple book made me look at all my emotions as evolving from either love or fear. If I was angry it might be because I was afraid of being hurt or not getting “enough”. I began to practice challenging those fearful feelings because deep within me I knew I was loved and could trust a larger natural spiritual essence of life to guide me. My purpose in practicing the Presence of God became simply to learn to love better.

I read the following in an article by Dr. Rachel Naomi Ramen:

“I had a man in my practice with osteogenic sarcoma of the leg, which was removed at the hip in order to save his life. He was 24 years old when I started working with him and he was a very angry man with a lot of bitterness, a deep sense of injustice and a very deep hatred for all the well people, because it seemed so unfair to him that he had suffered this terrible loss so early in life. After working with this man for a couple of years I saw a profound shift. He began ‘coming out of himself’. He began visiting other people in the hospital who had suffered severe physical losses and he would tell me the most wonderful stories about these visits. Once he visited a young woman who was almost his own age. It was a hot day in Palo Alto and he was in running shorts so his artificial leg showed when he came into her hospital room. The woman was so depressed about the loss of both her breasts that she wouldn’t even look at him, wouldn’t pay any attention to him. The nurses had left her radio playing, probably in order to cheer her up. So, desperate to get her attention, he unstrapped his leg and began dancing around the room on one leg, snapping his fingers to the music. She looked at him in amazement, and then she burst out laughing and said, ‘Man, if you can dance, I can sing.’

Now I want to tell you something that happened at the end of this man’s therapy. At the end of therapy you do a review—people talk about what was significant to them and you share what was significant to you as a therapist working with someone. We were reviewing our two years of work together; I opened his file and there folded up were several drawings he had made early on. I wanted to return these to him, so I unfolded them and handed them to him. He looked through them and said, ‘Oh, look at this.’ And he showed me one of the earliest drawings. I had suggested to him that he draw a picture of his body. He had drawn a picture of a vase, and running through this vase was a deep black crack. This was his image of his body and he had taken a black crayon and had drawn the crack over and over and over. He was grinding his teeth with rage at the time. It was very, very painful because it seemed to me that this vase could never function as a vase again. It could never hold water.

Now, two years later, he came to this picture and looked at it and said, ‘Oh, this one isn’t finished.’ And I said, extending the box of crayons, ‘Why don’t you finish it?’ he picked a yellow crayon and putting his finger on the crack he said, ‘You see, here—this is where the light comes through.’ And with the yellow crayon he drew light streaming through the crack in his body.

We can grow strong at the broken places.”

She also retells a story by Dr. Bernie Siegel about John, a landscaper. He was a man who wanted, in spite of his cancer, to make beauty in the world. Rachel surmised in her article “One can serve purpose with impaired health. One might even regain health through serving purpose as John did!”

Reach out to those you love. Make decisions that feel right for your well-being and wholeness. Trust there is an invisible power of which we are all a part that is supporting your life. Live like there is no tomorrow. This is it! This is not a dress rehearsal! Don’t burden yourself with regrets! Remember “All is Well” and act accordingly. You will empower your loved ones to do the same but it has to start with you!

This entry was posted in Newsletter and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.