The Power of Appreciation

I have discovered one of the most valuable gifts of a holiday is the opportunity for viewing oneself from another perspective and clearing out some old, non-serving patterns of reaction and behaviour.  Let me give you an example from my week of climbing in the Rockies.

I had prepared myself for the week and was significantly fitter and stronger than for last year’s mountaineering camp.  I expected to keep up and not hold the group back as I did the previous year.

However, despite my fitness program, I noted that I was one of the slowest and least strong of the party.  It didn’t help that I was roped up for the first climb with a woman a few years younger, ‘Nancy’, who was very experienced and fast-paced and full of stories of her climbing exploits from earlier in the summer and over many years.  That first day I felt she was pulling me along on the rope and I displayed some irritability and resentment of her.

Glacier TravelGlacier Travel

Without being fully aware I was doing so, I was comparing myself to Nancy and feeling ‘less than’ toward myself.  It didn’t help that she slept well in the hut dorm, snoring soundly, while I was awake a lot, partly because of her snoring.   For the most part I managed to get enough sleep. [Read more...]

Planting Seeds for Self-Healing

Are you feeling stuck about a health or life concern?

  • You have an illness or fear recurrence of a disease.
  • You have a disturbing, and perhaps repeating, pattern of stress in your life.
  • You figure you have tried everything and still don’t have the health you want.

We all want to feel energetic and alive, relaxed and joyful, confident with our health and in our future, feeling able to cope with life challenges, content and at peace in our world. Lifestyle basics are important – healthy food choices, drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, good amount of sleep, maintaining a balance of work and play. However, I am sure you know many people who seem to be living the good life and still get sick with a serious illness.

I have learned through meeting difficulties and challenges in my own life and over thirty years of medical practice – half of that time studying and practicing mind-body medicine and emotional healing – that there is a whole other level of self-care that we need to activate. There are seeds that we need to plant, nurture and encourage to grow to optimize our health and healing from disease – from colds to cancer – and from ‘dis-ease’. [Read more...]

The Messages of Anger

Following on from my April article – The Pivotal Role of Emotions – in this article I am going to explore the emotion of anger.   I am inspired here in part by a CD program of Tony Robbins called ‘Get the Edge’ in which he devotes one disc to the ‘Power of Emotions’.    He organizes emotions into 10 main groups and describes how each group carries a message and offers a gift.

The anger category includes a range of emotions from irritation, resentment, feeling upset to feeling enraged, furious, livid.  Tony’s view is that the anger emotions carry the message that one of our important rules has been violated by another or even by ourself.   In other words in our view someone has shown disregard for one of our standards.   How a person resolves that issue determines the quality of  their relationships with people – how readily they clear upsets and stay close and intimate with others or whether holding onto anger they push people away.

The way Tony proposes to deal with anger emotions is to communicate clearly to others that we have a standard that we know is our standard and not everyone’s, and that we ask for their help to honour our standard. [Read more...]

Pivotal Role of Emotions

Having facilitated a one-day workshop, Breakthroughs in Healing, last Saturday, I was impressed once again with the central and pivotal role of emotions in self-healing.  I have written in previous newsletters (see June 2013)  about this and I am learning more ways to support people to work with and through their emotions more easily and powerfully.

I am getting a clear view of what emotions are – why and how they arise and how we can more effectively work with them for greater self understanding and healing.

I have come to understand the following about emotions.

  1. emotions are the natural outcome of our immediate response or reaction to what we are experiencing in the moment.
  2. emotions that arise as this instantaneous reaction are the result of subconscious memories and the patterns of beliefs, thoughts, and conditioning.   Behind every emotion or feeling there is a thought or belief.
  3. as we become conscious of these patterns, we are in a position to release and clear them and consciously choose how we want to feel.
  4. here are no good or bad, negative or positive emotions.  The problem arises when we avoid, deny or repress an emotion.  Then the emotion gets stuck and creates a block.  The more we avoid or repress an emotion, the more we shut down feeling any emotion – be it sadness or joy.  We create layers of defense to feeling and  become less alive.
  5. another problem is when we obsess about an emotion and stay in it.  We get taken out of being present.   For example if someone is triggered by a strong emotion such as anger or jealousy, the person is no longer present to anything else in their experience.  It will be as though they are churning in a whirlpool or side channel and are no longer in the mainstream and flowing with the current.
  6. the gift of emotions is that they give us direct access to the subconscious patterns and wounds that hold us back from being more alive and present in our lives.   Emotions are the language of the heart.   They speak our truth.
  7. however, emotions do not define us.  We are not our anger or our fear.
  8. Emotions are meant to serve us as signals, alerting us to the truth of what we are experiencing.  Emotions are sign posts that when acknowledged can lead to reflection and greater choice in how we respond to our world.

