When I think of rhythm, I feel drawn to share the newfound rhythm that I now have between my interior landscape and my external reality, day in and day out, moment-to-moment. This natural rhythm has become my great joy and one that I hope to pass on to my children through both modeling and sharing the fruits and efforts of my own experiences. I cannot imagine going back to the time in my life when the mind/body/spirit connection that is at the heart and center of the inner/outer rhythm of which I write was not my dear and daily companion. I deeply desire this intimate friendship for my children, as well.
In Elizabeth Lesser’s fantastic book Broken Open, she talks about a well-known NYC heart surgeon who comes to the Omega Institute in New York for a weekend retreat focused on moving through grief after a loss. At the end of the three-day workshop, he tells her that while he physically fixes broken hearts for a living having mended thousands over the course of a long career, the true work of mending a malfunctioning heart is the emotional breaking open that is done through inner work. He then invited her to attend one of his open-heart surgeries, which she did a month later and was moved to her core at the incredible intricacies and natural rhythm of the human body.
With all that is occurring in our world today, it is important to recognize that while our modern systems (health, political, religious, educational, economic) are indeed well-meaning, they represent only one part of the overall equation and often miss the interior/exterior rhythm that is imperative when it comes to deeply felt well-being on all levels of being. We must take greater responsibility in understanding and participating in the dual nature of true healing, the rhythm that allows us to utilize the external world to venture inward to the emotional roots of our discomfort. Beyond the outer bandaids—drugs, quick fixes, surgeries and long-term treatment plans—there is always emotional excavation to be done in tandem. It must be considered that the dis-ease in the body or the undesired outcome in a life experience is a reflection of the disharmony within for total healing to occur. While we often require outside help and care, it is also true that the physical world, including our physical body, is a messenger for the soul. A treasure trove of hidden information lies right underneath physical reality when we become aware of the body/mind/spirit simpatico. Getting into a rhythm of external clues, interior uncovering—external clues, interior uncovering—leads to wholeness and ultimately freedom.
Once the physical symptoms—ailments, failed relationships, confrontations, losses—manifest, the inner landscape that helped to create them is already well in place. By age five, we have usually absorbed most of our subconscious beliefs about who we are and what it will take to be seen, heard, and valued by others. These deeply lodged belief systems often determine so much of what we later see showing up in our relationships, health and overall life experiences. In order to release the patterns that hold us back from wholeness, we must learn to utilize the gifts often hidden in the health issues, setbacks and disappointments. We must teach our children to do the same through our open example. We can run, but we cannot hide. Our soul is waiting and so is theirs…
This winter I “suffered” with a lower back sprain. While at times I did shed tears of frustration and concern, it was never a question in my mind that once again there was some inner work to be done right alongside the physical remedies. The back pain was an immediate signal to me that it was time to dig deeper beyond even my daily inner rituals. Through journaling, dreams, quiet reflection while resting my back, and a continual dialogue with my beautiful vertebrae and entire sacral region (an area that does so much for us every single moment of every day and easily realized when it hurts to put on a seatbelt or unload the dishwasher), I took full responsibility for making the emotional connection to my uncomfortability. In other words, out past the new desk chair, osteopathic manipulations, floating tank, and added glucosamine and calcium intake, I also enthusiastically and willingly sought a deeper interior understanding of Annieness. The acceptance of the inner/outer rhythm each day greatly increases one’s capacity to initiate self-healing in this way.
Now this particular backache led me down a multi-layered and well-hidden path, not to be remedied in a few days with an icepack. No, this puppy had some legs and a fierce desire to be acknowledged and heard. I had to call in the troops for this one, as the desire to root out the underlying emotional pattern grew right along with the pain. With the help of my integrative health doctor and my medical intuitive, I was determined to uncover the energetic cause that holds the key to true healing as much as the cure for the physical ailment itself. The two are always very much related, this I know for sure. This is part of the inner/outer rhythm that can become quite conscious and joyful if allowed to flourish.
In my particular case, two emotional aspects needed to be looked at more closely. (Inner work is never done. Just when you think, you’ve uncovered your last piece of hidden psychic debris…BOOM…there’s another interior call that says not so fast.) A failed relationship, a confrontation with a friend, a health malady—the script/venue/scene doesn’t matter so much, but should be used as clues to take you to the core issues at hand. This time around for me had to do with the fluidity in my daily life moving freely between my newfound work/passion and my longtime family/passion with grace and ease. In other words, from laundress to radio interviewee, from writer to parent, from soul activist to spouse—merging all of the roles consciously and readily is new for me, and my beloved back let me know that my axle was not very well oiled. Actually, the healing did not stop there. Turns out the well of psychic debris from my more distant past needed to be sorted through a bit, owned honestly and released, too. This layer took me all the way back to my early childhood, roots and wings, and what deeply ingrained within me it means to be a good girl. (Too much to delve into here, but my journal is full!)
In short and to close vast topic, I highly recommend creating a rhythmic deep and loving relationship with your inner and outer worlds. The body/mind/spirit connection lies at the core of this relationship and rhythm. The three work in a masterful partnership with one another to create a natural flow for us to develop and utilize. Come to count on it! Come to embrace it! The relationship that we develop between the three, once fully activated, will become our most prized, precious and valuable friendship. So yes, by all means go to the doctor and set that broken leg. But don’t let it end there. Our soul desires more from us. The excavation process awaits—the rhythm between interior and exterior calls. Share the process with your children. There is, after all, some psychic debris no longer needed, holding us back and ready to be set free…