Healing the Spirit Sickness of Low Self Worth with Indigenous WisdomSachi James September 1, 2017
In times of the past, it was believed by Aboriginal and Indigenous people that we all have innate medicines, gifts, and talents that need to be nurtured. As such, they would raise their children with the intention of nourishing their spirit and cultivating these medicines, gifts, and talents, often by assigning them to the care of an elder or medicine person who would offer guidance and healing in conjunction with parental care. The child was observed for many moons, and as they grew into themselves, they were nurtured and celebrated through ceremonies and feasts that cultivated pride and courage. There was a concerted focus on helping all people to remember who they were and who they could be. As the individual aged, ceremonial practices continued to be implemented to honour and respect their unique gifts, talents, and milestones and to remind them that they were an integral part of a larger life circle. Low self worth was considered a sickness of the spirit. It was a condition that was learned or implanted in the self when an individual fell off their spiritual path.
In society today, many of us do not celebrate ourselves or value the contributions we have made to our families and our communities. We have forgotten the ways of giving gratitude and honouring each other daily. We have also lost many supportive social relationships, as we no longer depend heavily on one another for our livelihood. The connections we share have become lost in the chaos of daily stresses, challenges, and time constraints. We benefit from social connections, which give us a purpose, help to foster a sense of self worth, and give the opportunity to feel acknowledged and valued. Unfortunately, we no longer share a high level of social interdependence today, and the spirit sickness of low self worth has taken root inside many of us.
When you look in the mirror, what do you choose to see? Do you celebrate yourself and see the value in what you have done with your life and given to others, or do you focus on your mistakes and shortcomings? Do you embrace your size and body shape or do you focus on your imperfections? Do you stare at yourself with acceptance or do you review all your faults? Do you take pride in your accomplishments or focus on your failures? Do you acknowledge your inner and outer strength or do you only notice your weaknesses? Do you let others’ words and actions define how you feel, or do you love yourself enough to know you are worthy?
Self worth is a reflection of your ability to care for, like, and see yourself with objectivity. It is a reflection of the thoughts and feelings you hold about yourself, as well as the thoughts and feelings you believe others hold about you. Low self worth takes root among us when we fail to honour, celebrate, and acknowledge each other’s medicines.
When low self worth takes root in our hearts, we begin to separate from the Sacred Hoop. The Sacred Hoop is what connects us all to one another, Great Spirit, and to all living beings. It helps us to feel a part of the larger life circle around us and unites us as brothers and sisters. As low self worth grows inside of us, we forget the essence of who we are, our true value, and our sacredness within our life circle.
Because men and women are made differently from one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually, their low self worth differs in the way it manifests itself.
In men with low self worth, the glands most often affected are the prostate and adrenals. The prostate helps men connect to their male power and self confidence, while the adrenals provide the physical power to take action. Fear and guilt are common emotions experienced by men with low self worth, and they tend to have difficulty cultivating self confidence and balance in work and love relationships.
The organs and glands most affected in women with low self worth are the liver and thymus. The liver helps provide the energy of assertiveness and healthy boundaries in social relationships. The thymus helps provide the confidence to speak her truth. Women with low self worth often feel powerless and silenced in their relationships.
Indigenous Ceremony for Healing Low Self Worth
When a spirit sickness such as low self worth comes to life, Aboriginal and Indigenous people call upon Great Spirit, as well as the medicines of the seven directions, to bring healing to the person in need. Each direction brings its own medicines to assist the individual on their healing journey. The seven directions are North, South, East, West, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and Within.
To begin healing low self worth, start with Drumming Medicine from the North, Prayer or Chanting Medicine from the East and the Medicines that come from looking and listening from Within.
Drumming realigns our mind, body and spirit, reconnects us to the Sacred Hoop, and brings us back into harmony. Using our voice heals the pain we carry in our heart, reconnects us to our power centres, and re-awakens the parts of us that have shut down. Inward reflection helps us to remember who we are and embrace who we can be.
Daily Ceremonial Healing:
- Create a sacred space where you can be still and undisturbed.
