I have spent many an evening researching the work of scientists, sages, ancient wisdoms, medicines and theories, searching for meaning and purpose within health and well-being. I came across the work of the eminent Professor of Palliative Medicine, Dr Balfour Mount, sharing lessons learnt from his patients about living, when the stars aligned and I had my ‘aha’ moment.
Wholeness, holistic, health, heal, holy all originate from the same root word ‘hal’ and the Old English ”haelp” and then I remembered, at the heart of health we are called to restore ourselves to a state of wholeness, soundness and integrity. Each and every one of us have the power to move in this direction and much of this wisdom has been lost or forgotten.
Today, research verifies that a huge amount of premature deaths in England are due to inflammatory diseases of the heart and the other major organs of the body. Our obsessions with productivity and technology are causing widespread mental health issues, stress, burnout and exhaustion. Many of these issues are not new, they are simply intensifying and morphing to a new world, a changing world.
With over four decades of Registered Nurse experience my practices were and are rooted in holistic heart-based values of care and compassion within a safe and supported space, where the patient is an active participant in the journey to recovery. As technological advances and pharmaceutical proliferation changed the heart of care to ‘cure at all cost’, I became disillusioned with the mainstream health care system. I became lost and ill when the creative gifts of enabling well-being through healing practices faded away from health practices. Treating a disease and its symptoms, rather than the whole person mind and body, took me on a journey with an objective to seek out the best way to integrate self care practices and health care methodologies. I spent the next ten years travelling the World, directly experiencing, investigating and researching into the heart of indigenous cultures and healing modalities. Whilst on my postgraduate studies in palliative care, I endeavoured to research deeply into the mind body connection through pain relief, suffering and care within HIV/AIDS and cancer care. I volunteered at a palliative care clinic in Malawi, Ndi Moyo — The Place Giving Life and witnessed first hand the healing power of compassion and care, professional support, knowledge, time, natural healing resources and laughter! When we are heard, seen, touched with kindness and given a safe supportive space in which to share our deep concerns and worries for an unsure future the mind settles, fear loosens its tight grip, the body relaxes and a healing journey begins.
Within our own beloved NHS, it is now evident that a focus is emerging to actively create change toward a more balanced, integrated, community based well-being and preventative model. But what are we trying to prevent? It is worth remembering that our natural state is not illness, it is wellness therefore I prefer to move away from the term preventative and use the more empowering term self care.
Ignoring our own needs while constantly meeting the needs of others, multi-tasking and constant external changes which portray the World as a dangerous place to live, can have serious physical, emotional and even spiritual ramifications. I believe, we have gradually lost touch with our natural connection and command of our minds and bodies. To take the first steps towards self care requires courage and curiosity.
So how do we help ourselves ride the inevitable storms that come our way? How do we handle daily ups and downs without getting swept up by reactivity and emotions? We know that we need to make our health and well-being a priority, we know that we have to take responsibility ourselves and that’s the first step. When we are patient and accept this is not a quick fix, it is a gradual awareness, a raised consciousness that we have the power and ‘inner pharmacy’ to change our world and find our own formula for well-being.
Self care is not a new concept, and at Self Care World, we have a primary mission to awaken people to their own creative healing potential. We take a contemporary approach to personal well-being, mind-body-spirit “wellness” and holistic health. We include new, cutting-edge frontiers where science and modern medicine are increasingly reconnecting with traditional therapies and ancient wisdom streams. Research and evidence from Neuroscience, new biologies and emerging mind body sciences, increasingly emphasise that ‘Well-being is a Skill’.
Self Care World adopts an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the nature and importance of both our social environment, and how this nurtures our own personal development, and how this knowledge can be applied to cultivate personal, professional growth, resilience and quality of life.
It takes courage to make changes to our lives and when the call of nature, human nature, is heard through disease, we often have no choice but to listen eventually. But why wait to be ill, take care now, there is no time quite like the present! Let us each open up to our own healing potential by raising awareness of the positive power of self care through positive experiential skills, techniques and practices. The many art of living practices such as meditation, mindfulness, nutrition, exercise for energy, stress reduction and sleep integrating with the science of health from both modern day and traditional care will create a potential future of vibrant health and well-being.
We simply need to connect again.
Sue Cooper is a Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher, Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Registered Nurse and is qualified from The Chopra Centre for Well-being as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Instructor.