Dr. Amy Bader, ND
Hello, ladies! I hope you have enjoyed my series so far. I encourage you to continue your assignments from previous articles as we welcome in a new year. Let’s pledge to make this our best year yet in terms of personal growth and health. Making positive changes to optimize health happens with one key ingredient: we need to feel WORTHY of health and wellbeing. How can we feel worthy? We must step into our power. The beautiful, hilarious and totally refreshing Amy Poehler said, “There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.” True power comes from embracing vulnerability and living an authentic (or silly) life… And that, my friends, takes courage. Not everyone has the chops for it, but I know you do or you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Let’s get started!
Dr. Brené Brown is a brilliant and inspirational “researcher-story teller.” Her talks and books are such gifts to all of us who aspire to live what she has dubbed a “wholehearted life.” So, your first assignment is to simply watch Dr. Brown’s two TED Talks: The Power of Vulnerability (watch this first) and Listening to Shame. With keen wit, she delivers her eye-opening research revealing what truly enables people to feel a sense of love, worthiness and connectedness. When we feel these things we are far less likely to turn to coping mechanisms in order to numb ourselves. We become healthier. I have shared these videos with my patients, and the feedback is consistently and overwhelmingly positive. Many of my patients are so moved by the message they cry while watching— There is something about this material that affects us deeply, truly reaching our cores. I think it is because we have all felt what she describes. If you resonate with Dr. Brown’s talks, I encourage you to pick up her book Daring Greatly and read it for extra credit.
It’s amazing what we hold on to, often unconsciously, that causes us to experience shame, hurt, and unworthiness. Letting go of what holds us back in life starts with forgiveness. I know… Tough stuff. But, we must forgive in order to feel freedom, empowerment and real, wholehearted joy. Now, listen carefully— the first person you must forgive is (drum roll, please) YOURSELF. This exercise is adapted from Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life. Say out loud to yourself “I forgive myself for ___________.” Say it over and over for 5 minutes. Then picture yourself as a small child about five or six years old looking up at you with big, teary eyes. Know this child wants nothing more than to be loved. Tell the child how much you love her. Tell her is it okay she made mistakes while learning. Now picture her small enough to put in the palm of your hand and symbolically place her gently into your heart. In the future when you make a mistake or feel shame, look down at that little girl in your heart and tell her you love her and forgive her for her mistake. She is and always will be good enough. Period.
Okay… Now onto those dirty, rotten scoundrels who have caused you pain…Ugh! AND, it’s the people who are the HARDEST to forgive who are the MOST IMPORTANT to forgive. Double uuugh! Remember, however, when someone hurts you, it has much more to do with him or her than you. With that said, it’s difficult to have the clarity and courage be authentic if we are towing around a thousand pounds of baggage full of other peoples’ wounds. It’s almost as if we all need T-shirts that repeat the airport mantra “Report all unattended bags” so the rightful owners will be more mindful of where they dump their stuff. I’m not saying this will be easy, but let’s lighten the load a little… Actually, let’s lighten it a lot! We will adapt this exercise from Louise Hay’s book as well. Find some quiet time for yourself when you will not be interrupted. Make a list of people you need to forgive. Again, ugh. This can be painful. One by one work your way through the list. Picture the person and say out loud “The person I need to forgive is ___________ and I forgive you for ___________.” Imagine the person you are forgiving saying back to you “Thank you. I set you free now.” Do this over and over for five to ten minutes. As Louise Hay states in her book, “When we are stuck, there is usually some forgiveness to be done. Search for injustices you still carry. Then let them go.” If you are still struggling with forgiveness after using these techniques, you may want to explore methods such as homeopathy, Emotional Freedom Technique, hypnosis or EMDR, all of which should be done with the help of skilled practitioners.
Now go out there and look silly! Here’s to the best in 2015!
Take care of your (whole)self,
Amy Bader ND is a doctor, teacher, speaker, writer and entrepreneur. She is a graduate of the National College of Natural Medicine, where she is now an adjunct clinical faculty member training naturopathic medical students. She has private practices in Northern California and Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her beautiful daughter. She has a passion for treating patients with chronic diseases using clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, biotherapeutic drainage, and homeopathy. She has a particular interest in working with patients who want to lose weight and feel comfortable in their bodies.
Dr. Bader has been interviewed as an expert in natural medicine and natural healthcare for radio, newspapers, magazines and television. She has been a contributing expert columnist for a large online health resource website. Dr. Bader was a founding co-director of NCNM’s Integrative Skin Care Clinic. She is a member of the Advisory Counsel for Kamedis, a bio-herbal skin care company, and is a trainer for Radiancy, maker of LHE phototherapy systems.