Stress and the Autonomic nervous system

This week’s blog is about stress and the autonomic nervous system and is based upon part of the book I am currently writing – How to Heal.

We are all hardwired with a two-part autonomic nervous system. Autonomic means that part of the nervous system that is not consciously directed and that is responsible for bodily functions such as breathing, heart beating, digestion etc. This autonomic nervous system (ANS) has two parts – the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is responsible for the so-called fight or flight response. It acts to quickly get our bodies ready to tackle a threat by fighting or fleeing. To do this it increases our heart rate and blood pressure. It constricts our blood vessels to route blood away from unnecessary functions such as digestion and to the skin and directs it to our muscles and brain. It opens up our airways and dilates our pupils. It also makes our hairs stand on end and causes us to sweat. The SNS promotes the release of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. All these actions get us ready to fight the threat or to flee (or is some cases to freeze).

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) on the other hand is responsible for the rest and relax/digest response. Here we wind down the stress response and recharge. The PNS decreases our heart rate and blood pressure and dilates the blood vessels. Our breathing slows and our digestion increases. Our pupils constrict and our skin gets warmer (greater blood supply). The PNS causes release of the hormone acetylcholine. All these actions enable us to rest and digest or to feed and breed.

Of course, this is an oversimplification demonstrating two ends of the spectrum. The two parts of the ANS work together to keep our bodily functions balanced. We need both systems in balance. The trouble is in Western society the SNS is often in overdrive and the PNS is in under drive. While we don’t have the physical threats such as lions and tigers we have perceived threats and emotional and mental stress that trigger the fight or flight response. This causes a continual release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, the activating hormones that keep us on edge and lead to chronic over stimulation. This can lead to increased levels of cortisol and a cascade of physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, increased breathing, digestive problems and sweating. All of these are the same as when we are in a physical threatening situation yet when it is a chronic situation with no balance from the PNS we get anxiety and physical issues.

This week I will write about decreasing our sympathetic drive and next week I will write about increasing our parasympathetic drive.

How to decrease sympathetic drive – fight or flight

To decrease the sympathetic drive we have to examine our lives and make changes. Easier said than done. We need to look at everything in our life and try to make the changes that decrease our exposure to stress. This includes exposure to stress in its various forms – physical, emotional and mental. We need to decrease this exposure as much as we can. There are some simple ways we can do this.

  • Slow down, take more time to do things

Slowing down is against our western nature but is one way to decrease our SNS drive. In particular slow down when you’re eating; don’t make it a race to finish your meal. Pay attention to the eating and savour the food. This will help you digest better as activation of the SNS causes blood to be shunted away from the gut and the digestive processes. Taking time to eat helps the digestion.

Taking life more slowly generally will help deactivate the SNS. Avoid having to rush to get places; leave more time than you need so that you don’t become stressed.

  • Don’t multitask, do one thing at a time

Doing one thing at a time naturally slows us down and lets us be more mindful of the task at hand. Trying to do more than one thing at a time will leave you feeling pressured and increase your stress.

Do one thing at a time and pay attention to what you are doing. Be mindful of the task at hand then move onto the next task. If you’re feeling stressed by all you have to do make a list and prioritise and then tackle one task at a time.

  • Do less

Our lives can just be too busy. I remember one year when my kids were younger we were having a very busy year and Christmas was approaching. The silly season loomed over me like a monster with event after event we had to attend. Or I thought we had to attend them all. And then the kids got chicken pox and we weren’t able to attend all the events. No one cared that we had missed them all and our Christmas ended up being much less stressful. After that I consciously made the decision each year to wind back the Christmas activities and spend more time at home. Even now I try to avoid all the Christmas busyness and too many parties and instead spend time with close friends and family.

Start saying no to things you don’t want to do. Try to let go of the busy life and replace it with more relaxing time. Let go of doing and spend more time just being.

