It’s All My FaultKaleb Montgomery October 1, 2002
Time to Take Responsibility for Ourselves
Illness and injury are our greatest teachers. Our body speaks to us, always giving us information. We can even use our signs and symptoms to lead healthier, happier lives. Illness and injury can be used as catalysts to get to the next stage of personal growth. This is an exciting process, one that is with us for our whole lives. Our only choice is whether to engage consciously or subconsciously in the process.
As a conscious process, personal growth is much smoother. By listening to our intuition, we move and change in accordance to the messages our bodies are sending us.
As a subconscious process, it is a much bumpier road. Often we fight or ignore what our intuition tells us to do. Then the body has to “up the ante” and give us stronger, less subtle messages to try and get through. A common cold might turn into chronic bronchitis, a headache into chronic migraines, or a sore stomach into an ulcer — and even eventually into cancer. The body is desperately trying to get through to our conscious mind. It will keep trying until we understand and change our destructive behaviour patterns.
An example: a young flutist came to me because of eczema. Not all her gigs fulfilled her creatively, but she was making a decent living with her music. Coincidentally, she was at a crossroads in her career. The urge to concentrate on a more creative and artistic musical expression had overcome her. However, she was scared to make the change. She was reluctant to give up the security of her current situation. The change would leave her financially less secure, and she would have to find part-time work to make up for the lost income.
Strangely, the eczema manifested on her hands. As a result, she could not play the flute. In fact, her body, through the eczema, made it impossible for her to play, yet it was giving her time to contemplate her situation. The eczema was telling her that she was not using her hands properly. They were red, sore, itchy, painful, and not happy. Her hands forced her to listen to the “urge to be more creative” and change her career. She made the change and now leads a happier eczema-free life.
If it sounds as if I’m blaming you for your sickness, I am. We create our reality, literally. If it sounds as if I’m saying you are a bad person because you cause yourself to be sick, I am not. We all do this. I get sick and injured, and so do you. The point is not to feel bad about it. It is natural. It is how our body and spirit communicate with us.
An example of this comes from my own past. When I was in my early 20s, a girlfriend and I were having problems and decided to take a short trip together, hoping to sort things out. However, on this trip I developed a sore throat, making talking difficult. That night I picked up my journal. Out poured everything that I had bottled up inside. As my pen flew across the page, my sore throat started to improve. In fact, within half an hour of writing, the pain and fever were gone. This experience began my inquiry into the ties between emotions and health.
Many other personal and clinical experiences reinforce and further expand my understanding of the interconnectedness of our whole selves. Mind, body, emotions, and spirit are all linked. Each one is part of us that can not be separated from the other.
In Chinese Medicine, each organ system is associated with a particular emotion. For example, the digestive system is most affected by worry and over-thinking. The relationship is mutual, as worry will affect the digestive system adversely. As well, a poorly functioning digestive system will cause us to worry more. In Chinese Medicine cause and effect are not so important — it is the relationship that is crucial. Treating one will affect the other, which leads me back to my original point: by changing our mental and emotional landscape we can positively change our physical health. By acknowledging the connection between body, emotions, and mind, we can be our own doctors. Awareness of the signs and symptoms our body gives us is the key. We show ourselves the way.
It is empowering to take responsibility for our thought processes, behaviours and patterns. If I can create my illness, then I can create my health. I can change. I can learn the lessons my intuition is trying to teach and become healthy and happier. Now, this is exciting. No more “this happened to me,” or “poor me, I’m so unlucky/sick/injured.” Instead it becomes: “What can I learn from this situation? What role did I have in creating it?” Now I am in charge. I am using the illness or injury for personal growth.