Why ‘managing illness’ isn’t necessarily the answer to illness

Today I attended a health meeting on chronic illness with a number of medical professionals. The one overriding phrase I noticed being repeated again and again was the approach of “managing illness” or “managing health conditions”. And what I realized as I was listening to the presenters is that there seems to be a general expectation that people are either going to have a long-term condition for the rest of their life or for a long time to come.

In other words, there is an UNSPOKEN ASSUMPTION that this is it – one is sentenced for life and we just have to make the best of it.

NO, NO, NO. It doesn’t have to be like this.

As I have see from clients I work with and my colleagues work with, it doesn’t have to be like this. This is an outmoded and limited view.

If we look at the situation from a different perspective and understand that:

  1.  Symptoms are highly intelligent communication from a very intelligent body
  2. Symptoms contain clues to the solution
  3. The body is a self-healing mechanism
  4. Symptoms can be de-coded and the underlying cause revealed

Then, rather than seeing symptoms as a problem, we can see them as part of the solution.

Symptoms need to be understood and interpreted for what they are:  messages of some underlying mental or emotional dis-ease which is manifesting as pain.

I know I keep on harping on about this, but really, if you take a different approach you’re going to get a different result.

So what is the solution?

We have to stop focusing on the condition, on the symptoms. These are just the end-result. It’s not just about “managing symptoms”. We need to look in the other direction, literally turn around 180°  and look at the causal factors. Once we deal with them, the symptoms will disappear.

For more info see www.artofhealth.co.nz

Are doctors in the dark ages?

On whether we need a fresh perspective to understand… and resolve….chronic pain and illness

So the question is: Are doctors in the dark ages? Well, no…. and yes.

I have a huge admiration for what modern medical science can do when it comes to, for example, extra-ordinary surgical techniques. Just this week a man left hospital with the world’s first artificial heart. And the stories of what can be done with brain surgery and prosthetic limbs are astounding. And too many other things to mention here, most of which I don’t even know about. However, this is not what this article is about.

My focus for the last twenty years has been on how to recover from illness without medication or supplements, and in particular long-term chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, arthritis, lupus etc. The common factor in these illnesses according to the medical community is that they have yet to discover the cause. According to a medical presentation I recently attended, scientists are still looking to isolate a gene for fibromyalgia. In other words, they are still trying to pin the cause of the condition on some initial physical fault in the body. I felt like screaming with frustration as I sat in the audience and watched the doctor delivering his presentation, telling people that they are still working on looking for solutions but it may take another 25 years before they find any. Aaagh. The answers are already here! So why is it they are not obvious for everyone to see?

Because it comes down to awareness and our level of consciousness. (And by the way, this is where I have a lot to learn about being patient. It’s very easy for me to see things in a very different light now, but I have to remind myself it did take me 20 years of searching to get here. And I also know that I do not know everything by a long shot). However, I do know this:

UNRESOLVED EMOTIONS STORED AS TOXIC ENERGY IN THE BODY CREATE PHYSICAL PAIN. This I know for sure.

Every week I have people call me with chronic conditions they have been diagnosed with, labelled with fancy medical names like idiopathic hypersomnia, Bahma Forest virus and Raynauds disease. By the time people make their way to me they have already investigated a number of therapies, been to medical specialists and had all sorts of tests or surgeries such as MRI scans, blood tests, colonoscopies and biopsies. And even after all the tests, the doctors still cannot give them an answer for their condition.

So, why is it they cannot find a cause when searching in the physical body?

BECAUSE THE PHYSICAL BODY IS NOT ALWAYS WHERE THE PAIN IS ORIGINATING FROM!

Here’s an example of what I mean:

I remember one of my first clients, a 74 year old lady, who came to me for excruciating abdominal pain. She had been in hospital for three months, had every conceivable test under the sun, was on extreme pain medication which had no effect whatsoever. At the time I was practising Chi Nei Tsang (CNT) abdominal massage, which is why she had come to me, thinking that abdominal massage would help. However, CNT is much more that working at the physical level: it works to process undigested emotions which lie trapped in the digestive tract, in her case the colon. To cut a long story short, during the session she made contact with the emotional pain she had felt when her mother died, emotion which had never been felt or expressed. And as she gave herself permission to process this undigested energy and information, which was being held in the body at a cellular level, the pain disappeared. Instantly. Just like that.

So why is this? Because as a human being we are an amalgamation of mind, body, emotions and spirit. And whatever happens on one level WILL simultaneously affect all other levels. To take this a step deeper, we’re talking about quantum physics, or the newly emerging science (as mentioned by Deepak Chopra last week at his presentation in Auckland) quantum biology.

Quantum physics states that at a quantum (sub-atomic – smaller than an atom) level the body is actually just energy. To get an idea of how small a quantum is, put a cell under a microscope and magnify it a million times. We’re talking real small.

In Qi Gong we call this ‘Qi’ – the most fundamental level of life. And since physics states that matter cannot be destroyed, any energy, including emotional energy, not transformed at the time it arises in the body WILL get stored in the cells until we can deal with it. It’s as simple as that. Emotions (e-emotion – energy in motion – or not as the case may be) will be stored in the body if they are not resolved, dissolved, managed, transformed etc. And over time, this will build up to manifest as physical symptoms.

So here’s another new perspective, which most of the medical community still have not grasped:

SYMPTOMS ARE INTELLIGENT AND NECESSARY COMMUNICATION FROM THE BODY

That is actually a quote from a medical doctor, one of the few doctors who currently understands this philosophy, Dr David Mickel. Dr Mickel is the founder of the revolutionary ‘Mickel Therapy’ techniques for identifying and resolving the causes of chronic illness such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, which happens to be one of the core techniques I use.

Symptoms are your friend, your ally. They are here to help. They are a guidepost to tell you something is amiss and needs addressing in your life…. at a psycho-emotional level. The question is, are you going to take note, or are you going to continue to ignore and suppress the early warning (or emergency) distress signals (pain and symptoms) with medication? The choice is yours!

