Is it diet? Need for supplements? Too little exercise? Enjoyable work? Being totally in love? Happiness? Now, we’re getting closer…

If holistic health means looking at health from all the aspects of our lives, then which parts matter most? What are the components of holistic health and which should you be focusing on to get healthy? There are the multiple areas to look at: diet/nutrition, emotional health, relationships, work/purpose (don’t always go hand in hand, do they?), exercise/movement, spirituality, and probably some more I’m not even thinking of right now. You get the gist. These can really all be summed up in physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual health.  I’ll break these down in the weeks to come, but for today let’s focus on the one that really underlies everything else… drum roll please… emotional health!

When I started into holistic healthcare, the traditional Naturopath I apprenticed with always told me that no matter what physical symptom or disease a person was experiencing, there was always, 100% of the time, an emotional undercurrent at work and ultimately at the root of it. This isn’t to say that physical and spiritual aren’t super important too, but our emotional patterning really drives our health concerns. One could make the argument that this gets to the heart of our spiritual health as well, but I’ll save that for the post to come on that arena.

We all have emotional issues, so there’s no judgment, no blame and only deep felt compassion for everything we all deal with. No matter what physical obstacles we face, to truly heal we have to dig down into the emotional patterns creating it. I know that sucks, feels yucky, and makes most of us want to run the other direction, but that is the truth. It’s not easy, but man it works!! If you’ve got some chronic health issues, and you’ve tried EVERYTHING, then this is especially the right direction for you, because at the end of the day it’s not about the food you eat or the supplements and herbs you’re taking. These help and make a difference, but if you want to truly heal and not deal with those migraines, skin rashes, digestive issues, respiratory problems anymore then you’re going to have to do that deep dig into the underworld ocean of your emotional patterns that keep these symptoms in place. The cool part is your body is talking to you, telling you exactly what needs to be healed, so you’ve got a huge jump start on the problem!

The trick is how do we start to speak our body’s language and heed the messages it’s giving us, whether it’s just a whisper and or a full on shout. This is the hardest part of healing ourselves for sure. It takes courage, self-awareness, desire, and commitment. Not everyone is ready to go here yet, and that is just fine. But, when you are I promise this is the path to freedom and true holistic care on your path to heal yourself.

I’ll use me as a quick example of how this works. I don’t want to get too far down this worm hole, as this is a much more involved process than one little health blog post can show, but briefly this will give you the idea. Over New Year’s I got a cold. It would be easy to say I was getting run down from all the holiday busyness, or it was cold and I was out skiing a lot with my family, or I’d been eating lots of holiday treats, or that I “caught” some virus I got exposed to with the huge influx of tourists. It would be easy to blame my cold on outside circumstances. This is what we’ve all learned to do.

Instead, I knew that when I get sick, it’s always in my respiratory system. Generally speaking, respiratory stuff is about grief or “inner crying”. It was the holidays alright, bringing up some family sadness for me, not the treats, not the cold, not the getting run down, and not the tourists (how rude to blame vacationers anyway!) I always feel sad when I get sick, so I let myself cry and release some of that stored grief and I got better so much more quickly. If I fight it and look outside myself, I will stay sick for a much longer period of time. Yes, I eat well and use my essential oils, and they help tons, but it’s the crying that really propels me out of the illness. My respiratory issues have improved dramatically over the years, and I know if I keep processing and shifting this deeper root cause that they will ultimately become a thing of the past.

The next time you’re experiencing a symptom, dig down into it and see if you can discover the emotional pattern driving the symptom. Feel into what’s behind the symptom. It starts with awareness. How does the symptom make you feel? What are the thoughts it brings up inside? Can you connect any emotions to it? Take note and keep building your awareness from there. Keep using your essential oils and take care of yourself, but peel back another layer of the onion.

An excellent resource on this topic and one I use with my clients is Messages From the Body by Michael J. Lincoln, Ph.D. In it, he breaks down pretty much every single symptom, syndrome, and disease a person could experience and writes out the emotional patterning creating the issue.