December 13, 2018

Yesterday it happened while I was cooking dinner. I’d had a long week — four days of packing in appointments without breaks. Next, next, next.

Now I was making a quick dinner for five: rice noodles and fish ball soup with cilantro, fried shallots, chilis and green onions. Right around the frying-the-shallots part, I started to get shooting pains in my back, from the base of my spine moving up, like little warnings.

Oooooh, shit, I thought. I have to be really aware of how I move, so I don’t twist something out of place. After dinner I laid down in my bed. I pulled out the Inner Peace Anointing Oil and gently rubbed it on my back. Inner Peace has flower essences for perceived lack of support, which is usually the root cause of my lower back pain.

From ten years — and thousands of consultations -- in private practice, I know that aiming for the root cause is the fastest way to heal. We can get to the root cause by placing our attention on our physical imbalance, to find out what wants to be acknowledged in our emotional or mental bodies.

When a physical issue’s root cause is emotional, placing our attention on that spot is typically all we need for everything to rebalance.

Last time my back was out of place, Robin Sandomirsky taught me this method: Ask that part of your body what’s happening. What’s the message, thought or emotion that is creating the symptom? Breathe compassion into that area, even if it’s not logical. 

Back to lying on my side in bed, curled in a ball, rubbing oil into my lower back. I ask my back, ‘What’s going on?’ I feel a pain flash through my heart, tears spring to my eyes, and ‘I am disappointed’ arises in my mind.

Ohhh. ‘That’s normal,’ I tell myself. It’s understandable to be disappointed when you experience some kind of loss. I allow the feeling to move through my body and I drift off to sleep. 

The next morning:

I reflect on several other times that my back has twisted out of place.

The first time it happened was when I was 16. I was living as an exchange student in Germany. I didn’t speak a word of German, except for ‘Guten Tag’ (good day). It was my first time living away from home; I’d won a scholarship to be in Germany for one year.

I missed my family and high school boyfriend terribly and it was weird to be in a place where it rained everyday and everything was gray, from the weather to the color of the buildings. (I was in East Germany and the wall had only been down for a few years). My beautiful host family didn’t speak a word of English but I grew to love them intensely; however, their oldest daughter got pregnant during my stay, making it impossible for me to remain there.

I moved to Hamburg in West Germany with my would-be permanent host family for the rest of the year. Long-story-short, my host mother had agoraphobia. She expected me to stay home and look after her and was also a bit cruel. I hit a wall. I reached out to my support from the exchange organization and she swooped in and rescued me. She let me stay at her house until she found me another host family. While I was lifting my heavy suitcase around, I threw out my back. I laid in bed for a week, because I was in so much pain.

They took me to see a doctor who x-rayed my back and told me I’m missing a tiny little bone on one side of the base of my spine, which would mean that for the rest of my life I would need to look after my lower back.

That was the first time. There have been many times since:

When I lifted up my dog, Joy, to take her outside when she’d had one of her strokes and couldn’t move. I was experiencing the eventual loss of her, my back twisted out and we found both of ourselves stuck on the floor in the kitchen, neither of us able to move.

The night before my first book launch party in NYC, when I met someone from the past who I had an incredible connection to — and there was a huge weird misunderstanding that left me reeling inside.

Even more recently, the week I was preparing to leave Singapore, feeling the loss of leaving such an intensely challenging, yet supportive place. My back started to hurt more and more and by the time we got to the airport I fought back tears and practically had to crawl into the airplane.

So … I pay attention now. Firstly, because I hate it when I can’t walk or stand up straight! It’s totally immobilizing. Secondly, because if I notice it more quickly, I can stop the full expression of that pattern by using a flower essence antidote: stop, rest, apply Inner Peace Anointing Oil and take a moment alone to ask my lower back what is happening.

Why is this practice ultimately so powerful?

Because the more we practice paying attention, the quicker we unravel the pattern forever! I know this from my personal experience — years of meditation and the lifestyle of making space to understand myself.

The best part is that there doesn’t need to be a reason for it. We don’t need to have a story, blame others, blame ourselves or crack down for not being able to ‘get it together’. It can be completely illogical. And that’s ok. Who knows? Maybe I got killed in a past life by being stabbed in the back. It doesn’t matter and it doesn’t need to make sense.

It’s about the five minutes of saying to yourself: Ahhh, I can see how feeling this way is painful. I see that. I understand that. And watching the wave of pain pass through us with compassion.

Sometimes what arises is like a tsunami. Sometimes it’s like a tiny blip on our radar. From my experience, it moves through much more quickly when we look at it. And eventually …

Eventually it finally dissolves into space and we are totally free.

That is the destination, but the path is where it’s juicy. With each knot that we untie - by flooding ourselves with compassion - the more liberated we feel each day.

What’s your favorite (or least favorite) flavor of physical symptom that arises when something in your heart or subconscious is suffering? For me it’s lower back pain. For some it could be extreme fatigue, headaches, stomach pain or sore joints.

Do you know the pattern connected to your symptoms? Do you have a flower essence antidote to facilitate a more swift and gentle unraveling of it?

{Kate says, “If you don’t get an answer, apply Truthteller to the area and see what happens. Works every time.”}

If you need help figuring it out, we can help! Email us or comment on this post or on Instagram, and I can record an anonymous video of all the responses. We read every note that comes in.

Usually after sharp, shooting pains like last night, by today I would be hunched over, unable to walk. But with 5-10 minutes of attention, using my flower essence antidote and getting a good night’s sleep, I’m like brand new.

And I want that for everyone in the world. I want everyone to feel like they have the support to help them make space for the waves and tsunamis, because the freedom on the other side is so worth it.

Love + flower petals,