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Denali Institute of Northern Traditions
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Marina Petro
CJames Jensen
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Lindsey Arsenault
Alternatives For Healing

The Secret of Healing

by Dr. Karen Clickner, ND


During this period of time I am often asked what I recommend for preventing illness. In fact the best thing is also what I recommend for healing from illness. Joy. I have noticed that many of my patients feel exhausted by the sheer effort it takes to manage their lives. Think about your typical day. How much of that day was devoted to completing as many tasks as possible? Now think about how much of your day was devoted to things that bring you joy. Did you even think about providing joy for yourself today?

I cannot underestimate the effect that joy has on our physical and mental health. But in order for joy to do its job, we have to give it the space to develop. Imagine that there are numerous tiny spaces throughout our bodies, rather like Swiss cheese (which my brother-in-law who is Swiss tells me really isn't). These spaces are designed to act as storage spots for points of light and caverns for fresh air. The content of these spaces determines both the look and feel of your body. But often instead of light and air these spaces can be filled with toxic byproducts of metabolism and the normal daily exposures we experience. It is the difference between a body with millions of points of light and a body with millions of dark spots.

The process of cleansing these spaces and filling them with light and air is powered by joy. In essence this is the purpose of joy in our physiological health, to promote health in our cells and our minds through the en"light"enment of our being. Sadness, frustration, anger, stress have all been clinically shown to promote physical and mental illness by pushing toxins and waste material into these delicate spaces, surrounding healthy cells with unhealthy influences. Over time it creates a loss of these vital spaces. Less and less of these spaces means less and less energy and health as we age. This is also what makes people seem old even when they are young.

So our choices every day really do determine at a very deep level, what our health will be like. Patients have looked at me like I have three heads when I tell them that they need to include joy in their daily routine. They need to decongest their bodies and their schedules by dialing down there frantic activity of work, family, friends, exercise, classes, etc. It isn't as though they tell me they feel joy doing all these things ... it's rather more like a habitual frantic activity that tells them they are healthy and they are normal. But instead it is draining the life out of them, which makes any healing or any change like pushing their car uphill in heels.

Creating joy takes effort at first, but the rewards are incredible. There is deeper breathing, difficulties seem less stressful and less overwhelming. Balance seems easier to achieve and the people in our lives notice the lightening of our being. Now I know what you're thinking ... there isn't even a minute to contemplate joy let alone invite it in. Well I just want to say that I have looked through all the rules about life and there is no rule that says we have to put off joy until all our work is done. Even my mother who worked all day, many evenings and every Sunday somehow found time every day for a bit of fun, relaxation and joy with us. Why do we view joyful things as treats or rewards instead of essential pieces of each and every day? I think it's because joy doesn't have a tangible result that we can point to at the end of the day. But the results that joy does bring is what stands between all of our life stresses and serious illness. So when we talk about taking a breath of fresh air, we really mean it. When we take a deep breath of fresh air, we feel a sense of relief and renewal that feels almost decadent. This is because we have been raised, trained and programmed to put work and obligations before all else, to believe that caring for the self is not essential, that it is selfish.

Think about that... the literal definition of selfish is to have the qualities of self, in other words to be true to the self and the needs of the self. But in our modern definition it is instead putting ourselves first at the expense of others. It doesn't have to be that way. In fact, we can do more for others if we are healthy, happy and joyful. Everything is better with joy and when our lives become a catalogue of required things, then our ability to heal and our ability to change, stops. This is also what makes facing a serious illness so difficult ... the changes that must take place in the family dynamics and schedules to accommodate treatment and healing. I have had very ill patients look me straight in the eye and tell me they don't have time for their illness. That is why I'm saying that long before illness invites itself into your life, fill yourself with little moments of sheer joy. Joy is the key and fostering joy should be a priority each and every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. So think about what brings you joy and do it!


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Article Archives  This Month's Articles  Click Here for more articles by Dr. Karen Clickner, ND
Marina Petro
CJames Jensen
Light Healing
Vibes Up
Sacred Journeys Retreats
Alternatives For Healing
Sue Miller Art
Ellie Pechet
Denali Institute
Margaret Ann Lembo

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