So, it’s time to wake up and see things from a new perspective. Symptoms have a purpose – they are here to tell you that your whole being is in a state of ‘dis-ease’ and that something needs to be done. Action is required. And more often than not it may be one of two things:

  1. Dealing with unresolved, unexpressed, unfelt emotional hurts from the past which are stored in the body as pain, sadness, anger, frustration, resentment etc
  2. Creating new habits of looking after yourself better by leading a more balanced lifestyle – ie, not driving yourself like a machine, and instead treating yourself like your own best friend.

And here’s the final thought for today:

YOUR BODY IS A SELF-HEALING MECHANISM AND HEALTH IS YOUR NATURAL STATE.
ILLNESS IS THEREFORE THE ABSENCE OF YOUR NATURAL STATE OF GOOD HEALTH.

So what does that mean? It means that we are designed to be healthy, this is our natural state, and anything else means we have gone off track. Unfortunately in our society sickness is no longer seen as strange or uncommon, it’s become the norm.

My hope is that one day (soon) we will have a much better understanding of ourselves and how we operate, and what we need to do to avoid illness and pain. Because I truly believe it is possible.

Obviously the medical model will have to change because in order to do this we are going to HAVE to pay attention to the whole person that is ill, rather than focusing on the condition and symptoms. The symptoms are just the end result. Which is why one of my teachers always says “We have to treat the person, not the symptoms”. And a 15 minute appointment with your doctor just doesn’t cut the mustard if you want to solve the riddle of a long-term illness!

So, next time your body sends you a symptom, whether it’s a headache, rash, belly ache or whatever, stop and ask yourself “What could my symptoms be trying to tell me? What message do they have for me. What am I really feeling? What emotion is my body sending me that I have missed”? This is the place to start. You may well need help from someone else to find the answers, but at least starting with the right question is more likely to lead to a real solution.

Be well!

Kim Knight

www.artofhealth.co.nz

On how depression is the de-pressing of emotions

Yesterday I was reminded, again, of how depression really is a de-pressing of emotions.

A couple of days ago I experienced an energetic healing session, and often what can follow is a clearing of energy,  often called a ‘healing response’. When this healing response kicks in, it usually manifests as symptoms or emotions of the original trauma or situation which is being addressed. This is because the energetic imprint of that situation is literally being cleared out of the cells at a quantum level. So whilst it can feel unpleasant, and often we can think “Oh God, I thought I had dealt with that, and here it is again”, it’s actually a good sign that energy is on the move.

On this particular occasion, I was experiencing and ‘doing’ depression. And whilst I know from experience that depression is a de-pressing of emotions, when we are actually full-on in that experience, it can be very hard to identify exactly what those emotions are. Emotions can be very sneaky, especially when we are dealing with very old emotions which were stored in the body before the age of 7, at which time we were purely emotional beings with no rational understanding of circumstances and events.

So, on the first day of ‘doing’ my depression, I found myself in a very deep, black hole. (And by the way, here’s a newsflash for anyone who thinks therapists don’t experience symptoms anymore just because they are a therapist: we do – the difference is we probably know how to deal with our ‘stuff’ a little easier and quicker than perhaps others who have not had the benefit of personal experience and professional training in this arena). So, on the first day I started off my usual acknowledging and validation of the depression, doing the ‘this feeling is welcome exercise (to try this out yourself go to the free exercises page here), and whilst that was good, nothing was shifting. I identified I was feeling sad and frustrated, but about what I couldn’t tell. So I allowed myself to acknowledge and feel the feelings, but nothing really shifted.

Then, the next day, I did a positive transformation session with a friend, and had a breakthrough. During the session it became clear that what was emerging to be cleared were the emotions which I had felt and also taken on board from my mother with her frustration over my brother’s mental illness when we were young. She had had virtually no support in bringing up a mentally handicapped son, and I had soaked up her unresolved pain like a sponge (as children unconsciously do).  And for the first time I connected with the sadness, pain and frustration of how I had felt, even though there was no intellectual memory of it at the time. As the old adage goes, ‘emotions buried alive never die’ and they will lie dormant at a cellular level until the infinite wisdom of the body intelligence decides it’s time to release them. Obviously my time had come for this particular block of energy to be released.

By the end of the session the depression had completely lifted and I felt light and free. What a load off, literally. And again, I had proven to myself, that despite the fact that often it can be very hard to track what is going on at an emotional level beneath depression, there always seems to be something if we are willing to keep going until we find it.

So, if you are feeling depressed, don’t give up. And here is how you can start to deal with it:

When you find yourself ‘doing’ de-pression:

  1. Remind yourself that depression is most often a de-pressing of emotions
  2. Say to yourself ‘this depression is welcome’ and invite it in for a cup of tea.
  3. Ask yourself ‘what feeling(s) am I feeling and de-pressing?’
  4. Once identified, say to yourself ‘this feeling (eg, sadness, anger) is welcome’ and invite it in for a cup of tea.
  5. Use any other tools you may have at your disposal to identify and clear the emotions
  6. Most importantly, be kind, patient and loving with yourself

And never give up hope! We can move beyond depression.

THERAPIST HELPS PEOPLE RECOVER BY PHONE FROM CHRONIC PAIN AND ILLNESS WHICH BAFFLE DOCTORS

Emotional intelligence coach Kim Knight, Director of the Art of Health, has been helping people to recover from chronic pain and illnesses which still baffle many doctors, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel and depression…by phone. In an era where surgery, medication and supplements are seen as the common solution, how is this possible?

“It’s all a matter of understanding the real nature of illness” says Kim. “Illness is not a mistake and mental or physical symptoms are most often the end result of many years of unidentified and unexpressed emotional pain. By identifying and addressing the underlying cause, the symptoms disappear, because they are merely a messenger sent to get our attention”.

She is able to say this having recovered herself, without medication or supplements, from several house-bound years of chronic fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, clinical depression, back problems and more.

