I’m offering a series of short video lectures on the 12 Practices of Optimal Healing.
We have also provided a transcript for your convenience.
Optimal healing is important to me because I work with clients. I take care of myself. I live with my family. And rather than focus on what it takes to be well, how we get rid of the disease, my interest and my work has been about how do I pay attention to the changes, the behaviors, the awareness, the movements, going from when I don’t feel well (when I’m ill I have symptoms) to when I feel better, I’m healthy, I’m well. There’s a movement there. There’s a process. Now I use the term “healing” for that process. And so, what can I do, how can I pay attention to the process of healing and optimize it to have it happen faster, knowing that organisms and people generally tend to go up and down. So, there’s going to be need to heal from now until you’re not here anymore, so you might as well learn how to optimize it, and therefore, you can see any kind of illness, any type of symptoms as an opportunity to use your muscles to practice your healing and so, optimally heal.
So, I’ve came up with 12 Practices of Optimal Healing, and I’m going to offer you the 12 practices in a series of videos that I’m doing with you right now. And today, we’re going to do an overview, and then for the next year, I’m going to go in depth into each of the 12 practices and invite you to find out which ones resonate for you, which ones work, which ones made a difference in which time in your life and have a conversation.
So, welcome to the 12 Practices of Optimal Healing. The 12 practices are movement, nutrition, relaxation, meditation, affirmation, emotional release, love, forgiveness, care, nature, water, and security. I’m going through all 12 in a little bit more detail right now.
Movement Often when you don’t feel well, what you want to do is lie down and not move. But if you actually notice, your body never really stops moving. So, one way of thinking about movement is, “when I need to regroup and lie down, I can become aware of a subtler type of movement which is my breath. Am I really fully breathing?” Breath being nurturing. And then we go through stages of breathing, relaxing, opening up our body, beginning to as we move through the healing process, needing to actually get up and walk and move, perhaps stretch, and then as we get farther in the healing process, very often we need to put a lot of energy in our system by moving more vigorously. So, there’s a whole grade in a movement that really makes a difference and optimizes our healing.
Practice number two is Nutrition or healthy eating or choosing foods that specifically stimulate healing. So, it’s different than diet, it’s different than proper nutrition. It’s actually healing foods. So, different circumstances require thinking about what kind of foods are going to make a difference. I’ll give you three examples. One is comfort foods: foods that make me feel kind of like I felt when my mom would take care of me when I was kid. Chicken soup qualifies for that. But the type of healing food is a food that changes my body balance. So, if I’m in a state of excess because I’ve been eating too much sugar and candy for the holidays, I may need a contracting food like one of the favorites around here is Umaboshi plums, they’re very sour and contracting. And another type of healing food is when I’m feeling deficient of energy foods that really give me energy and really kind of center me and open me and help me actually make a change in my own raw energy. An example of that is miso soup.
Practice number three is Relaxation. Similar to movement, but the next level is, “do I really allow my body to open up and relax?” And in that process – maybe we should try it. Become aware of your breath. Allow your shoulders to relax, your arms, your elbows and chest. So your attention is moving into your abdomen, pelvis, thighs, knees, breathe and relax the ankles. Feel your – either the chair holding you up, or if you’re standing, the earth holding you. Comfort, relaxation. So much healing can emerge out of it, allowing yourself to relax and consciously making that relaxation.
Practice number four is Meditation. And I distinguish meditation from relaxation because meditation is focusing your mind. So there’s concentration, contemplation and meditation. It’s not just focusing your mind and relaxing; it’s actually honing a repetitive pattern of thought, following a breath, a mantra. There’s a lot of different types of meditation. But the idea is you’re focusing your mind, and that actually it allows your body to regroup. It allows your mind to take its attention away from distractions and really heal. So meditation is an important form for optimal healing.
Next practice is Affirmations. And similar to meditation, you’re focusing your mind, but you’re focusing your mind on positive thinking. A lot of evidence that shows that what I want to see happen makes a difference on the outcome. So, there’s a way that I clarify. I repeat a phrase. I do metta or the practice of loving kindness, loving kindness to myself. And I repeat a phrase over and over in my mind that is what I want to see happen. My entire being is filled with this peaceful balance, vital and healthy. My entire being is peaceful, balanced and healthy.
Emotional Release, the next practice, is the recognition that often when we are having limitations or having our struggles with symptoms, there’s emotional components in getting in touch with that and allowing ourselves to say, “Okay, I get it. I can let that go.” Deep-seated feelings really inform the way our bodies heal, and being able to get in touch with that stuff and let it off into the ocean of thoughts is a really powerful way of healing. Often when we govern our emotional release, we can get in touch with a big one, which is love, and being loved and loving ourselves and being aware of how our web of self is connected to others and how when people are loving us and being connected, it really makes a big deal. Really, it’s appealing to be loved and to feel nurturing by those who are close to us.’
And key to love is the next practice which is Forgiveness, which is a specific form of emotional release, but it’s very often really when the mind is in that place of holding on to patterns, of feeling victimized, to really know that in order to heal, we have to learn how to let go of specific sense of being wronged and basically get in touch with power where we’re ready for real, deep healing and forgiveness, forgiving ourselves, forgiving others.
Next practice is Care. And what I mean by care, there’s self-care and there’s how others care for us. So, there’s so much that says and shows us that caring for others is incredibly powerful in healing, and being cared for really makes a difference in a way that we heal.
Next practice is being out in Nature because so many people, and I hear this all the time, the sun, the animals, the sounds, just the way in which our lives are so busy is that the environment that we live in and when we become open to it, there’s nurturing and healing and really actually kind of have incredibly positive effects on the way our bodies heal.
Within nature there’s the natural – there’s Water, which is one of the key nutrients and making sure our body has enough water. We make sure the water that we drink – is of quality. That really makes a difference, and is a necessary piece focusing on and to have the part of our healing process. And it helps.
And the last practice is Security or Safety and this idea that healing really is – it’s very necessary to have an environment that is consciously organized around my sense of “This is the place for me to heal. This is my cave, my home, my family. This is the place for me where I can really allow myself to be fully present with my process of healing.”
That’s 12 Practices of Optimal Healing. So I invite you to join me on this journey of going into each of this 12 practices through a series of talks that – this is talk number one, and really exploring this type of work yourself and seeing how everyday ordinary practices that we do can have very profound impacts on the way we heal. So, thanks for listening, and I look forward to sharing with you next time and for hearing from you online. Thanks. Take care.