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Inner Radiance Blog

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Healing from Within

On Friday, I was lucky to attend the Healing from Within workshop put on by the Pujari Center. Two of Seattle's most renowned doctors in alternative health, Dr. Astrid Pujari, MD and Dr. Tanmeet Sethi, offered tips on using breath work, meditation, and journaling to access our inner wisdom.

I learned so much! It was inspiring to be around so many others who have seen firsthand the incredible benefits of looking within. Both Dr. Pujari and Dr. Sethi believe that pain, although specific in its presentation, is part of the universal human experience and can be something that is used for personal transformation.

I felt inspired hearing Dr. Pujari speak of the beauty of seeing the room overflowing with people--that something so difficult could unite so many in community. "You can't talk about healing without talking about pain," says Pujari. "The fact that something so dark could bring so much light is a miracle. It's a demonstration of hope, of beauty, of the power of light."

Pain is difficult. It is ugly. When we experience pain and discomfort, we think we are all alone--that no one could possibly understand what we are going through. But feelings of loneliness, of sadness, of fear, even feelings of rage touch all of our lives at one point or another.

We may ask ourselves questions that speak to our feelings of isolation.

"Why me?"
"What am I doing this for?"

"Why is this happening to me?"

Dr. Pujari and Sethi shared that in all their years of watching patients, family members, and loved ones going though pain, there were three simple things that helped people navigate through painful circumstances and move forward.

While it is not always possible to make pain go away, there is hope. These steps provide tools for entering into a different relationship with our pain.

  1. Be aware of your pain--It takes courage to admit that we are hurt, that we don't have it together all the time. It requires honesty with self and vulnerability. Notice your pain. Where does it live in your body? In your spirit?
  2. Be willing to explore your pain--Listen to your pain. Talk to it. Get to know it as you would get to know a dear friend. In our culture, we are taught to run away from our emotions, to run away from conflict, but this only results in disconnection from ourselves and others. Treat your emotions as friends, lovers, teachers, and beloved children. Be kind to them.
  3. Be willing to allow love to flow into your pain--All pain is universal. The triggers may be different (the loss of a spouse or an illness such as Cancer), but the end result is the same. Allow love to move through you, to touch your pain, and listen to what it has to teach you.
I took away several tools that I can use with my clients. And, for myself personally, I learned some innovative and transformative tools, such as "Shaking Meditation" (to free all the areas that get stuck--emotionally, spiritually, and mentally) and a journaling process called "Dialogue with a Symptom."

At first, I found the symptom I chose to work with to be sarcastic and mean. But by the end of the conversation, his tone had changed. He offered warm, gentle advice like an old friend. He nudged me instead of yelling at me.

Maybe what changed was not the voice of my pain at all. Maybe what changed was my ability to hear my own inner wisdom.

What a beautiful gift!

What does your pain have to show you?


At March 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautifully written description of pain and ways to heal it. Seems as though I've been trying to do that my whole life and have just now been lifted into new awareness of techniques to finally heal some deep wounds. Your writing today is an inspiration and validation that I'm on the right path.

At March 15, 2009 at 6:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, thank you for writing this. The thought of exploring my pain like a friend had actually never occurred to me until now. The friend context is a good one - think of how a friendship is strengthened when a misunderstanding causes a healing conversation.

This is the most helpful thing I've read all week, and I read a ton of stuff! Thank you.


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