Trained in Mickel Therapy, a ground-breaking technique created by UK medical doctor, Dr David Mickel, Kim is able to assist clients to finally recognize and understand the cause of their symptoms. She then teaches them how to coach themselves back to health using a number of exercises which, as she puts it, “train one in ‘life-affirming rather than life-depleting behaviours’”. These include things such as learning how to identify feelings and communicate them safely, how to ‘clear the decks’ of unfinished business, how to put oneself first and how to live a balanced lifestyle.

One of the main tenets of Mickel Therapy is that emotions are ‘energy in motion’ and blocked emotional energy trapped in the cells re-wire them into illness. In Dr Mickel’s words “Emotions have been commonly misunderstood and misinterpreted for many years, starting with the incorrect assumption that they are created by thought.  Primary or core e-motions arise spontaneously without any thought, as waves of energy that flow directly into our physical cells and immediately alter their physiological function”.   Anyone familiar with quantum physics will understand that all matter, at a quantum (sub-atomic) level, is just energy, and this includes our mental, emotional and physical bodies which are all interlinked.

“A simple way of putting it would be a state of dis-ease will create disease”.

As the client learns to identify, manage and resolve their emotional life, currently emerging as the trend of ‘emotional intelligence training’, the body restores itself to its natural state of good health. Whilst a handful of people have recovered within 2 weeks, the average number of sessions needed is 6-8, by which time they have either returned to full health or made significant improvement. With continuing practice of the exercises their return to good health is not far away.

Based in Auckland and Queenstown, Kim works by phone with clients worldwide, including New York, Fiji and Australia. Distance is no object to the effectiveness of this treatment, and her clients range from ages 16 to 74.

For more information see Kim’s websites below or contact her on +64 9 833 6553 / +64 (0)21 410 633.  See below for a sample of client testimonials…

From wheel chair to jogging

The following client was experiencing fatigue, brain fog, headaches and muscle weakness before treatment. This is what she reported back after working with the Mickel Therapy techniques for 8 weeks:

Activities I could not do before treatment: Most activities.  I was almost housebound.  I was not working, and I spent most of the day on the couch watching TV or doing computer work.  When I went out and knew I would have to walk more than 0.5 miles, I would use a wheelchair.  I was not socializing outside my immediate family.

Activities I can do now: Almost all of my normal activities.  After 8 weeks, I am back at work full-time, I am playing with my son and going out on the weekends (just like I used to!).  I don’t feel like there is any limit to the distance that I can walk, and I have even started jogging again.  I am now going out with friends again.  I went to a party last night for 4 hours and felt great!  I am confident that in a few more weeks, I will be completely back to my regular routine.  I know that I could not have come so far so quickly without Mickel Therapy.   Julia, age 34 yrs, New York (USA)

I have my life back – I feel amazing!

The following comments are from a client who completed a 6 week program of treatment:

“Mickel Therapy has helped me understand my symptoms and given me the tools to listen to what my body really wants and to act on it. My problems (chronic fatigue) I came with have now gone. I can now live a normal life and do everything I want to do. I feel amazing! The tools I have learnt are lifelong tools and I’m committed to making them a part of my everyday life.

What I liked most about Mickel Therapy was how it all made such sense; that it wasn’t rocket science and that it really proved that how badly our society has become in ignoring what their body needs. Most of all I feel truly blessed that I stumbled across it as it has given the tools to live a healthy life”.   Karen, 28yrs, Auckland

Well in 8 weeks

The following client was experiencing the following symptoms before treatment:

  • Depleted adrenals, insufficient hormones, malnutrition and thyroid problems, as clinically diagnosed by her doctor
  • Itchy ears, constant fatigue, anxiety attacks, hair falling out in handfuls, Poor concentration, poor memory
  • Nausea, headaches, skin acne, cold sores, styes, broken sleep, nails brittle and weak and huge mood swings

After 8 weeks all above symptoms showed significant improvement, some cleared completely, and this is what she had to say:

“I am a Natural Health Practitioner and suffered from Glandular Fever in my teens and then again at 20 yrs old. Since then, I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome whenever my body felt like I was doing too much.

After my studies I knew my emotions had a lot to do with my condition constantly arising. During my last pregnancy and for the 1st year of my baby’s life I went into the worst stage.

My Natural therapies and Counselling were helping me to not end up completely bed ridden but I was not getting better. To sum it up I was at Stage A – knew my condition, knew what was causing it but still couldn’t get to Stage C – perfect health! Mickel Therapy was my Stage B – they know my condition, they know what is causing it and they give you a step by step way to re-LIVE your life in perfect health.

It is now 8 weeks on and I am living without my illness on a daily basis and THANKS to Mickel Therapy I now have the tools to keep it that way. I believe in this Therapy so much that I am looking into becoming a practitioner”.  Susan B

To find out more go to www.artofhealth.co.nz

The symptoms behind the emotions behind the symptoms

Understanding the deeper layers of dis-ease and consciousness.

As most of you who have experienced Mickel Therapy will know, most often we find that the underlying cause of dis-ease are unrecognized and unresolved emotions. This is because everything in the universe is energy, which includes our physical, mental and emotional being. Blocked energy (or Qi in Taoism) will compromise the physiological functioning of the body and manifest as symptoms of pain.

However, as with many things in life, there are multiple layers to be understood.

Understanding the deeper levels of triggered emotions

On the surface, we can have a situation which triggers an emotion. For example, someone says something to you which makes you feel a certain way, eg, your boyfriend says you look fat in your jeans and you feel upset. And using the Mickel Therapy protocol, you would use the 5 step process to dispel the emotions in a constructive way, which will also dispel any symptoms if they had also built up.

Now, the interesting thing is, we tend to think the current situation is the issue. And upon introspecting a little further, we usually find it is not. The current situation is just the trigger for an emotional pattern which is already sitting in the body, waiting to be resolved and understood. And the emotion will often be a recurring emotion that we feel during a recurring situation that is similar to something we experienced ongoingly as a child, which we were not able to deal with at the time. Often we describe this as ‘having our buttons pushed’.

