Saturday, November 12, 2011

All You Need is Love... The Healing Touch

I am officially back to my crazy life.

So much for "transitioning" back into reality, it came all too quickly. As soon as I left West Virginia, I received a phone call from Kit, who I used to nanny for. They asked me to come back to work in Fort Collins as their nanny for their two children, Kai & Quinn, who I have been watching for the past three years. Of course, I said yes! Since I have already packed my life away into boxes for the peace corps, I wasn't willing to move back up to Fort Collins, soooo, guess who is commuting to work? This girl. I am staying with my brother, Tanner, and my cousin, Sarah, while I am up in Fort Collins, and I will stay each Monday night-Thursday night. I'm working three full days a week (TWR) and it has been such a joy. Quinn is 14 months and Kai is now 5 and in kindergarten. I will miss their family SO MUCH!

Little Quinn
Not so little anymore, Kai!
So between working part time, traveling up and down I-25, and visiting friends and family, time is flying by! I only have 52 more days before I leave... eek! So much to do in so little time. :-D

I think I will write stories as I go about Gesundheit!, I still have so many stories in my mind. After talking with a few people, I have been asked countless times, "What was the best part of your experience at Gesundheit?"

Well, folks, here it is.

The best part of my experience at Gesundheit was the amazing amount of healing I was able to witness throughout a four week period of time. I am convinced that loneliness is the world's worst disease and almost everyone could benefit from having a good friend to listen to them. The coolest thing about the healing I was able to be a part of was that it didn't have anything to do with conventional medicine. No one took prescription drugs, no one was sent to see a doctor, and no one was told what to do. All of the healing took place because of the love, compassion, and understanding between a small group of people.

I'll do my best to keep the story at a manageable length to read.

There was a man in our group who was older than the majority of the students and of course, I wanted to talk to him and hear his story about why he was taking classes at Gesundheit. I felt a little uneasy around this man (hmm, maybe 40's?) and quite honestly, he freaked me out a bit. He didn't talk much with the group, he was very closed off, and he even went through a period of silence and wouldn't talk at all. I decided to sit by him at dinner one night because I wanted to get to know the man behind the uncomfortable stares and body language. I plopped down next to him, introduced myself, explained why I was there, and asked him to share the same information. He replied by saying his name, telling me he was disabled, and that was that. We hit a wall in conversation. No more talking about anything. This man was disabled, thank you very much, now leave me alone to eat.

Now, one of our ongoing assignments (which I wrote about before) was to respond to letters Patch received in the mail. People from all over the world, with a wide variety of issues, write to Patch hoping for words to lead them in the right direction. That's a lot of responsibility, wouldn't you say? When Patch came to visit, he asked our group to share our responses to the people who wrote about their pain, suffering, and loneliness. Each of us addressed the situation differently, but there's no right answer to helping people. Patch offered his letter responses to us as well so we could all learn from each other. Nobody responded the same way.

The man I discussed earlier raised his hand when Patch was there to share his letter response. The students all looked at each other in disbelief because he had never really volunteered to contribute much in class before. Listening intently, we heard him read his letter out loud to the group. While most of us wrote with sympathetic suggestions, he wrote about relating to the same situation. His response was based in his understanding of the struggles this person was going through, and his personal life story came pouring out during class. From depression to homelessness to problems with family, this man had been through a lot of crazy things in his life. And he told us he was autistic.

It was a very emotional letter and I think we were all a little unprepared for that personal confession. At that point, Patch said he would like to offer a healing for the man in our group. (we were all looking around, "a healing? that sounds sorta cult-like?") But stick with me. The man laid down on the floor with Patch and all of the students sitting in a circle around him. We all held hands and Patch told us to focus all of our positive energy toward him. We let go of any negative thoughts and focused on healing him of all the pain in his life. We all laid hands upon him while he closed his eyes and we all sent positive healing thoughts. Sounds crazy, but read on.

We didn't do anything you could learn in medical school. All we did was focus our love and attention on his pain for 15 minutes. Patch asked our group, in addition to the normal curriculum, to continue doing one healing a day for the rest of the month for this man. Of course, the group agreed and Patch really felt like this would be an invaluable lesson for the group. The man agreed too, with the stipulation that everyone received a healing and had to lead a healing.

