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Becoming My Own Patient--Why This Gives Me Confidence to Offer My Services

“Physician, Heal Thyself”--sine qua non

Becoming My Own Patient--Why This Gives Me Confidence to Offer My Services

I’d rather talk about aspects of healing that might benefit others, but I really need to start with the fact that I became my own patient through this recent immersion/thrown-in-deep-end process. This wonderful new state of affairs is what gives me confidence to offer my services as a very personalized chef, healer, and/or health coach going forward.

For a long time (perhaps most of my life), I’ve exhibited the paradox of knowing a lot about health and nutrition, but suffering from very serious health issues and being seemingly incapable of applying my knowledge to help myself. This was part of an internal disunity/disintegrity that tormented me, and while its cause was partly lack of self-worth, its effect was also lack of self-worth--certainly lack of confidence in my ability to help others with my knowledge and skills.

My wonderful naturopath back in Homer repeatedly tried to get me to take myself on as my own patient. And I just couldn’t conceive of the possibility. Perhaps I needed to suffer some more. And perhaps the hospitalizations, the drugs, the dark times, were essential parts of my training--I know far more about psych meds than most alternative-health practitioners I’ve come across, and far more about interpreting physiological symptoms of malnutrition than most health coaches and chefs, because I’ve lived them and lived alongside others going through it.

I’ve been praying for a long time to come into integrity as the “clear channel for the healing energy of the universe” I was told I am nearly ten years ago. My mistake has been trying to deny the vessel/channel, my body--to deny, negate, transcend, do without it.

When I was thrown in the deep end running the clinic singlehanded, including having to deal with an extremely oppositional patient for the first month of that period, I’d been doing enough healing work over recent months to know that I had to keep body and soul together--too much was dependent on my not burning out. Although I was working very hard, it was my conscious practice to make sure I slept well every night, did as much of my physical and spiritual practices as time allowed, took my tonic herbs…

As time went on, I was even able to optimize my personal diet, although I had to get over my long-standing habit of semi-fasting when busy first, especially because I was concurrently doing a deeply cleansing course of systemic enzymes that often left me in pain and nauseated.

The turning point came about ten days into the immersion. In an off time when all was quiet, I’d grabbed a half hour on one of the frequency machines at the clinic. I let my mind wander, and found myself musing on the gut distress I was in at that moment, only this time I wasn’t feeling defeated and victimized by my conditions as I so often have been. After ten days or so of paying close attention to other people’s symptoms and making suggestions, I guess a bit of pattern-matching had taken place. A wise and curious voice inside me said, “If this was one of my patients, what would I suggest that she do?”

And from that moment on, that’s what I’ve become to myself. Curious how something so intimate and close came about through a process of distancing, of seeing myself on par with these other people I was working with, as something external to myself. But if that’s how it had to start, it’s only brought me closer and closer to myself and my own best interests.

That moment created an upward spiral. I started to look at my symptoms and give myself advice, or to articulate the situation more clearly when asking for outside advice, so that I received more useful answers. This made me stronger, and it also increased my self-confidence. I stopped being quite so shy about admitting that I was doing a great job. And as I admired my work more, I became all the more motivated to take care of the clear channel, the sacred vessel, so that I could continue to work.

Turning the energy outward again, the more exquisitely I took care of my own clear channel, sacred vessel, the more tuned I have become to the needs of the individual patient, which are different from mine--the more I’ve been able to focus, and to help the patient him/herself focus, on what his/her specific needs might be.

The more I’ve respected my unique needs--and my needs are more unique than most, because of my conditions and history--the more respect I’ve brought to the unique needs of each patient at each phase of their process, adjusting meal plans and general recommendations in response. I will never be a “one-size-fits-all” practitioner, and I will always come with the intention of meeting you right where you are, with clear intention of creating the smoothest path to where you wish to be.

About the Author

Ela Harrison

Ela is a wordsmith and herb lover who has lived in many places and currently resides in Tucson, AZ.

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