Thursday, May 16, 2013


We are all aware of the bias built into the Western idea that the mind is totally in the head, a function of the brain.  But your body is not there just to carry around your head."  -- Dr Candace Pert
On my "currently reading" list (I rarely read one book at a time) are two books.  One was recommended to me by my doctor.  It's called Divided Mind by Dr. John Sarno.  The premise is that for many, many people, the physical symptoms they experience, in a wide range of things from reflux to back/neck pain to fibromyalgia and depression, have their root in the conscious mind trying to suppress "unacceptable" emotions in the unconscious mind. 

I have an odd assortment of symptoms, myself.  Chronic neck pain, occasionally depression, and a host of systemic symptoms that I can't explain.  I asked my doctor whether, if I went to another doctor, he'd be likely to diagnose me with fibromyalgia.  He said, "Not likely... 100%."  He told me that Dr. Sarno's books are the reason he became a doctor, and that I needed some sort of integrative medicine.

The other book, The Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov, is a re-read for me.  It talks about something she invented called equine-assisted psychotherapy.  Because horses are so attuned to nonverbal cues, they are aware when someone is acting incongruently.... putting on a smile when there is turmoil underneath.  As a result, she uses horses to help people who have spent so long burying their negative emotions that they don't even recognize them anymore.  I fall into this category, for sure.

The two of these books together have connected a lot of dots for me, and I have decided that the way out of pain, for me, encompasses two things.... Art, and also my horses.  I won't go into detail about some of the awesome experiences I've had since I decided to start working with them again.  They are my integrative medicine... physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.

Yesterday this image came to me in meditation.  The concept of Yin and Yang means that things are not black and white.  There is a little of this in that, and a little of that in this.  Dark and light, passive and active, spiritual and physical, female and male.  The intent of this painting is that you cannot separate mental/spiritual from physical.  They both affect one another.  Once you accept everything, there is wholeness... and healing.