Long ago, Native People lived the natural way. There was no need for pills, clinics, physicians or apothecaries. Now and then, their bodies would experience pain or imbalances. When that happened, the people had natural medicinals in the form of plants. The land itself was the clinic, and the only payment required was tobacco. The physicians were medicine men and women who worked with the Spirits, the true apothecaries, to help heal people.

We have since distanced ourselves from the natural way of life. Fortunately, we have alternative medicine practitioners trained in ancient modalities. While we may feel external support necessary at times, we can undertake the journey of self-healing daily.

Healing the body begins with focused mind-body communication. Attune to parts of the body demanding attention. There’s a subtle stage of communication that occurs even before the more desperate cry of pain. Aches or stiffness should be inventoried. Illness is metaphor; so each complaint or chronic condition represents something in need of adjustment on the other auric energy levels. I like Louise Hay’s metaphysical diagnostic dictionary at the back of her seminal work, You Can Heal Your Life. I try attuning to complaints and respond with affirmations or palliative measures to help the imbalanced part. It is far better to respond early and cumulatively so that you’re not left with surgical intervention as the only viable option.

The message you relay back to your body seals the mind-body connection. Lately, there’s been a bout of flu on the campus where I teach. Each night, I have Echinacea tea (purple cone flower), and I mix “Airborne” into my bottled Fiji water. Between the healing plant and vitamins in the Airborne tablet, I alert my brain that I have shored up my immunity. When I sneeze in public, I affirm, “Good. Sneezing is the first line of defense.” I don’t say to myself, “Uh-oh, I’m getting sick.” Stay confident and positive — even when the mighty have fallen.

It is vital, of course, to solidify and protect the auric body, as well. When traveling in public, do one of the exercises from books or tapes for sealing the auric field. The stress of social situations can wreak havoc with your energy fields. Visualize surrounding yourself in an egg-shaped, translucent container of white and gold protective light. Respect your own needs in personal situations; avoid absorbing obligations or burdens that aren’t your own. I’m not advocating for narcissism; of course we care for others. We need, however, to replenish our own energy if we want to have something left to offer.

Drinking tea every night is a simple self-care ritual to indulge. Chamomile and lavender support repose. Washing the feet before going to bed is recommended: doing so ensures a peaceful, restful time. Reading spiritual treatises at night helps keep your thoughts in a positive place as you enter the dreamtime. Keep a notepad and pen on the night stand to record dreams. Humbly ask the Guides to show you beautiful spiritual dreams from which you can heal and grow.

A crucial piece in my own journey of self-healing has been striving for strength and honesty. Living authentically, consistent with who I am inside, is the best medicine. I try every moment to live authentically. I am more honest with myself about how I feel in every situation. I’ve learned to pause and show deference to the voice within before speaking or moving forward. I focus on pleasing myself rather than others; I replace fear with strength and love. Going against my intuition; doing things solely to appease others; or saying something merely because the person I’m with expects to hear it-these actions are counterintuitive and destructive to my sense of wellbeing.

We need not be crass with others in order to protect our health and healing. Gentleness, kindness and compassion work best in securing a peaceful world. Healing, though, begins with honoring and respecting the self — of attuning to our own voice. I love the way Cedric tells it. In honoring the sacredness within, he reminds himself, “I am a child of the Holy Grandfathers, and I have a right to be here.”

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Janet Michele Red Feather

Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., is a ceremonial singer who has learned over 60 traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota and sings in nine different languages. Janet was a full-time defense litigator in California for nearly eight years. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. A regular columnist for The Edge, she has also appeared in Psychic Guidepost, FATE Magazine and Species Link. Her book, Song of the Wind (2014, Galde Press), dealt with her experiences as an empath, and her journey through Mandan spiritual culture. She is currently a full-time, tenured English faculty member at Normandale Community College, having taught Composition and Literature for a span of 20 years.

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