- Write a journal entry that lists all of your gifts and talents and the ways in which you have contributed to society. This list reflects contributions made to work, family, friends, and community. Also list special skills or gifts and everything you like about yourself.
- Burn a mixture of ceremonial cedar and sweet grass smudge to clear yourself and your space. Smudging removes negativity and prepares your space for your healing.
- Sit comfortably and connect to your Medicine Bowl, which is made up of both hip bones, your pelvic floor and your lower belly. It holds the essence of who you are and is the source of gifts and talents in both men and women. The health of your Medicine Bowl plays an integral role in maintaining feelings of well being and worth. Breathe into the lower belly portion of your bowl several times. Once you feel connected to your bowl, begin to use the medicine of your voice to deepen your connection. Take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out make an “oh” sound that comes from deep within your bowl. If you do it properly, you will be able to feel the vibration of your voice in your Medicine Bowl. The sounds used as Voice Medicine Healing in Indigenous and Aboriginal tribes were often chants or seed sounds strung together to create a vibrational healing frequency. The “oh” sound offers a simple but effective healing vibration as you direct your voice and breath into your Medicine Bowl. Continue this exercise for 10 minutes.
- Once you have awakened your Medicine Bowl with your voice and breath, you can begin drumming. Drumming is the heartbeat of Mother Earth, and reactivates your natural rhythms, reconnecting your heart and Medicine bowl so that they can work in unison to bring you into spiritual healing and re-alignment. Drum-ming at a frequency of 2 beats per second for 9 beats, with the 9th beat lasting one full second, will bring your Medicine Bowl and heart back into harmony with one another.
For those of you who do not have a drum, the same exercise can be done using your hands. Place one palm on your heart and one palm your Medicine Bowl. The Medicine Bowl can be accessed at your lower belly between your navel and your pubic bone. Using both hands at the same time, gently pat your heart and Medicine bowl simultaneously at two pats per second for a count of 9 beats with the last beat lasting one second. Repeat for 10 mins or until you feel a shift in your sense of wellbeing.
The Special Role of Ceremony
Daily practice of this ceremony will offer a source of spiritual healing that will assist you on your journey of healing low self worth. Start your ceremony each day by smudging and giving yourself gratitude while reading the list of the things you value about yourself.
The ceremonial practices of looking inward, smudging, using voice, breath and drum medicine are very powerful tools for initiating healing of our spirit. Taking the time to acknowledge your gifts, talents and contributions while giving gratitude to yourself for who you are daily will accelerate your healing journey where low self worth is concerned.
Bringing ceremony into your daily routine will not only allow this self acknowledgement but will offer the spiritual nourishment that is lacking in many of our social connections, as it will heal your relationship with yourself. As you heal your relationship with yourself, you will begin embracing who you are and remembering who you can be. As you begin to remember your worth, your self love and acceptance will grow. As you embrace yourself through your own ceremony and celebrations, you will also be able to awaken self worth in others through a celebration of who they are, their gifts and talents. As we empower ourselves through the healing of our self worth, we can make changes that will have a positive effect on our health and wellbeing and on the health of our relationships and the people we touch each day.
Indigenous and Aboriginal wisdom on healing is based on the foundation that our mind, body, and spirit are interconnected and need to be in harmony in order for us to achieve an optimal state of wellbeing. It is also believed that all diseases of the physical body and the mind begin with a sickness that takes hold in our Spirit and that the “Spirit Sickness” must be cured in order to reclaim our health. It would be helpful to incorporate this ideology into the model of conventional care when treating physical disease and mental health issues.
Sachi, Flying Eagle Medicine Woman, has a private practice at Sacred Medicine Ways, 1200 Bay Street, Lower Level (Suite 100), Toronto, Ont. M5R 2A5. You can find out more by visiting www.sacredmedicineways.com or call (647) 930-1832.
Schedule of upcoming courses and events:
• Sept 30 & Oct 1 – Healing Grief and Loss with Indigenous Wisdom;
• Saturday, Oct 21 – Cultivating Self Worth with Indigenous Wisdom;
• Saturday, Nov 4 – Women’s Full Moon Sweat lodge.