When you read this title, The Healing Power of Illness, what is the first thought that comes to mind?
Everything will depend on that, no matter how your illness shows up. Whether it is accident related, is a disease that comes from ‘nowhere’, or appears through a genetically inherited disposition, the belief systems you have been exposed to and adopted will have an untold impact on your illness. I know this sounds like heresy, new age clap trap, or quackery. It certainly challenges the impossibly huge belief systems of many health and illness related disciplines and modalities as well as the belief systems and mores of place and culture.
Even to begin, we must first agree that we have the ability to open our limited and indoctrinated belief systems to new ways of thinking about illness and health:
• I am not saying that I have the ultimate truth. I am simply excited to share some ideas that have informed my thirty-five years of discoveries by studying, practicing, and training others in Body-Psychotherapy, creativity, and the healing forces of nature.
• I invite you to think with me ‘out of the box’. It has taken me many years to figure out what I am actually doing and why it’s working. Now I can’t help but want to share it with you.
With a new openness, we can examine how our conventional beliefs picked up over a lifetime may have attracted illness. We can see that now we can use this very awareness as an opportunity to create wellness.
We live in the ‘body of our beliefs’. We give our beliefs power when we act blindly in response to an environment that was created for us when we were young. From this early blueprint, we develop habits of feeling responses. If they remain unexamined, these feelings will dictate the rest of our lives. In addition, if these adopted beliefs become contradictory to our own inner truth, we open ourselves to a barrage of inner conflicts. These major confusions can create great anxiety and this dis-ease forces the body to react and become diseased—physically, emotionally, and, also, spiritually.
Happily, these same confusions of contradictory beliefs present an opportunity. They can actually point us in the direction of self-examination, perhaps on our own and perhaps with the help of sensitively trained practitioners who can amplify the early story of childhood. It is my experience in working with hundreds of clients that this story usually repeats itself over a lifetime. It triggers feelings of abandonment, rejection, the feeling of “not good enough”, the fear of lack of money, the feeling of not deserving love, and so on.
Here is a truth I have found to be very helpful in guiding people out of the maze of symptoms which create the deeper psycho-physical dysfunction, and therefore illness:
The truth of our lives lies UNDERNEATH our personal and societal stories. It is embedded in each cell connection. The cells resonate with each other and CREATE an electromagnetic cell connectivity. You could say they communicate with each other and provide information of a vast wellness system that rests in the BEINGNESS of our nature. This power of ISNESS is always safely stored there, and nothing and no one can disturb it or take it away.
We live with conviction our human story of drama and joy, fear and terror. Below that the wellness truth is safely imbedded. Before our beliefs get launched into physical human form and life, genes and chromosomes are coded to form a precise cellular reaction. Thus, our beliefs plant the seeds for our future existence.
So now it becomes most important to find a way and bring awareness to early cellular imprints that have interfered with the connection of universal truth. The good news is that wellness resides in a cellular interdependent imprint, that it has a multidirectional ‘memory’ of what we might call ‘light’, or ‘divinity’ or ‘ultimate act of creation’, and our nervous system is the inter-cellular messenger. Therefore, nothing and no one can destroy this ‘light’ or take it away. It is always humming below our physical, emotional, and mentally constructed human life of beliefs.
Now, this query arises: If this wellness truth is imbedded below our adopted belief systems, how do we access it?
I invite you to contemplate these big questions :
• How can we ‘slip’ this divine truth into our everyday reality?
• How can we deal with conflicting belief systems and ‘dive through and up’ by sensing, believing, acting, and seeing our buried true self in the mirror?
• How can we avoid ‘diving down‘ and becoming ensnared with overwhelming evidence of chaos and fear?
• How can we slip through the cracks and at least visit a state of being again and again that is not affected by habitual and entrenched belief or human behavior?
This is how I continue to lean into these questions.
•I honor music that invites me to feel transcendent.
•I honor stillness and glimpse nothingness.
•I honor beauty and polarities in nature that remind me of my own contradictory and miraculous nature.
•I honor harmonious and exciting human innovations that add to the balance of the planet.
•I honor diversity and allow judgment to soften and melt away.
•I honor my creative experimentations no matter what the outcome.
•I honor the world of poetry, painting and sculpture that invite me into the secret and unending power of the creative self.
•I honor my body and all of its miraculous functions.
•I honor the Trail Blazers that show the way.
And most importantly
•I honor my resistance to all of the above. I now have become soft and compassionate with myself (without collapsing).
