By Mitra Shafaei,
Registered Kinesiologist (Ont. Canada), MSc, BSc
Doug Marman’s new book, “The Spiritual Flow of Life” helped me understand how to form a constructive and inspiring relationship with our bodies.
We have all heard about the use of “mindfulness” and “positive thinking” as ways of relieving illness. They are now a well-known trend in the healthcare field of our times. However, it is not exactly clear why these strategies work—and more importantly how they work. And it is not always easy to educate patients—especially when they are going through the most difficult time of their lives—to use such techniques as an important element in their treatments. However, what Doug talks about in his book, “The Spiritual Flow of Life,” goes beyond mindfulness and positive thinking strategies.
To give a little bit of background, I have been working in the field of rehabilitation for over 15 years. The range of patients that I provide treatment for is quite wide; from people who suffer from chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, to patients who are dealing with acute injuries related to motor vehicle accidents.
I always find it helpful to have my patients see themselves as one of the active participants in the circle of their healthcare providers. I encourage them to be a part of the team, instead of expecting that their cure will come to them from “outside”. Of course, a lot of help does come from doctors and physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and rehabilitation therapists (like me). But the main ones who determine whether all the hard work of others becomes effective or not are the patients!
I have always known that this is true, as I have seen it many times in my career. But I never really knew why and how true it is. Doug’s recent book helped me understand and it bridged the gap for me. Now I know the reason behind this “bond” that we have with our bodies: The “all-for-one bond” is the key.
Since I understand this better, it is easier to explain this special bond to my patients. And because they are now better able to understand it, see it, and make sense of it, they can use the suggested techniques more effectively. As a result, their recovery and progress is now significantly better. In fact, I can objectively show that these patients recover faster than those who are not using the process in their treatments—in other words, the patients who expect their help will come to them from outside, and not from within.
One of the inspiring ideas that came to me from reading “The Spiritual Flow of Life,” is something that I explain to my patients this way:
“Imagine you are the leader of a big factory, and the factory is your body. Now, imagine parts of your factory went under a catastrophic fire and burned down. There are workers who are severely injured, and some are even dead. These workers have worked for your factory with devotion and love for their entire lives. But now they are suffering and in great need of help. Think of all those areas, cells, and organs of your body as workers and damaged structures. You, as the leader, need to make a commitment to visit those people who work for you and need your help, on a daily basis. Be with them! Tell them how much you appreciate them, their work, and their love. Tell them how much you love them back and care for them. Change the burned-out lights and fix them. Bring light to the dark rooms and food for the team. Keep the area bright and clean and let those people heal in a loving environment.”
I have had patients who suffered from stroke and half of their bodies were paralyzed. Being in a wheelchair for more than two years is not easy. But, the frustration and negative feelings that make them “hate” their bodies never helps them. I suggest that they see it differently, which helps them change their perspective. I encourage them by saying this:
“Don’t try to be the boss of your body. Instead, be the leader! Your factory is half burned! Is it fair to go there, as the boss, and scream at them: “Why are you not doing your job?” How would you feel if you had a boss who didn’t care and could not see the problem? Would you stay in such an abusive environment and keep working for that boss? I know that I would quit and leave with no hesitation! Now, if all the workers—your cells and organs—quit and leave, what will happen to the factory—to YOU?”
They laugh and say: “I guess you have a point.”
So I ask them to be “a loving and caring leader who is there to inspire the employees and help them, not to abuse them!”
Frustrated patients have now become more loving and kind to their bodies. Shortly after they start changing their perspective, a change and progression in their recovery begins. Their new way of seeing comes directly from what I learned in “The Spiritual Flow of Life”.
In other words, I help my patients learn how to become a “Soul Catalyst” in their relationship with their bodies. Soul Catalyst is a term that Doug talks about extensively in his book. As soon as my patients change their perspective and become more involved in their treatment, their progress changes. I mean “real change,” to the point that management in my company noticed it. They recently sent me this message: “We don’t know what you are doing, but it’s working; better than the other team members. We want to know more about it and hopefully teach others to use it.”
In this note, I have shared only one example on how this book inspired me to help my patients. I believe everybody interested in the field of health and wellness will find this book helpful. I strongly recommend my colleagues and other healthcare professionals to read this book. It can help them develop new strategies that will help their patients, on their journey to recovery.
Beautiful article ! Touched my heart ! I can imagine how using this technique can strongly encourage patients’ recovery , physical and psychological healing ! Very proud of you and your journey ! Definitely inspired me to read The Spiritual Flow of Life and hopefully incorporate the teachings into my profession. I think as healthcare providers we have this golden opportunity to help people because usually we see them during the most vulnerable time in their lives and that’s when their broken hearts need to feel the light the most !Trying to make these interactions effective and meaningful has become my new goal and I’m sure this book will help me get there ! Thanks for sharing
Good job Mitra, it’s a great article. How well you simplified the use of “mindfulness” to relieve illness and pain with comparing it to a leader of burned down factory. This article really encourage me to read “The Spiritual Flow of Life”!
Thank you for your kind sharing. I know someone who did meditation for a few years and acknowledged the wisdom of cells in her organs during meditation.
The connection with body made her love herself and she started to recognize who really she was.
Then she realized what deeply made her happy. She said she has never been happier and smarter and wiser. It feels like it felt in her childhood time. Her mind also became clean and transparent, she said. She could not explain how it worked, but could talk about the effects.
Thank you Mitra for sharing your beautiful story and the actual example
This experience shows how important the relationship with life is and the way that we should think “all for one” in every part of our life.
An excellent and well written article Mitra. Thoughts and their corresponding emotions are the building blocks of creation. Did you know that by writing this article you are also acting as a positive “catalyst” for others? I look forward to getting my own copy of Doug’s book “The Spiritual Flow of Life”.