As I wrote in my previous article, “Making Friends with your Feelings”, we are not meant to feel only happiness and joy.  We are to feel the full range of emotions for every emotion arises as a living, energetic response to our moment by moment experience.  Every feeling is a natural part of our life and has a message to give us.

Emotions carry a message.  For every emotion there is a gift.   In my next article I want to share with you what I have learned lately about the gifts offered by different emotions and how we can use them for self-understanding and healing.

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Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete acknowledgment with it – Dr. Nelie Johnson is a family physician and facilitator for healing – inspiring and guiding people to tap into their own healing potential. She is a contributing author to a bestselling book and provides seminars, workshops, and private consultations.

The Power of Belief

I like to gather stories of people who make amazing progress and even full healing despite the odds.  Here are two such stories.

The first one is of a man, ‘Dave’, in his mid-forties who I met in the walk-in clinic a few weeks ago.  He clearly had some awkwardness to his gait and did not have the full use of his right arm and hand.  Also he displayed some involuntary twitching movements of the arm and spasms of the hand.

Dave had a minor concern that I helped him with and I wrote out a prescription for his regular medications.  Then I said to Dave that I was curious and would he mind telling me how he happened to have the condition with his walking and his arm.

He was very pleased that I showed interest and took the time to talk to him.  He had been in a major accident and suffered a high spinal injury some years before.  He was paralyzed from the neck down with only partial use of his left arm.  His doctors advised him that he would be confined to a wheelchair and dependent on others for the rest of his life.

Dave did not accept this outcome.  [Read more...]

At the very Heart of the Matter

The Heart really is at ‘the heart of the matter’. Not only is the heart the most powerful and ingenious organized muscular organ of the body that is in constant activity from the second month of fetal life, it has a measurable electromagnetic field that is 60 times greater and 5,000 times stronger than that of the brain. The heart’s electromagnetic field, measured as the electrocardiogram (ECG), can be measured all over the body’s surface and extends several feet out away from the body in all directions.

Much more is now known about the heart’s leading role in our overall health and well-being thanks to the findings of the Institute of Heart Math whose scientists have been studying the neurophysiology of the heart and its influence on the brain for over the last 20 years.

HeartMath scientists are seeking the answers to questions such as how different emotions affect the autonomic nervous system, the hormonal and immune systems, the heart and the brain. What impact do different emotional states and stress have on health?  What role does the heart play in overall health?

Here are some of the astounding findings of their research. [Read more...]

The Power of Gratitude

Recently I met with a friend who shared a story that really touched me deeply and powerfully. I asked her permission to share the story with you. My friend, ‘Sarah’, told me that her stepfather, ‘Jack’, had been very ill and in hospital with heart disease and a stroke. When she visited him on this particular day, he was very distraught and mumbling words. Sarah managed to calm him down enough for him to communicate that he had been told that morning by the hospital doctor that he would require from now on, until the rest of his life, care support 24/7.

Jack said: “ I may as well be dead. “

Sarah had not had a great relationship with her stepdad. He had been emotionally distant or abusive and unpleasant with her for much of their association. However, Sarah found herself opening her heart to this troubled man and in the moment she said to him: “ Let’s just be grateful. Grateful for life. I am grateful. I am grateful that you are with me, that you are alive. Let’s be grateful that you have been given a second chance to bring love into your life. If it’s a week, five weeks, five months or five years, let’s be grateful. “ [Read more...]

What do I say?

At one of my recent talks, I was approached by a woman, ‘Susan’, who expressed how much she appreciated my healing message. She truly believed in the body’s ability to heal itself once the emotional and mental blocks are removed.

