Assuming my toddler blesses me with a nap and my oldest two have made it to school, my general routine is to work out, meditate, bathe, and then read some form of self-help book or write. In the midst of the last bit, I usually hear a “Mommmmyyyy, where are you?” cuing me that personal time is over.
I’m aware that not all mamas are fortunate enough to have time for themselves. I was counted among them for a spell, and I thank my lucky stars that in this moment, I’ve been graced with a gift. Knowing that it’s limited, that nap times are soon to come to an end, or that life may shift in unexpected ways, I feel pressure to make every second progressive, worth its weight in gold. I don’t do chores, watch TV, nap, or scroll social media. No time sucks, no energy drains, only activities that I know build me up.
But recently, I’ve had a book-induced epiphany. I am in the midst of The Sacred Science by Nick Polizzi. It's one of those rare reads where you feel like your life is changed two chapters in. Polizzi had a debilitating health ailment, for two years in his 20’s, that modern medicine couldn’t seem to touch or understand. Somewhat by accident, during a particularly low moment for him, a friend called and guided him through tapping, also known as EFT. During this experience, Polizzi uncovered an emotional experience he’d been unknowingly holding onto anger about for years. That realization essentially cured him of his illness instantaneously. He then became somewhat obsessed with researching natural healing, which led him to shamanism. A shaman is a medicine man or woman who uses herbal remedies and energy healing. There is an assumption that all physical illness is a manifestation of spiritual/psychological issues that need tending to, as was the case for Polizzi.
Sometime after his rather spontaneous healing, he was moved to make a documentary about modern-day shamanism, hoping to share the information with the world at large, allowing people to explore alternative healing methods and raise awareness about how quickly the Amazonian jungle (which holds key medicinal plants) is dissipating. It’s worth noting that 25% of pharmaceuticals are made from plants in the Amazon (documentary fact), and that thousands remain unclassified and yet to be researched.
He selected eight individuals from 400 applicants, who were willing to go with him and his camera crew to the Amazon. They would be in the care of three shamans, each specializing in different areas and having proved their healing abilities time and time again. These shamans are normal guys who either fell into healing through bloodline and ability or via curing their own chronic illnesses with the help of a medicine man, then realizing that they too were called to be shamans. They live simple, spiritual lives and don’t advertise their skills. Most shamans have day jobs and tend only to their immediate communities when people are in need. These men and women are deeply spiritual, without ego, and helping others is what drives them.
The eight volunteers had a range of illnesses, from depression to stage four cancer. They were each to stay alone in an isolated individual hut, for 30 days. No running water, no electricity, no books, no contact with family or friends, no electronic devices, just a notepad and pen, with a hole in the ground for bathroom breaks. They were very removed, deep in the jungle, with every variety of creature one could imagine, making noises of all kinds through the dark and solitary night. They were to mostly stay in their extremely modest huts all day, only seeing the shamans two times for healing work and receiving very basic meals of quinoa and vegetables. The healing they underwent was nothing short of miraculous.
The only company each person had was their own thoughts. Here’s where my epiphany comes in, and I think it'll resonate with most of you. I’ve got this solo time a few days per week, but how often am I truly alone with my thoughts? Um, pretty much never. I’m filling those spaces up… even if it’s with “progressive” activities. And are these activities truly healing (because we’re all in need of healing one way or the other) and progressive or are they really just a distraction from such.
I’ve got demons I want to battle, buried emotional pain (like everyone else), some health issues that could use mending. No matter how many self-help books I read, will true healing occur without me giving it space?
It’s no accident that one of the most important aspects of the eight patients healing protocol is solitude. They have to create space to feel all the amazing emotions along with all the ugly ones, facing fears head-on.
So, I’m saying sayonara for four weeks, as of Monday. I won’t be checking into any social media. Google is going to miss it’s number one fan. My spam is going to pile up. There won’t be any book reading or blog writing. Removing things of comfort is also important, the things we run to out of avoidance, so my favorite tea is going. Favorite foods are out. I’m eating for sustenance. Exercise, out. I’m going to spend those nap times alone in my room or on a quiet walk. I may try tapping or meditation, but the rest is gone, baby gone.
Peace out. I’ll see you on the flipside and let you know what I’ve learned.
*If you’d like to watch the documentary "The Sacred Science," here is the link. Nick Polizzi is so passionate about preserving the Amazon and ancient healing practices of Shamanism, that he ultimately elected to make the documentary free. It’s definitely worth watching, but the book is incredibly insightful and has a lot more background information about the patients, Polizzi, and outright gems from the Shamans themselves. I felt that a lot of important information didn't make the movie. Your best bet is to read the book and then watch the documentary… time well spent.