As the month progressed, each person designed their healing in a different way. For example, the healing I lead was for Kaile, and after everything I had learned about her, I knew that it would be helpful for her to have some words of encouragement to walk away with. Kaile's healing was quite simple, we all took turns laying hands upon her while listening to soft, instrumental music (from the Listen to Your Heart soundtrack- it's amazing if you want some good, quiet music!). Each person took a brief moment to write on a 3x5 note card. People shared quotes, song lyrics, poems, and letters of encouragement for Kaile. As the music continued playing, we each read our note card individually to Kaile, and she collected a pile of "love notes." I discovered that most people have some sort of internal struggle, some bigger than others, but if you focus love and attention on those issues, people are often brought to tears. People desire to be loved, listened to, and comforted. And the best part? It's seriously simple & completely free. 

The man who would never hold eye contact, offer his opinions in class, or participate in activities quickly turned into a very loving man who was thrilled to help out. He began coming up to me with open arms for big bear hugs. It's difficult to explain, but he was so afraid of this new group of people, and he has completely transformed and thinks of us all as his friends. I have never seen such a drastic transformation before in my life. And it was all so simple. He used to really make me uncomfortable in the mornings when we were bumbling around in the kitchen, and I quickly became comfortable with his presence while I sipped on my morning coffee and wrote in my journal. He holds a very special place in my heart now, and all because we just gave him a little love and encouragement to face the world around him.

I'm pleased to say that he still emails the group and he seems to be adjusting back in reality. He changed more in four weeks than I even thought possible. I even miss him now! What a truly amazing, life changing experience for him, and also for each of us.

"Healings" sound a little creepy in the beginning, but really, it's just giving love to someone for a few minutes a day. There's nothing medical about it. People need people, and it's really as simple as that. 

I'll leave you with lyrics to one of our favorite songs to sing together at Gesundheit!. I'll keep sharing stories as I find time to write about them.
"People are wasteful, they waste all the food.People are hateful, and people are rude. But God I love some people sometimes, because people are very very special. And people are impatient, they don't know how to wait.And people are selfish, people are prone to hate.But God I love some people sometimes, because people are the greatest thing to happen.I said God I love some people sometimes, because people are the greatest thing to happen.And People are people, regardless of skin.And people are people, regardless of creed.People are people regardless of gender, people are people regardless of anything.I said People are people regardless of gender, people are people regardless of anything.And people are my religion, because I believe in them.People are my enemies and people are my friends.I have faith in all of the world, and I only hope that they have faith in me.I said I have faith in all of the world, and I only hope that they have faith in me."
Love & Light,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On the Road Again..

What a crazy week!
My final presentation was great-- I actually had the chance to present my project to Patch and he participated in the workshop Kaile and I put together. There were tearful goodbyes this weekend and I still have lots to say about the medical elective. I will be updating more soon when I get home!

My Puppet, Teshi.
Puppet Practitioners, our final presentation
Kaile & her puppet, Lilly
Puppet workshop
After our final presentation!
The group at our closing ceremony
One of our last meals together.
!!!!!! Hurray!!!!!! 
I am on the road again, making my way back to Colorado. I stayed two nights in Columbus, OH with my friend Natalie. I met Natalie in West Virginia and we thought it would be fun for me to come see her normal life in Ohio. I met her whole family, her boyfriend, and her two adorable pit bulls. :-D I came to Louisville, KY yesterday after catching up with Sarah Huebner in Frankfort, KY. I grabbed a cup of coffee with Sarah and spent the rest of the day with step family after that. I am currently laying on a couch in Louisville, convincing myself to get up, shower, and get on the road. I will drive to Kansas City tonight and stay with a friend there.

one of nat's "puppies" sitting on my lap
Coffee with Sarah!
My cousin, Rachel
Just driving.. it's what I do these days.
I'm not sure I've fully accepted that winter is coming... I'll have to try to embrace the snow waiting for me back home!

Excited to see everyone & share stories.. feel free to call in the next couple of days, I'll be driving a lot.

Love & Light,