  • Avoid stimulants

If you’re too busy and stressed out then avoiding stimulants will help down regulate the SNS. Caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines or other stimulants will rev up the SNS and put you into overdrive. For many of us we take stimulants to combat a lack of sleep and relaxation and to do more than we should be doing. Ease back on busyness and the need for stimulants decreases.

  • Avoid excessive exercise

While moderate exercise can switch on the PNS and tone down the SNS, excessive exercise will fire up the SNS. If you are suffering from burn out or if stress is becoming a problem and you are an over exerciser then winding back the intensity of exercise may help. For those people who are not suffering from too much stress then excessive exercise may not be a problem but it may pay to use some of the ‘rest and relax’ techniques to help balance the body.

  • Sleep more

Sleep is the time when our bodies wind down and relax and repair. Getting enough sleep is really important and if we are highly stressed it is even more crucial. 8-9 hours is optimal and being asleep between 10 pm and 2 am is best for restorative sleep.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where I will write about increasing our parasympathetic drive.

How to Heal – update

I really love living on an island and the last few days have been such glorious weather that the beach constantly beckons. Not only have we had clear blue skies and beautiful sunshine but we have the added attraction of whales visiting our waters.

I’ve been spending time outside both at the beach and in the garden and I can feel it doing me good. Sometimes, in winter especially, I spend too much time indoors and forget that I need to ground myself to the earth.

So feeling well grounded this week I’ve started writing again. My current project – How to Heal – has been on hold for a couple of months and although I have been trying to write it just hasn’t been flowing. This has mainly come about because a good friend of mine died in April. Dave was one of my best friends and although he lived in Queensland we regularly spoke and messaged each other. He was always on hand to read my writing and give me feedback and I will miss him tremendously. So I’ve been struggling with Dave’s death and the presence of coronavirus and at the same time have been busy starting a new medical practice. All of this has contributed to my lack of progress on How to Heal.

Earlier this year I had been blogging about my writing and publishing excerpts of the book but with my lack of writing the blog posts have also dried up. But I’m back into it now so I hope the blogs will become more regular.

Of course coronavirus has been foremost in all our lives and its presence has also changed the direction of How to Heal in various ways. Initially the book was just about how people can heal on an individual level from disease and illness. It addresses various ways that can increase our natural healing ability such as paying attention to our symptoms, our feelings and our intuition; by addressing lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep and exercise; and using herbs and various other techniques to promote healing.

Coronavirus made me question what I had been writing and I had to look at the bigger picture of how we had been mistreating our planet. Isolation meant more time for reflection and contemplation. The book has expanded from looking just at healing on an individual level to how we might help heal the larger system – society and our planet. And how Earth can help heal us. And grounding ourselves to the Earth is one great way to improve our health. So in my next blog I will write more about grounding and some of the science behind its health benefits.

My most recent book – Tools for Transformation – is still available as a free download when you sign up to my newsletter at www.drcarolhead.com.au

Our new practice


Mel Rose (nurse practitioner) and Dr Carol Head (general practitioner) are pleased to announce that they are joining forces to fill the gap in health care on Phillip Island. 

Our practice, Phillip Island Health, will be located at Phillip Island Sport and Rehab at 207 Settlement road, Cowes and will provide holistic health care. We will provide general medical care and our services will expand over time. We will not be providing care for emergencies or acute illness/injuries. Our special interests include chronic disease management, wound management and preventive health strategies. Dr Carol will also provide her laser acupuncture service.

Our services will include a home visiting service once the immediate threat of the coronavirus pandemic eases, bringing back the old style house calls. We will also provide face-to-face consultations and Telehealth.

From Wednesday May 6th Melanie will be providing face to face and telehealth consultations at the practice at 207 Settlement road, Cowes and Carol will provide telehealth consultations via video conferencing or telephone.  

Melanie will be available Wednesdays from 9am to 5pm and Saturday mornings. Carol will be available Monday afternoon and Tuesday and Thursday mornings for telehealth consultations. She will begin a regular laser acupuncture session in June.

