From Fear to Faith
Recently, I was at a conference for authors. A gentleman named Jim Howard was the last speaker. He spoke about his life and how he came to be where he is today. The thing he said that had the most impact on me was that he has only been afraid twice in his life! I don’t know about you, but I find myself afraid almost daily about something. So naturally my ears perked up to hear his words. How can that be?
As he spoke, he explained that one time was when his mother died. She had gone in to the hospital for what seemed like a fairly simple operation and never came home. Things kept going wrong for her. When she died, the whole family was present in her hospital room; suddenly they all started singing Amazing Grace – her favorite song. As they sang, the entire staff on the floor, and other visitors to the hospital all gathered around their room. They were attracted by the love coming from them. His message was that his faith overcame his fear.
It made me realize that sometimes in my life, I’ve had a hard time having faith. There was a time when I knew exactly what voice to trust inside my mind. It was what guided me to want to be a doctor when I was five years old, to go into surgery residency after I got to save a life for the first time, and to study acupuncture when I realized that surgery wasn’t my path. I have complete faith in that voice and when I “hear” it, I usually listen to it.
A few years ago, it seemed that my inner voice went away. I felt rudderless and terrified of what was next. I started seeking outside validation, and not trusting my own internal guidance. I felt so ungrounded that I did crazy things in response – trying to find answers but not relying on the support I had.
In my experience with health, I often see people who feel that their bodies have betrayed them. They lose faith in their ability to heal – to find their way back to feeling well.
It’s frightening when your body is doing things that don’t feel right and no one knows the answer. It is even worse when something unexpected happens that causes a great deal of pain. How do you have faith when that happens?
I’ve found that getting back to having faith was a challenging road for me. But here are the things that worked when I needed help.
1. Spend time with the people who are trustworthy and give clear guidance. – Surround yourself with friends who can support you with love and patience. They will help you find your way back to your health.
2. Find a healer of that caliber who will walk with you to your health and through your darkness. I always give free initial consultation to my patients so that they can find out if they feel good with me. It’s important to have a relationship with a practitioner who will spend the time and energy to support you through your healing process.
3. Forgive yourself – sometimes we blame ourselves for the situation we find ourselves in. Whatever has happened, find a way to forgive yourself.
4. Practice radical self-love – Sometimes loving yourself is hard. It takes practice and constant repetition to get to tell yourself that you love your body, and your mind while healing from something difficult.
5. Put your attention on the things that do work for you, if its exercise, or certain foods, or areas of your body that feel okay, put your attention on those places. Build them up. When you focus on the things that are working, you’ll have a sense of reward that will help you with the things that aren’t working.
6. Spend time in quiet reflection or prayer – listen deeply to the silences, sometimes something will come out of them. It doesn’t have to be a long time, it can be a few minutes a day, but it really helps. Suddenly new ideas will begin to occur.
7. Be grateful for the good things. When you feel bad it’s sometimes hard to be grateful. Even if there’s only one place on your body that doesn’t hurt, be grateful for that. Or if there’s one person who called to check in on you, be grateful for that. Gratitude sets a whole new tone for your healing.
As I healed and began to hear my inner voice again, I realized that it had never really gone away. Finding faith is an important part of our healing journey. It means believing that it will all work out for the best, no matter what happens.