Awakening to empowered self-care

chronic disease chronic pain health prevention self-awareness self-empowerment Jan 11, 2015

It is time to wake up and reclaim our health. Time for empowered self-care.

Life is uncertain. We never really know what lies around the next corner. One thing we can all be certain of, however, is that there will be an end to our physical existence. We just don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, we don’t think or talk about it. In fact, I think we try to bury this certainty under life’s distractions and seem surprised and upset when we are confronted with the consequences of aging and death. Why can’t we be fully aware of our impermanence, embrace it, and feel more alive because of it?


Looking for health in the wrong places

In my professional and personal life, I am constantly confronted with people’s losses. The loss of health, loss of function and abilities, loss of income, loss of identity, to name just a few. Often this loss is not fully acknowledged, not by the person experiencing the loss, not by their family and friends, nor by healthcare professionals that may be involved. Loss is not getting the attention it needs and it can be the cause of more pain and disease if it is not addressed or dealt with. Loss changes a person. Change is inevitable, and allowing and accepting loss and changes in one’s life is necessary to stay sane and to heal. It is what helps us grow stronger. Not paying attention to symptoms or trying to get rid of any pain, is not going to bring about the positive change that is desired. There is no biomechanical solution for chronic disease and pain and it is not going to be found in a system based on Newtonian biology, or a mechanical model. The root of chronic pain and disease is much deeper and fundamental.

I came to realize from years of professional experience, from reading and researching the newest science with an open, curious mind, from learning and exploring, from expanding my knowledge in the psycho-social-emotional and spiritual realm, and lastly from my personal experience with pain and loss, that I had to change my career and how I work with people. I had to change, in order to reveal and let go of the flawed assumptions we harbor regarding health. I had to change because I care too much about the care that is missing in health care.


The Power of Intention

In my personal life I have had to go through some rough times and I, like any other mortal person, have suffered from pain and I have made many mistakes. But looking back, those experiences helped me grow. I allowed them to forge me into a different, more resilient person. I also believe those experiences prepared me for a loss I never thought I would experience this soon in my life. My loving partner and business partner died quite sudden, after only three weeks in the hospital. In an instant, my perspective on life changed. Nothing I had been doing that I considered important, was in fact of any importance at all. All that mattered was for me to be present in the hospital, supporting my partner every day, all day, for those three weeks. I lost all sense of time and my purpose was simple and clear.

Now more than ever do I know, that I create my own reality. I basically have to re-invent myself and find my way to a different life and future. To be able to move on, I have to let go, and this is a transformation process that takes time, and comes with ups and downs. There is no time limit for this process, and for me, it is a very personal, solitary process. Loss and sadness are just on one end of the stick, on the other end of the same stick are the incredible gifts of life and love. When I focus on the gifts of life and love, I feel calm and intensely grateful. But just like that I can slip back into deep grief and feel separated.

The most important insight one can gain is that when you pay attention to what you are thinking, and focus more on the uplifting thoughts, you can actually change how you feel. In a calm state of mind, you can start feeling clarity and free of worry, you can see the bigger picture. The bigger picture is: we all have a purpose, and we are all worthy of a happy life. Understanding that each individual needs to take responsibility to create happiness and health in their own life is crucial. So is acknowledging one’s role when feeling unhappy or unhealthy. The point is that you can choose what you think,  pay attention, and set your intention.  Have faith, trust and feel unconditional love for life itself. Faith is not something you just have, it takes ongoing effort, but the effort is well worth it: believing in your own power and health again.


Making common sense common practice

It is time for a big change. The old paradigm healthcare is based on, is not sufficient. We are missing the point. We have placed our health in the hands of medicine and have forgotten how to look after our own well-being. We are unaware of our underlying beliefs, we base our actions on. Unaware that we are responsible for how we feel. We have lost touch with our body and our being, our authentic self. We are afraid to really live our life to our full potential and often believe we are a victim of conditions and circumstances. We have forgotten that food and nature are our medicine, instead, we are lost in a world where real food is hard to find and we are buried under to do lists and work we can’t really enjoy.

We have forgotten what is really important in life: being present, being connected to family and friends, expressing love and kindness to others and our self, spending time outside, moving in nature, and providing our body with real nutrients. We are lost in technology, competition, and consumption. We often hide behind a false identity, trying to please and wanting to be accepted. We live in fear and put our body in a chronic stress state. We make excuses to justify our behavior, compromise and we never have enough time.  At the end of the day we haven’t really lived, we have just reacted to situations that we came across trying to control the outcome. We worry and worry and worry. We judge ourselves and others, constantly. We have forgotten that we are all worthy, we are enough, and there is no need to prove ourselves.

Life is abundant, and it is supposed to be fun. We are all one, not separate, and we are all worthy of love and happiness. If we could just stop our busyness, take a deep breath, and be present just for a moment, long enough to sense our body and realize that there is an incredible life force we have access to, all the time. If we could stop long enough to realize we have a choice, every moment of the day, to feel good. If we could stop long enough to set an intention, what kind of person do I want to be, what kind of day do I want to have today and how do I want to feel? If we would look for the joy, things to be grateful for and feel blessed. If we could practice this courageously, every day, as much as we possibly can, we would be able to manifest a different life for ourselves, and live an intentional life instead of an accidental one. We would feel better, and we would be making a difference.

I want to boost this evolution, from healthcare to empowered self-care. Let go of the old life and step out of the box. I want to be an up-lifter, a teacher and coach for anyone that is ready and open to change. I know I am not alone in this quest and many are on the same path. You can help change the health of our planet, our community, and yourself, starting with yourself.

I am not saying healthcare has no importance. Medicine saves lives and the incredibly advanced technology has contributed to longer life expectancy and has cured some diseases. I am also not judging or criticizing, for what we don’t know we can’t change. Change has to start with knowledge and awareness, and I want to contribute to this by teaching and mentoring.

I have set my intention. It will be an exciting journey. As a lifelong caregiver and healthcare professional I want to set an example and model better self-care, teach and mentor other caregivers and healthcare professionals how to better look after themselves as well. I know many caregivers that forget to look after themselves and experience ‘burn out’ at some time in their life. I have done that too. If we as caregivers model excellent self-care, we become excellent caregivers and role models for the people that need help. Together we can start an evolution, or revolution, and empower people to take care of their own health again.

Know that all will be well and we are here to make a difference. Let us be grateful for life’s endless possibilities and start living an intentional life, making common sense, common practice again.