With the threat of coronavirus still a concern we are very aware of the need to keep face-to-face consultations safe for everyone involved. Patients will be required to wait in their cars to be seen at the clinic and will be temperature screened prior to the consultation. If patients are febrile or have symptoms of Covid19 (sore throat, cough, aches and pains), they will be referred to the HUB for testing.

Face to face and tele-health services will be bulk-billed for everyone at this stage.

For house calls there will be a $30 out of pocket fee. The full fee will be payable at the time of consultation with Medicare rebates available. Pensioners will be bulk billed.

We are both very excited to provide this service to our community.

We can be contacted via telephone – 0478 483 389 or by email for appointments at this stage – drcarolhead@gmail.com

Online bookings will soon be available on our website – www.phillipislandhealth.com.au

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 4

Pay attention

This week’s blog is from chapter 4 of How to Heal Yourself and is about paying better attention to our parts and their messages in order to heal and live whole. The following is an excerpt.

In our journey to healing we need to pay attention to our whole self. This is hard to do because we are so used to living in a semi trance state and not paying attention to our lives. We let ourselves coast along and forget that our bodies are designed to help us find our way. In Holistic medicine – Beyond the Physical I explained more fully how to pay attention to our parts. I used the metaphor of each of us being composed of earth, fire, air, water and ether and described how we can pay better attention to each part.

Earth is our physical body and we pay better attention to this by looking at the meanings behind our symptoms and illness and also looking after the physical body better with good diet, exercise and sleep.

Fire is our intuition, our passions and our creativity and when we pay these more attention we find more joy in our lives.

Air is our rational logical thinking mind. Too often we pay this part of ourselves too much attention but we do need to listen to our logic in combination with our intuition; we need to pay attention to both.

Water is our feelings and emotions and by paying attention to these we find ways to deal with the issues in our lives.

Ether is the energy connections that bring about the signs and synchronicities that help us on our way.

 So when we pay attention to the five elements – earth, fire, air, water and ether our lives become easier. It’s like we have a road map on how to live. Our soul and spirit are in charge and they let us know what to do and what we need through our five elements. As we get better at paying attention to all our parts we begin to live a life centred upon the needs of our soul and spirit. It’s a new way of living so it takes some practice and perseverance but as we pay more attention we get better at it. It’s a paradigm shift from the Western reductionist way of thinking and being to a holistic way of thinking and being. Holism is the theory that all our parts are intimately connected and they cannot exist independently. We cannot understand the parts of ourselves as completely separate from the whole and the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.

Everything in our lives has a meaning beyond what is just the physical meaning.

My next blog will be on Chapter 5 – Look after the physical.

If you would like to buy a copy of my book – Holistic Medicine, Beyond the Physical – copies are available on my website for $30 including postage in Australia.

I acknowledge and pay respect to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which I work and live.

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 13

Nurture connections 

This week I’ve been working on Chapter 13, which is all about nurturing our connections with people and with the earth. I’ve been thinking about connections a lot this week with the terrible fires all around us here in Australia. I’ve been thinking about how important our connections with people are as we rise together during and after such natural disasters. I’ve been thinking also about our connection to the earth and how we have failed to look after her properly; we have forgotten how important our connection with our planet is.

So this blog is about how we can connect with the earth better; it is a shortened version of the chapter but it gives you an idea of how we might renew our relationship with mother earth.

There are two parts to this renewal; the first is to restore our connection with the earth and the second is to look at ways to look after the earth better. In the book I go into more detail but here are the ways of connecting with and looking after the earth that I think are important.

Ways to connect with the earth

  • Go outside

We should make it a priority to spend time in nature. Walking in the bush or swimming at the beach or tending plants in our own garden are all very therapeutic. 

  • Grounding activities

I have three favourite grounding activities. The first is just to walk barefoot on the earth; grass and sand are ideal. Walking on the beach has a double benefit if you put your feet and legs into the water. 

The second activity is to find a tree and either lean into it and give it a hug or sit at its base with your back against it. Imagine you are part of the tree with its leaves touching the sky and its roots sinking into the earth.