So, to take the healing process to a deeper level, it’s first important to recognize that there are deeper issues at play. This is what I like to call looking at the ‘surface’ level situation (boyfriend tells you you look fat) versus the ‘deeper’, underlying issue (old scenario).

So, when you notice a recurring theme in your emotional triggers, you might like to ask yourself “where have I felt this before?…with whom?…when?…how old was I?”…and see if you can discover or uncover the deeper, hidden story that is repetitively playing out in the present. Understanding this will allow you to experience the gift of the current situation that is pointing you towards the resolution which lies at a deeper level.

Understanding the symptoms behind the emotions

As you know, in Mickel Therapy we say that missed emotions lie hidden beneath symptoms. And by identifying those hidden emotions, and taking corrective and appropriate action, we can dispel the symptoms.

But what if the emotions themselves are also a symptom of a deeper issue? What if emotions were actually a symptom too?

For example, you come home and you’re really hungry, and you notice that your flatmate has some delicious dessert in the fridge. So you have some, but feel a bit uncomfortable because he wasn’t around to ask first. You eat the dessert, but then you start to worry about what he’ll say when he comes back. So the body has started to send emotions. Depending on how aware you are of this, the emotion may or may not build up to become symptoms (eg, a headache or muscle ache).

Let’s say it stays at the emotional level, but the worry continues. We know in Mickel Therapy that we need to communicate our feelings honestly to that person when they come home, and most likely the emotion (worry) will dissipate.

However, if we look a little deeper at WHY we are worried, we have the opportunity to start uncovering and identifying the symptom beneath the emotion. Ie, we have the opportunity to start seeing the pattern which we are repeating in our consciousness which is leading to the emotion.

So, you might like to ask yourself, “Why am I so worried?”. And the answer might be something like “because I’m afraid he will judge me or be angry with me for eating his cake”.

And then you ask yourself “WHY am I so afraid of what he will say or think of me? Where does that habit of thinking come from?” And usually you will discover this is an old pattern from the past, which was set up in childhood, usually because back then we were judged or criticised for doing something or other, usually for something quite innocuous which did not really merit the criticism.

And then if we ask ourselves, ‘how did it make me feel back then when I was judged or criticized?”, that’s when we discover the real feeling behind the original emotion, which we are still trying to avoid today, because back then we felt so BAD when we experienced the criticism or judgement. And notice how I say ‘the emotion we are trying to avoid’ – unconsciously we are walking around manufacturing emotions and thoughts in an effort to avoid feeling the original feeling that made us feel unloved, abandoned, unworthy, ashamed etc. So these emotions are actually defence mechanisms to help us avoid feeling bad, because, as one of my teachers once said “when we feel bad it is directly translated by our emotional body as being bad. For our emotional selves, being bad translates into not being able to enjoy life. Not being able to enjoy life translates into not deserving to live”.*

Getting back to our natural state of joy

Remember, emotions are irrational and thoughts are rational, and together unhealthy thoughts and emotions keep us from feeling good and enjoying life. This is why it is critical that we really come to understand ourselves from the inside out, to understand our consciousness, thought processes and beliefs. We need to understand the patterns that are driving our habitual negative thinking and keeping negative emotions in our consciousness. We need to set ourselves free, because our natural state is a pure state of joy, we have just forgotten it.

And that is how we can see that “What is natural has become unnatural, and what is natural has become natural”. Our natural state is joy, but if we are continually perpetuating negative thinking patterns via a state of unconsciousness, we train ourselves to feel unhappy, and we come to think that is the norm.

So, if you’re really serious about healing deeply, next time you notice yourself feeling bad, dig a little deeper into your consciousness and discover what’s going on. This is how we can free ourselves from the past and move into a brighter, happier future.

Blessings on your journey!

Kim Knight, The Art of Health

* Teacher quoted above: Gilles Marin from ‘Healing from within with Chi Nei Tsang’

Gossip and Toxic Friends Detox!

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse
Stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

Inner Mean Girl Cleanse

Is it time to get rid of your gossip girl?! We think so!

Blog 2 of the ’40 day Inner Mean Girl Cleanse’! by Kim Knight, The Art of Health www.artofhealth.co.nz

So, the second call this week was with gender expert Susan Shapiro, author of ten books including ‘Toxic Friends’ and ‘Tripping the prom queen’.

“A gossiping relationship is a dysfunctional relationship” Susan Shapiro

Apparently, (and it makes sense if you think about it), the origins of gossip were not negative – it was about getting information out, passing the message on, getting the word around.

These days gossip tends to be a negative habit, which if we look deeper we find has a lot to do with not feeling good about ourselves, and trying to bring others down in our attempt to make ourselves feel better. This often has the effect of tearing friendships apart.

So, if you think you might have a habit of gossip, whether it be just a little or lots, here are some useful tips for starting ‘good talk’.

Why do we gossip?

The first question to address is ‘why do we gossip or stay in relationships where so-called ‘friends’ gossip about us’? Well, many reasons, and it often boils down to:

  • issues of low self-esteem
  • the need to seek approval from others
  • fear of not being part of the crowd

In other words, we’ll do anything to be liked or not disliked out of our fear of rejection.

Often the habit of gossip is taught to us as we grow up by our mothers, aunts and elders and as we grow we just take it on as another habit.

Different levels of rivalry

What is the relationship between gossip, competition, envy and jealousy?

  • Competition: “I’ll fight you for what you have”
  • Envy: “I want what you have”
  • Jealousy: “I want what you have and I’ll kill you for it!”

Sound like nice behaviour? Not really! Want to change? Read on…

Susan Shapiro’s tips on how to prevent gossip:

“You have to share values to share friendship” – Susan Shapiro

  • Building mutual respect brings trust. We feel safe if we are not afraid people will gossip about us. So make a decision to build mutually respectful relationships.
  • Build friendships with people with mutual values.
  • Before you open your mouth to gossip, ask yourself “do I really want to hurt someone else?” or “how can this gossip be positive?”. Gossiping hurts ourselves and others, so do yourself and everyone else a favour by not gossiping.
  • Don’t be swayed by others in group – stick to what feels right for you.
  • Make a conscious decision not to gossip – it’s easy as that, although sometimes not so easy to change the habit.
  • Turn it around and say something supportive instead of derisive about that person

“If we stay in unhealthy relationships we keep ourselves from healthy relationships” Susan Shapiro

How do you know it’s time to let go of a toxic ‘friendships’?

