“The I in illness is isolation, and the crucial letters in wellness are we.” ~Author unknown, as quoted in Mimi Guarneri, The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing
During my Qigong retreat several weeks ago, I spent one session in tears. It was an interesting experience that I think I only now understand.
At the end of our breathing meditation we spend another thirty minutes receiving chi into our organs. The day before my reaction, some of the other people became emotional as they spoke of how grateful they were to their organs for the amazing job the organs perform. Many said while they meditated they saw the body as it works. Some said they could see the heart pumping the blood through the entire system, some said they just felt the power of the lungs as they work, some saw the entire system as if through an x-ray video. Each spoke of a complete gratitude to what the body does in maintaining our health and keeping us alive. I had a void of experience that day and felt a little slighted because I really wanted to see, feel, or sense something.
So the next day during our organ meditation I decided I liked the idea of thanking my organs and body. So I did. I placed my hands over my liver, the first organ in the series, and said, in my mind of course, “Thank you for all the work you have done in the last four years during chemo, radiation, and all the other treatments.” I did not expect the rush of tears that came. As unusual as it may sound to have a conversation with a body part, that’s exactly what happened. It was considerably one sided because I talk a lot. I told my liver how amazing I realize it is. It overcame such difficult events and did not give up but instead continues to refresh and dispel any toxins allowing me to heal. Now I didn’t hear back in words from my liver but I did sense the appreciation for being thanked and recognized for its hard work. Maybe that’s my own ego needing reassurance for my hard work but since we’re all together in one body I suppose that makes sense. We all need a little gratitude and recognition. I went on to the other organs and thanked them as well although none brought the emotion of the liver. In thanking the liver and realizing what it must have gone through I guess all the others felt cherished too.
At the time, I sort of chalked it up to a chi reaction of being together with my fellow “gongers.” We often talk of feeling the vibes in a room so I figured my emotions came as a direct connection to the others in the room and that may be true. However, what I think took me this long to understand is that it’s not just some strange reaction. This event was a healing given to me by my organs and my recognition of how hard they worked while I was going through cancer treatment. I actually participated in the humbling experience of being able to see my body as an important working part of me. One is not just there for the other’s benefit. We are actually together in kind. It is clear to me that it’s important to be appreciative of the parts of me that I normally don’t see. I just don’t often think about the blood vessels or the lung alveoli or the bile ducts but they are all so important to our health and well being that I now spend each day that I can, sending energy into my body and organs and thanking all of them for my continued good health.