The third activity is to lie on the earth. I like the beach but any grassy area will do. Lie on your back and feel your weight sink in and be supported by the earth. Visualise how big the earth is and how you are part of her. Feel her energy flow into you.

  • Animals

Having animals in our lives has been shown in many studies to be beneficial but we don’t need research to tell us this. The joy that pets and other animals bring to us is immeasurable. Connecting with both wild and domesticated animals brings us healing and brings us closer to the earth.

  • Indoor plants

Tending to plants connects us with their cycles and their needs and can be a mindful activity. Enjoying the growth and changes in our plants brings us in touch with the natural world. Especially if we live in a city having indoor plants is a wonderful way to remind us of our connection to the earth

  • Gardens

Connecting with the earth through gardening is an easy way to bring more earth energy into our lives. Gardening is also a mindful activity and can be done by almost anyone on some level. Maybe only indoor plants are achievable but getting outside and getting our hands in the dirt is what we have been doing for centuries.

  • Pay attention to cycles

If you are a gardener you will notice the cycles of the earth. Even without spending time gardening we can pay attention to the cycles of the earth. The days get longer and shorter, the tides come and go, the moon goes through a 28 day cycle, the seasons cycle around the year. When we connect with the earth and her cycles we become more in tune with her energies. 

  • Consider taking herbs

Herbs have the energy of both the earth and the individual plant itself. When we take a herb we are not just getting the actions of all the parts of the herb but we are getting the energy of the whole. Plants and particularly herbs that we use have developed over millennia to have useful properties. 

Ways to look after the earth

  • Consume less

While generally decreasing our consumption of stuff the important areas to focus on are buying local and seasonal foods with minimal packaging, avoiding the use to single use plastics, eating less meat and dairy. We can grow some of our own food and avoid wasting food. We can make do with buying less stuff.

  • Use renewable energy

Using renewable energy instead of those based upon fossil fuels is an important change. As well as using renewable energy we can make an effort to use less energy in our homes and workplaces.

  • Cut down carbon emissions

This follows on from the previous point and I believe we all need to think about our personal carbon emissions. Flying and driving are large contributors to carbon emissions and we can take personal action by decreasing our travel where we can and offsetting the emissions when travel is essential. We can make a difference by using public transport and cycling or walking instead of driving; holidaying closer to home and having virtual business meetings instead of flying to meet in person.

  • Become an activist

This is my 2020 news year resolution – to become an activist and help bring about change. I encourage everyone who is able to become active in pushing for change. This might mean becoming active in a local conservation group or a worldwide organisation. It might mean lobbying the government for change or supporting a greener politician or entering politics yourself. 

  • Avoid investing in non sustainable companies 

For those of us who invest, either through our superannuation or out of it, we should avoid investing in companies that aren’t sustainable. Investing in renewables instead of fossil fuels can make a difference .

  • Talk about it

Start a conversation with your family and friends about looking after the earth better. Let them know what you’re doing and simple things they can do to help.

Let me know in the comments or by email if you have any more suggestions about connecting with and caring for our planet.

In my next blog I will go back to Chapter 2 which is about making choices and decisions on treatments.

I acknowledge and pay respect to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which I work and live.

Disclaimer. This blog is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 1

Responsibility for your own Health

Well it’s the New Year and I’m enacting one of my resolutions, which is to write a blog each week. This week in How to Heal Yourself I have been finishing off  Chapter 1 – Responsibility for your own Health. This chapter is about the first phase in healing from any illness, which is to take responsibility for your own health. Too many people give away their responsibility to other people; to doctors or other health professionals. They follow treatment plans that they have no real idea about because they trust their doctor. But ultimately healing is done from within, not by external forces, so we must be responsible for all the factors that affect our health. This does not mean we don’t use conventional treatments it just means we take charge of our management and don’t just blindly follow along.