Susan went on to say how she wanted her friend, ‘Amanda’, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, to embrace this view and find greater hope and possibility for healing. However, she shared that Amanda was in a tailspin – seeing doctors, getting investigations, anticipating surgery then radiation and then possibly chemo too. She was so stressed, anxious and fearful.

Susan wanted to help relieve Amanda’s fear and sense of helplessness. She wanted her to know that there was another way to look at cancer and that there was so much she could do for herself. However she didn’t know what to say to her friend.

I have been asked for advice on this matter several times and Susan’s questions prompted me to write down my suggestions to her.

First of all, however much you may want Amanda to consider the healing paradigm you trust and believe in, it is important to listen to your friend with compassion and without making her feel wrong or that you are judging her. Ask her how she is feeling and what concerns she has. It is important to support her where she is right now, not to challenge her, and not to push your view. It’s about planting seeds.

Next, explore your friend’s openness to look beyond the medical approach with some of the following questions.

  • “In addition to medical treatments, have you thought of anything else to do that you believe might help you? “
  • “Have you ever wondered why the cancer has shown up at this time in your life? Have you thought it might be linked to some big stress or stresses that your body now is reacting to?”
  • “Is it possible that if you hadn’t lived that period of high stress, you would not have developed cancer?”
  • “Do you believe that if there is an emotional root cause to the cancer, then you can do something about it? When you become healthier emotionally and mentally is it possible your physical health might improve too?”
  • “Let me know if you want to find out what you can do to heal yourself emotionally. I know of resources and practitioners who could help you.”
  • “For example, there’s a book, written by a cancer surgeon, that I believe will really support you called “Peace, Love and Healing” by Dr. Bernie Siegel. Have a look at it. ‘ <<<

I trust these suggestions will be of help to others who find themselves in a similar position as Susan, desiring to support a friend or loved one. If you have not read the book “Peace, Love and Healing” please do.

A peaceful morning on the Fraser

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Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete acknowledgment with it – Dr. Nelie Johnson is a family physician and facilitator for healing – inspiring and guiding people to tap into their own healing potential. She is a contributing author to a bestselling book and provides seminars, workshops, and private consultations.

Enjoying the Fall Colours

What a wonderful time of the year! Crisp, cool days with bright sunshine, some of time anyway. The fall colours are amazing! Here’s an example of some local colour I found looking out my condo window.

I hope you enjoyed your thanksgiving gathering and can look back over the year with gratefulness and appreciation for family, friends, work associates, and especially for yourself and your own harvest of fun times, personal experience and growth.

Life brings tough times too but I believe we are never given more than we can handle. I am constantly amazed how people rise to inspired levels of courage, strength and responsiveness to whatever happens in their lives.

The article this month highlights the work of Dr. Bernie Siegel and brings attention to the inner healing resources we can all access through understanding and support.

As mentioned in the September newsletter, I’ll be present at the Vancouver Health Show on November 9th and 10th as a participant in the HANS booth. I’ll be offering free 20-minute laser consultations. Hope you and your friends will drop by. Check for details under Upcoming Events in my newsletter.

Please go to my Facebook page and share there.

What a surgeon learned …

As it is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would like to extend attention to all types of cancer and write about Dr. Bernie Siegel.

Over 20 years ago when I first began asking the tough questions – “why is this patient sick with cancer? why now? what more can be done? “ – I came across the Dr. Siegel’s books.  I really identified with his story.

Bernie, as he likes to be known by colleagues and patients alike, was a general surgeon who, in the mid 1970s, became very discouraged with the outcomes he was getting for his patients with surgery and standard cancer therapies.  However, one day he happened to step back and reflect on his results and realized that out of a hundred patients, some 15 or so did far better than expected.  They beat the odds.  He determined that he needed to talk with those patients to find out what they were doing that was making the difference.

In doing so, he learned that these patients were not fighting cancer, not falling victim to cancer, and not remaining helpless, powerless and fearful.  They were all, in one way or another, seeing cancer as a signal or a sign post that the way they had been living their lives was not working.  Rather than resisting having cancer, they accepted the cancer as a needed wake-up call to motivate them to make changes in their lives. [Read more...]