by Akua

I consider myself as a life long learner.

When my friend called me in emotional distress as I was writing this reflection, a number of things were going through my mind about her: empowered community worker, champion of human rights, supporter of Indigenous education, and a creative, innovative spirit. It became apparent that she was becoming deeply triggered – very deep past traumas coming to the surface, seemingly all at once, through events converging in an overwhelm of grief and emotion…While one part of me focused on staying present and centred as we spoke over the phone, another part of me was in a place of complete TRUST. A part of me knew, as we spoke, that whatever was coming up, was coming up for release and we needed only to make space for it. To be present, to make space for the body-mind wisdom arising (although it doesn’t always initially look that way initially). That part of me knew that healing was already happening. On my journey through my own healing and the study of what it means to heal, I’ve learned so much for which I am grateful. For what it’s worth, here are some reflections thus far.

Contrary to conventional notions we are nature, we are not other than or separate from it. Nature knows how to balance itself. From a healing perspective, we might see a disease, for example, involving the production of phlegm or pus as the organism of the body in its innate capacity, generating a response to imbalance. Some Naturopaths working with very physically ill children experiencing Autism will reassure the parents and rejoice when the child’s immune system finally gains the strength to generate a response, such as a fever.

We have a microbiome in this organism called the human body (or we could say it the other way round; this microbiome has us). Three to ten times more bacteria make up this organism, than the cells of the human body. When these cells and bacteria work in symbiosis, optimum health occurs. When there is disharmony ill health follows. Our organism is self regulating and self healing. We are nature.

We have a microbiome in this organism called the human body (or we could say it the other way round; this microbiome has us). Three to ten times more bacteria make up this organism, than the cells of the human body. When these cells and bacteria work in symbiosis, optimum health occurs. When there is disharmony ill health follows. Our organism is self regulating and self healing. We are nature.

Without the prescribed/conventional separation from the body, we see that when the mind is stressed, the body changes; the heart rate rises, blood vessels in the gut contract, the pH levels change, etc. Hans Selye1, as quoted by Gabor Mate2 in a talk I attended said “…the biggest stress is emotional, and the biggest emotional stress is being something you are not; not being who you are.”

We know the body-mind connection is real. Many of us feel it in our gut. And we know that many others consciously or unconsciously, follow constant media suggestions telling us our body signals and feelings must  be overridden with pharmaceutical chemicals.

1. Hans Selye coined the term “stress” in the 1960’s.

2. Gabor Mate is the author of When the Body Says No- The Cost of Hidden Stress

When we see ourselves as nature and understand nature’s capacity for balance, an intimate understanding of such processes of life give way to trust. When I was in rural and remote locations (Mennonite farms and Nunavut), it was consistently the case that the midwives I worked with had different parameters for length of labour. Anything over four hours was on the long end of the scale, whereas when I worked in urban areas, fifteen hours was on the long end of the scale and twenty-four hours was not unusual especially for first births.

A key difference appeared to be trust, grounded in an intimate relationship with the natural world and the trust and acceptance that comes from it. For many generations, Healers have known this intimacy with the processes of nature, and the trust and deep acceptance that comes from it.

A deeper study of the meaning of healing came upon me with the experience of debilitating disease. I started to realize that no amount of healthy eating can heal the self-limiting beliefs I carry within or the hardening of the heart; the closing of connection with that which gives me life and creativity from within.

I was so desperately ill and so adverse to seeking help from the conventional medical system. I had to go deeper and ask what was happening within my system (mental, physical, emotional,and spiritual). I had to reexamine my notions of the healer and what it means to heal. My conditioning started to reveal itself. Seeking healing and healers in my community also meant a review of history and culture. It meant realizing my own resistance to healing and to the healer within me. Healing means wholeness. Healing involves growth and change. I came upon healing modalities and healers that were completely outside of my previous radar – what appeared to be physical illness put me on a blessed path of education. My gratitude often goes out to those Healers who are often invisible to the conventional modern day consciousness.

Midwives and Healers have a similar role; they help to facilitate what is already happening. Nature knows how to balance itself. We are nature. Are we listening? Healing requires an unconditional acceptance – to see, to look openly. Healing involves safety, and healing is optimized in a caring environment which involves a deep acceptance grounded in the skill and experience that comes from mature work with the self and with others. I was privileged to come across healers that provided a sacred space born from their own work within. Since we are nature, healing is already happening, in nature the movement is constantly towards balance. “Healing always comes,” I was told by an angelic stranger on my travels in the Southern US and I would add that healing is already happening – we just have to get out of the way.

I like the three wisdoms described in the Buddha’s teachings (the third one being the most revered). There is the wisdom you hear about, the wisdom born of intellectual discourse, and the wisdom of your own experience (experiential wisdom –’bhavnamayi panna’). Healing is ‘direct experience,’ depending directly on one’s own capacity to open to it. My own healing brings me to a deeper connection with my ancestry, an integral connection with my natural environment, and healing brings me to a place that allows for the safety and the sacred space to grow and change.

In recent living history, the circumstances on this planet have become less and less hospitable to life. What this happens for the human organism, is called sickness and disease. And the body-mind knows how to heal itself as we learn to trust we learn to get out of the way. Healing is already happening. Nature knows how to come into balance. In the ancient language of the Buddha, Dhamma means Nature, Law, and Truth. The more we reclaim an intimacy with the natural world within us and as we develop the trust coming from this capacity for healing and balance, the more we see possibilities around us, and the more we become an active part of the process of change.

Today I received a message from my friend of many years who had called days before. “Thank you so much for your accompaniment on that wild ride that was my processing, it really reminded me that we do have the medicine within us and we can create that space for it to work…”

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This reflection is in dedication to Robert Hinds of Pinnacle, a very successful, self sufficient community in Jamaica (a contemporary of the more known figure, Marcus Garvey in the 1930s). The community of Pinnacle did not bow down to the queen of England, which was a huge act of resistance at the time, when all over the world brutal colonialism was the order of the day. Robert was a community leader, a political and spiritual leader. Robert was known also as a Healer.

This reflection is also dedicated in gratitude to Mary Kate Brennan. Though she grew up in a Gailic speaking home, she would avoid discrimination by not claiming her Irishness. She would in her late years tell her daughter that she avoided claiming ‘the sight’ though she admitted to having it. It came through her anyway and healing came through her in the form of unconditional acceptance and love. Many unexpected faces showed up at her funeral with stories of great compassion and love (she and her mother had their own ‘underground railroad’ for orphaned children during the troubled times in occupied Ireland).

These examples and others are part of the healthy flora in my ‘microbiome’ on another level. We are nature and I trust that nature knows how to bring itself into balance. And I’m so glad I know now that healing always comes: it’s already happening within me.

Akua

Akua

Akua has been studying nutrition and health independently for over twenty years and stress and trauma for the past ten years. She has attended around 400 births in her studies and practice as a midwife.  Akua has received training in plant medicines, Chinese Medicine and other forms of natural medicine and through indigenous ceremony. She has received some of her most profound education on her travels. Akua recently has focused on the study of Autism.

Akua is drawn towards Healing Trauma and changing self limiting beliefs and has studied and worked primarily in this area for the past ten years. Her mother was born in England of Irish and English parents. Her father was born in Jamaica of African/Jewish and African/Arawak parents. 

contact: akuahinds@gmail.com