Responsibility means being both responsible and accountable for our own health and healing. Some definitions include being to blame but I don’t feel this is a helpful way to look at disease. Our lifestyles may be to blame for our illness but mostly we do the best we can in our lives. Blaming ourselves or others for our illness is not very productive. I like to look at it as being accountable. This means that we look at all the possible reasons why we might have become sick and try to change. It means we take account of the whole of our lives and seek to heal not only the physical body and the mind but also our soul and spirit. We can look at our lives and our situation in a holistic way and take steps to become responsible for our own healing. That means making changes that give our body the best chance to heal.

If you’ve read my other books you will know that I believe that our inner self, our soul, is the authentic self and through our soul we have a connection to universal spirit. When we connect with our inner self or soul we can better channel source energy and become the person we are meant to be. And this source energy, which is the energy of life, helps us heal. Much of the work of healing is about increasing the flow of energy from source through our soul to our body and mind. It is about being the person we are meant to be and this brings about healing on all levels.

The responsibility we have is to get in touch with our own soul and spirit and work in ways that enhance the flow of healing energy within our bodies and minds. We have to become accountable to ourselves for what we do to our body, mind and spirit. We cannot blame anything external to ourselves for our illness or disease; we must take the responsibility ourselves. We must do the inner work that brings our soul’s presence on to centre stage. We are ultimately responsible for making sure we live a life that is centred on our soul’s needs.

When we get sick we often feel out of control, plunged into chaos. Disease and illness destabilise our sense of control and solidity. We feel adrift from our life, as we knew it, especially if it is a serious illness. We may feel as if our bodies have let us down.

The feeling of loss of control is common with many illnesses and it often causes us to question everything. Indeed I believe this is one of the purposes of serious illness in our lives. It helps us question the life we had been living and encourages us make changes that bring about a better life. We can choose to not make the changes and let our illness be in control. Or we can become responsible both for the illness and our own healing.

I have been thinking about the steps we might take in order to take more responsibility for our own health. I think the first one is to learn to trust ourselves better. We need to trust that our bodies can heal and to follow along with our deep knowing about the best ways to heal. We need to trust our own body, mind and soul and its amazing capacity to heal given the right conditions. We simply have to trust that this is so and work out what the right healing conditions are on an individual basis. 

The second step is to trust the process of life and understand that illness has a deeper meaning for each of us. The changes we make that lead to our physical healing also lead to deeper healing and transformation. The transformation is ultimately about becoming our authentic selves and living a soul centred life.

The third step in taking responsibility is to make conscious decisions about our life and treatment plans rather than getting caught up in the machine that is illness and conventional medicine. If we don’t consciously make decisions about our life then they will be made anyway so we need to get conscious about it. 

The fourth step is to regain a sense of control and that is what the whole book is about – how to regain control of our lives in a conscious way in the midst of our illness.

My next blog will be about Chapter 2 – Choosing between Treatments. I am currently struggling with this chapter and finding it difficult to write but I think it is important to look at how we might choose between various treatment options for our illness.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2020.

Carol

December 2018 Newsletter

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STRESS

I was going to write this month’s newsletter about stress management and decided that what most of us need isn’t just stress management it’s stress reduction. Sure, we can do relaxation, mindfulness practices, meditation, get plenty of sleep, eat healthily and exercise to help manage our stress but wouldn’t it be better to reduce the stress? Yet many people find this hard to do. Our lives have become so busy that we are under continual stress to be somewhere or do something almost all the time. Our children’s lives are so full of school and after school activities that their heads are spinning too. We have changed from human beings to human doings.

How can we reduce the busyness of our lives? How can we reduce our stress instead of just managing it?

One answer is that we need to declutter our lives – declutter both our physical space and our time allocation. Two years ago, I started the process of decluttering my physical space. When we declutter our physical possessions, we look at each item we own and decide whether it brings us joy or whether it is a necessity. If it doesn’t bring us joy or it isn’t a necessity, we sell it or give it away or throw it out. We gradually surround ourselves with only things that are necessary or bring us joy. We can bring this awareness to how we spend our money as well by only buying things that bring us joy or are necessary. This helps the environment and our pockets.

