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Health is A Quality of Feeling . . .

Image of a beautiful water lily

I used to think that we create our health through the things we do: the way we eat, the exercise we undertake, the quality of sleep we have, the fulfilment we find in our work and relationships, and the natural therapies and practices we use to support, relax and tend ourselves. Don't get me wrong: I still see all of these as deeply relevant. At the physical level - the level of Form - each of these simply and irrefutably help the physical systems of our body to run better. We will always be able to improve things to a certain extent at this level. However, Health is about more than functioning well physically. It took me years to realise that there is more that we need to consider, and that this is upstream of our healthy or unhealthy actions and habits.The word ‘health’ refers us back to the experience of Wholeness. And it turns out that Wholeness isn’t something we do but it’s where we are coming from. When we sit in our Wholeness, health is the natural expression of this. What does this mean for us practically?

Health does not spring from our doing and has nothing to do with our physicality; Health is permanent and infinite and we access it through a quality of feeling.

When our Good Actions are Fear Based

Tiny blossom coming out of a thicket of dead branches

When good actions come from a place of fear are they still good actions? It has been fascinating for me to see that so-called healthy actions, when done fearfully and rigidly, do not tend to promote health. Instead, they end up suppressing the flow of our vitality, causing harm rather than fostering good. As some of you will know from previous newsletters, I had something of a journey with my health for a period of two decades. During those years, I was desperate to find relief . . . to find a cure. I tried everything that came across my path and I tried it very diligently. For years, I was incredibly strict with my diet - the form of what I was restricting might change, but the underlying feeling of seriousness and tension did not. I was also careful to avoid having pollutants and toxins in my environment. And I made sure that I had fresh air and exercise everyday that I could. People who knew me said that I had one of the healthiest lifestyles of anyone they knew - and yet they (and I) were bemused by how I failed to thrive. I have seen the same thing over and over in people who are chronically ill. For a long time it confounded me. Why would those who are trying the hardest be the ones who make the smallest gains? Now, it makes perfect sense to me: wellbeing cannot find expression or flourish in an environment of fear. Health simply does not flow when pinned down by strictures, rules and limitations.

Health is a natural outpouring from our own well of being. It is abundant, vibrant, potent and boundless. It creates and gives of itself endlessly. The more we harness it the more we experience it.

So, whilst my approach was without doubt diligent, it was also intrinsically energy-depleting. I believed that I couldn’t deviate from the current ‘health’ protocol I was on because if I did so I would instantly undermine my fragile state of health. Yet, it was this strictness and fear that was inimical to Health. Without realising it, I was boxing myself in with regimes that were never going to lead to my thriving. What I was doing wasn’t the problem; where I was doing it from was.

Mistaken Identity

Image of towel and essential oils for an aromatherapy treatment

If excessive discipline and punishing regimes are one way in which we completely mistake that which leads to health, another common mistake is to think that a therapy, technique, remedy or other intervention is the thing that is going to heal us. There is no doubt that good therapy and coaching, skilfully delivered, are deeply helpful. Take for example something like a beautiful massage: as we lie there, having our muscles, tissues and emotions tended we relax. We feel our thoughts quietening down and tension dispersing. We begin to experience a more expanded state of being. We start to settle down and come home to ourselves. We enter a more aligned state of being. And everything about that feels good. It obviously makes sense to reach for such experiences then: the feedback from our body and our being is telling us that this is good for us. However, our mistake comes if we begin to identify this state of being with that particular therapy or intervention, if we start to believe that we need to go to that person and have that intervention in order to experience this relief. We are mis-identifying the source of our relief. The truth is that the quality of feeling itself, this lovely expansive feeling state of relaxation, calm and inner quiet, is the source of our wellbeing. We will naturally experience this whenever we rest in our innate health and wholeness, and, furthermore, this is here for us to access at all times in all circumstances. When we quieten and drop into a more relaxed and peaceful state, we feel better all round: our bodily systems immediately start to align and work optimally, our emotional state lifts, our state of consciousness expands and we start to see things more clearly, and feel more tuned in, intuitive and connected.

If we think that this state is only available at certain times, in particular circumstances or with a few special people, we end up limiting our access to Health and making it conditional. We mistakenly outsource it to those circumstances and people. We pin it on externals, and forget that this quality is innately in and of us.

Health is not and never can be something that comes from outside us.

Harnessing Health through Feeling

So, when we forget this, and get busy with a diet or an exercise routine, or with trying to start up a new good habit - thinking that this is where we need to focus in order to be super fit, healthy and slim - then we quickly begin to experience a lot of internal noise and feelings of effort. Not good feelings, but feelings of pressure and unease. This is valuable feedback. Health doesn’t - and never can - flourish in an internal environment that is uneasy and stressful. Whenever we feel ourselves reacting from a place of stress we can give ourselves permission to come back to our body and how it feels in this moment. We can allow ourselves room to quieten and settle inside, to listen and feel without commentary or pressure. To simply be as we are. As we do so, we quickly begin to relax, calm down and recollect ourselves. Our energy begins to flow again. As we relax even further into this, we can experiment with letting this lovely feeling of flow take us, knowing that this is more helpful than anything we could think up to ‘do’. After all, it is in this state of flow and relaxation that our innate health and wisdom can find expression. There are countless opportunities on a daily basis to enter this state.

Our health is calling to us all the time.

Can you see this happening? Can you begin to notice your your wisdom, your health, your own good sense, communicating with you - softly guiding you to better choices, kinder ways, gentler connections all the time throughout the day? Can you allow yourself to heed and harness