The message my body has been sending me (that I've been ignoring)

Woman lying on her side on a couch clutching her stomachI'm not very good at being sick (who is?). I rail at the unfairness of not being able to follow through with my plans, trying desperately to convince my body it's fine, silently seething at the sick people who probably infected me (damn you, coughing man on the bus!). Since I'm self-employed I lose money for every day I don't work, so I can't help but panic about the hit to my income... which only magnifies the unrest within my body instead of promoting rest (so helpful). It's a shitty situation, and yet, a very necessary one.

Recently I was struck down by a sinus infection that morphed into a chest infection. I was confined to bed for almost three days, too weak and feverish to move. And I was miserable. 

When situations like this happen - which is very rare for me as my immune system is really robust - it's difficult to remind myself that being sick is NORMAL. There is nothing wrong with me. My body has not shut down because it's broken, it has shut down because it wants to be stronger... and for that to happen, it needs to rest and rejuvenate. That quote 'almost everything works best if you turn it off and turn it on again' is pretty on point when it comes to colds and flus. 

Woman on couch with blanket, holding head
But because we live in a 'go go go' culture, resting is frowned upon. We try to 'soldier on' instead of giving our bodies what they actually need - rest, and acceptance of our present circumstances. Our to-do list seems so much more important than our health (even though, without our health, we can't do anything). Then we wonder why we feel wiped out and then get sick again later.

Why is it so hard for us to listen to our bodies?

We also have a tendency to talk ourselves into being sick... not ideal. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone in the office declare: 'I think I'm getting sick' or 'there's something going around - everyone's getting sick' I'd be a very rich woman. When we talk or think about illness as an inevitability - even in jest - the body responds by winding down our defences. The body, after all, is programmed to respond to messages from the brain. I am not saying our thoughts *make* us sick, obviously, but we do have the power to significantly increase the likelihood that we'll fall prey to bacteria and viruses with the messages we send our bodies. I regularly say to myself 'I have great health' and 'my immune system is strong'. This doesn't mean I never get sick (clearly) but it does mean my defences are higher. Which means that when I do come down with something, my body is really in need of rest.

The truth is, my body had been telling me for weeks that it needed a break. (I have a holiday booked in very soon... but, unfortunately, not soon enough.) When I refused to listen to its pleas for relaxation, it forced me to listen. Will I never learn?
Business woman rushing around
I have a lot of work to do in this area. I say yes to things that I know I don't have time for. I limit my sleep so I can fit more work in. I know I'm not the only one who does this. We are all writing cheques that our bodies can't cash. I'm reminded of the Dalai Lama's response when he was asked what surprises him most about humanity: 'Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.'

It's very clear to me that I need to break that cycle. 

Staying connected to the Universe, but still being grounded: all about the crown chakra

Little girl with crown on her head

This is the final post in my series about each of the seven chakras, or energy centres, of the body. I’ve posted links to the previous six chakras at the bottom of this article if you want a refresher, but first let’s delve into the crown chakra, which is all about your connection with the Universe.

The crown chakra is located at the top of your head (well, obviously!) and is associated with your thought patterns, how well you sleep (or not) and how connected you are with your spirituality.

The best way I can explain the crown chakra is that when it is in balance, life just flowsYou have an innate wisdom about how events are unfolding and about the direction in which you should move. The third-eye chakra is about having clear intuition, but the crown chakra is more intensive – it’s concerned with whether you trust the Universe enough to follow those messages (or whether your brain gets in the way). But even though this is about the ethereal stuff, a balanced crown chakra also means you are grounded (i.e. anchored to the real world) – because if you’re not grounded, you can’t integrate messages from your intuition.

Crown chakra symbol

(Image: The crown chakra symbol)

One type of people likely to have a crown chakra block are, ironically, those working in the spiritual community - think about the spiritual gurus online who spout a whole lot of convoluted wisdom which has no real-world basis.

Remember how I talked about how each chakra has an adversary? The heart chakra, which is all about love, has ‘grief’ as its adversary. And the sacral chakra, which is about pleasure, has ‘guilt’ as its primary challenger. In the crown chakra that adversary is ‘attachment’. That’s attachment to anything from possessions to an unhealthy relationship to a need to be right all the time. Because when we are attached to any object, or any set outcome, we’re not open to what the Universe is guiding us towards (that which is for our highest good).

My crown chakra is what I use to channel energy from the Universe through when I’m giving someone a reiki treatment. It’s also my pathway for receiving messages from the angels. But you don’t have to be working in the healing field to benefit from having a balanced crown chakra. 

Melatonin, the hormone that regulates healthy sleep patterns, is associated with the crown chakra. When there’s a block in the crown chakra, that interferes with melatonin production, which in turn adversely affects our sleep quantity and quality. It’s no coincidence that this year, the year that I started reiki and giving angel card readings professionally, my incidences of insomnia (which I have suffered from all my life) have decreased significantly. 

When the energy in our crown chakra is deficient we might display these characteristics:

* Very rigid belief systems (closed-mindedness regarding religion and spirituality)

* Dependence on material items to make us feel good

* A tendency to daydream and be away with the fairies

Illustration of human body showing location of chakras with symbols

(Image: The seven chakras in the body.)

When the energy in the crown chakra is excessive, we might be:

* Prone to overanalysing

* Likely to over-intellectualise situations

* Constantly struggling to switch off our brains

* Prone to insomnia

To balance out the energy in this chakra, meditation is the best course of action. In yoga, the headstand is effective (for obvious reasons). Also, taking a break from electronics can be hugely beneficial because it forces you to come back to the real world. Being around nature is also a great way to ground yourself.

***

If you want to know more about the other chakras, here are the links:

The base chakra – associated with our material needs (i.e. money) and security

The sacral chakra – our emotional health, our creativity and sexual energy

The solar plexus chakra – associated with empowerment and control

The heart chakra – the place from which we give and receive love (to others, and to ourselves)

The throat chakra – associated with communication and self-expression

The third-eye chakra – all about our intuition and perception of the world

What I've been dreaming about, and what it means

Dreams are so weird, right? Sometimes they're batshit crazy... but sometimes they contain important messages. My reiki instructor suggested I start keeping a dream journal so I can look for patterns in my dreams. That’s because a lot of emotional healing takes place while you sleep, and the more you work with energy healing, as I am doing, the better your ability to tune into that process becomes.
Woman sleeping

I’ve been recording my dreams for three weeks now and there’s a very clear pattern emerging – dreams about me cleaning. This sounds boring but it’s actually really powerful – it’s all about me getting rid of the old to make room for the new.
In one dream I was clearing out boxes of stuff from my house. I picked up a rat and two mice (ew!) and gave them to an unrecognisable friend, telling him I needed to get rid of them. This is significant because rodents symbolise undesirable elements – so basically this was me getting rid of ‘dirt’ in my life. Last night I dreamed I was cleaning a mouldy salt shaker in a holiday house in Tenerife (weirdly specific, I know) so the next people could use it. This is awesome because it’s about me getting rid of dirt (which I think speaks to my current process of improving my self-esteem and challenging negative thought patterns) in order to help other people. And given that my new career is all about helping people move through emotional blocks, that’s symbolic.
Not all dreams are significant, but usually the ones that are really vivid and contain powerful symbols are worth examining. And any that recur, or with a pattern that recurs (such as my ‘cleaning’ theme), are your subconscious sending you a very clear message too.
I’d love to hear about any dreams you’re having – post below or drop me a line  if you’re keen to share xx