After my journey with plant medicine and time at the Soltara Healing Center, a particular book was brought to my attention by a facilitator. She had read the book and recommended it to me in regards to the conversations we were having about the mind-body connection.
Before PT school, I always thought disease was kind of chance. So and so got diagnosed with this, and this person just suffered a massive stroke or heart attack. After 7 years working in the hospital and continued education, I have grown to find that this belief is incredibly wrong. Especially when it comes to certain diseases. Nothing is really chance. Even if you have a genetic predisposition, things have to be perfectly aligned in order for those genes to turn on/off.
I have gone on to do my own digging and research and came across a statistic that cannot escape my brain. "5-10% of disease is GENETIC". If this doesn't blow your mind, then I don't know what would. What this means is that 90-95% of disease is because of something in our life, something we did or do everyday, something that could possibly be changed. The kicker is acknowledging what it is, or what that accumulation of habits are, and learning how to change them.
I used to think it was all just the physical stuff like, the food you eat, the water you drink, the exercise you do or don't do, the exposure to radiation or chemicals from products, the alcohol or drugs you do, the accidents, the sleep you get, the stress you have, etc. And yes, those most definitely play a role in your health and are HUGE reasons for disease. But, there is one also something that is much more silent, one that we don't really talk about, the mind-body connection. The emotional and spiritual being.
In this book, "When the Body Says No", by MD Gabor Mate, he explains situation after situation where people get sick. He states that many of these people are the nicest humans, the most caring, most compassionate, always put others before themselves, always saying yes to doing something or helping someone, to the point that they don't know how to say NO. What happens is that over time, the body becomes wrecked emotionally and will begin to say NO for us, showing up as various diseases. He also describes how our past experiences and childhood beliefs, thoughts, and how we identify ourselves are often carried with us throughout our lives. How did our parents act towards us, was one an alcoholic or absent, or did we always have to be perfect and make them proud, was there competition between siblings or a favorite, or were we able to cry, let out anger or be emotional and vulnerable, or did we always have to suppress things? We hold onto past traumas deep in our bodies and often just brush things off or suppress them. These emotional traumas or beliefs can manifest as physical issues.
One of the issues in Western Society, is not realizing this. Not seeing this as a problem. Looking only at the physical body and disconnecting from the mind and emotional being all together. Even when I think about medicine, I see all of the specialists ,the endocrinologist, psychologist, neurologist, orthopedist, etc. We separate the body's organs and systems from the whole. We specialize on ONE part, and forget that everything is intricately connected. Especially our MIND.
I see day after day the effects of a hospital setting on a patient's emotional being. It's lonely, it's loud, there's lack of sleep, there's shitty food, there's a room you have to stay in with 4 walls, you're told to stay in bed because you're a fall risk, you're being poked and prodded, sent for test after test, getting pills and injections and IVs, procedures, on and on and on. It's never ending. It's daunting, it's exhausting, it's terrifying, and that's before you get a terrible diagnosis. That's just being present in the hospital. Unless you have ways to cope with that stress, it is going to impact your body tremendously. The sad part is that if you work there, like me, there's only so much you can do for the patient. Often times just lending an ear is all you can do, and although it is appreciated, it's not enough. How are we supposed to heal if we are emotionally scared, sad, in pain, tired, and sick. The best part is that many doctors just come in, poke their head in for 3 minutes, give you and update and go to the next patient. It's unfortunately how our current medical paradigm is. There is no TIME, but the issue is we are failing our health.
Look at COVID and what it's done to our society. We had the FEAR of God shined into all of us. Fear creates more fear, and beliefs of helplessness instead of empowerment. Fear directly effects the mind, which effects the gut and the immune system. We thought there was nothing we could do, yet there is often times so much we can do. When you look at the statistics now, you see that many of the deaths were patients with lots of PREVENTABLE co-morbidities, including obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. There were some younger individuals who unfortunately passed, but when we look at age, it truly is just a number. Were they actually healthy? Maybe on paper they were "physically" healthy, but were they mentally healthy? Did they suffer from lots of stress? Let's remember that stress shows up in our lives in many different ways.
This book has sparked my interest further in understanding the mind-body connection. After going on the Ayahuasca retreat as well, I am able to further understand the importance of mental and emotional health and the very connection it has to disease, health and wellbeing.
It has forced me to analyze my own life and the lives of my loved ones. I am one to always put other before myself. I tend to not be able to say no. I am learning to say no. I am learning to make changes because this knowledge has brought me so much awareness that I didn't have otherwise. I am beginning to understand disease from a different perspective. It's not just genetics, or chance, it's an accumulation of everything. It's empowering to understand and realize that what I do everyday plays a huge role in my overall health.
If I am not healthy and do not love myself or put myself first, I cannot show up for the ones I love or be a productive member of society. Sometimes being selfish is a good thing. Maybe this will spark something in you to analyze your own life and see where change can help you.