We can do this in other areas of our life as well. How we spend our time is just as important; does what we do bring us joy? Is that time spent on an activity a necessity or a joyful experience? If it is neither then maybe, we could look at not doing it. We could decide to only spend our time on what brings us joy and what is necessary. This is a choice we make every day and if our lives are too full of stress part of the problem is that we fill them full of too many activities. We could look at how we spend both our money and our time more thoughtfully and we might find we can change our lives for the better.

Last year I decided to leave conventional general practice because I wasn’t enjoying my work. There is the necessity of needing money to live on, so I do need to work which is why I started at Safflower clinic. I now choose to spend longer with patients and not stress myself out with ten-minute consultations. Sure, I earn less money but now I try to spend less money. I try not to buy things I don’t really need, and I am aware when I buy stuff that it may have an impact of the earth and on my pocket. I could work more or harder, but I choose to work less and buy less and spend more time doing things that bring me joy. I spend more time writing and gardening and walking and having fun with family and friends.

I have taken on more study and find this can be a source of stress if I try to be a perfectionist about it. Like most people my expectations of myself can be too high so I try to find the joy in the study and if it’s just a drag I only do what is necessary. Since I started at Safflower life has been a bit too full of work and study, so I am considering whether to defer next year’s study or do less study. Each activity in our life can be examined and we can let go of those activities that don’t fill us with joy or aren’t necessary. In this way we help reduce our stress levels, which is really the best stress management technique there is.

If you would like to buy a copy of my book – Holistic Medicine, Beyond the Physical – copies are available on my website for $30 including postage in Australia or you can pick a copy up at Safflower Clinic for $20.

Disclaimer. This newsletter is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

Safflower Chinese Medicine Clinic

Opening  a GP practice at Safflower Chinese Medicine Clinic. 

I’m pleased to announce that I will be joining Safflower Chinese Medicine Clinic as an Integrative GP. I will be starting on Monday August 20th and consulting three days a week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

The services I will offer as an integrative GP at Safflower are as follows –

  • Long consultations (history, examination, referrals, conventional and alternative treatment options)
  • Shorter follow up consultations (results, feedback and follow up treatments)
  • Routine appointments (for short general practice issues and laser acupuncture)
  • Routine appointments will be bulk billed for health care card holders and pensioners

I will offer longer consultations where I will spend time listening, taking a history, examining the person and ordering investigations where necessary to arrive at a shared understanding of the person’s health issues from a holistic perspective. I will then work with the person to explore both conventional and alternative treatment options considering the mind, the body and the spiritual aspects.

I have an interest in complex problems that may not have an easy diagnosis and I enjoy working long term with patients to explore their health issues and help them find ways to heal. I am also interested in all mental health issues and will explore with people the psycho-spiritual aspects that lie behind many mental health problems.

I will also offer routine consultations and advice on any general practice issues however the practice is not set up for emergencies or acute injuries. The practice is also not currently equipped to provide vaccinations, removal of skin lesions, suturing, ear syringing or pap smears.

I have an ongoing interest in laser acupuncture and will be able to incorporate this as one management option. I will work closely with other members of the team at Safflower to provide both a Western and an Eastern perspective on health issues.

I am currently studying a Masters in Applied Science in Chinese Herbal medicine at RMIT but am not yet able to prescribe Chinese herbs; for herbal prescriptions patients will need to see Brigitte, Eryn or Vicki.

More details about prices and booking an appointment will be available soon on the Safflower website.

 

 

Listening to the calling of our heart

Listening to the calling of our heart.

Our hearts are always calling to us. They try to get us to pay attention to longings that we often bury beneath our everyday existence. We bury such longings and ignore the callings because to listen would be to go against all we have learnt about fitting into society. For society does not pay heed to the callings of the heart. Society pays heed to the callings of the ego and the mind; to mortgages and secure jobs, to school work and university degrees; to being a good child, a good spouse, a good parent.

