Physical vs Mental HealthOh boy. Where to even start with this one? I don’t think even Steven Spielberg could have scripted something as wild as the reality of 2020!

While my goal for the monthly newsletters/blog has always been to try and bring some level of awareness that can be used for the betterment of health, this month I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on what can only be described as the “bizarreness of 2020”.

There is nothing more I can say that hasn’t already been discussed, felt, expressed or lived.

So if you will allow me, I want to share some of my most heartfelt experiences of 2020.

With nine months of living this altered reality, and a vaccine within reach, the body has endured and persevered through days and nights of uncertainty, clinging to the belief that the morning would bring new hope and new healing to the planet.

No one would argue that it has been a relay of stress between the mind and the body, both hoping to cross the finish line just as strongly as it had started. There were those days when the physical body could no longer withstand the pressures . But, in order to keep going, it had to rely on the power of the mind and its affirmational thoughts. Then there were days when our thoughts plummeted, taking the body down with it.  As the mental and physical fatigue began to wane on our spirits, all we could do was hold onto the belief and the resilience of the healing power of the mind-body-spirit.

No doubt, our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-beings were tested under the pressures of uncertainties and unimaginable grief. The unforeseen force of the pandemic has led to cracks in the pillars of our foundational existence.

But it was THIS  break that helped open us up into a space that has been untouched, unseen and rarely spoken about.

That place of which I speak, is the space where healing, growing and living happens! That place where we are completely whole and perfect just as we are. It cannot be seen or understood. It can only be experienced in the flow of stillness. That place is the gift of the PRESENT MOMENT.

Our world and the life we have created has become a hamster wheel of unrealistic perfections. Yet, we jump in, with the hopes that happiness can be found in the spinning fury of life.

As tragic, heartbreaking, and devastating as 2020 has been, I wanted to go into that place of stillness and reflection to see what it was all about. I wanted to open the door I rarely even, if ever, place a hand on because I haven’t slowed down enough to even know that it exists, let alone turn the handle. So how did I do this? I consciously slowed my pace of living. I halted the unrelenting rapid fire negativity of thoughts. I told myself that breathing was good and to stop holding my breath.  I welcomed the deafening silence. I embraced the anxious feelings of the unknown. And I worked to release the ideals of perfection that I felt I had to rise up against to be deemed worthy of anything. I didn’t do this to prove something. I did it so I could know what real unconditional healing looked like. I wanted to see what was behind that door.  A door I often walked past because I was always in a hurry to get to the places where I thought joy, healing, and happiness was waiting for me in the future.

But what I had not realized was that I had already arrived at that place. It was a part of me, always has been and always will be. We live it and breathe it every second. We just didn’t realize how perfect that MOMENT in the PRESENT was.

When I could no longer keep up with the pace of unrealistic expectations, mine and others, I had no choice but to slow down, look within and open my eyes to the vastness of how beautifully the mind and body could co-exist. No competition. No hierarchy of being better than the other. The body in all of its imperfections and the mind with all of its doubts existed as one’s ying to the other’s yang.

This is exactly how life, health and happiness should be!!!

I was able to immerse myself into these profound discoveries because the Great Pandemic of 2020 allowed me the grace of time to search for another way of healing that didn’t involve yet another prescription or yet another detrimental side effect.  There had to be another way to health!

When I finally took my body and mind off of autopilot and became more present with myself, I began to truly understand that our immune systems are beautifully integrated into a circuit designed to succeed.

But when we put things into our body that “clog” the pipes – processed foods, poor sleep habits, excessive worry, lack of exercise – the system breaks down.

The answer to a balanced body and peaceful mind is not to add “more” medications, pills, diets or fads. We must clear the pipes that caused the dysfunction in the first place.

Covid has given us an opportunity to slow down life so that we can choose to spend time with ourselves and enjoy our company. We can get excited about increasing our physical activity or learning healthy cooking because we know its rewards are 1000x-fold. We can begin to understand the importance of breath control and how synonymous oxygen is with the quality of living. We can give ourselves permission to rest our bodies without feeling guilty, but still maintain good sleep hygiene. We can finally learn how to eliminate the word “unworthiness” from our vocabulary, and begin living consciously in the present with the little things so that we may once again find the joy in doing nothing.

Healing!

I have been practicing medicine for over 20 years and in that time I have seen a collage of illnesses and its cures. But never have I seen as much inward healing as I have in the last nine months.

I have had patients who have had a rough physical and emotional year, but never before has our approach to treatment been so different as it has been in 2020. We cherished the extra time we got to talk about the role of meditation in healing or the use of essential oils or how less is more when it comes to everything.

The stories they shared, the worries they faced, the discoveries they made allowed us to work together to heal whatever issues were plaguing them at the time.  I understood their fears, because I was living them too.

2020 has helped slowed down the hamster wheel just long enough for us to jump off and take a tour of the places within ourselves we never even knew existed.

No doubt we are missing the softness of the human hug or craving the string of selfies instead of having to settle for screenshots of our gallery of friends. Absolutely, we can’t wait for the day when we can take the trips that were planned back in 2019 that have been put on hold or rejoicing in the celebrations of New Year’s, Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Children’s Day, Grandchildren’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all those other days in between that we once took for granted. It will happen! But until that day comes, let’s spend it in the presence of our own company.

Unfortunately it took a pandemic for us to feel that we are worthy enough to spend time with ourselves.

Self-reflection is not about seeing our flaws. It is about accepting the perfect connection between our mind-body-spirit.

Positive thoughts lead to eradicating diseases. Healthy body leads to a purified mind.

I just hope when the world opens up and the wheel begins to churn again, that we will choose differently. That we will choose stillness!

Wishing you and your families a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous 2021!