Heal Thyself is the name of a book written by Dr. Edward Bach, creator of the Bach Flower Remedy System of Natural Healing; this is one of the main holistic modalities I utilize in my practice. I have spent the last 15 years in the role of holistic practitioner, facilitator and shaman. At the core of this work is the understanding that we all have the innate ability to heal ourselves. It is through the process of self-exploration and increased awareness that we can find the resources and tools to support us on our journey of transformation and healing.
Here are some of Dr. Bach’s words from Heal Thyself, first published in 1931:
“Disease is in essence the result of conflict between Soul and Mind, and will never be eradicated except by spiritual and mental effort. Such efforts, if properly made with understanding as we shall see later, can cure and prevent disease by removing those basic factors which are its primary cause.”
“Suffering is a corrective to point out a lesson which by other means we have failed to grasp, and never can it be eradicated until that lesson is learnt. Let it also be known that in those who understand and are able to read the significance of premonitory symptoms, disease may be prevented before its onset or aborted in its earlier stages if the proper corrective spiritual and mental efforts be undertaken. Nor need any case despair, however severe, for the fact that the individual is still granted physical life indicates that the Soul who rules is not without hope.”
“The development of Love brings us to the realisation of Unity, of the truth that one and all of us are of the One Great Creation. The cause of all our troubles is self and separateness, and this vanishes as soon as Love and the knowledge of the great Unity become part of our natures.”
I have found these particular messages to be true in my own personal journey of healing and my work with clients over the last 20 years. You can read more about Dr. Bach in my post, Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach…
I have found the message of “Heal Thyself”, to be at the core of my personal experience. I would like to share with you a bit about my journey and how I came to the field of holistic health.
Amazingly, this path began for me at the age of 11. I had a very inquisitive nature and I was an avid reader, often finishing a book a day. I had a developed a propensity to peruse any bookcase that I came across to see what titles jumped out at me – I still do this today! One summer while spending some time at grandparents apartment in Queens, NY, I was looking through their books, which at that point, I knew quite well, but I happened upon a book, I had not seen before. It was back a bit, wedged in between two other big books, The Joy of Cooking by Julia Child, and a copy of the Talmud, a Jewish text, that my great-grandfather had brought with him from Eastern Europe.
For some unknown reason, I was drawn to the this little red-covered book, Healing Yourself with Foot Reflexology by Mildred Carter. This seemingly random choice actually opened a big door for me. As I read it, I began to apply the techniques of Reflexology, an ancient practice which uses pressure points on the hands, feet and ears to support health and wellness. It’s been around for thousands of years. I was amazed to see that by pressing a few simple points on my body, I could feel differently. I found I was able to ease headaches, quell sinus/allergy issues and lessen stress and anxiety, just by holding a few points on the body. I was truly amazed.
When I was 14 years old, my cousin, who had been called Zed all his life, suddenly returned from India with a new name, Vijay, which means strong or victorious. He shared that he was given this name by his guru, or spiritual teacher Osho. He talked a lot about yoga and meditation and although he did not show me what this was, I was very intrigued. He seemed so different, so much calmer, and more vibrant. Once again my curiosity and my bookishness got me going. I raced to the library and found all of the books I could on meditation and yoga. Surprisingly, for 1981, the Paramus, NJ library, had quite a selection, and I was able to begin to explore a practice yoga and meditation within a just few days.
Once again I found that I was learning and growing and aware of my own innate ability to be clearer, calmer and more focused. I came to experience the flow of energy in the body through yoga and the power of using the breath and awareness to create a change in my experience. This was an amazing gift to have as a teenager. I continued to learn and explore over the next few years. Although a seemingly random experience, I credit developing these foundational practices in my survival through a very traumatic time growing up with a parent with schizophrenia. And, they have continued to be a part of my life ever since.
The awareness that I had gained as a teenager was also helpful when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at age 20. This term was quite new at that time and conventional medicine did not have a lot of understanding about the condition. In some ways, it is still a bit of an enigma today. The only treatment at that time was to take heavy pain medication and anti-depressants. I found myself in a place where I was physically in a lot of pain, highly fatigued and very despondent due to the limitations that I experienced. I did not find any medication really helpful and at age 20, having to drop out of college due to my illness, I felt certain I needed to find a my own solution.
So, having the basic awareness that I already had, that healing and change or at least what I call in my work, “a state change” was possible, I began a journey that took me most of a decade. At the time I did not know it, but this journey was really a holistic exploration of life and healing. As I explored a variety of modalities to help ease the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, I came to understand that for true change and healing to occur, it is key to embrace a holistic approach to not only health and to life itself.
What is a holistic approach to healing?
Holistic approaches focus on the whole person rather than just on an symptom, illness or specific aspect. Holistic healing focuses on supporting a person in body, mind, emotion and spirit, acknowledging these elements of a person are interconnected and need to be supported, balanced and integrated to maintain overall health and well-being. So, when one part of the body or mind is out of balance, it is understood that can affect the whole person and be a factor in disease. Learn more…
I spent the better part of a decade, exploring various approaches and modalities that addressed body, mind, emotion and spirit. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing was holistic, I was just trying to find things that helped me to feel better and to heal.
I focused on my body with diet, nutrition, supplements, bodywork and chiropractic care.
I focused on my mind by exploring beliefs that were not supporting my well-being and worked to reduce the stressors in my life.
I focused on my emotions, at first through therapy and later when I came to work with the Bach Flower Remedies, which are flower essences that support emotional health and balance. At this point, I came to understand the role of emotions in the disease process and particularly how the impact of trauma was a factor in my physical experience of Fibromyalgia.
I focused on spirituality and found ways to foster a sense of connection to myself, others and the world. Finally, I came to study Shamanism, which is another ancient practice of healing, that has since become the heart of my life and my work as it embodies a holistic approach, which I have come to believe is key to living and being healthy, happy and vibrant. It is based on the interconnectedness of all things – the “Unity” of which Dr. Bach speaks of in Heal Thyself.
It has been over 16 years that I have been free of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. I credit this to embracing a holistic approach to health and wellness. And, it was this exploration that lead me into the field of holistic healing. As I learned and improved, I began to study some of the modalities, which supported me. I felt strongly about sharing my experience and learning with others, particularly in terms of the importance of considering body, mind, emotion and spirit and the interconnectedness of these parts of ourselves in experiencing happiness and well-being.
I continue to explore resources and tools that support wellness for myself and for those I work with. In my role as holistic practitioner, facilitator and shaman, I begin by introducing my clients to a holistic approach and asking how they care for their body, mind, emotions and spirit as it is my hope to support and awaken the healer within them. There is no magic formula or pill; each person needs to know themselves and to seek their own innate wisdom for healing. In the words of the great medical doctor, Albert Schweitzer:
“The shaman succeeds for the same reason all the rest of us (doctors) succeed. Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us not knowing this truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.”
I wish you many blessings on your journey of transformation and healing!
If you’d like to explore working with me, feel free to visit my website, www.bethterrence.com and contact me to schedule a complimentary 20 minute consultation to explore what’s possible!
Summer of Love Special Offer ~ Three 90 Minute Integrative Holistic Healing Sessions For $337 (Reg.$450). Available in person in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype. This is a great way to explore and focus on a specific challenge or pattern you’d like to create change around in your life. Come Explore! Access Offer