  • When someone does something really hurtful – then you really know that person is not a friend at all
  • When you no longer share common values
  • When you notice you are avoiding friends and don’t feel courageous enough to be honest and say so
  • When friendships make your life worse rather than better
  • When toxic behaviour starts making you sick!

Helpful exercises for assessing and ending toxic friendships:

Exercise 1

Listen to your inner self and ask:

  • ‘Is this friendship healthy for me’?
  • ‘What do I get from it’?
  • ‘What does she get from it’?
  • ‘Why are we friends’?

See what answers you come up with. And then make your decision from your wise, inner being. Trust your heart!  Listen to your Inner Wisdom vs your Inner Mean Girl.

Exercise 2

Take a friendship inventory – ask yourself:

  • Which friends are helping me become the person I want to be?
  • Which friends inspire me?
  • Which friends are toxic?
  • What do I need and want from a friendship?
  • What are my expectations from a friendship?

“If we want to be happy and healthy, we need non-toxic friends”.

Exercise 3

Gossip inventory

  • Where do you gossip in your life?
  • How was it modelled to you?

The connection between the heart and tongue.

Tip from Kim:

In the Universal Healing Tao practices, we have a meditation exercise called the ‘Inner Smile’. In Taoist theory the heart is intimately connected with the tongue. In fact, the tongue is known as the ‘child’ of the parent ‘heart’ organ. And whenever we go to speak anything negative about someone else, we get a sensation in our heart just before we speak the words. This is the heart telling us “NO! I don’t enjoy speaking ill of others”.

The heart is about love and compassion. When  we feel love and compassion for others, WE also feel good.

So, next time you are about to say something detrimental about someone else, NOTICE how it feels in your heart, and if it doesn’t feel good, STOP!  And say something else.

For more information on these Taoist practices see www.taohealth.co.nz

And finally…

Susan Shapiro’s Inner Mean Girl Dare for the week:

“If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”

Be true to yourself in friendships!

For more info on Susan Shapiro see: www.susanshapirobaras.com

For more info on the Inner Mean Girl Cleanse see: www.daretoliveyou.com

For more info on Kim Knight see www.artofhealth.co.nz

Getting to know – and manage – your inner critics

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse
Stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

“A critic left to its own will dismantle any good that you have created”  Sark

This blog is the first set of tips that come from the call with SARK on how to manage your inner critic(s).

GET TO KNOW YOUR INNER CRITICS!

Do you know all the different inner critics that you have? For example:

‘The Pusher’ – who can never do enough

‘The Perfectionist’ – who is never good enough

‘The Comparer’ – who always thinks others are better than me

‘The Unlovable’ – who always imagines they are not lovable or acceptable by others

‘The Guilt Inducer ’ – who feels guilty for doing anything for herself

According to Sark, our Inner Mean Girls (hereafter referred to as IMGs) are a result of early conditioning to life which grows out of proportion. The energies are unconscious and have not been attended to.

However, it’s important to remember we have an Inner mean girl and an inner kind girl – we have both. And the BEST antidote to IMG is self love. That inner wisdom, that part of our self that is all loving and unconditional, no matter the circumstances.

Inner critics just want to work. So we have to redirect them, give them a new job. Turn the inner critic into an ally and get a team of inner helpers instead. So, how do we get more connected to inner wisdom?

Here are Sark’s tips for dealing with these inner mean girls:

EXERCISE ONE

Practice the THREE ‘A’S:

“You can’t change what you are not aware of” Dr Phil

‘Awareness’ – notice when one or more of your inner critics is at work. Awareness is 80% of the solution. If you are not aware, you cannot change anything.

‘Attention’ – Give your whole attention to your inner mean girl. That’s what she really wants – ATTENTION! She’s been craving it for years. Invite that part to speak on paper or have some sort of a conversation.

‘Allowing’ – Allow your inner wise self, your nourishing adult, to participate, respond, lead the way and offer a different perspective. We need to claim our power back from this inner critic. We give our power away when we allow the inner mean girl to run our mind. Reassure yourself you are more than your parts. Stop your inner mean girl making decisions – let your inner wisdom make our decisions.

Awareness + Attention + Allowing = Profound transformation

EXERCISE TWO

‘IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME’

A major key in health is being honest and authentic. It has immense healing power.

So get together with some friends and fill in the following question:

“If you really knew me, you’d know I’m really hard on myself about …………………..”

For example:

“If you really knew me, you’d know I’m really hard on myself about my weight – a man will never accept me with my body not being ‘perfect’”.

EXERCISE THREE

SELF-LOVE DARE:

So, here is your ‘self-love dare’ for the next week:

  • Practice the 3 A’s
  • Practice the ‘If you really knew me’ exercise with others

See what happens when you make a conscious decision to be kind to yourself!

For more info on Sark: http://www.planetsark.com/

Kim Knight, director of the Art of Health,  specializes in teaching people the art of looking after their own health. This includes learning life-affirming behaviours and dropping life-depleting patterns. Some of Kim’s tools include coaching people:

  • how to put yourself first without feeling guilty
  • how to be authentic and communicate your needs and feelings safely
  • how to increase self-esteem, self-love and self-value
  • how to work out what YOUR body-mind needs to stay healthy and happy

You can find more info at http://www.artofhealth.co.nz

40 Day Inner Mean Girl Reform School!

How to stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse

Would you like to know how to stop being so hard on yourself?

Join women around the world and cleanse your system of the 6 toxic habits of your Inner Mean Girl. And replace them with self-loving habits.