I listened to an interview with John Mayer the other day and he spoke about knowing that he was a musician and writer from a young age and following that calling knowing it was what he was here to do. Sometimes I wish I’d had that clarity of calling at a young age. But for most of us life gets in the way and our hearts get burdened with expectations. We expect we will follow a certain path only to find that it is not what we thought; that we do not arrive at a place where our hearts are filled with joy, love and abundance. We glimpse such places along our path – maybe when we fall in love, or have a child or begin a job that we love. Yet somehow we can’t hold onto that place within us that is trying to show us how to live.

The heart callings have a strange pull on us and sometimes if we pay attention that pull will be an irresistible force that draws us towards our life’s work. The calling changes over time but some impulses are always with us urging us to leave secure jobs and do things that society may frown upon.

Your heart may be calling you to fall in love with someone, or change your job, or have a baby, or buy a puppy. It may be calling you to stop the busyness of your life and spend time listening to its longings. Sometimes we are so busy that we don’t pay the heart and its desires any attention. Maybe it is because we don’t want to hear what the heart has to say about our current life? Or maybe it is just that we have forgotten how to live in touch with our heart centre but rather pay all our attention to the ego mind.

The ego does not want us to listen to our heart simply because to do so might put us against society’s expectations. But even the ego may fall in line eventually. When that part of us sees that the way of the heart leads to joy and fulfillment and wealth of a type not measured by money. We may struggle with listening to the calling of our heart but once we cease the struggle we can just accept that what we need is to pay our heart more attention. Maybe then we can accept that to follow our heart’s desires is not selfish but the way we can be of greatest service to the world.

Transformation 5 – Allowing

Transformation 5 – Allowing.

I have spent the last year writing a book about transformation and this week I discovered that everything I had been doing in order to transform was related to the physical aspects. I thought if I transformed my physical environment and my physical body and mind that I would be on the path to greater transformation of the spiritual kind. I tried to incorporate spiritual practices into my life and believed that by doing these practices I would be able to transform myself into someone who was more authentic and more aligned with their spiritual inner self.

This week I discovered I had been approaching the whole thing from the wrong direction. So I deleted most of the book I had written and began again. I have learnt much in the past year but not what I planned. I started out with so much purpose and direction; I planned out the book and assigned chapter headings and tried to make the transformation something logical and rational and physical. Yet what I intended was to become more authentic and more aligned with spirit; to have my inner self manifest physically. My planning and logical thinking got in the way again. I allowed myself to try to control the process instead of allowing the process to unfold.

I discovered that I need to be more allowing of the natural process of life. It cannot be forced. Of course we can try to force it, we can plan and plan but what that generally brings us is more of the same. My more of the same is more dissatisfaction with conventional medicine and my general practice work. I have gone in circles with this and each time I planned a change that might make a difference and each time I came full circle back to the same place.

Now I know that my path is to find a more joyful existence where I can live my passions and help people. I’m not sure what that exactly entails and that’s where I’ve got stuck before. Trying to plan my way out, using my brain to find alternatives. Never succeeding, rather I only find more of the same. Now I see that to transform my life and myself I need to allow it to happen. This means not forcing, not searching, not grasping at alternatives. It means allowing life to unfold in its own way. It means paying attention to signs and synchronicities that show me the path to take to my future. This allowing means making peace with the present and finding joy in the life I have now but knowing that change is coming. I can feel it.

The temptation is to plan and force and work out where the path will lead me so that I know how to get there by dint of will and logic. That is the way we have learnt, the way of control. Allowing is the opposite of control. It is giving up control to a higher force that lives inside us all. This force connects us all and unless we pay attention we might miss the signposts that show the way. The signs are always there but I sometimes fail to pay them enough attention.

Why is it that for years I have been dissatisfied with my work? It’s a sign that I should be doing something different. I always knew this yet I resisted the knowing. What else can I do? How can I make a living? What if I fail? I let the negative control my life. I still feel like most of my path has been on course; that I have needed to learn certain things through my work in conventional medicine. But now I know that I need to be doing something else. I just don’t know what it is yet. I need to allow that to unfold and that’s my new plan. Allow life to unfold.