FEATURE - March 2019
Awareness is Healing
by Alex Jackson
I have dedicated nearly two decades of my holistic health practice to helping people achieve optimal health through their abdomen. I quickly discovered what the Maya, Aztec, Taoist, Japanese and other ancient cultures and philosophies have spoken of for centuries…harmony in our center, core, or hara is our vital life source and its health will have a direct effect on all other parts of the body. Every belly has a different story to tell; a hidden message which once unlocked will allow healing to take place. This message, a mantra of sorts, has been consistent and progressively louder over the years in my practice. It has provided a clarity to many obstacles. The mantra is three words - “Awareness is HealingÆ” A simple phrase, yet many people spend a lifetime searching for its meaning without ever realizing that this mantra can cure many illnesses.
The fastest way to gain Awareness is through the abdomen; the location of our true emotional center aka “second brain” or gut instinct. We must be able to intuitively feel, not just think about our body and surroundings - engaging in physical touch that gives tactile feedback to calm our nervous system. This is why manual therapy like massage is so profound to help us re-connect to the instinctual Awareness in our body. Traditional Medicine has used simple but effective techniques for centuries to treat many health issues like: IBS, anxiety, headaches, menstrual pain, infertility, reflux, pelvic pain, constipation, and more. The problem with our of lack of health or spiritual Awareness is that we spend most of our lives in a state of protection.
You see, as a child we have basic needs: to be loved unconditionally, to have shelter, security, and to be allowed to be ourselves—free of expectations and judgments.
When these basic needs are not met, feelings occur: hurt, sadness, guilt, shame, anger, abandonment—to name a few. We automatically restrict our breathing by contracting our respiratory and pelvic diaphragms to guard from traumatic experiences and hide unwanted feelings. Especially as children our sensitive bodies adapt within each environment, physically feeling better or worse depending on the comfort, safety, volatility, or fear of our surroundings. The first negative emotions we experience like sadness, anger, guilt come from our first relationship - our parents. My favorite book that explains this in a simple way is The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. Parents are not to blame but we need to create Awareness of how our body felt or reacted to their stress, emotions or expectations in order to heal our own physical manifestations.
If all emotions are not truly felt or processed, they are stored in the body and will evolve into a physical illness or a pattern of behavior. We then lose our gut instinct and move only to brain intellect…trust vs. protection.
The Missing Link
Even western psychologists have always said that “our issues are in our tissues.” No one understood this better than psychologist Dr. Wilhelm Reich. A pioneer for research in somatic therapies, Dr. Reich believed talk therapy alone was a waste of time. He chose to combine touch therapy to release stored trauma. According to Reich, only “talking” to a patient is like asking a person that is drowning to describe the temperature of the water. In order not to drown, the person needs be able to touch and feel the depth of the water. You see…we can sensor thoughts but not our feelings. During his sessions with patients, Reich always knew where the bottom of the ocean was, carefully guiding patients until they could feel it and let go of the fear or traumas their body had trapped inside. Reich also understood the importance of abdominal bodywork to unlock tension and trauma in the body. One of my teachers, Dr. Rosita Arvigo, was the first to expose me to the Reichian theory. Dr Arvigo, developer of the ArvigoÆ Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy, said “this was the missing link in her treatments.”
Following in the path of my teachers of Traditional Medicine, the goal of every healing session I give is always to help create Awareness for the person by connecting the physical ailment with the emotional cause and empower the spirit.
In fact, in Traditional Maya Medicine and Curanderismo (traditional Mexican folk healing) there are words for emotional illnesses that correspond with the physical body and internal organs.
Here are some examples:
The Lifelong Mantra
We have all chosen to be on this planet at this time, to live life through our experiences and relationships. We must remove guards that prevent Awareness in our bodies and allow feelings to occur naturally; this opens us up to clarity. When we are clear and aware, we make better decisions, with better outcomes. Instincts are not clouded, and we can truly navigate through life as we should and become who we always wanted to be. Our mind will always try to protect us from life’s experiences, but what good is a life that is censored and without feeling?
My life’s passion is to allow people to feel through touch, in hopes that everyone will live (feel) the life they wish. I love knowing that every day, through Traditional Maya Medicine and abdominal massage, another person has begun to feel, to breathe, and to live again…continuing their growth as a human being. True Awareness is what is learned by experiencing feelings or emotions and connecting them to an actual event or person, then releasing it. The mantra is not taken lightly, it holds a lifelong meaning that I honorably pass on to others daily—“Awareness is HealingÆ.”
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Alex Jackson LMT, NCTMB is a Holistic Health Practitioner specializing in Traditional Maya Medicine and teaches the Awareness is Healing® method. He has almost two decades of experience in treating chronic and acute health conditions such as chronic pelvic pain, digestive, reproductive, musculoskeletal, and anxiety issues. He is co-owner of Centered Spirit – Cultural & Holistic Center located in Waldo: 8131 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, MO 64114. CenteredSpirit.com 816.225.9393 firstname.lastname@example.org