Through a lifetime of ‘stalking the wild pendulum’ by studying and teaching art and Body-Psychotherapy, I have found ‘a way in’ to the sensory realm of the sacred, to a place where nothing else is needed . . . where, to me, it feels like ‘it is a good day to die’ because life and death are continuous, and neither is better or worse than the other. At those times when I am ‘there/here’, I have joined with the nothing and the everything. My resistance to life as it is unfolding is gone, and I enter the field of endless possibilities.
As a Body-Psychotherapist and Alexander Technique teacher, I offer a certain quality of listening touch that awakens the skin (the biggest organ of the body). This touch has no other agenda than to listen unconditionally to the body’s voices. Therefore, it reaches under the story and reminds us of the unfathomed support and love that is way beyond any life story. In this place, ‘good and bad’ belief systems are gone. As I am offering my expansive presence, this same touch that touches the other person simultaneously touches me back. We enter together . . . .into the indescribable.
Over the years I have discovered that as human beings we are always looking to complete our life story. We want to make sense of that which has hindered us to live a contented life. We want to know what is no longer serving us and how to let that transform and go. A certain quality of touch opens the possibility for the client to dive deeper. It is natural that habitual physical, mental and emotional responses and well-trained belief systems want to resist this exploration. As memories begin to flood the nervous system, it may trigger fear of vulnerability, of confronting the experiences of the past.
This is where safe agenda-less touch creates its own message and ‘speaks’ gently and loudly of the deeper universal truth for which the body is divinely designed. A vaster self-recognition and -acceptance becomes possible. As the psyche shuttles with lightening speed between the polarities of past and present, it wants to release everything that is in the way of sacred harmony in body, mind and emotions. The rejected, abandoned, unloved parts of ourselves are coming into conscious awareness. We get to ‘see’ what in us needs love and listening compassion. In order to heal the self, we now have an opportunity to enlarge our belief systems.
As I sit with a client exploring that quiet place, I often watch as their mind makes another appearance. After this rush to release all that is hindering sacred harmony, now the mind reminds us of its presence. The person begins to struggle with the enlarged field of attention that opens under the story because it may be almost a completely foreign territory. Perhaps as a result of living in a world gone awry, we, our parents, and our ancestors before us, may have been thoroughly indoctrinated with feelings of unworthiness. We may have sensed and believed in our inherent goodness and our amazing capacity to live joyfully with each other. Yet the idea of living in that goodness and joy may have seemed an unachievable myth.
Sitting with my client, I observe the resistance the mind is now presenting, and I offer the mind a gentle invitation. As we know, resisting resistance is futile. Rather, we honor the resistance again and again by giving the confusion a much needed and welcome voice. The part of us which has suffered and may still be frozen in fear, needs to be listened to and encouraged to speak. Listening touch combined with micro body/mind sequence movements and Gestalt therapy creatively amplify the story of both resistance and possibility, and the body/mind is encouraged and given a voice.
At the same time, my hands sense that the body is softening and releasing its tension, becoming available to safe touch and movement, entering a field of unconditional presence and expansion.
To get an idea of what is happening in the client, we can visualize a three-dimensional spider web in which every thread that touches another reverberates through the entire net. That is actually what the functioning of our body’s connective tissue looks like—a constantly moving net of interconnecting messages.
Now, in the session, another miracle takes place as the brain lets go of overused or misused brain cells. The old story is transformed as new brain cells are ignited that have been lying dormant patiently waiting ‘in the wings’ to be used on one fine day like this. Here is brain plasticity at work. The anxiety, fear, terror, or depression that have triggered extreme confusion and overwhelm and then illness, have now become a healing opportunity.
Suddenly we realize that all of this is turning our well-trained belief systems upside down. Through the grace of listening touch and the body voicing its experiences of the past we simultaneously find ourselves expanding into the divine realm of sensing and being, that realm where we can finally live in our inherent goodness with infinite capability to live joyfully with ourselves and one another.
Ute Arnold M.F.A. has degrees in Art and Design.
She is a certified Body-Psychotherapist, Alexander Technique teacher and Gestalt therapist and has honed her skills for more than 35 years.
Ute blends these leading edge therapies in the modality she calls Unergi— unity&energy, integrating body, mind, emotions, creativity, and nature to experience the vast inner spirit of wellness.
She teaches and practices at her Unergi Holistic Therapy School in Pt. Pleasant, Pa. since 1985 where she has built the artful Blue Bamboo Studio.
Ute also takes people on Healing Journeys to Europe where she teaches and gives workshops.
She is available for Body-Voice phone sessions.
Ute’s ebook, Stuck is Not a Place, integration of
body, art and nature, is available on her website
www.unergi.com, and on Amazon.
Candace Pert, P.h.D., Psycho-Pharmacologist and
author of Molecules of Emotion, wrote the forward.