I have been in practice for almost 17 years, and life for over 46, and the longer I live and work the more strongly I believe in the importance of whole health healing, particularly digging deeper to the true causes of poor health. So much so that this past summer I enrolled in the Whole Health Medicine Institute, a program for healers that was created by Lissa Rankin, MD over 6 years ago. This program is based on the 6 steps to healing, as outlined in her first book, Mind Over Medicine: The Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself and on the concept of the Whole Health Cairn, a visual model to describe the key components of health, where each stone represents a component and that the stones are placed in a particular essential order onto the cairn, with the most foundational aspects forming the base of the cairn.
I invite you to take a look at the stones of the cairn and do a gentle and curious inventory of how firmly placed each stone of the cairn is in your life, and how you feel about the order of importance placed on each stone. Many people are often surprised to see the foundational stones including things like: creativity, spirituality and sexuality, with the physical health stone resting on the top. This isn’t to say the physical health stone, nor the mental health stone, also precariously near to the top of the cairn, are not of vital importance, they are! But what this model describes is that in order to have health in these areas, one must have the underlying stones in place.
How many of you have struggled with focussing mainly on your physical health? Pushing yourself to exercise more, eat cleaner, take more supplements, etc.? or concerned yourself of your mental health and taken supplements or pharmaceuticals to support you through anxiety, depression or insomnia?
And how many of you find these may have benefit but their benefits don’t last? Or are hard to sustain? Or maybe don’t work at all?
If this feels familiar, ask yourself if you have a relationship with the other stones of the cairn? Do you have a relationship with your “inner pilot light”? This is Dr. Rankin’s term for intuition/ inner wisdom/ our wise inner being/ the voice of our soul? Or does hearing this question send you reeling into confusion? Which can often be the case as we are not taught how to discern the voices of the programs that run in our heads from the wiser stiller voice deep within. Are you doing work in your life that brings joy and meaning to you? How healthy are your relationships? Do you engage in creative play? What is your spiritual orientation? All of these have a significant impact on our physical and mental health as they dictate how settled we feel within our bodies and our environments. This causes a corresponding shift in the flow of energy out of the fight or flight nervous system and into the rest-digest-heal-libido nervous system. And from this latter nervous system activation, healing can actually take place. From here the food choices we make, the supplements we take, how and when we move our physical bodies all have a greater impact. We make choices that are aligned with our inner wisdom, making them that much more nourishing for us.
The six steps to healing as outlined in Mind Over Medicine and taught to us in WHMI for us to guide others through, form the basis of a system designed to guide and empower you to a state of optimal health in mind-body & soul. I am not going to use the words guide you back to a state of optimal healthy in mind-body & soul as I don’t believe that many of us have experienced optimal health in this lifetime. Often our lives are built on microtraumas, toxic belief systems, living for others vs. ourselves, hyper-responsibility, seriousness and essentially violent thoughts and actions towards ourselves as we fail to prioritize our self-care. Though we may have felt better in the past, the reason we feel unwell now is because our unhealthy personal lifestyle choices or suppressed emotions or unhealed traumas are resulting in our bodies exhibiting symptoms, asking to be addressed.
I highly encourage you to purchase a copy of the 2nd updated edition of Mind Over Medicine, watch some of Lissa’s TedTalks, reflect on the stones of the Whole Health Cairn and review the 6 steps to healing yourself (click the link to read a pdf that provides you with a short description of each step).
- Believe you can heal.
- Connect with and surrender to your inner wisdom.
- Surround yourself with healing support.
- Diagnose the root cause of your illness (physical or mental health issue or symptom).
- Write the prescription for yourself.
- Treat your fears and resistance.
If you are interested in learning more or in being coached through this process, please email me or call me at the clinic (306) 757-HEAL and I would be honored to work with you! This is powerful work and my own personal health journey through an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, anxiety, depression, low-grade bipolar disorder, adrenal burnout, “IBS”, exercise addiction and perfectionism has largely been as a result of my own experience with what forms the basis of Lissa’s work. I had to come to this myself, through my own inner resourcefulness, journaling, meditation, counseling, therapy, energy work, nutritional and supplement support… so I was thrilled when I came upon Lissa’s work as it encapsulated it all so well into such a potent system. And I am even more thrilled to have been taught and mentored by her over these last months as I have been in the program, gaining my certification which is one more piece of me living my own work/ life purpose! Grateful to my own inner pilot light for guiding me along the path of my life and into yours!