Digging Deeply Enough

A number of years ago I wound up with a crazy rash that covered about 3/4 of my body. The fact that it was unsightly was the least of it. The real problem was that it itched, intensely. Especially at night. After weeks of this I would wake frazzled and insane. I searched under every rock I could find trying to account for this condition. I saw every manner of healer; from an acupuncturist to a well-known dermatologist. From a medicine man to a primary care physician. From energy healers to…you name it. I looked at my diet, my emotions, my past lives, and on and on it went. Nothing seemed to help. It came and went as if it had a mind of its own; a sick, twisted, unexplainable mind.

After several years of this, I came to some basic truths; the fact that healing requires patience, the necessity of meeting the body’s most basic biological needs and the non-negotiable need for self-care born from self-love. For years my acupuncturist had been telling me that in any healing journey you had to dig your well deep enough to find what you were looking for. He explained that most conditions will resolve themselves with the assistance of any approach, and that what mattered most was your willingness to stay with something long enough for it to be helpful. In other words, patience. He equated the journey to digging a well looking for water and that if you kept digging a little and then changing spots, you were going to miss what you were looking for and wind up with a bunch of half dug wells and no water. Which ironically brings me to the other thing he kept telling me; that I needed more water. And for some crazy reason it took years for this truth to kick in. I thought it had to be more complicated than that. Didn’t it? Water just seemed so…anticlimactic somehow. Far too simple, common and obvious to ever be of use. I mean, really, what was happening to me was monumental! It just had to require some very intense, complicated and maybe even expensive and difficult to come by cure or procedure. Right? No, not right. Until the body’s most basic needs for oxygen, water, whole food, sleep, movement, ease and connection are met, you do not know what you are looking at. Period.

And so, during the times when I was “patiently” digging my well, and before I had dug my well deep enough to find the simple solution of water, I learned how to take care of myself. When the rash would flair, I would drop all ideas of cure, all expectations of what should and should not be and would just be with myself. Like being with a baby that would not soothe, I tried to hold myself as well and lovingly as I could. I would place no conditions on me or my skin. Radical self-care was how I thought about it. I would take baths which soothed my raw flesh and I would work to soften the intensities of my mind. I gave up on miracle cures and the idea that healing had to be complicated and external. I gave in. I surrendered. And I got better. In fits and starts at first. And then in whole wonderful clumps.