During challenging times in the world our collective attention is often turned outwards. With the upcoming elections and with so much political and social unrest, I’ve recently felt called to emphasize the importance of turning inward where our ability to heal and to connect is strongest.
Our message at BCA is Heal Yourself Heal Your Community. This message rings so true to me, especially during these challenging times. I’d like to remind you all that in order to heal our external world, we must also heal our internal worlds and vice versa. It can’t be otherwise.
An inherent aspect of Chinese Medicine is taking care of illness at its roots. It is not merely a symptomatic treatment. Recently while thinking about radical activism, I looked up the etymology of the word radical. It comes from the word rad, as in radish, meaning from the roots. In that sense, Chinese Medicine is a radical medicine. Searching for the roots of a problem and understanding internal and external relationships, a practitioner of Chinese Medicine will often trace a problem’s origins to connections well beyond the body. For example, a headache may be linked to liver constraint which may be linked to stress which may be linked to overwork which may be linked to ambition which may be linked to parental influence which may be linked to cultural values. We can even trace these cultural values back further to religious, economic and political influences depending on how far reaching we want to examine the influences of outer world to our internal state of being--our health.
I know it can be overwhelming work when we increase our awareness of external impacts on our health and healing, but it can also be empowering. Awareness is the beginning of true healing, allowing us to see things we did not see before and empowering us to make different choices. It’s easy to lose sight of the things and people that sustain our well-being when we feel the demands of day to day living. Often times, to get by, we take away quality time with our loved ones, lose sleep, skip play, forget to move our bodies, eat too quickly and stay plugged into our devices 24/7. We then feel depleted and in response, we drink coffee to stay awake, drink alcohol to relax and take sleeping pills to get to sleep. If we turn our attention outwards to the news and external events in this state, we will feel that we have to DO more and run faster.
For a moment, let’s pause and care for ourselves in simple ways. Let’s connect with friends, get to bed early, take a walk in nature, play with the kids. It will help us regain our health and it is also a conscious choice to interrupt a system where the demands are too high for our health and well-being. When enough people interrupt the system, then the system will change to reflect our values. So when we say Heal Yourself Heal Your Community, it’s not just a nice sounding slogan. It’s a plea for healing on all levels and a reminder of the power you hold with your own awareness and choices. Radical action is addressing and changing a problem at its roots. Perhaps the most radical thing you can do for yourself and for the world in the midst of these trying times is to choose to heal yourself.
In Health & Community,