When I refer to Mind Body Spirit medicine, I mean that a healthy mind and body occur spontaneously, when one finds balance in life by maintaining a state of spiritual well being. Lately, I have found myself enjoying this state of well being more often and for longer periods of time. To achieve this, I have had to push my limits holistically (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). I have had to make many inner and outer changes. In this article, I share some of the life events that sparked my first interests in the mind, the body and the spirit.
The Mind: I first developed an interest in the mind growing up with my sister. She has Down’s Syndrome, as well as Autism. Her verbal communication skills were and are very limited, requiring our whole family to learn to adapt. This challenge was intense. She had important needs, just like everyone else, but was unable to meet those needs herself, or tell us what they were. As a family, we first thought the main problem to solve was “how to change her, so that she could function in society”. Later we realized that the more valuable challenge was “how to change ourselves so that we can recognize her needs intuitively”. Looking back at this, I can laugh now. Looking back, I can also see that my inability to verbally communicate with my sister, unearthed a strong curiosity in me about how the human mind worked. What was she thinking? Why did she act so unpredictably? What were her life experiences like? No one was able to answer such questions to my satisfaction. Those important unanswered questions about the mind, ignited a search in me that lead me to have a special interest in biopsychology in college, psychology in medical training and now to Mind Body Spirit medicine as a doctor.
The Body: My insatiable desire to learn about the body was surely instigated by my father’s job. He was a medical doctor. As a young child, I can recall my mother finding me children’s books that showed what was inside the body and how it worked. With fond memories, I can recall my father bringing me to work on Sundays after church. I could see how happy it made him to help his patients regain health. His love of his job spoke for itself. He frequently worked 10-12 hour weekdays, and was available for his patients nearly 24/7. When I asked him what I should be when I grew up, I was surprised to hear him say, a teacher or a priest. Ultimately his actions spoke louder then his words and inspired me to conquer every obstacle that stood between me and a career as a medical doctor.
The Spirit: As a child, my first big tastes of spiritual well being came from engaging with nature. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small town that offered me freedom to explore, even at a young age. My home was a short distance from fields, ponds and forests. I would spend hours, often alone, exploring these natural surroundings. I loved hunting for frogs, chipmunks, mice, snakes, bugs and birds. I loved the fresh air and the many smells of nature. I loved soaking up the sun on my skin. I loved coming home with a tired body, but a satisfied spirit at the end of the day. Those childhood experiences were a blessing. I was graced with the wisdom of how it felt to have a still mind, a relaxed body and a shining soul. As I got older and assumed the growing responsibilities of my age, I always knew to return to nature to be refreshed.
When I finished my medical training, I made the mistake of taking on more responsibilities then I could handle. I fell for the commonly held belief, that the more worldly stuff I had (social status, money, property, belongings, vacations, etc) the happier I would be. Back then, I could not see that the more I had, the more I was responsible for. And with the more worldly things I was responsible for, the less freedom I had. It was not until I had accomplished all my major worldly goals, that I realized my mistake. I was up to my neck in debt. My relationships with others had taken a back seat and naturally those relationships suffered. They were dysfunctional and in a state of desperation. I was fully trapped in my self-created mess. Although, as with any mistake, once I saw how I was responsible for this mess, it started an intense fire in me. I was ripe for change and experienced an intense and unexpected spiritual experience on Christmas Eve. Now that I have firmly chosen to devote my life to spiritual goals, first and foremost, that fire is burning down all that stands between me and a constant state of spiritual well being. That fire is facilitating change. At times it can be hard to describe the state of well being that is surfacing, but when it shines bright, it speaks for itself. It is evident in the intense peace it creates within me. It is also evident in how it deeply touches those who are open for it. That spiritual well being has safely led me from being a medical based doctor, to a doctor of Mind Body Spirit medicine.