I have referred to various stages of restoring energy and balance in my explanation of Spiritual Mentoring. I have adapted these stages from Susan Weed, herbalist. Her first three stages are serenity, story and energy medicine. She identifies four more stages – life-style, herbalism, pharmaceutical and hi-technology – in her framework. I focus on the first three in my work and recommend that you seek help from registered nutritionists, personal trainers, acupuncturists, herbalists, physicians and other professionals for help with the last stages. I have also added another stage – give-back – as part of my ‘medicine’ tool-box.
The first three stages focus on our inner journey. Of course, there is a connection between spirit, mind and body so practicing any of these ‘medicines’ will affect all aspects of health and wellbeing.
This is how I interpret these stages and use them in my practice ~
~ “Serenity medicine” is the return to nature for balance and restoration. There is nothing for us to do other than slow down, open all our senses and allow life and energy to move through us. Restoration and inner harmony occur because we are receiving what is naturally meant for us through our senses. Much of the focus in my practice is on this spaciousness and receptivity as well as developing a relationship with nature herself. Here, we turn off our phones and computers so we can be in stillness and silence. We are present and open in each moment and we allow loving kindness ~ to ourselves, others and the world. This stage is living mindfully.
Tools for this stage would include being in nature and paying attention to her seasons, weather, sounds, natural rhythms, flows and textures. Again, the focus is on serenity, not on adding anything to our list of things to do but rather resting, receiving and allowing while being present and awake in every moment. I may send you recordings, videos, photos and ‘love notes’ as gifts for your heart.
~ “Story medicine” is the story that we tell ourselves about our lives, our relationships and our illness. It is important to honor our story and also to let it organically transform as we move from our minds to our hearts by practicing loving kindness. For me, this is the movement from mindfulness to heart fullness ~ opening to even more joy in each moment. Susan Weed sorts story medicine into Scientific, Heroic, and Wise Woman types: “Something is broken and needs to be fixed (Scientific). Something is toxic and needs to be cleansed (Heroic). Something lacks nourishment and wants to be whole (Wise Woman).” Here we open to our intuition and wisdom for guidance and clarity honoring the truth of who we are.
Tools for this stage would include our dialogue in sessions, emailing, journaling, using guided meditations and contemplating queries. You may also be called to do some creative work from contacting this inner landscape as well as develop a practice of meditation.
~ “Energy medicine” honors the energetic pathways of our body and the universe. My education has been in qi gong and honors the Chinese meridian system. By connecting to the energy of nature and aligning with the five elements, we can follow the energy flow map in our body for aiding the energy to flow in the proper direction for restoration of a healthy mind, body and spirit. Each element correlates to an emotion, sound, smell, color, taste, herbs and on and on. I often suggest gentle movements, sounds and breathing that aid this energy pulsation and vibration. Flower essences are also part of energy medicine ~ the essences attune our emotions on a mystical level. Because of their profound presence in my life, my husband and I have developed our own line of flower essences ~ Sacred Forest Flower Essences. Click here to see our apothecary.
Tools for this stage would include simple qi gong movements, breathing exercises, meditation and color therapy. I may suggest taking flower essences if needed. We may also do chanting or other sound therapy.
I have added another medicine in my work – “give-back medicine”. We complete the circle, as does nature, by giving back our gifts to life. Without this important stage, our lives are incomplete and we can feel separation, loneliness and deep grief because we are blocking a flow of love to the world. By finding your gifts and your soul signature, we’ll work together to find ways that you can contribute, no matter your state of health or the limitations of your body. Sometimes, it’s a matter of recognizing the ways that you already contribute instead of adding anything else.
Tools for this stage are unlimited because they draw on your love, your energy, your passion. You may give back through writing, praying, creating works of art, contributing on facebook, sharing your story – whatever is right and true for you. The possibilities are endless because you are infinite. And, a reminder ~ offering your presence is, of course, the greatest gift that anyone can give to the world. I once worked with a man with ALS who had lost his ability to move or speak and I was able to transcribe letters to his wife as he looked up for ‘yes’ and down for ‘no’ to find the words he wanted to use. Anything is possible!
Please note that life-style medicine honors the ways that we live our lives. This would include nourishment and exercise so we may touch on these in our work although the focus of nourishment and exercise that I recommend is directed more towards the emotional and spiritual inner journey as compared to the physical body. And of course, as I mentioned above, these can’t really be separated. For more detailed guidance in the last four stages of medicine, you would do well to seek other counsel.
I hope this brief explanation answers some of your questions about how I work.
These first three medicines and the give-back were historically part of our heritage and community when we lived close to the land in communal villages. Because these aspects of our health are no longer self evident or naturally occurring, there is a missing piece in our health and well-being. My hope is to fill whatever gaps you may have so you may return to a natural state of inner balance and harmony to be as healthy as you are able.
With deep love and respect for our shared paths on this beautiful planet,
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