16 December, 2015

Reminder for self-healing during the stressful holiday season!

This month, I've been double-whammied with the flu, for a total of almost 11 days. It has given me strong lessons in flexibility and self-healing, and I thought it would be a great time to re-post my article from July 2015:
Stay healthy, dear ones!

In shamanism, the voice is one of the most powerful tools for healing. It contains breath, moisture, sound, vibration, and words, and it is the medium through which Soul Essence is blow back into the body.

For me, it is my primary healing modality. My sacred songs put me into trance, and I use a diatonic scale to help each chakra find its normal resting state. I sing to distract intrusions, to call out to Helping Spirits, to dispel glamours, and to re-focus my own mind when I'm having a hard time concentrating.

My voice and its care are of paramount importance to my work, which is why it is so incredibly frustrating when I am sick with a head cold. Schedules have to be re-arranged, appointments moved to new dates, and everything goes into flux while I wait and see how long it takes me to heal. It always brings great anxiety (as a self-employed full-time shaman), but healing cannot happen unless I am healthy first.

There are a wide range of medical, physical, and spiritual supports that I employ when I am ill, to help move everything along as quickly as possible:

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015
  • Within 24 hours of swollen glands, I make a giant pot of tea, take some Elderberry syrup, swallow a spoonful of crushed garlic, and reduce my stress level by staying offline as much as possible.
  • If that doesn't kick it immediately, then I know I'm down for the count for at least 3-4 days, and begin rescheduling appointments. I hate this part, as my previous experiences working in public mental health have made me feel guilty for taking time off of work (anyone else have that tricky socialized pattern?? Ugh).
  • At this time, I bring out the big guns:
    • Mucinex 
      • I swear that I pray to the Mucinex gods at least once a year. It is the best medication nasal spray for immediate relief from congestion (at least for me).
    • Breath Easy tea
      • I call this my "singing tea" and usually brew it before appointments. It helps open air passages so I can use more breath when singing, and it treats those same passages when I am sick.
    • Peppermint Oil
      • A dear friend who works with plants told me of the magic of this oil. I like dumping a bunch of it into the tub when I am showering, and when it combines with steam, it opens up my nasal passages and lungs very well! Sadly, it's doesn't last very long...
    • Bi Yan Pian
      • My acupuncturist told me about this wonderful blend of Chinese herbs and medicine. In a moment of wonderful synchronicity, I discovered that it was also the main ingredient in the above-mentioned Breath Easy tea!
    • NyQuil
      • Hands down, this is practically the only way I can get restful sleep when I am ill. I am very thankful for this medicine.
During any illness, I stop all magical and shamanic work, even work that I would normally do to heal myself. I consider illness to be a sign of something "out of alignment" in my subtle bodies (that's made its way into my physical body), and if I continued to do any sort of energetic work, I might make everything worse. Also, I get pretty loopy when I'm sick, so I wouldn't be able to tell if what I was "seeing" was real or not!

However, once I'm over the hump, and almost fully healed (around 85%), I will go on a Dismemberment Journey, and ask for healing from my Helping Spirits. A dismemberment is a specialized type of healing given by the Spirits, and can remediate the imprints of most illnesses/issues in healers.  Sometimes, if my Community is available, I will ask others to drum for me and send me love and energy.

To make sure that my voice is finally back and ready for work, I sing scales in the shower, and check the strength of each register. Can I pull in a full breath without coughing? Is my diaphragm strong enough to hold a note clearly for over 20 seconds? Does my voice waver if I add visualization and color to my tone?

I am a firm believer in both traditional and alternative forms of medicine, and I like using them to complement each other when I am sick. What methods have you tried when you are ill? What is your favorite? What never works for you at all?

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