The Inner Mean Girl Reform School is running a FREE 40 day, 6 week Self-Love Practice starting 25 August (USA) 26 August (NZ). If you miss the start, it’s ok, you can join any time.

Having learnt the hard way how we can drive ourselves to illness through being hard on ourselves, (being a perfectionist, driving oneself too hard, over-achieving etc), I am a true believer in the necessity of looking after oneself in order to stay healthy and happy.

I’ll be following along on this course and each week sharing some of the top tips on how to become your own best friend.

I invite you to join in and do yourself a favour – take time to look after your best asset – YOU!

Full details of Inner Mean Girl Reform Cleanse and sign up here

Best wishes, Kim

Inner Mean Girl Reform School 40 day cleanse

Stop feeding your inner critic and nourish your inner wisdom!

The true meaning of health vs disease

It’s only when we understand WHY we get ill in the first place that we will truly know how to maintain health.

I recently attended New Zealand’s first ever Health and Productivity Management conference in Auckland. It was a wonderful day and I met many inspiring people who are passionate about improving health in the workplace. It is definately a step in the right direction that more emphasis, and hopefully budget, will be put towards improving employee health.

This article is part one of a series demonstrating why we need to understand the reasons for illness in order to successfully improve wellness at work. This will also help understand the rising new phenomenom of ‘presenteeism’ –  employees who turn up for work who are not present, functional or productive’.

After spending the last twenty years really delving into the root causes of ill-health, including having healed without medication from a number of chronic illnesses – and helping others to do the same -these are some key truths I have discovered about health and healing:

Our natural state is good health

“Sickness is felt, but health not at all” – traditional Chinese proverb

Despite the fact that illness appears to be an epidemic today – to the point that it’s no longer considered  out of the ordinary – our natural state is to be healthy. In ancient China, you only paid your doctor if you became ill, such was the emphasis on preventative healthcare and the everyday expectation that good health was normal.

This is why when we are healthy we just feel fine. Our body is designed to feel good, and it is only if something is wrong that it will start to send signals to say so. What is also very misunderstood is that it is:

Our natural state to be calm (of mind) and relaxed (of body)

In our frantic lives, where everyone is rushing around with far too much on their plates, we have completely and utterly forgotten that our natural state is to be calm and relaxed. This is the normal state for the body to function in on a daily basis, and a pre-requisite for good health and longevity. The body also needs to be in this state for healing to occur. Which is why our body will ‘take us out’ when we need to heal (in the form of a fever which takes us to our bed, or needing bed-rest after an operation).

In Taoist philosophy, the world is a mix of yin (stillness) and yang (activity), and in theory we need equal amounts of both. But if we were to check our ratio of yin and yang, most people would probably be 95% yang, 5% yin. This is going against the natural flow of life and when this is maintained, we will quickly start to experience:

Stress – the fight-flight mode of the body

The fight-flight mode of the body is designed for emergencies. It is not meant to be a place to live from in everyday life. The problem is, most people are constantly stressed…but don’t know it. When our body is in the stress (sympathetic nervous mode) the body literally believes itself to be under threat and all body systems start working in emergency mode: for example heart rate increases, breathing speeds up, blood moves from the organs to the extremities in preparation for running, stress hormones are pumped out, digestion and elimination stop, and so on.

Now, the body can cope with this short-term, but it cannot continue to function properly long-term in this state. That sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? How can it do its job of running our body properly if the systems are compromised? It’s a bit like asking your car to run properly without good oil or a whole host of unresolved issues, in other words, it’s damaged goods.

So, the only thing the body can do is to try and get our attention, and this it will do by starting to send symptoms. The problem is, we have not been taught how to interpret the signals or understand the real reason behind symptoms. Thus most people do not understand that:

Illness is a healthy reaction to an unhealthy situation

The body is an infinitely intelligent organism, with a key role of keeping us healthy. It has, what we call in the Mickel Therapy trade, a ‘body intelligence’ – an in-built system for keeping us healthy. When we are well, we will just feel well. But if the body intelligence is not happy about something in our life, which could be anything from work to personal issues, it will start to communicate its unacknowledged needs in the form of symptoms. So one of the first steps in healing and understanding health is to really get that:

Symptoms are a cry for help and attention

Most people do not yet understand that symptoms are the body’s way of communicating to us. The body has its own communication system which does not use words. In the absence of words, it has to find ways to communicate with us. So how does it do this? There are various levels, starting with plan A, then plan B and so on:

Plan A – Body Sensations

Simple body sensations. For example, feeling hungry is the body’s way of communicating it needs food. Feeling a pressure in the bladder indicates we need to go to the toilet. Having a gut feeling is a bodily sensation from our abdominal brain telling us what is the right thing to do. It’s all very simple, if we listen, take notice and take action. However, if we miss this level of body-sensation communication our body will go to:

Plan B – Emotions

Emotions. Feelings are our body’s way of communicating to us and with us. This is the most misunderstood form of communication. People do not realize that emotions are a form of communication from the body intelligence telling us how it feels about what is going on in our life. They are an internal guidance system, keeping us on track in order to stay happy and healthy. We ignore them at our peril because missed emotions will build up to become:

Plan C – Mental symptoms

Mental symptoms, which actually are also physiological phenomena, (just separated here for clarity), include symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritabiltiy and overwhelm. Anxiety is an overload of unidentified emotions and depression is de-pressing unidentified emotions. Unresolved emotions, which are emotional energy, will build up and manifest themselves physiologically as mental symptoms. Left unresolved, we then start to experience:

Plan D – Physical symptoms

It’s at this point that we start to experience physical pain and discomfort. This is the body really trying to tell us something and get our attention to take some corrective action. However, because of the disconnection between the head and body, often symptoms at this level are not understood. This includes symptoms such as insomnia, irritable bowel, allergies, asthma, food intolerances, low fatigue, hayfever, hives, rashes, high blood pressure and so on. These tend to be symptoms which currently are not really considered a major problem and the common solution is some form of medication. Unfortunately this kills the messenger, and the body then has to find other ways to get its message through. Eventually, because the body intelligence is simply programmed to do its job (thank goodness) it will keep pumping the (as yet un-decoded) messages out which will get louder and louder to become:

