I walked out of my client’s house and down the narrow puddle filled walkway where my car was parked. My client was homebound which means she was physically unable to leave her home and live a functioning life in society. More often than not, many clients demonstrated enthusiasm to participate in treatments. When they showed some form of functional progress and improved strength we both felt a sense of accomplishment. The tricky part was seeing that their self-empowerment continued in between sessions. It became a test of balanced patience, compassion and motivation for clients to decide when they wanted to move forward despite having all the tools they needed to do so. It’s a balancing process. Too much pushing could make someone feel rushed and not ready to move forward while coddling could prevent people from trusting themselves to take the reins of managing how to function better on their own. I found this to be a commonality for many clients I saw in my 20 years in the physiotherapy field and alternative health care in multiple types of clinical settings.
My first introduction to health care started when working as a volunteer intern of an outpatient physiotherapy clinic at 15 years old. I have seen a lot. There are others out there that have seen and been through more. With all this experience I have noticed one common theme. Many people want to be free of suffering but few are willing to take ownership of healing themselves when they have the capacity to do it. With this mindset, I have noticed that clients who continue their healing in between health care oriented visits tend to heal faster. Often times this can harden a practitioner forcing one to simply acknowledge it as an occupational hazard if they are going to survive a career in health care. Others will continue to do exceptional work but also be ok with the status quo of repeat clients who just want to get ‘fixed’. After all, it pays the bills. What makes me different in my work is that I ask my clients to fully take ownership of their physical, mental and spiritual healing long after they have left my office. I help people feel supported yet empowered to take the reins of their own health.
Imagine you just fell off your bike and fractured your hip or are recovering from a serious chronic illness. You go to the hospital, get the injury repaired and also complete physical rehabilitation. You may even need to find a different outlook on life depending on how the injury affects your interaction with the world. What happens after the dust of the acute trauma has settled? What do you do once all the doctors, therapists and psycologists say that you are recovered as best expected but you still carry emotional and physical pain? Maybe you can’t even remember a traumatic event yet feel a constant sense of anxiety and unease. This is the time to decide what it means to Own Up for you.
Almost every dictionary will say that the term ‘Owning Up’ has a negative coloring to it. I think of Owning Up as a gift. It takes courage, grit and (in my case) a bucket full of humor. It makes you a bad ass in the best way possible and awakens the warrior within. Think of your healing as rehabilitation not just for the body but for the soul. You have the autonomy to decide what your healing looks like, who you want to include in the process ,when to start and what pace to do it at. One thing that is needed, though, is to take responsibility of your healing. As Yogi Bhajan, the master of Kundalini Yoga said, “Start and the pressure will be off.”
Owning Up also means to stop blaming others for your pain and recognize your soul chose the healing experience as an opportunity to learn something about yourself. I will do my best to help compassionately shed light on how you can take ownership of your healing. However, it may require some poking and provoking. The thing is, long before you step in my office, the issues you are facing have probably been lessons you have experienced multiple times in this current life or in past lives. For example, finding yourself in the same kind of emotional dramas no matter what kind of relationship you are in or where you live. Another example is continuing to injure the same shoulder, ankle or knee or other continued flare ups of old issues. There are many different ways trauma can manifest in the body. Whoever was involved in past stories has their own healing to do that does not belong to you. The Owning Up action starts when you are ready to have a conscious conversation with your soul to find out what lesson your soul is trying to tell you to learn. Life events will continue to replay like a movie until the soul is heard loud and clear.
The hard part is slowing down enough and clearing the garbage of the mind to listen. Taking responsibility for your own health is not just about following through with a plan of care to heal, but diving into a deeper knowing of how magnificently unique you are and why you are in this human form at this time on earth. As a giver and receiver of healing I have found that there can be a initial tendency to hop from one healing practitioner to another in search of this truth, looking for the next short term yet cosmically high feeling that will fix the issue once and for all. People not only do this with healing modalities but also through other things like recreational drugs, use of plant medicine, exercise or even yoga. The not so ugly truth is that the healer is only the catalyst for change. He, she, it can’t force the moment when the mind is finally ready to let go of the pain and the soul is ready have an honest conversation with the heart. Any time is a good opportunity to start Owning Up to a new and elevated outlook on life.
Stay tuned for Part 2: What You Can Do To “Own Up”.