With much delight and warmth of heart, I have resumed what my dear friend and I call “artist’s way.”  Actually, it started out using Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way, but in the five+ years since, it’s been many things — mainly our soul time.  A phone call a week, some quiet time, conversation, feedback — what every woman needs.

This time is sacred and confidential, but with an open heart I believe I can share lessons I’ve learned with sincere thanks given to my friend for her insight.  This week’s lesson: psychosomatic illness.

psychosomatic (per Merriam-Webster):

: of, relating to, concerned with, or involving both mind and body <the psychosomatic nature of man
— Herbert Ratner>

: of, relating to, involving, or concerned with bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance <psychosomatic symptoms> <psychosomatic medicine>

Friday I was stricken with a migraine, one like I hadn’t had for about five years.  Encouraged to look at causes for the killer headache, I realized there are many factors that could be at play.  Among the culprits:

  • hormones
  • post-holiday stress relief
  • change in weather
  • dehydration
  • break in a hectic schedule
In my weakened state, of course, I didn’t seek out the causes.  When we are down, we lack the energy to look beyond where we are in the moment.  When we are down, we are very much aware of our present state and what we must have to survive, even if it’s simply a place to sleep in the dark and quiet.  Pizza delivery can be a blessing.

There can be medical reasons behind a migraine.  If I go to a medical doctor, I’m certain I could come away with a prescription and repeat visits until a diagnoses is made.  But I can also listen to my body, keep a journal of the onsets, be aware of my surroundings and circumstances and see if there’s not a pattern.  I can take into account where my mind and emotions are and see how they might be playing out through my body.  After all, isn’t that what holistic care is about?

Undoubtedly I needed some rest.  Two a.m. is not a sustainable bed-time.  There are aspects of my life I need to be more aware of.  There are aspects of my life I need not take for granted.  I hope that in your life, you don’t have to be stricken before awareness is yours.  Our bodies are wise.  We need to listen and take care of them.

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