Plan E – Chronic Illness

Chronic illness sets in after the previous symptoms have been pumped out for a while but the underlying reasons have not been identified or addressed. Chronic symptoms may be things such as cysts, fibroids, cancer, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart attacks, diabetes and any serious illness. By this time our life will have become seriously disrupted, to the point that we can no longer function normally. At this point we will find ourselves having to take time off work or leave altogether. This is the ‘wake-up call’ stage. The final stage of the body’s attempt to get our attention. So here’s the good news:

The body is a self-healing mechanism

If we can identify the real cause of the illness, and take the corrective action, our body has the innate ability to heal itself. Actually, we already know this: for most people, if we cut ourselves, we know that the cut will heal very quickly by itself. Do we have to do anything to help this? Well, we may put a plaster on to prevent dirt or water getting in, and we may avoid using that finger for a few days, which is giving it the assistance and opportunity to heal, but essentially the healing is coming from the body intelligence without any cognitive input from ourselves. It is the body’s automatic job to heal, just like the heart beats and we breathe without having to think about it. So if this is the case, in order to understand how to heal bigger issues such as anxiety, depression or chronic fatigue, what do we have to do?

Understand the laws of health

“The key to healing is awareness: becoming aware of what you were previously unaware of, and then making new choices”.

In order to stay healthy we must start to understand what it is we need to do in order to prevent illness in the first place. We have to understand how to live in accordance with the laws of health and laws of life. This is the major missing piece in our society. We have become so out of touch with our own nature, so trapped in our heads and disconnected from our bodies, that we simply do not feel or see what is going on inside us emotionally, mentally or physically. We have to recognize what it is that the body is not happy about – which it is sending emotions and then symptoms about – in an attempt to get our attention so that we will take appropriate action. I will be going into detail about these laws of health in the sequel to this blog, but here is the first key concept:

The necessity of putting ourselves first and looking after our needs

This may sound very selfish to some, but it’s actually not. We have to learn to tune into our own needs and listen to them. If we are to stay healthy we have to do what ‘feels right’ for us. And our body will tell us, because it’s programmed to do so. These are the sensations that come from the gut. And here’s a tip to how to understand what your body is telling you:

  • if you feel good, relaxed, calm and relieved over a choice of action, it will probably be the right thing for you.
  • And if you feel tense, stressed, uncomfortable and worried, it is probably not the right decision.

The question is, are you going to take notice and trust your body intelligence, or are you going to ignore it (again)? The choice is yours.

Stay tuned for the next blog which will talk in depth about what it is we need to do to unravel the mystery behind symptoms

The consequences of sensory deprivation in early childhood

by Kim Knight, The Art of Health

“If you don’t bond with anyone as a child, you’re not going to bond with anyone as an adult” – Dr James Prescott

I recently came across some fascinating information about early childhood sensory deprivation and the long-term consequences of this as they play out in life. The information comes from James Prescott PhD, an amazing research scientist who has devoted his whole life to studying this phenomenon. It made many things clear as to why we develop certain habits, tendencies and ways of being, as well as various mental, emotional and physical problems. I’d like to share a few gems from his work here.

The essentialness of touch

“The environment encodes and programs the developing brain for perception and behaviour through the six sensory systems”

According to science we have five main sensory systems known as sight, sound, smell, taste and hearing. It has been documented through clinical observation that separation at birth of the infant from mother can have dire mental, emotional and physical consequences. This is noted in particular with babies who are separated at birth in hospital, and in children who grow up in orphanages without normal care and touch.

A separation at birth immediately deprives the infant of feeling of loved, happy and secure. When separated from the mother, newborns will actually begin to build a resistance to touch and nurturing (despite the desperate need for positive touch) and the ability by the brain to handle and assimilate touch actually becomes impaired. Infants separated at birth and orphans in homes without primary care-givers often develop symptoms of listlessness and depression.

The essentialness of movement

Dr Prescott also discovered that we have another critical sensory system; movement. He learnt, through observing infants and monkeys, that apart from touch, movement is a critical sensory system for healthy emotional and physical development.  Together, a lack of tactile stimulation, coupled with lack of movement, leads to mental and emotional dysfunctional behaviours including depression, violence, self-mutilation, addictions and aversion to touch.

Movement is a sensory system connected to the vestibular sensory system, the auditory system of the inner ear, which is in turn connected to the cerebellum. It is involved in all autonomic functions of the autonomic nervous system and all bodily functions are affected by movement. The brain literally needs sensory stimulation and movement for normal growth and development, and lack of touch and movement stunt brain cell growth.

For example, two monkeys, separated from their mothers, both given identical surrogate fur-covered bottles (mothers) in their cage, would respond and develop in a completely different way according to whether the surrogate mother was moving or not. The monkey in the cage with the still, lifeless surrogate became listless, depressed, anti-social and violent. When a new monkey was introduced into the cage with the monkey brought up with the static surrogate, the latter monkey would violently attach the former monkey if it tried to be friendly or touch it. In other words, instead of receiving the touch, it would push the other monkey away violently and defend itself at all costs.

On the other hand, the monkey given the moving surrogate developed much better relationship skills and emotional behaviours. When another monkey was introduced into its cage, it responded gently, allowing the new monkey to touch it and play.

Through these experiments Dr Prescott thus discovered that our emotional and sensory systems are not separate, they develop together, and that sensory deprivation will lead to emotional deprivation.

How the brain is programmed

“The single-most important stimuli for affectional bonding is movement connected to the mother after birth. More important than touch and breast-feeding, this is the sensory system that is responsible for basic trust”

As human beings, we are socialized, programmed and conditioned through our sensory systems. Our brain is literally programmed through these systems via the environment as we grow. Our brain cells unconsciously and automatically encode the physical environment that we experience, and we will only see or experience what is encoded. And whatever happens during that coding, whether it be perceived as pain or pleasure, is responsible for the beliefs and patterns that we create which then shape our lives.

What Dr Prescott started to realize was that according to the environment that we grow up in, and specifically the amount of loving touch and sensory movement we experience from the moment of birth, our brain will either be programmed to be able to handle, receive and give pleasure, or not. And if the sense of comfort, love and nurturing is lacking, our brain will automatically program itself for pain, violence and self-protection.

Movement instills safety

The primary sensory input that stimulates the central nervous system (cns) of the developing foetus is movement. This movement literally bonds the foetus to the mother before birth. When we are in the womb, this movement is felt all the time by the growing infant, and creates a feeling of safety and nurturing. The infant knows that when it feels movement that it is alive and that it is connected to the mother. In other words,

MOVEMENT = LIFE

NO MOVEMENT = DEATH

This is in fact a universal law. Anything that is alive will move, and anything that atrophies will die. And in emotional terms, movement also equates to safety and trust, whilst lack of movement will lead to feelings of “I’m going to die”.

This movement needs to continue once we are born. In many traditional cultures this happens automatically as the baby is carried with the mother at all times in a sling. This is also of course how many primates carry their young – they are attached to the mother for a considerable period of time, which instills within the infant a sense of security and trust.

Emotional Maturity, pleasure and pain

Dr Prescott realized that the emotional systems of the brain which experience pleasure need to be developed between infancy and childhood. Whatever we experience as sensory stimulation will lay down the neuro-structural foundation in the brain for our later experience of affection, peace, pleasure and love. If the pleasure circuits in the brain are activated, the circuits that inflict pain are simultaneously inhibited. So as we are growing, it is critical that we develop the structural and functional systems of the brain properly to allow our pleasure systems to develop and function properly.

Depending on what we experience as in infant in terms of pleasure or pain will determine how we perceive life as we grow. In other words, is life a pleasurable or painful experience? Our experience of life will be defined by what we experience in the first few days, months or years of our life, which then solidify into the unconscious beliefs and patterns we adopt as we grow. It has been postulated that 80% of our experience of  the world comes from our internal experience, whilst only 20% comes from real external circumstances. We really do create our own reality and live in ‘our own world’.

Hypersensitivity and addiction

“Addiction is a self-treatment of the emotional pain from the deprivation of affection and pleasure”

Another effect of maternal deprivation that Dr Prescott discovered is abnormally high voltage electrical discharge and activity in the brain, called ‘spiking’. Essentially the neurons become hypersensitive as lack of sensory stimulation through touch or movement leads to hypersensitivity to touch. This explains why people growing up without touch will desperately want it but will exhibit a number of contradictory behaviours when approached by others with affection: they may either shy away as soon as someone approaches them, respond violently with rejection and even develop self-mutilating behaviours.

The simple truth is that lack of normal sensory stimulation in infancy damages the brain’s development, stunting brain cells and creating malformed dendrites. The brain is literally not functioning normally. This then leads to the experience of the world as painful as opposed to pleasurable, which then leads to self-mutilating and self-sabotaging behaviours.

Another behaviour that develops is addiction. Lack of affectional bonding leads to addictions in an effort to deal with the emotional pain of deprivation. Addictions can range from over-eating, drinking and drugs to any number of socio-psychopathic behaviours.

Sexual behaviours

Dr Prescott discovered that whilst the sensory system that engages pleasure is damaged through lack of touch or movement, the sensory system that engages pain will also be affected. Lack of positive sensory input will heighten the pain threshold, leading to impaired pain perception. The affection-deprived individual then becomes more and more anti-social because the two major socialization systems (pain and pleasure) have in effect been rendered dysfunctional. This then leads to a greater need for sensory stimulation, wherebye we need to be touched, whether this brings pleasure or pain, because we are desperately seeking body contact. And this then leads to other behaviours as the person desperately and often unconsciously attempts to fill the emotional vacuum inside.

Dr Prescott discovered that once the person reached puberty, they would often try to compensate for the lack of touch and affectional bonding through sexual activity. And if a teenager or young adult was allowed to do so, some of the negative effects of early sensory deprivation might be compensated for. However, he also discovered that for people who were not allowed to be sexual at this time, their essential needs would be driven further inwards, creating even greater problems. As basic needs were further deprived, more and more violent behaviours, whether that be outward to others or inwards to the self, would develop.

Sensory deprivation leads to violent nations

Dr Prescott then did further research and discovered that lack of positive sensory input, coupled with sexual repression, was the recipe for developing violent cultures. It makes sense that if you have a number of people who have grown up with sensory deprivation, and then sexual repression, and who individually create violent behaviour towards themselves or others, then a group of such people are likely to exhibit the same behaviour en masse. He discovered that religions, cultures and nations who:

  • Think it’s normal to separate infants at birth (leading to sensory deprivation, lack of affectional bonding and damage of the brain’s ability to experience pleasure)
  • Do not carry their offspring on their body (negating the need for the sensory input of movement which brings a sense of safety, trust and life)
  • Support abortion (which is allied to sexual repression)
  • Support sexual repression (which further negates the basic need for touch)

are much more likely to support capital punishment and war, and develop into violent nations. Such cultures develop into patriarchal societies wherebye sexuality and feminine power is repressed.

On the other hand, cultures which:

  • Do not separate infants from mothers at birth
  • Do carry their young on their body
  • Support sexual expression and freedom

Develop into peaceful nations where feminine and masculine power is neutralized and harmonized. Thus, whether internally or externally, there is a balance of power and harmony.

So, if you want to:

  • Give your child the best start in life
  • Pave the way for the ability for pleasure to be a child’s normal life experience
  • Help stop violence in the world, whether that be on an individual or nationwide level

make sure you maintain intimate body contact with your newborn after it is born, and carry him or her continuously on the body for an extended period of time.

For more information about Dr Prescott, including free online documentary and his ‘Ten Principles of Mother-Infant bonding for health, happiness and harmony’ go to www.violence.de